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The History of England from the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
Gaveston, The Ordainers, And Bannockburn
by Tout, T.F. (M.A.)

Edward of Carnarvon was over twenty-three years of age when he became king. Tall, graceful, and handsome, with magnificent health and exceptional bodily strength, the young king was, so far as externals went, almost as fine a man as his father. Yet no one could have been more absolutely destitute of all those qualities which constitute Edward I.'s claims to greatness. An utter want of serious purpose blasted his whole career. It was in vain that his father subjected him to a careful training in statecraft and in military science. Though not lacking in intelligence, the young prince from the first to the last concerned himself with nothing but his own amusements. A confirmed gambler and a deep drinker, Edward showed a special bent for unkingly and frivolous diversions. Save in his devotion for the chase, his tastes had nothing in common with the high-born youths with whom he was educated. He showed himself a coward on the battlefield, and shirked even the mimic warfare of the tournament. He repaid the contempt and dislike of his own class by withdrawing himself from the society of the nobles, and associating himself with buffoons, singers, play-actors, coachmen, ditchers, watermen, sailors, and smiths. Of the befitting comrades of his youth, the only one of the higher aristocracy with whom he had any true intimacy was his nephew, Gilbert of Clare, while the only member of his household for whom he showed real affection was the Gascon knight, Peter of Gaveston.1 Attributing his son's levity to Gaveston's corrupting influence, the old king had banished the foreign favourite early in 1307. But no change in his surroundings could stir up the prince's frivolous nature to fulfil the duties of his station. Edward's most kingly qualities were love of fine clothes and of ceremonies. Passionately fond of rowing, driving, horse-breeding, and the rearing of dogs, his ordinary occupations were those of the athlete or the artisan. He was skilful with his hands, and an excellent mechanic, proficient at the anvil and the forge, and proud of his skill in digging ditches and thatching roofs. Interested in music, and devoted to play-acting, he was badly educated, taking the coronation oath in the French form provided for a king ignorant of Latin. Vain, irritable, and easily moved to outbursts of childish wrath, he was half-conscious of the weakness of his will, and was never without a favourite, whose affection compensated him for his subjects' contempt. The household of so careless a master was disorderly beyond the ordinary measure of the time. While Edward irritated the nobles by his neglect of their counsel, he vexed the commons by the exactions of his purveyors.

1 That is Gabaston, dep. Basses Pyrénées, cant. Morlaas.
The task which lay before Edward might well have daunted a stronger man. The old king had failed in the great purpose of his life. Scotland was in full revolt and had found a man able to guide her destinies. The crown was deeply in debt; the exchequer was bare of supplies, and the revenues both of England and Gascony were farmed by greedy and unpopular companies of Italian bankers, such as the Frescobaldi of Florence, the king's chief creditors. The nobles, though restrained by the will of the old king, still cherished the ideals of the age of the Barons' War, and were convinced that the best way to rule England was to entrust the machinery of the central government, which Edward I. had elaborated with so much care, to the control of a narrow council of earls and prelates. Winchelsea, though broken in health, looked forward in his banishment to the renewal of the alliance of baronage and clergy, and to the reassertion of hierarchical ideals. The papal ,curia, already triumphant in the last days of the reign of the dead king, was anticipating a return to the times of Henry III, when every dignity of the English Church was at its mercy. The strenuous endeavour which had marked the last reign gave place to the extreme of negligence.

Edward at once broke with the policy of his father. After receiving, at Carlisle, the homage of the English magnates, he crossed the Solway to Dumfries, where such Scottish barons as had not joined Robert Bruce took oaths of fealty to him. He soon relinquished the personal conduct of the war, and travelled slowly to Westminster on the pretext of following his father's body to its last resting-place. He replaced his father's ministers by dependants of his own. Bishop Walter Langton, the chief minister of the last years of Edward I., was singled out for special vengeance. He was stripped of his offices, robbed of his treasure, and thrown into close confinement, without any regard to the immunities of a churchman from secular jurisdiction. Langton's place as treasurer was given to Walter Reynolds, an illiterate clerk, who had won the chief place in Edward's household through his skill in theatricals. Ralph Baldock, Bishop of London, was replaced in the chancery by John Langton, Bishop of Chichester. The barons of the exchequer, the justices of the high courts, and the other ministers of the old king were removed in favour of more complacent successors. Signal favour was shown to all who had fallen under Edward I.'s displeasure. Bishop Bek, of Durham, was restored to his palatinate, and the road to return opened to Winchelsea, though ill-health detained him on the Continent for some time longer. Conspicuous among the returned exiles was Peter of Gaveston, whom the king welcomed with the warmest affection. He at once invested his "brother Peter" with the rich earldom of Cornwall, which the old king, with the object of conferring it on one of his sons by his second marriage, had kept in his hands since Earl Edmund's death. A little later Edward married the favourite to his niece, Margaret of Clare, the eldest sister of Earl Gilbert of Gloucester. Of the tried comrades of Edward I. the only one who remained in authority was Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln. The abandonment of the Scottish campaign soon followed. It was no wonder that the Scots lords, who had performed homage to Edward at Dumfries, began to turn to Bruce. Already king of the Scottish commons, Robert was in a fair way to become accepted by the whole people.

The readiness with which the barons acquiesced in Edward's reversal of his father's policy shows that they had regarded the late king's action with little favour. Lincoln, the wisest and most influential of the earls, even found reasons for the grant of Cornwall to Gaveston, and kept in check his son-in-law, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, who was the most disposed to grumble at the elevation of the Gascon favourite. Gilbert of Gloucester was but newly come to his earldom. He was personally attached to the king, his old playmate and uncle, and was not unfriendly to his Gascon brother-in-law. The recent concentration of the great estates in the hands of a few individuals gave these three earls a position of overwhelming importance both in the court and in the country, and with their good-will Edward was safe. But the weakness of the king and the rashness of the favourite soon caused murmurs to arise.

