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Old 05-26-2021, 09:01 AM   #61 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Thanks man. You're one of the few commenters here and to be honest when I post in this journal I think of you.

Ireland can be beautiful, yes, but it has its dark side like any other country. I'm sure it's not the worst place to live, and there is some stunning scenery, especially around Kerry and the River Shannon.
My uncles and their friends went there once in the 90s, I was just a kid. I want to go there, like a long trip and see the whole country. The cliffs of moher seem awesome. I'd love to take photos and videos there.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:30 PM   #62 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Thanks man. You're one of the few commenters here and to be honest when I post in this journal I think of you.

Ireland can be beautiful, yes, but it has its dark side like any other country. I'm sure it's not the worst place to live, and there is some stunning scenery, especially around Kerry and the River Shannon.


I'm on the Discord server
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Old 05-29-2021, 05:18 PM   #63 (permalink)
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I have spent a lot of time reading your journal, just today actually, I feel too much hate for the British is drummed... any long conflicts are always going to be written as one sided when you are feeling so passionate of what you feel and read to be true. My writing is not so good like yourself but the Protestants in France where also put through hell on and off through the various years.....guess this has happened similar in many countries over religion. France tried very hard at the start of the 1900's to stop all religions being practiced....too many wars
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Old 05-29-2021, 08:01 PM   #64 (permalink)
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Welcome to my journal Dianne, and thanks for commenting.

As an Irishman I have been brought up with an innate dislike for, if not to say hatred of the English. I live in a Republican area and it used not to be anything surprising to see words like IRA and BRITS OUT chalked on painted on walls around where I live. Once I was playing a classical CD and Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance March" came on. I had to quickly reduce the volume before someone passing thought I was playing "Land of Hope and Glory"!

In this journal I've tried not to be one-sided about history, to see things through the eyes of both the protagonists, but it's hard to be sympathetic to the English, when you see how they trampled over everyone, not only the Irish - the wars of Scottish Independence are coming up next. I also lived through The Troubles, and that sort of thing leaves its mark on you. It's hard to be objective when you're so close to things. Nevertheless, I'm not shying from the atrocities the Irish perpetrated, and I'm certainly not naive enough to think that everything was the English's fault. But at the same time, we never set out to conquer or oppress anyone, so that tells its own story.
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:09 AM   #65 (permalink)
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I except that living through is quite different from reading, both bringing out emotions but different, I spoke with my husband over what I had been reading and did say how terrible way back the English were etc.etc. I have read a lot of French History as I got involved in Ancestry a few years. My Husband's family had some real draw on his French side for me but not at all for him. He lives in the today world, mainly.
Huguenots following Strict Protestantism, Calvinists, yes..love spell check my friend.
His past lot on the French side ended up in East London where he also came from. Both of his branches had huge interest to me and through it I have close
contacts with some of his relatives, mainly in New Zealand. The connection to the Gold Rush, Coromandel.

https://www.thecoromandel.com/coroma...e%20Coromandel.
moving away from my over enthusiastic nature.

Daughter's Husband saw his army mates blown to smithers and he got away with small facial scars, well the truth is he fell apart quite a few times and almost destroyed a good marriage with his carrying on through drinking.She nearly died from breast cancer, but it pulled him back to earth and they have now a solid life together. A Monaghan as well.
With that, reigns on and out of here, for now....
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:02 AM   #66 (permalink)
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_Donegal
Thats where my family is from. My great great grandfather and grandmother are both from Ireland.
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Old 06-04-2021, 01:23 PM   #67 (permalink)
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Well waiting for the next stage of your journal now Trollheart, as some of the History seems to cross over with some of 'mine'...I'm not blood related to them but still passionate about the past terrors that did happen to people, in the name of religion.
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Old 06-04-2021, 06:40 PM   #68 (permalink)
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If there was a kingdom more staunchly opposed to English rule than Ireland, it was of course Scotland, and anyone who’s seen Braveheart knows the contempt the English kings held the northern savages in, and how the brave Scots refused to bow down. So why, after all that man did, after the hideous death he endured to try to ensure the independence of his nation, did Scotland bend the knee?

