at Roslin was typical of combat in this period; a clash
between relatively small groups of men-at-arms (armoured
cavalry), not, as popularly written, a battle of
manoeuvre involving many thousands. The "Big Battle"
scenario was invented by Walter Bower in his
give the Scots a massive victory over the English.
Contemporary record material is absolutely clear about
this, the English force was raised in a hurry, possibly
(according to Sir Thomas Gray’s
raise a Scottish siege at Linlithgow. It was recruited
from the gentry and aristocracy of Northern England and
had no infantry element at all. There is no contemporary
material to suggest that the Scottish army involved
infantry either, but this is typical of the period.
There seems to have been two, possibly three actions,
probably a product of the English force being billeted
in a number of villages and hamlets in the area .
Wallace had not been the Guardian for some years by the
time of Roslin and there is no clear evidence to
indicate that he was present at all. The Guardian was
Sir John Comyn of Badenoch, who had held the post (with
Robert de Bruce some of the time)since Wallace lost his
political credibility after the defeat at Falkirk. It is
an axiom of websites and romantic history that the
Scottish men-at-arms were less heavily armoured and less
well-mounted than their English counterparts – a ‘fact’
that no-one noticed at the time. In fact they were
indistinguishable from one another. The same applies to
archers and spearmen; the total evidence for Scots using
a shortbow is that c. 1910
Sir Charles Oman said
they did – he did produce any evidence to support his
statement , but we should be confident that if there
were any differences between Scottish and English
soldiers Grey, the
would tell us so – especially Gray since he was a
professional soldier all his days. Also – record
material – payrolls, muster rolls, ammunition records
and the like would surely make reference to any real
As for the Roslin battle, if it had been a physically
large battle, we can rest assured that chroniclers and
record material of the time would say so, but the size
of a battle (especially a medieval one) is not a useful
guide to its significance.
The Battle of Culblean
(30th November, St Andrew's Day, 1335) was not
especially large (perhaps 4,000 people in total), but
what 14th century Scottish battle is of greater
significance? Bannockburn merely affirmed the current
situation, viz. The Scots were winning their war and
continued to do so until the peace of 1328, but Culblean
was a demonstration of the ability of the Scots to
recover and make serious progress in a very difficult
Brown, author of
"William Wallace", ISBN 0752434322
1. Grey wis
the dawnin' ower Rosewell,
When the Englishmen were roosin,
Gay wis Sir Simon Fraser's yell,
"Castail Dhuni" echoed eight
2. Ten thoosan' English, eight thoosan' Scot,
The prior's prayers were spoken,
Ane fiery charge such terror wrought,
That the English lines were broken.
3. But ballad writers stay your pen...
This was no sporting battle,
Sir Simon chased after the fleeing
And cut them down like cattle.
4. The Fraser, the Colmun and St. Clair,
Wer'na men tae slaughter,
But they faced twenty thoosan'
So they derna gie them quarter.
An Farmers tae this verra day,
When they're at the ploo-in',
Still find shinbanes in the clay,
At a place they ca' "The Hewin."
5. Ten thoosan' cam' fae Rosewell Dyke,
Wi' General Randolf leadin',
Again the spears o'ercame the pike,
But mony gude Scots lay bleedin'.
6. Sudden an army cam' up on the fight,
And the Scots were like to flee,
Prior Abernethy begged them tae
But no man heard his plea.
7. Look ower, look ower, on yonder hill,"
Quo' Sir Simon lood and clear,
They blick't and saw the lift gae
Then saw a cross appear.
8. 'Tis gude St. Andrew," cried ae man,
And doon they gaed tae pray,
"Gae to," they heard the gude Sir
"Gae to, we'll win the day."
9. They ca'd the cross hill "Abernethy,"
Where they layed the Prior's banes,
But soon they renamed it "Carnethy,"
Fae a' the pilgrim's stanes.
10. We mind the twa Frasers, o' Colmyn tae,
And o' the true St. Clair,
First tae the fecht, the Graham gay,
Dark Douglas tae wis there.
11. But wha made the cross fae the blasted tree,
That gied the Scots such solace?
Ma freens, ye surely needna ask me,
It was Sir William Wallace
Battle of Roslin
The Memorial was erected by the Roslin Heritage Society
The Battle of Roslin - What Battle?
The Battle of Rosslyn, 1303
Overview of Roslin Battlefield
Battle of Roslin:: OS grid NT2763
:: Geograph British Isles - photograph every grid
Roslin Heritage Society - Projects
Clan Cumming Society of the United