Early in 1308 Edward crossed over to France, leaving Gaveston as regent, and was married on January 25, at Boulogne, to Philip the Fair's daughter Isabella, a child of twelve, to whom he had been plighted since 1298. The marriage was attended by the French king and a great gathering of the magnates of both countries. Opportunity was taken of the meeting for Edward to perform homage for Aquitaine. After the arrival of the royal couple in England, their coronation took place on February 25. Time had been when the reign began with the king's crowning; but Edward had taken up every royal function immediately on his father's death, and set a precedent to later sovereigns by dating his own accession from the day succeeding the decease of his predecessor. The coronation ceremony, minutely recorded, provided precedents for later ages. It was some recognition of the work of the last generation that the coronation oath was somewhat more rigid and involved a more definite recognition of the rights of the community than on earlier occasions. Winchelsea was still abroad, and the hallowing was performed by Henry Woodlock, Bishop of Winchester.

Discontent was already simmering. Not even Lincoln's weighty influence could overcome the irritation of the earls at the elevation of the Gascon knight into their circle. The very virtues of the vigorous favourite turned to his discredit. At a tournament given by him, at his own castle of Wallingford, to celebrate his marriage with the king's niece, the new-made earl, with a party of valiant knights, challenged a troop, which included the Earls of Hereford, Warenne, and Arundel, and utterly discomfited his rivals.1 The victory of the upstart over magnates of such dignity was accounted for by treachery, and the prohibition of a coronation tournament, probably a simple measure of police, was ascribed to the unwillingness of Peter to give his opponents a legitimate opportunity of vindicating their skill. There had been much resentment at Gaveston's appointment as regent during the king's absence in France. A further outburst of indignation followed when the Gascon, magnificently arrayed and bedecked with jewels, bore the crown of St. Edward in the coronation procession. The queen's uncles, who had escorted her to her new home, left England disgusted that Edward's love for Gaveston led him to neglect his bride, and the want of reserve shown in the personal dealings of the king and his "idol" suggested the worst interpretation of their relations, though this is against the weight of evidence. Rumours spread that the favourite had laid hands on the vast treasures which Bishop Walter Langton had deposited at the New Temple, and had extorted from the king even larger sums, which he had sent to his kinsfolk in Gascony by the agency of the Italian farmers of the revenue.

1 Ann. Paulini, p. 258, and Monk of Malmesbury, p. 156, are to be preferred to Trokelowe, p. 65.
Gaveston was a typical Gascon, vain, loquacious, and ostentatious, proud of his own ready wit and possessed of a fatal talent for sharp and bitter sayings. He seems to have been a brave and generous soldier. There is little proof that he was specially vicious or incompetent, and, had he been allowed time to establish himself, he might well have been the parent of a noble house, as patriotic and as narrowly English as the Valence lords of Pembroke had become in the second generation. But his sudden elevation rather turned his head, and the dull but dignified English earls were soon mortally offended by his airs of superiority, and by his intervention between them and the sovereign. "If," wrote the annalist of St. Paul's, London, "one of the earls or magnates sought any special favour of the king, the king forthwith sent him to Peter, and whatever Peter said or ordered at once took place, and the king ratified it. Hence the whole people grew indignant that there should be two kings in one kingdom, one the king in name, the other the king in reality." Gaveston's vanity was touched by the sullen hostility of the earls. He returned their suspicion by an openly expressed contempt. He amused himself and the king by devising nicknames for them. Thomas of Lancaster was the old pig or the play-actor, Aymer of Pembroke was Joseph the Jew, Gilbert of Gloucester was the cuckoo, and Guy of Warwick was the black dog of Arden. Such jests were bitterly resented. "If he call me dog," said Warwick on hearing of the insult, "I will take care to bite him." The barons formed an association, bound by oath to drive Gaveston into exile and deprive him of his earldom. All over the country there were secret meetings and eager preparations for war. The outlook became still more alarming when the Earl of Lincoln at last changed his policy. Convinced of the unworthiness of Gaveston, he turned against him, and the whole baronage followed his lead. Only Hugh Despenser and a few lawyers adhered to the favourite. Gloucester did not like to take an active part against his brother-in-law, but his stepfather, Monthermer, was conspicuous among the enemies of the Gascon. Winchelsea, too, came to England and threw his powerful influence on the side of the opposition.

In April, 1308, a parliament of nobles met and insisted upon the exile of the favourite. The magnates took up a high line. "Homage and the oath of allegiance," they declared, "are due to the crown rather than to the person of the king. If the king behave unreasonably, his lieges are bound to bring him back to the ways of righteousness." On May 18 letters patent were issued promising that Gaveston should be banished before June 25. Gaveston, bending before the storm, surrendered his earldom and prepared for departure, while Winchelsea and the bishops declared him excommunicate if he tarried in England beyond the appointed day. The king did his best to lighten his friend's misfortune. Fresh grants of land and castles compensated for the loss of Cornwall and gave him means for armed resistance. The grant of Gascon counties, jurisdictions, cities and castles to the value of 3,000 marks a year provided him with a dignified refuge. The pope and cardinals were besought to relieve him from the sentence hung over his head by the archbishop. It is significant of Edward's early intention to violate his promise, that in his letters to the curia he still describes Gaveston as Earl of Cornwall. Peter was soon appointed the king's lieutenant in Ireland. This time he was called Earl of Cornwall in a document meant for English use. As midsummer approached, Edward accompanied him to Bristol and bade him a sorrowful farewell. Attended by a numerous and splendid household, Gaveston crossed over to Ireland and took up the government of that country, where his energy and liberality won him considerable popularity.

Edward was inconsolable at the loss of his friend. For the first time in his reign he threw himself into politics with interest, and intrigued with rare perseverance to bring about his recall. Meanwhile the business of the state fell into deplorable confusion. No supplies were raised; no laws were passed; no effort was made to stay the progress of Robert Bruce. The magnates refused to help the king, and in April, 1309, Edward was forced to meet a parliament of the three estates at Westminster. There he received a much-needed supply, but the barons and commons drew up a long schedule of grievances, in which they complained of the abuses of purveyance, the weakness of the government, the tyranny of the royal officials, and the delays in obtaining justice. The estates refused point blank the king's request for the recall of Gaveston and demanded an answer to their petitions in the next parliament.