I’ll be damned if I know, and I’ve wondered, but I just bet you it has to do with coins clinking into hands. Let’s see if it was money that made the merger possible.

Highland Warriors: A Brief History of an Independent Scotland

There’s always been a very strong bond between the Irish and the Scots. We both originate from Celtic tribes, Gaels from Northern Europe who settled here around the time of the Roman Empire, and we retain many similarities both in our language and our culture. Scots call a nice thing braw, whereas we say brea, we call the English na sasenaigh, their name for them is sassenachs, and most of our names hinge on the paternal - son of; Mc or Mac (Mach, for son) or O, as in of - so MacDermott, O’Neill and so on. But if there’s one thing that’s common to both of us more than any other factor it’s our dislike of the English. Even now, call a Scotsman or woman English and you’re looking for a Glasgow kiss! You don’t want to know what that is, if you don’t already know.

Scotland, called in the time of the Romans, Caledonia, was originally inhabited by ancient tribes called the picti, or picts, but unlike the original Irish, whom the Celts defeated and supplanted in Ireland, the reverse seems to have occurred in Scotland, as the Picts attacked and destroyed the scotia town of Dal Riada. Converted first to Celtic Christianity by Irish missionaries and later to Roman Christianity by the mission mounted in the sixth century by Pope Gregory the Great to convert the Anglo-Saxons, the picts nevertheless became known as scoti, or scots, to the English, and their land forever named Scotland. The invasions by the Vikings though at the end of the eighth century forced the remaining Scoti (Gaels) to ally with the Picts to resist the Norsemen, and the Kingdom of Scotland was established.

That was in the ninth century, and as you might expect, the Scots spent the next three hundred years knocking seven shades of shite out of each other in struggles for the Scottish throne, till England’s Edward I decided he rather looked the like of it, and decided to pinch it for himself. Into the story of Scotland then of course strides William Wallace, portrayed by Mel Gibson (rather unrealistically and historically inaccurately, so I’m told) on the big screen, to fight for Scotland’s independence. It wouldn’t be the first or last fight the northern kingdom would engage in with its larger southern neighbour.

The Wars of Scottish Independence (note the usage of the plural there; the Scots didn’t admit defeat easily!)

Timeline: 1296 - 1357


As ever, blame the kids. Or rather, lack of them. When King Alexander III died he left only one heir, strictly speaking an heiress, his granddaughter Margaret, herself the scion of a mere fifteen year old king, Eric II of Norway. Being the daughter of Alexander’s daughter (also called Margaret - not very imaginative, these people!) and as the line of succession in Norway proceeded along strictly male lines, she was to inherit the Scottish throne if Margaret (the mother) did not produce any male heirs for Alexander. Margaret (for the sake of clarity and my sanity, we’ll refer to the young Margaret as she was known, the Maid of Norway, or for us, just the Maid) was the sister of Edward I, so there were some pretty strong ties to England there already.

When Margaret died in 1258, Alexander, having no male heir, thought to take a new wife, and settled on Yolanda of Dreux. To give him due credit, he waited ten years before marrying again. However a year later he was killed, breaking his neck. I don’t know under what circumstances, whether or not foul play was involved. What I do know is that his death threw the whole question of succession into turmoil, as Yolanda was by then pregnant, and six regents were chosen, called “the Guardians of Scotland” to hold the throne for whomever ended up being its rightful occupant. As it went, Yolanda’s child was stillborn, which left the Maid as the only legitimate claimant for the monarchy.

