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1298 A.D.]

The Campaign of Wallace.


of their comrades, and being unable to assist them, straightway fell in a panic, set fire to their end of the bridge, and fled, leaving all their baggage. In the whole history of these wars, there is nothing more difficult to understand than the flight of the English army before Wallace's ill-equipped and half-disciplined levies, who were greatly inferior in numbers, and on the far side of the river.

Of course, the immediate result of this tremendous victory—tremendous, that is, as obtained by raw levies over a disciplined and well-equipped force—was that men of all ranks flocked in to the standard of Wallace, who was now recognised as the national champion. Dundee Castle, which on his advance to the Forth, Wallace had left beleaguered by the townspeople, surrendered shortly after the battle. Surrey left the country at the mercy of the Scots, and retreated as far as York, where the barons of northern England were ordered to join him. Wallace marched after him, overrunning Northumberland and Cumberland as far as Newcastle and Carlisle, but Robert de Balliol held the former strength against him, and Henry de Percy the latter. Robert de Brus "le viel" was still governor of Carlisle Castle, but on October 13, 1297, he was directed to give over his command to the Bishop of Carlisle.[1] No reason is assigned for this, nor is there any cause to suppose that either he or his son was suspected of complicity with Wallace; but affairs wore a threatening aspect, and it is not improbable that need was apparent for a stronger governor than the elder de Brus.

  1. Bain, ii., 244.