Edward saw in submission to the estates the only way of bringing back his brother Peter from his gilded exile. He persuaded the pope to annul the ecclesiastical censures with which Winchelsea had sought to prevent Gaveston's return, and then recalled his friend on his own authority. Gaveston at once quitted Ireland and was met at Chester by Edward. Together they attended a parliament of magnates held in July at Stamford. There Edward announced that he accepted the petitions of the estates and issued a statute limiting purveyance. But the real work of this assembly was the ratification of the recall of the favourite, which was assured since Edward had won over some of the chief earls to agree to it. Gloucester was easily moved to champion his brother-in-law's cause. Lincoln reverted to his former friendship for the Gascon, and managed both to overbear the hostility of Lancaster and to induce Earl Warenne, "who had never shown a cheerful face to Peter since the Wallingford tournament," to become his friend. Warwick, alone of the earls, was irreconcilable. But Edward had gained his point. It was even agreed that the returned exile should regain his earldom of Cornwall.

The annalists moralise on the instability of the magnates; and the sudden revolution may perhaps be set down as much to their incapacity as to the dexterity of the king. But Peter's second period of power was even shorter than his first. He had learnt nothing from his misfortunes, save perhaps increased contempt for his enemies. He was more insolent, greedy, and bitter in speech than ever. Early in 1310 the barons were again preparing to renew their attacks. The second storm burst in a parliament of magnates held at London in March, 1310. The barons came to this parliament in military array, and Edward once more found himself at their mercy. The conditions of 1258 exactly repeated themselves. Once more an armed baronial parliament made itself the mouthpiece of the national discontent against a weak king, an incompetent administration, and foreign favourites. The magnates were no longer contented with simply demanding the banishment of Gaveston. They were ready with a constructive programme of reform, and they went back to the policy of the Mad Parliament. As the king could not be trusted, the royal power must once more be put into commission in the hands of a committee of magnates. So stiff were the barons in their adhesion to the precedents of 1258, that they made no pretence of taking the commons into partnership with them. To them the work of Edward I. had been done to no purpose. Baronial assemblies and full parliaments of the estates were still equally competent to transact all the business of the nation. It is vain to see in this ignoring of the commons any aristocratic jealousy of the more popular element in the constitution. There can be no doubt but that any full parliament would have co-operated with the barons as heartily in 1310 as it had done in 1309. It was simply that popular co-operation was regarded as unnecessary. As in 1258, the magnates claimed to speak for the whole nation.

The barons drew up a statement of the "great perils and dangers" to which England was exposed through the king's dependence on bad counsellors. The franchises of Holy Church were threatened; the king was reduced to live by extortion; Scotland was lost; and the crown was "grievously dismembered" in England and Ireland. "Wherefore, sire," the petition concludes, "your good folk pray you humbly that, for the salvation of yourself and them and of the crown, you will assent that these perils shall be avoided and redressed by ordinance of your baronage." Edward at once surrendered at discretion, perhaps in the vain hope of saving Gaveston. On March 16 he issued a charter, which empowered the barons to elect certain persons to draw up ordinances to reform the realm and the royal household. The powers of the committee were to last until Michaelmas, 1311. A barren promise that the king's concession should not be counted a precedent made Edward's submission seem a little less abject. Four days later the ordainers were appointed, the method of their election being based upon the precedents of 1258.

Twenty-one lords ordainers represented in somewhat unequal proportions the three great ranks of the magnates. At the head of the seven bishops was Winchelsea, while both Bishop Baldock of London, the dismissed chancellor, and his successor, John Langton of Chichester, were included among the rest. All the eight earls attending the parliament became ordainers. Side by side with moderate men, such as Gloucester, Lincoln, and John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, were the extreme men of the opposition, Lancaster, Pembroke, Warwick, Hereford, the king's brother-in-law, and Edmund Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel. Warenne and the insignificant Earl of Oxford do not seem to have been present in parliament, and are therefore omitted. With these exceptions, and of course that of the Earl of Cornwall, the whole of the earls were arrayed against the king. The six barons, who completed the list of nominees, were either colourless in their policy or dependent on the earls and their episcopal allies. The ordainers set to work at once. Two days after their appointment, they issued six preliminary ordinances by which they resolved that the place of their sitting should be London, that none of the ordainers should receive gifts from the crown, that no royal grants should be valid without the consent of the majority, that the customs should be paid directly into the exchequer, that the foreign merchants who had lately farmed them should be arrested, and that the Great Charter should be firmly kept. During the next eighteen months they remained hard at work.

Gaveston, conscious of his impending doom, betook himself to the north as early as February. As soon as he could escape, Edward hurried northwards to join him. An expedition against the Scots was then summoned for September. It was high time that something should be done. During the three years that Edward had reigned, Robert Bruce had made alarming progress. One after the other the Scottish magnates had joined his cause, and a few despairing partisans and some scattered ill-garrisoned, ill-equipped strongholds alone upheld the English cause north of the Tweed. But even then Edward did not wage war in earnest. His real motive for affecting zeal for martial enterprise was his desire to escape from his taskmasters, and to keep Gaveston out of harm's way. The earls gave him no encouragement. On the pretext that their services were required in London at the meetings of the ordainers, the great majority of the higher baronage took no personal part in the expedition. Gloucester was the only ordainer who was present, and the only other earls in the host were Warenne and Gaveston himself. The chief strength of Edwards army was a swarm of ill-disciplined Welsh and English infantry, more intent on plunder than on victory. In September Edward advanced to Roxburgh and made his way as far as Linlithgow. No enemy was to be found, for Bruce was not strong enough to risk a pitched battle, even against Edward's army. He hid himself in the mountains and moors, and contented himself with cutting off foraging parties, destroying stragglers, and breaking down the enemy's communications. Within two months Edward discreetly retired to Berwick, and there passed many months at the border town. Technically he was in Scotland; practically he might as well have been in London for all the harm he was doing to Bruce. However, Gaveston showed more martial zeal than his master. He led an expedition which penetrated as far as Perth, and reduced the country between the Forth and the Grampians to Edward's obedience. Gloucester also pacified the forest of Ettrick. To these two all the little honour of the campaign belonged.