And so in due course King Eric’s envoy arrived in Scotland to claim the throne on behalf of the three-year old Maid, but ran into opposition when Robert Bruce (not Robert the Bruce; he was later) raised a rebellion against the decision. He was defeated though, but the situation was deemed too dangerous by Eric to send his daughter there, and he instead asked his father-in-law to arbitrate. Edward was only too happy to exert his power and influence over the choosing as to who would rule Scotland, and to nobody’s surprise ruled in favour of his grandniece. As he also retained the right to choose her husband, the Maid was promised to King Edward’s son, also called Edward, now to be King of Scotland, and with the signing of the Treaty of Salisbury in 1289 Margaret, Maid of Norway was agreed to be and confirmed as the heir to the throne of Scotland, while the Treaty of Birgham the following year enshrined Scotland’s independence as a separate kingdom from England.

Eric accordingly sent his granddaughter, now seven years old, to claim her right, but by the time she arrived in Orkney Island she was sick and soon died, her body being returned to Bergen for burial. No definite reason is given for her death, but hey, back then people seemed to die at the drop of a horned helmet, so could have been anything. Maybe someone poisoned her? Either way, all the work Edward and his ministers had done, all the wrangling and coming to a decision and the Treaty of Salisbury all came to nothing.

And then, all hell broke loose.

With no further legal claimants on the throne, no less than thirteen candidates stepped forward to duke it out, including one pretender who was burned at the stake for her pains. We’ll look at them all now, including her.

Unlucky for some? The Scramble for the Scottish Throne

Not much time to mourn the never-coronated new queen, as news of her death inspired an undignified power grab by anyone who believed they had a claim to the kingship of Scotland. They were:

With at least a legitimate claim

John Balliol: Descended almost directly in a bloodline from King William the Lion, Scotland’s longest-reigning monarch prior to the rule of James VI (who would later become James I of England - not the same James, Duke of York, who was brother to King Charles II), Balliol was the son of John, 5th Baron of Balliol and Dervorguilla of Galloway, granddaughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon, himself brother to William the Lion. As claims go, his was definitely the strongest.

Robert Bruce (de Bruis):
He was also related to the great king’s brother David, through his mother Isobel of Huntingdon, making him David’s grandson. Bruce served as Regent of Scotland before King Alexander could take his place on the throne, and was the closest surviving male relative to the king. Named heir presumptive, he lost out on his chance when Alexander’s wife brought forth three children, seeing his last chance vanish when Margaret, Maid of Norway was brought over to take the throne, having been confirmed by Edward I as the legitimate heir. When Margaret died though, Bruce saw his chance and put his claim forward.

John Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings: The first claimant who was not Scottish but English, he was also a Welsh noble, but seems to have based his claim to the Scottish crown on his being a grandson of the daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon.

Floris V, Count of Holland. He too claimed right to the throne through his great-grandmother Ada, daughter of David of Huntingdon.

John Comyn II of Badenoch: called “The Black”, he was one of the six regents of Scotland chosen to hold the throne for its rightful heir (which turned out to be the Maid of Norway and then on her untimely death descended into chaos). He claimed right through being descended from another Scottish King, Donald II, but his claim was sort of half-hearted, as he knew and expected his brother-in-law, John Baliol would be chosen.

Eric II of Norway: As father of the Maid, he certainly had a claim, but had neither the support nor the force of arms to push such a cause. It’s unlikely he really wanted it anyway, mourning for the death of his daughter, and he would die a mere nine years later anyway.

That takes care of the legitimate, or at least credible applicants. But of course, there will always be pretenders, chances, people-who-know-people and think that gives them the right and so on, so let’s check out the less likely claimants.

Less than a snowball's chance

Nicholas de Soules: he claimed right to the throne on the basis of being the grandson of Marjorie of Scotland, illegitimate daughter to King Alexander II. He was also brother to one of the Guardians of Scotland.

Patrick Galithly: His claim was considerably more dubious, in that it relied on his being the grandson of a supposed illegitimate son of William the Lion. Yeah, that was never going to fly.

William de Ros:
Nor was his claim, being based on his being the great-grandson of an alleged illegitimate daughter of William the Lion.

