Front Matter Albion and Brutus The Coming of the Romans The Romans Come Again Caligula Conquers Britain The Story of Boadicea The Last of the Romans The Story of St. Alban Vortigern and King Constans Hengist and Horsa Hengist's Treachery The Giant's Dance The Coming of Arthur Founding of the Round Table Gregory and the Children King Alfred Learns to Read Alfred and the Cowherd More About Alfred the Great Ethelred the Unready Edmund Ironside Canute and the Waves Edward the Confessor Harold Godwin The Battle of Stamford Bridge The Battle of Hastings Hereward the Wake Death of the King The Story of William the Red The Story of the "White Ship" The Story of King Stephen Henry II—Gilbert and Rohesia Thomas a Becket The Conquest of Ireland Richard Coeur de Lion How Blondel Found the King The Story of Prince Arthur The Great Charter Henry III and Hubert de Burgh Simon de Montfort The Poisoned Dagger The War of Chalons The Lawgiver The Hammer of the Scots King Robert the Bruce The Battle of Bannockburn The Battle of Sluys The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Battle of Poitiers Wat Tyler's Rebellion How Richard Lost His Throne The Battle of Shrewsbury Prince Hal Sent to Prison The Battle of Agincourt The Maid of Orleans Red Rose and White Margaret and the Robbers The Story of the Kingmaker A King Who Wasn't Crowned Two Princes in the Tower The Make-Believe Prince Another Make-Believe Prince The Field of the Cloth of Gold Defender of the Faith The Six Wives of Henry VIII The Story of a Boy King The Story of Lady Jane Grey Elizabeth a Prisoner A Candle Lit in England Elizabeth Becomes Queen A Most Unhappy Queen Saved from the Spaniards Sir Walter Raleigh The Queen's Favourite The Story of Guy Fawkes The Story of the Mayflower A Blow for Freedom King and Parliament Quarrel The King Brought to Death The Adventures of a Prince The Lord Protector How Death Plagued London How London was Burned The Fiery Cross The Story of King Monmouth The Story of the Seven Bishops William the Deliverer William III and Mary II A Sad Day in a Highland Glen How the Union Jack was Made Earl of Mar's Hunting Party Bonnie Prince Charlie Flora MacDonald The Black Hole of Calcutta How Canada Was Won How America Was Lost A Story of a Spinning Wheel Every Man Will Do His Duty The Battle of Waterloo The First Gentleman in Europe Two Peaceful Victories The Girl Queen When Bread was Dear Victorian Age: Peace Victorian Age: War The Land of Snow The Siege of Delhi The Pipes at Lucknow Under the Southern Cross From Cannibal to Christian Boer and Briton List of Kings

Our Island Story - H. E. Marshall


After the death of Bohun there was no more fighting that day. The sun soon set, and during the short summer night the two armies lay opposite each other, silently waiting for the dawn.

When day broke, the whole plain was astir. Trumpets sounded, drums beat, and as the English army advanced, they seemed to roll onward like mighty waves. 'No hand but God's can save us from so great a host,' said the Scots. And, as a holy abbot with bare feet and head passed along the lines to bless them, they knelt in prayer.

'See,' cried King Edward, 'they kneel! they ask for mercy!'

'True,' replied the knight to whom he spoke, 'they ask for mercy, but from Heaven, not from us. These men will conquer, or die on the field.'

The fight began and long and fiercely it raged. The Scottish horse scattered the English archers, and the English horse fell into the pits which Bruce had caused to be dug. The English army was already in confusion when suddenly, over the brow of a neighbouring hill, there appeared what seemed to them another Scottish army.

Then the English fled. Blind with fear they rode, hardly knowing where. Many were drowned while trying to cross the river Forth, others fell over the rocky banks of the Bannock till the stream was choked with the dead.

The new army which had so frightened the English was no army at all, but only the servants and camp-followers whom Bruce had separated from the soldiers and sent to wait behind the hill. They had grown tired of watching and doing nothing, so they tied cloths on to poles for banners, armed themselves with sticks, and came to join the fight. They came just at the right time, for the English, already beginning to feel that the battle was lost, fled before this new host.

Edward, although he was no coward, fled too. He went first to Stirling, but the Governor would not let him stay there. 'Have you forgotten, my lord,' he said, 'that to-morrow I must yield up the castle to the King of Scots? If you remain here you will become his prisoner.'

So Edward rode south, attended only by a few knights. One brave man rode with the King until he thought he was safe, then drawing rein, 'Farewell, my liege,' he said, 'I am not wont to flee,' and turning he rode back, and fell fighting with his face to the enemy.

The King fled on, and he had need to flee fast. For, when it became known that he had left the field, he was hotly pursued as far as Dunbar, which was still in the hands of the English. From there he went in a little fishing-boat to Berwick and so reached England and safety.

'So eagerly he was pursued,

They got to him so near,

He was on point of being ta'en,

But got into Dunbar.

'To Berwick in a fishing boat

They sculled him away,

While to be kept from wrath of Scots

He earnestly did pray.'

Upon the field many of England's noblest men lay dead, many were wounded, many taken prisoner. So much spoil fell into the hands of the Scots, and so much money was paid to them as ransom for their prisoners, that it was said that Scotland became rich in one day. Scotland became not only rich but free in one day, for if the battle of Bannockburn did not quite end the war, it showed what Scotsmen loving their country could do, and in the dark days which were still to come they never again despaired.

The battle of Bannockburn is the greatest battle ever fought on Scottish ground. It is great not because so many noble men fell upon the field; but because at one blow it made the Scots free.

Beaten and angry Edward returned to England, and the rest of his life was dark and miserable. He ruled so badly that at last the nobles put him from the throne, and crowned his little son, who was also called Edward.

Edward II., King no longer, was sent as a prisoner from castle to castle. No one loved or cared for him, and each new goaler treated the poor, fallen King worse than the last, till one night terrible shrieks rang through the castle in which he was imprisoned. In the morning Edward II. was found dead. He had been murdered.