The Earl of Lincoln governed England as regent during the king's absence. In February, 1311, he died, and Gloucester abandoned the campaign to take up the regency. The death of the last of Edward I.'s lay ministers was followed in March by that of another survivor of the old generation, Bishop Bek of Durham. The old landmarks were quickly passing away, and the forces that still made for moderation were sensibly diminished. Gilbert of Gloucester, alone of the younger generation, still aspired to the position of a mediator. The most important result of Lincoln's death was the unmuzzling of his son-in-law, Thomas of Lancaster. In his own right the lord of the three earldoms of Lancaster, Leicester, and Derby, Thomas then received in addition his father-in-law's two earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury. The enormous estates and innumerable jurisdictions attached to these five offices gave him a territorial position greater by far than that of any other English lord. "I do not believe," writes the monk of Malmesbury, "that any duke or count of the Roman empire could do as much with the revenues of his estates as the Earl of Lancaster." Nor were Earl Thomas' personal connexions less magnificent than his feudal dignities. As a grandson of Henry III., he was the first cousin of the king. Through his mother, Blanche of Artois, Queen of Navarre and Countess of Champagne, he was the grandson of the valiant Robert of Artois, who had fallen at Mansura, and the great-grandson of Louis VIII. of France. His half-sister, Joan of Champagne, was the wife of Philip the Fair, so that the French king was his brother-in-law as well as his cousin, and Isabella, Edward's consort, was his niece. Unluckily, the personality of the great earl was not equal to his pedigree or his estates. Proud, hard to work with, jealous, and irascible, he was essentially the leader of opposition, the grumbler, and the frondeur. When the time came for a constructive policy, Thomas broke down almost as signally as Edward himself. His ability was limited, his power of application small, and his passions violent and ungovernable. Greedy, selfish, domineering, and narrow, he had few scruples and no foresight, little patriotism, and no breadth of view. At this moment he had to play a part which was within his powers. The simple continuance of the traditions of policy, which he inherited with his pedigree and his estates; was all that was necessary. As the greatest of the English earls, the head of a younger branch of the royal house, and the inheritor of the estates and titles of Montfort and Ferrars, he was trebly bound to act as leader of the baronial opposition, the champion of the charters, the enemy of kings, courtiers, favourites, and foreigners. He was steadfast in his prejudices and hatreds, and the ordainers found in him a leader who could at least save them from the reproach of inconstancy and the lack of fixed purpose shown at the parliament of Stamford.

It was the first duty of Earl Thomas to perform homage and fealty for his new earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury. Attended by a hundred armed knights, he rode towards the border. Edward was at Berwick, and Thomas declined to proffer his homage outside the kingdom. On Edward refusing to cross the Tweed, Thomas declared that he would take forcible possession of his lands. Civil war was only avoided by Edward giving way. The king met Thomas on English soil at Haggerston, four miles from Berwick. There the earl performed homage, and exchanged the kiss of peace with his king, but he would not even salute the upstart Earl of Cornwall, who injudiciously accompanied Edward, and the king departed deeply indignant at this want of courtesy. Returning to Berwick, Edward lingered there until the completion of the work of the ordainers made it necessary for him to face parliament. Leaving Gaveston protected by the strong walls of Bamburgh, the king quitted the border at the end of July, and met his parliament a month later in London. Though the ordainers had been appointed by a baronial parliament, the three estates were summoned to hear and ratify the results of their labours. Thirty-five more ordinances, covering a very wide field, were then laid before them. Disorderly and disproportioned, like most medieval legislation, they ranged from trivial personal questions and the details of administration to the broadest schemes for the future. Many of them were simply efforts to get the recognised law enforced. There were clauses forbidding alienation of domain, the abuses of purveyance, the usurpations of the courts of the royal household, the enlargement of the forests, and the employment of unlawful sources of revenue. Under the last head, the new custom, which Edward I. had persuaded the foreign merchants to pay, was specifically abolished. Provisions of such a character show that the king had made no effort to observe either the Great Charter or the laws of Edward I. Even the recent statute of Stamford, and the six ordinances of the previous year, had to be re-enacted. Similar restatements of sound principles were too common in the fourteenth century to make the ordinances an epoch. The vital clauses were those providing for the control of the king and for penalties against his favourites.

Under the first of these heads, the ordainers worked out to the uttermost consequences their favourite distinction between the crown and the king. The crown was to be strengthened, but the king was to be deprived of every shred of power. The great offices of state in England, Ireland, and Gascony were to be filled up with the counsel and consent of the barons, a provision which, if literally interpreted, meant that the barons intended to govern Gascony as well as England. The king was not to go to war, raise an army, or leave the kingdom without the permission of parliament. He was to "live of his own," however scanty a living that might be. Special judges were to hear complaints against royal ministers and bailiffs. Parliaments were to meet once or twice a year. It was a complete programme of limited monarchy. But there was no reference to the commons and clergy. We are still in the atmosphere of the Provisions of Oxford, and there is no Earl Simon to emphasise the fuller conception of national control.

To Edward and to the barons, the penal clauses were the very essence of the ordinances. The twentieth ordinance declared that Peter of Gaveston, "as a public enemy of the king and kingdom, be forthwith exiled, for all time and without hope of return," from all dominions subject to the English king. He was to leave England before All Saints' day, and the port of Dover was to be his place of embarkation. Other ordinances dealt with lesser offenders. Exile was once more to be the doom of the Frescobaldi, and the other alien merchants who had acted as Edward's financial agents; Gaveston's kinsfolk, followers and abettors incurred their master's fate. All Gascons were to be sent to their own country, their allegiance to the crown in no wise saving them from the hatred meted out to all aliens. Neither high nor low were spared: Henry de Beaumont, the grandson of an Eastern emperor, and his sister, the lady Vesey, were to leave the realm; John Charlton, the pushing Shropshire squire who was worming his way by court favour into the estates of the degenerate descendants of the house of Gwenwynwyn, was, with the other English partisans of the favourite, to be driven from the royal service.