William de Vesci, Baron de Vesci:
Relations to a bastard were also behind his claim, this to another illegitimate daughter of William the Lion, Margaret (yes, another one) whom he claimed to be his grandmother. He’s the only one with any Irish connection I can see, in that he founded the abbey in Kildare in 1260 for the Franciscans. Didn’t help his claim for the throne though.

Patrick Dunbar, Earl of Dunbar:
Also claimed the right due to being a great-grandson of Ada, King William the Lion’s bastard daughter.

Richard de Mandeville: He claimed he was a great-great-grandson of yet another bastard daughter of William, this time Aufrica.

Sir Roger de Pinkeney, Baron de Pinkeney: His claim came from being a great-grandson of Marjorie of Scotland, like de Soules only a generation removed.

Norway is that going to work! The False Margaret

Technically, not a claimant for the Scottish throne, though I suppose she could have been seen as a late entry, had anyone fallen for it. Some did, but nobody of real consequence. Her name is Margaret, or at least that’s how history remembers her, her real name lost to time, and she is, as noted above, referred to as the False Margaret. Why? Well you remember Margaret, the Maid of Norway, and how she was supposed to have died on the way to claim her birthright at seven years old? Right, well, this one apparently appeared in Bergen 1301, eleven years after the Maid was supposed to have snuffed it, and coincidentally (or not really) two years after her dad, King Eric II of Norway, had followed her into the afterlife.

Claiming to be, wait for it, the Maid, not half as dead as people thought, she declared that she had been taken prisoner and sent to Germany where she had lived in secret. Now she was back, and she claimed her throne. While as I say some people fell for this, most remembered a rather important point - two, actually: the first being that the old king had personally identified the body of his daughter when it had been returned to Bergen, and while it might be true that many fathers don’t really know their daughters as well as they think, it’s a pretty safe bet that any of them could identify the corpse of their little darling, which is what a heartbroken Eric did.

The other point - perhaps more damning and making this attempt more laughable than your next-door neighbour casually confiding to you that he is in fact the risen Christ, and not a waster whose wife left him for the milkman six years ago - was her age. If the Maid had in fact survived, and not died in 1290, then by 1301 she would have been coming up to her seventeenth birthday, and while some women are lucky and don’t look their age (or are told they don’t), this Margaret was well in her forties. So unless the Maid had slipped through some sort of temporal wormhole and had been living a quiet existence in Narnia or Middlesex for nigh on thirty years, there was no way this woman could be who she claimed to be.

The king thought so, too. Haakon V, brother to Eric, dismissed her claims - which included accusations of treason by some of his court - and had her burned at the stake. Her husband, who had plotted with her, literally lost his head, though some accounts say he was burned alongside her. Rumours that she may have been used in a plot by Audun Hugleiksson, right hand to two different kings (though neither Eric nor Haakon), led to his execution a year later. He had already been imprisoned before the False Margaret landed in Norway, and it’s possible that had she been accepted as queen he would have expected to have been released. As it was, he was hanged.

Those who did believe Margaret was the Maid formed a martyr cult around her, and a church was built on the spot where she was burned, but later it was demolished.


The Great Cause

As often, almost always happens when there is more than one claimant to a throne, Darwin’s principles come into play and the fittest, or indeed fastest or most cunning or richest survive. Alliances are made, promises are given, inducements handed over, positions promised, and whoever has the biggest army can take the throne by force. This of course often does not go down well with the other hopefuls, and war, often civil war, can break out, and usually does.

And so it would have, as the claimant with the best chance of securing the throne, John Bailiol, drew powerful nobles, including the English Bishop of Durham, Antony Bek, who was Edward I’s representative in Scotland, and declared he was the king. "We’ll just see abou’ tha’!" shouted Robert Bruce, angrily, as he enlisted both the Earl of Mar and the Earl of Atholl to his cause, the two forces facing off against each other.

And of course, England, which has always been the peacemaker in such disputes, stepped in.

Well, not quite.

