Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Battle of Bannockburn - Day 2

Under nightfall the English forces have crossed the  Bannock Burn and taken up  position on the plain beyond it.
The scottish army advances into Position. The Abbott of Inchaffray again passes among the Scots soldiery, blessing them.    The Abbott has brought relics of St Fillan and Abbott Bernard of Arbroath has brought the reliquary casket of St Columba to encourage the superstitious soldiery. 

Seeing Scots knelt in prayer , Edward asks  de Unfraville wether they are craving his forgiveness for opposing him.  De Unfraville answers that they are craving divine forgiveness. 

To the astonishment of the English, the Scots army then begins to advance towards them.    
Edward says to de UmfravilleWill these Scotsmen fight?”  de Umfraville replies “These men will gain all or die in the trying.”  Edward says “So be it” and signals for the trumpets to sound the charge.
As the english cavalry attack, the Welsh and english archers, (on the extreme right flank)  open fire, which causes a pause in the Scottish advance but  Keith’s force of light horsemen disperses them.
Again, Gloucester leads the cavalry charge but few follow and  when he reaches the Scottish lines he is quickly surrounded and killed.
The English knights hurl themselves onto the Scottish spear line with a terrible crash.  Along with Gloucester, many   English knights are killed in the impact: among them Sir Edmund de Mauley, Sir John Comyn, Sir Pain de Tiptoft, Sir Robert de Clifford.
Supporting the   schiltrons,  Scottish archers pour volleys of arrows into the struggling English cavalry line as it´s slowly ground down and pushed back.
The flight of the english army begins. The Scots spearmen press forward against the increasingly exhausted and hemmed in English army. The cry goes up “On them. On them. They fail. They fail.”
The final blow! The ‘Small Folk’ attack. The English army begins to fall back to the Bannockburn with ever increasing speed and confusion and foot soldiers and horsemen attempt to force their way across the stream.  High banks impede the crossing and many are drowned in the confusion.  Many escape across into an area of tidal bog where they fall prey to their exhaustion, heavy equipment and the knives of the Small Folk.
The Earl of Pembroke seizes King Edward’s bridle and leads him away from the battle field surrounded by the Royal retainers and accompanied by Sir Giles de Argentan.  Once the King is safe de Argentan returns to the battle and, throwing himself against the scottish spears,  is killed.
The defeat is complete. The english army is broken and retreats.
It leaves behind several hundred dead and captured Knights and men at arms. The numbers of the lowly foot soldiers killed numbers as many as 11,000.

Edward is taken to the gates of Stirling Castle.  Here de Mowbray urges the King not to take refuge in the castle as he would inevitably be taken prisoner when the castle is forced to surrender to the Scots.  Edward takes this advice and with his retinue skirts around the battlefield and rides for Linlithgow.  He then rides to Dunbar and takes a boat to Berwick.

A group of nobles, the Earl of Hereford, Robert de Umfraville Earl of Angus, Sir Ingram de Unfraville and others flee to Bothwell Castle where they are taken and handed to the Scots by the Castle Constable Sir Walter FitzGilbert.

The Earl of Pembroke leads his Welsh archers away from the battle field and after a tortuous and hazardous march brings them back to Wales.