Edward made a last desperate attempt to save Gaveston. He would agree to all the other ordinances, if he were still allowed to keep his brother Peter in England and in possession of the earldom of Cornwall. But the estates refused to yield the root of the whole matter. Threatened with the prospect of a new battle of Lewes, if he remained obdurate, Edward bowed to his destiny. The ordinances were published in every shire, and new ministers, chosen with the approval of the estates, deprived the king of the government of the country.

Early in November, Gaveston sailed to Flanders, but within a few weeks Edward insisted upon his return. Rumours spread that Gaveston was in England, hiding himself away in his former castles of Wallingford and Tintagel, or in the king's castle of Windsor. The thin veil of mystery was soon withdrawn. Early in 1312, Peter openly accompanied the king to York, where, on January 18, Edward issued a proclamation to the effect that Gaveston had been unlawfully exiled, that he was back in England by the king's command, and prepared to answer to all charges against him. A few weeks later, Edward restored him to his earldom and estates. King and favourite still tarried in the north, preparing for the inevitable struggle. It was believed that they intrigued with Robert Bruce for a refuge in Scotland. Bruce, according to the story, declined to have anything to do with them. "If the King of England will not keep faith with his own subjects," he is reported to have said, "how then will he keep faith with me?"

The ordainers looked upon Gaveston's return as a declaration of war. Winchelsea pronounced him excommunicate, and five of the eight earls who sat among the ordainers, bound themselves by oaths to maintain the ordinances and pursue the favourite to the death. These were Thomas of Lancaster, Aymer of Pembroke, Humphrey of Hereford, Edmund of Arundel, and Guy of Warwick. Gilbert of Gloucester declined to take part in the confederacy, but promised to accept whatever the five earls might determine. Moreover, John, Earl Warenne, who had hitherto kept aloof from the ordainers, at last threw in his lot with them, won over, it was believed, by the eloquence of Archbishop Winchelsea. The ordainers then divided England into large districts, appointing one of the baronial leaders to the charge of each. Gloucester himself undertook the government of the south-east, while Robert Clifford and Henry Percy agreed to guard the march, to prevent Gaveston escaping to the Scots. Pembroke and Warenne marched to the north to lay hands on the favourite, and Lancaster himself followed them.

While the ordainers were acting, Edward and Gaveston were aimlessly wandering about in the north. They failed to raise an army or to win the people to their side, and on the approach of Lancaster, they fled before him from York to Newcastle. The earl followed quickly. On the afternoon of Ascension day, May 4, Lancaster, Clifford, and Percy suddenly swooped down on Newcastle. The king and his friend escaped with the utmost difficulty to Tynemouth, leaving their luggage, jewels, horses, and other possessions to the victor. Next day they fled by sea to Scarborough. The queen, left behind at Tynemouth, fell into her uncle Lancaster's power.

The royal castle of Scarborough, whose Norman keep and spacious wards occupy a rocky peninsula surrounded, except on the town side, by the North Sea, had lately been transferred from the custody of Henry Percy, one of the confederate barons, to that of Gaveston. There was no fitter place wherein the favourite could stand at bay against his pursuers. Accordingly Edward left Gaveston, after a tender parting, and betook himself to York. Lancaster thereupon occupied a position midway between Scarborough and Knaresborough, while Pembroke, Warenne, and Henry Percy laid siege to Scarborough. Gaveston soon found that he was unable to resist them. His troops, scarcely adequate to man the extensive walls, were too many for the scanty store of provisions which the castle contained. After less than a fortnight's siege, he persuaded the two earls and Percy to allow him easy terms of surrender. The three baronial leaders pledged themselves on the Gospels to protect Gaveston from all manner of evil until August 1. During the interval parliament was to decide as to what was to be his future fate. If the terms agreed upon by parliament were unsatisfactory to him, he was to return to Scarborough, which was still to be garrisoned by his followers, with leave to purchase supplies.

Pembroke undertook the personal custody of the prisoner, and escorted him by slow stages from Scarborough to the south, where he was to be retained in honourable custody at his own castle of Wallingford. Three weeks after the surrender, the convoy reached Deddington, a small town in Oxfordshire, a few miles south of Banbury. There Gaveston was lodged in the house of the vicar of the parish, and told to take a few days' rest after the fatigues of the journey. Pembroke himself did not remain at Deddington, but went on to Bampton in the Bush, where his countess then was. Thereupon on June 10, at sunrise, the Earl of Warwick, the most rancorous of Peter's enemies, occupied Deddington with a strong force. Bursting into the bedchamber of his victim, Earl Guy exclaimed in a loud voice: "Arise, traitor, thou art taken". Peter was at once led with every mark of indignity to Warwick castle. Thus the black dog of Arden showed that he could bite.

Warwick was not personally pledged to Gaveston's safety, though, as one of the confederates, he was clearly bound by their acts. His seizure of Peter was only warrantable by the, fear that Pembroke, with his royalist leanings, was likely to play the extreme party false; but in any case Warwick was as much obliged as Pembroke to observe the terms of the capitulation. Neither Warwick nor his allies took this view of the matter. They rejoiced at the good fortune which had remedied the disastrous capitulation of Scarborough, and resolved to put an end to the favourite without delay. Lancaster was then at Kenilworth; Hereford, Arundel, and other magnates were also present, and all agreed in praising Warwick's energy. On Monday morning, June 19, the three earls rode the few miles from Kenilworth to Warwick, and Earl Guy handed over Peter to them. They then escorted their captive to a place called Blacklow hill, about two miles out of Warwick on the Kenilworth road, but situated in Lancaster's lands. The crowd following the cavalcade was moved to tears when Peter, kneeling to Lancaster, cried in vain for mercy from the "gentle earl". On reaching Blacklow hill, the three earls withdrew, though remaining near enough to see what was going on. Then two Welshmen in Lancaster's service laid hands upon the victim. One drove his sword through his body, the other cut off his head. The corpse remained where it had fallen, but the head was brought to the earls as a sign that the deed was done. After this the earls rode back to Kenilworth. Guy of Warwick remained all the time in his castle. He had already taken his share in the cruel act of treachery. It was, however, important that Lancaster should take the responsibility for the deed. Four cobblers of Warwick piously bore the headless corpse within their town. But the grim earl sent it back, because it was not found on his fee. At last some Oxford Dominicans took charge of the body and deposited it temporarily in their convent, not daring to inter it in holy ground, as Gaveston had died excommunicate.