Fearing civil war, the Guardians of Scotland turned to Edward I to arbitrate. Everyone would have to listen to the king and abide by his decision, as most if not all retained substantial lands south of the border. Edward had long been annoyed that Scotland refused to acknowledge him as its overall king (even though he and his predecessors still styled themselves as “king/queen of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland” - words are cheap) and demanded that before he agree to mediate the dispute and help choose a king, the country must swear fealty to him. “Och awa’ wi’ ye!” they all said, or something similar, but a compromise was reached and Edward consented to sort the mess out. I suppose he thought that whichever king he chose, they would owe him gratitude for taking his side, gratitude he could capitalise on later if needed.

In the end it came down to four: John Bailiol, who was seen to have the strongest claim by the ancient right of primogeniture, Robert Bruce as the nearest blood kin, John Hastings who, though a descendant of David I, was an Englishman and therefore hardly eligible, even though he tried to argue Scotland was not a real kingdom (an odd stance to take, I would have thought, if you’re planning to rule the place!) and Floris V, who had some spurious claim that David I had ceded the right to rule as king to his brother William, but this was throne (sorry I mean thrown) out for lack of evidence. Edward chose Bailiol and made sure all the other claimants and the Guardians supported and agreed with his decision, and the Great Cause was settled.

Scotland had her new king.
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Old 06-04-2021, 06:55 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Invasion!

It’s probably fair to say that nobody in Scotland actually trusted Edward, and that war with England could not have been too far from anyone’s mind, especially when the king, after having chosen the new ruler of his troublesome northern neighbour, started throwing his weight around: demanding cases be heard in England and not Scotland, summoning the king himself, John Bailiol, to court (he refused to go, sending his envoy instead, which must have spoken volumes). But Baliol, though a weak and ineffectual king (and possibly chosen by Edward for that very reason, where the fiery Bruce, who had nearly as strong a claim, might have made a more formidable opponent for him) knew Scotland could not hope to oppose the might of England alone, and so sought help.

Turning to England’s old enemy (no, not Ireland: what use would we have been to the Scots?) Balioli sent emissaries to King Phillipe IV of France, seeking a treaty, which was duly signed as the Treaty of Paris in 1296. Suffice to say, Edward was not amused and sent his armies to attack Scotland, mustering on the borders of Newcastle. They were met by a Scottish army headed by John Comyn (not the same one who had contested the crown, but his cousin) who took and burned Carlisle, but without siege engines had to leg it back across the border. Edward’s armies then crossed into Scotland and took Berwick, and the two armies finally met for battle at Dunbar in April 1296.

It was over in a matter of months. Roundly defeated at the so-called Battle of Dunbar, the Scots retreated and Edward advanced, taking Edinburgh and Stirling Castle (the latter of which had been abandoned), and by July John Bailiol had surrendered. Edward stripped him of his crown and had him and his nobles sent back to London to the Tower, Scotland completely under his heel now. He forced all the nobles and clergy to swear loyalty to him, and to reinforce the point that Scotland’s independence was at an end, took the famous Stone of Scone, which had been the location used for the coronation of the Scottish kings since the ninth century, back to Westminster, along with the other trappings of Scotland’s monarchy, the Black Rood of St. Margaret - said to have been a piece of the cross on which Jesus was crucified - and the Scottish Crown.

Invasion! - the Rematch: Brave Hearts and Broken Bones

Defeated but ready to rise again, Scotland simmered with anger at the treatment meted out to it by the English king, and as the country rose in open revolt against its English occupiers, two famous names were to be written in the annals of Scottish history. One we all know, the other perhaps not so much.


Andrew de Moray (died c. 1297)

The Moray dynasty was no stranger to independence; they even resisted joining the Scottish nation until the 12th century, when the Flemish noble, Freskin, to whom Andrew’s family traced their lineage, led an uprising on behalf of the king, David I, and took Moray for him. However resistance continued through the reign of successive kings, and it would not be until Alexander II brought events to a final - and fatal - excuse the pun, head. This was accomplished by having his soldiers take the infant heir to the throne of Moray and smash her head against the market-cross. Proof that Scottish kings could be just as brutal as English ones.