The ostentatious violence of the confederate earls broke up their party. Aymer of Pembroke, indignant at their breach of faith, regarded the whole transaction as a stain on his honour. He besought Gloucester's intervention, but was only told that he should be more cautious in his future negotiations. He harangued the clerks and burgesses of Oxford, but university and town agreed that the matter was no business of theirs. Then in disgust he betook himself to the king, whom he found still surrounded with the Beaumonts, Mauleys, and other friends of Gaveston, against whom the ordinances had decreed banishment. Warenne, whose honour was only less impeached than Pembroke's, also deserted the ordainers for the court. Edward bitterly deplored the death of his friend. He gladly welcomed the deserters, and prepared to wreak vengeance on the ordainers.

Edward plucked up courage to return to London, where in July he addressed the citizens, and persuaded them to maintain the peace of the city against the barons. He next visited Dover, and there he strengthened the fortifications of the castle, took oaths of fealty from the Cinque Ports, and negotiated with the King of France. Thence he returned to London, hoping that the precautions he had taken would secure his position in the parliament which he had summoned to meet at Westminster. But the four earls still held the field, and answered the summons to parliament by occupying Ware with a strong military force. A thousand men-at-arms were drawn by Lancaster from his five earldoms, while the Welsh from Brecon, who followed the Earl of Hereford, and the vigorous foresters of Arden, who mustered under the banner of Warwick, made a formidable show. Yet at the last moment neither side was eager to begin hostilities. The four earls' violence damaged their cause, and many who had no love of Gaveston, or desire to avenge him, inclined to the king's party. Gilbert of Gloucester busied himself with mediating between the two sides. At this juncture two papal envoys, sent to end the interminable outstanding disputes with France, arrived in England, along with Louis, Count of Évreux, the queen's uncle. Edward availed himself of the presence of French jurists in the count's train to obtain legal opinion that the ordinances were invalid, as against natural equity and civil law. These technicalities did little service to the king's cause, and better work was done when Louis and the papal envoys joined with Gloucester in mediating between the opposing forces. At length moderate counsels prevailed. Edward could only resist the four earls through the support of his new allies, and Pembroke and Warenne were as little anxious to fight as Gloucester himself. They were quite willing to make terms which seemed to the king treason to his friend's memory.

The negotiations were still proceeding when, on November 13, 1312, the birth of a son to Edward and Isabella revived the almost dormant feeling of loyalty to the sovereign. The king ceased to brood over the loss of his brother Peter, and became more willing to accept the inevitable. He gave some pleasure to his subjects by refusing the suggestion of the queen's uncle that the child should be called Louis, and christened him Edward after his own father. At last, on December 22, terms of peace were agreed upon. The earls and barons concerned in Gaveston's death were to appear before the king in Westminster Hall, and humbly beg his pardon and good-will. In return for this the king agreed to remit all rancour caused by the death of the favourite. Lancaster and Warwick, who took no personal part in the negotiations, sent in a long list of objections to the details of the treaty. Nearly a year elapsed before the earls personally acknowledged their fault. During that interval there was no improvement in the position of affairs. Parliament granted no money; and Edward only met his daily expenses by loans, contracted from every quarter, and by keeping tight hands on the confiscated estates of the Templars. Both the king and the leading earls made every excuse to escape attending the ineffective parliaments of that miserable time. Two short visits to France gave Edward a pretext for avoiding his subjects. There were some hasty musterings of armed men on pretence of tournaments. But the king was still formidable enough to make it desirable for the barons to carry out the treaty. Finally, in October, 1313, Lancaster, Hereford, and Warwick made their public submission in Westminster Hall. Pardons were at once issued to them and to over four hundred minor offenders. Feasts of reconciliation were held, and it seemed as if the old feuds were at last ended. Gaveston's corpse was removed from Oxford to Langley, in Hertfordshire, and buried in the church of a new convent of Dominicans set up by Edward to pray for the favourite's soul.

Just before the end of the disputes Archbishop Winchelsea died in May, 1313. He left behind him the reputation of a saint and a hero, and a movement was undertaken for his canonisation. With all his faults, he was the greatest churchman of his time, and the most steadfast and unselfish of ecclesiastical statesmen. Despite his palsy, he had shown wonderful activity since his return. The brain and soul of the ordainers, he equally made it his business to uphold extreme hierarchical privilege. Bitterly as he hated Walter Langton, he was indignant that a bishop should be imprisoned and despoiled by the lay power, and took up his cause with such energy that he effected his liberation, only to find that Langton made peace with the king and turned his back on the ordainers. The after-swell of the storms, excited by the petition of Lincoln and the statute of Carlisle, still continued troublous during Winchelsea's later years. The pope complained of the violated privileges of the Church and of the accumulated arrears of King John's tribute; and Winchelsea was anxious to promote the papal cause. But the barons in Edward's early parliaments still used the bold language of the magnates of 1301, and the letter of 1309, drawn up by the parliament of Stamford, is no unworthy pendant of the Lincoln letter. As time went on, the disorders of the government and the weakness of the king surrendered everything to the pope. It was soon as it had been in the days of Henry III., when pope and king combined to despoil the English Church.

The suppression of the order of the Temple shows how absolutely England was forced to follow in the wake of the papacy and the King of France. There was no spontaneous movement against the society as in France; there was not even the fierce malice and insatiable greed which could find their only satisfaction in the ruin of the brethren; and there is not much evidence that the Templars were unpopular. The whole attack was the result of commands given from without. It was at the repeated request of Philip of France and Clement V. that Edward reluctantly ordered the apprehension of all the Templars within England, Scotland, and Ireland on January 8, 1308. Their property was taken into the king's hands, and their persons were confined in the royal prisons under the custody of the sheriffs. For their trial, Clement appointed a mixed commission including Winchelsea, Archbishop Greenfield of York, several English bishops, one French bishop, and certain papal inquisitors specially assigned for the purpose, the chief of whom were the Abbot of Lagny and Sicard de Lavaur, Canon of Narbonne, who came to England in 1309. At last the victims were collected at London and York, where the trials were to be conducted for the southern and northern provinces. There was much hesitation among the English bishops. The foes of the Templars lamented the prelates' lack of zeal and their scruples in collecting evidence, and suggested that the torture, which had so freely been used in France, would soon extract confessions. But the northern bishops declared that torture was unknown in England, and asked, if it were to be adopted, whether it was to be applied by clerks or laymen, and whether torturers should be imported from beyond sea. In the end, torture was used, but not to any great extent.

A great mass of depositions, mostly vague and worthless, or derived from the suspicious confessions of apostates and weaklings, was gathered together, and in 1311 laid before provincial councils, but neither province came to any fixed decision. "Inasmuch," says Hemingburgh, "as the Templars were not found altogether guilty or altogether innocent, they referred the dubious matter to the pope." They sent the evidence they had collected to swell the mass of testimony from all Christendom, which was laid before the council of Vienne. When the pope suppressed the order in April, 1312, and transferred its lands to the Knights of St. John, the papal decrees were quietly carried out in England. One or two Templars died in prison, but none were executed; and the majority were dismissed with pensions or secluded in monasteries. Edward and his nobles took good care to make a large profit out of the transaction. The resources of the Temple alone kept the king from destitution during the period between the death of Gaveston and his reconciliation with the earls. Many barons laid violent hands on estates belonging to the order, and long held on to them despite papal expostulation. The Hospitallers found that the lands of their rivals came to them so slowly, and encumbered with so many charges, that their new property became burdensome rather than helpful to their society. Thus it was that they never made any use of the New Temple in London, and, before long, let it out to the common-lawyers. In the fall of the Templars, the pope and the Church set the first great example of the suppression of a religious order to kings, who before long bettered the precedent given them. The sordid story is mainly important to our history as an example of the completeness of the influence of the papal autocracy, and of the submissiveness of clergy and laity to its behests. It was a lurid commentary on the practical working of the ecclesiastical system that the business of condemning an innocent order first brought into England the papal inquisitor and the use of torture. Yet the whole process was but so pale a reflection of the horrors wrought in France that the conclusion arises that England owed more to the weakness of Edward II than France to the strength of Philip IV.

Winchelsea's death removed a real check on Edward, especially as the king was on such good terms with the papacy that he had little difficulty in obtaining a successor amenable to his will. Undeterred by Clement's bull reserving to himself the appointment, the monks of Christ Church at once proceeded to elect Thomas of Cobham, a theologian and a canonist of distinction, a man of high birth, great sanctity, and unblemished character, and in every way worthy of the primacy. But his merits did not weigh for a moment with Clement against the wishes of the king. He rejected Cobham and conferred the primacy on Edwards favourite, Walter Reynolds, who had already obtained the bishopric of Worcester through the king's influence. A good deal of money, it was believed, found its way to the coffers of the curia; and the indignation of the English Church found voice in the impassioned protests of the chroniclers. "Lady Money rules everything in the pope's court," lamented the monk of Malmesbury. "For eight years Pope Clement has ruled the Universal Church: but what good he has done escapes memory. England, alone of all countries, feels the burden of papal domination. Out of the fulness of his power, the pope presumes to do many things, and neither prince nor people dare contradict him. He reserves all the fat benefices for himself, and excommunicates all who resist him: his legates come and spoil the land: those armed with his bulls come and demand prebends. He has given all the deaneries to foreigners, and cut down the number of resident canons. Why does the pope exercise greater power over the clergy than the emperor over the laity? Lord Jesus! either take away the pope from our midst or lessen the power which he presumes to have over the people." Such lamentations bore no fruit, and the simoniacal nomination of Reynolds was but the first of a series of appointments which robbed the episcopate of dignity and moral worth.

While Church and State in England were thus distressed, the cause of Robert Bruce was making steady progress in Scotland. It is some measure of the difficulties against which Bruce had to contend that, after six years, he was still by no means master of all that land. But least of all among the causes which retarded his advance can be placed the armed forces of England. During six years Edward II.'s one personal expedition had been a complete failure. A more formidable obstacle in Bruce's way was the stubborn resistance offered to him by the valour and skill of the small but highly trained garrisons which the wisdom of Edward I. had established in the fortresses of southern and central Scotland. Each castle took a long time to subdue, and demanded engineering resources and a persistency of effort, which were difficult to obtain from a popular army. The garrisons co-operated with the Scottish nobles who still adhered to Edward through jealousy of the upstart Bruces and love of feudal independence, rather than by reason of any sympathy with the English cause. Additional obstacles to Robert's progress were the hostility of the Church, to which he was still the excommunicated murderer of Comyn; the captivity of so many Scottish prelates and barons in England; the efforts of the pope and the King of France to bring about suspensions of hostilities, and the grievous famines which desolated Scotland no less than southern Britain. But during these years the King of Scots gradually overcame these difficulties. His hardest fighting in the field was with rival Scots rather than with the English intruders. In 1308 he defeated the Comyns of Buchan, and established himself on the ruins of that house in the north-east. In the same year his brother, Edward Bruce, conquered Galloway, where the Balliol tradition long prevented the domination of the rival family.