During the first Scottish War of Independence, Andrew rode with his father against Robert Bruce in Carlisle, in the army raised by John Comyn, wreaking havoc across the countryside when they could not get into the castle, killing and burning and pillaging, and all the sort of things you do when you can’t get into a castle and do all your killing there. But when the Scots were quickly defeated by the army of Edward I, Andrew’s father was taken prisoner and died in the Tower of London two years later, while he himself was held at the lower-security Chester Castle.

After defeating the Scots Edward was not exactly magnanimous in victory, imposing heavy taxes on the people, seizing castles and installing English lords to run the place. His plan to force Scottish men - including nobles - to fight in his armies in Flanders did not go down well, and resentment, already simmering, began to boil over. At the beginning of 1207 Andrew Moray escaped from Chester Castle and made his way back to Scotland, just as another rebel raised his flag against the English. You may have heard of him.


William Wallace (c. 1270 - 1305)

If Scotland was polytheistic instead of Christian, it’s pretty certain that WIlliam Wallace would rank high among its pantheon. As it is, he is known as one of Scotland’s greatest and most legendary heroes, and even if the movie Braveheart has taken some liberties with history and the truth, Wallace is certainly remembered as one of the country’s finest and most noble and loyal sons. Described as "a tall man with the body of a giant ... with lengthy flanks ... broad in the hips, with strong arms and legs ... with all his limbs very strong and firm" and though historians differ on various aspects of his story, it is known that his first act of rebellion took place as Andrew Moray was making his escape from English captivity, the murder of the High Sherrif of Lanark, William de Heselrig, after which he joined William the Hardy, Lord of Douglas, to carry out the Raid of Scone, where they put the Justice of Scotland (appointed of course by Edward) William de Ormesby, to flight, and then set up base on Etthick Forest, in a sort of Scottish echo, perhaps, of another famous outlaw.

Wallace’s greatest triumph though undoubtedly was the Battle of Stirling Bridge, where he and the forces of Andrew Moray, who had joined up earlier, dealt the English a crippling blow.

The Battle of Stirling Bridge (September 11 1297)

Playing for time, the Earl of Surrey, who held Stirling Castle for Edward, sent emissaries, including two Dominican friars to negotiate with Wallace and Moray. He was concerned about the long narrow passage from the castle across the river which would put him at a disadvantage, facing a superior number of his enemies, and no doubt hoped for reinforcements. Wallace was unimpressed: "We are not here to make peace but to do battle to defend ourselves and liberate our kingdom. Let them come on and we shall prove this to their very beards."

Can’t get much plainer spoken than that! Opting, for some reason, for a direct attack from across the bridge, rather than trying to outflank the Scots further upriver, as had been suggested to him, the Earl led as many of his men onto the bridge as would fit at once, but the Scots poured down from the hills onto the bridge and slaughtered them, cutting off any chance of reinforcements from the rear. Losing his nerve completely, the Earl ordered the bridge destroyed, and retreated, leaving Wallace and Moray victorious, though Moray had been mortally wounded and would die soon after.

Stirling Bridge nevertheless ranks as a huge achievement for the Scots, the first time their armies had taken on the English and not only won, but routed them utterly, and on their home soil. Wallace went on to lead an large scale invasion of England, through Northumbria and Cumberland, and Edward prepared to reciprocate.

Wallace, however, was no fool, and knew that despite his victories he could not hope to take on the full might of the English army, so his men avoided Edward’s troops, shadowing them and relying on falling morale to send the English back home as food supplies began to run out. Partially, this did work, as Edward had to put down a mutiny by his own men, mostly Welsh adventurers, but then received intelligence that Wallace was camped at Falkirk, waiting to harass his forces (but not expecting a full-on battle) and he rode to meet them. This time, things didn’t go so well for Braveheart.

The Battle of Falkirk (July 22 1298)

The terrain was not on the Scots’ side now, a flanking strategy preferred by Edward’s commanders who picked off the cavalry ranged behind their formations of schilltrons - tightly packed formations of men with spears and pikes - but could not make any further progress against the spear walls. However with their own archers picked off by the English, this left the schilltrons unprotected, with nowhere to run once the English arrows began falling, and as the lines of spearmen began to fall in numbers, opening gaps in the wall, the English cavalry charged in, wreaking havoc. Backed up by the infantry, it wasn’t long before they had slaughtered or routed all the Scots, and the day was Edward’s.

The problem appeared to be twofold: first, the Scottish had not been prepared for or expecting a battle, unlike at Stirling, where they had controlled everything, and second, the main military genius behind that previous victory is believed to have been Moray, who was dead by the time Falkirk was fought. Wallace, though an able commander when performing hit and run, guerilla-style raids, turned out not to be a strategically-minded man, and basically led his forces into a trap against overwhelming odd and with no real plan.

After Falkirk Wallace renounced the Guardianship of Scotland, conferred upon him when he had been made a knight of the realm after Stirling, and is believed to have travelled to France to look for assistance from the other old enemy of the English, with a possibility of also going to Rome, though this is not confirmed. He returned to Scotland in 1304, where he fought against the English for another year before finally being betrayed and delivered to the English king. Tried for high treason, he sneered that “I could never be a traitor to Edward as I was never his subject.” The king was not impressed, and ordered him to be hung, drawn and quartered at Smithfield. In case anyone for some reason doesn’t know that that entails (haven’t you seen Braveheart? They more or less got it spot on) here are all the gory details.

When hanging was too good for them - the awful price of treason

Reserved, so far as I know, for the capital offence of treason alone, hanging, drawing and quartering was perhaps the most gruesome, humiliating and painful death ever devised by man. Well, maybe crucifixion, but still - it gets you out in the fresh air, doesn’t it? Treason was probably the very worst crime a subject of the king or queen could commit, and so it was proportionately punished, both to ensure the miscreant died the worst death possible and to serve as a dire and stark warning to others who might be considering doing the same.

It all began (after, presumably, days of torture, whether for information, confession or just revenge is probably unimportant) with the criminal being dragged - sometimes on a board, sometimes just on a rope or chain - through the streets behind a horse to his or her place of execution. Obviously hardly the least comfortable of ways to travel, the prisoner would already be in pretty poor shape by the time he arrived at the gallows, at which point he would be strung up, hanged, but not in the traditional way. There would be no drop, no quick breaking of the neck, oh no. This was not hanging to kill - not yet - merely to hurt, cause panic, humiliate, terrify. And it was far from the worst of the punishment.

After a few minutes being choked on the end of a rope (as the audience cheered, spat, threw things and cursed at the criminal) he would be laid flat on the platform, his chest bared. A none too gentle incision would be made in his chest, something I guess like they do in a Caesarian section, except rather than draw forth a baby the executioner would draw forth the innards and guts of the man, which would be pulled out and burned before his - supposedly still alive and able to see - eyes, his,um, tackle cut off and burned too, his head then removed and his heart torn from his chest (not sure if that happened before or after the beheading, but given that he was supposed to witness the burning of his other organs, and that removal of the heart causes instant death, I’d say after). Finally, quite dead now, his body could be quartered.

This entailed chopping the body up into four parts, most often centring on the two legs and two arms, these often sent to places in the country where the criminal had been supported, lived, fought or which for some other reason had connection to him. His head would usually be placed on a spike atop London Bridge or the Tower of London, as a clear and visible and enduring (until it eventually fell apart or was picked clean by birds) warning of the terrible price to be paid by those who raised their hand against the monarch.
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Old 06-04-2021, 11:11 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Going to enjoy this but it is going to take me some time to read and take in. Got hit with a brick yesterday over Husbands slightly estranged Brother who lives about an hour from us. Life has a strange way of shaking us and seeing the light. Glad you posted right now though.
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