Secure from retaliation so long as domestic troubles lasted, the Scots devastated the northern counties of England, whose inhabitants were forced to purchase relief from further attacks by paying large sums of money to the invaders. Formal truces were more than once made, but they were ill observed, and each violation of an armistice involved some loss to Edward and some gain to Robert. Meanwhile the garrisons were carefully isolated, and one by one signalled out for attack. In 1312 Berwick itself was only saved from surprise by the opportune barking of a dog. In January, 1313, Perth was captured by assault. Next day Robert slew the leading native burgesses who had adhered to the English, while he permitted the English inhabitants to return freely to their own country. The whole town was destroyed, since walled towns, like castles, had given the English their chief hold upon the country.

Such was the state of Scotland when the reconciliation between Edward and the earls restored England to the appearance of unity. As if conscious that no time was to be lost in strengthening his position, Bruce redoubled his efforts to make himself master of the fortresses which still remained in the enemy's hands. Regardless of the rigour of the season, he set actively to work in the early weeks of 1314, and remarkable success attended his efforts. In February, the border stronghold of Roxburgh was taken by a night attack. "And all that fair castle, like the other castles which he had acquired, they pulled down to the ground, lest the English should afterwards by holding the castle bear rule over the land."1 In March, Edinburgh castle was secured by some Scots who climbed up the precipitous northern face of the castle rock, overpowered the garrison, and opened the gates to their comrades outside. Flushed with this great success, Bruce began the siege of Stirling, the only important English garrison then held by the English in the heart of Scotland. He pressed the besieged so hard that they agreed to surrender to the enemy, if they were not relieved before Midsummer day, the feast of St. John the Baptist. While Robert was watching Stirling, his brother Edward devastated the country round Carlisle, lording it for three days at the bishop's castle of Rose, and levying heavy blackmail on the men of Cumberland.

1 Lanercost Chronicle, p. 223.
If Stirling were lost, all Scotland would be at Bruce's mercy. Even Edward was stirred by the disgrace involved in the utter abandonment of his father's conquest; and from March onwards he began to make spasmodic efforts to collect men and ships to enable him to advance to the relief of the beleaguered garrison. At first it seemed sufficient to raise the feudal levies and a small infantry force from the northern shires, but as time went on the necessity of meeting the Scottish pikemen by corresponding levies of foot soldiers became evident, and over 20,000 infantry were summoned from the northern counties and Wales.1 But the notice given was far too short, and June was well advanced before anything was ready.

1 For the numbers at Bannockburn, see Foedera, ii., 248, and Round, Commune of London, pp. 289-301.
Even the Scottish peril could not quicken the sluggish patriotism of the ordainers. Four earls, Lancaster, Warenne, Warwick, and Arundel, answered Edward's summons by reminding him that the ordinances prescribed that war should only be undertaken with the approval of parliament, and by declining to follow him to a campaign undertaken on his own responsibility. They would send quotas, but begged to be excused from personal attendance. Yet even without them, a gallant array slowly gathered together at Berwick, and one at least of the opposition earls, Humphrey of Hereford, was there, with Gilbert of Gloucester and Aymer of Pembroke and 2,000 men-at-arms. An enormous baggage train enabled the knights and barons to appear in the field in great magnificence, though it destroyed the mobility of the force. "The multitude of waggons," wrote the monk of Malmesbury, "if they had been extended in a single line would have occupied the space of twenty leagues." The splendour and number of the army inspired the king and his friends with the utmost confidence. Though the host started from Berwick less than a week before the appointed day, the king moved, says the Malmesbury monk, not as if he were about to lead an army to battle, but rather as if he were going on a pilgrimage to Compostella. "There was but short delay for sleep, and a shorter delay for taking food. Hence horses, horsemen, and infantry were worn out with fatigue and hunger." There was no order or method in the proceedings of the host. The presence of the king meant that there was no effective general, and Hereford and Gloucester quarrelled for the second place.

It was not until Sunday, June 23, that Edward at last took up his quarters a few miles south of Stirling, with a worn-out and dispirited army. Yet, if Stirling were to be saved, immediate action was necessary. Gloucester and Hereford made a vigorous but unsuccessful effort to penetrate at once into the castle, and Bruce came down just in time to throw himself between them and the walls. Henry Bohun, who had forced his way forward at the head of a force of Welsh infantry, was slain, and his troops dispersed. Gloucester was unhorsed, and thereupon the English retreated to their camp. Fearing an attack under cover of darkness, they had little sleep that night, and many of the watchers consoled themselves with revelry and drunkenness. When St. John's day dawned, they were too weary to fight effectively. Bruce advanced from the woods and stationed his troops on the low ridge bounding the northern slope of the little brook, called the Bannockburn, which runs about two miles south of Stirling on its course towards the Forth. Of the three divisions, or battles, into which the Scots were divided, two stood on the same front, side by side, while King Robert commanded the rear battle, which was to serve as a reserve. He marshalled his forces much in the same way that Wallace had adopted at Falkirk. There was the same close array of infantry, protected by a wall of shields and a thick hedge of pikes. Each man wore light but adequate armour, and, besides the pike, bore an axe at his side for work at close quarters. Pits were dug before the Scots lines, and covered over with hurdles so light that they would not bear the weight of a mail-clad warrior and his horse. Save for a small cavalry force kept in reserve in the rear, the men-at-arms were ordered to dismount and take their place in the dense array, lest, like their comrades at Falkirk, they should ride off in alarm when they saw the preponderance of the enemy's horse. The Scots were less numerous than the English, but they were an army and not a mob; their commander was a man of rare military insight, and their tactics were those which, twelve years before, had defeated the chivalry of France at Courtrai.

The English had feared that the Scots would not fight a pitched battle, and were astonished to see them at daybreak prepared to receive an attack. Their contempt for their enemy made them eager to accept the challenge, but Gloucester, who, though only twenty-three, had more of the soldier's eye than most of the magnates, urged Edward to postpone the encounter for a day, that the army might recover from its fatigue, and the clergy advised delay out of respect to St. John the Baptist. Unmoved by prudence or piety, Edward denounced his nephew as a coward, and ordered an immediate advance.

The English, forgetting the lessons of the Welsh wars, sent on the archers in front of the cavalry. Bruce, seeing that their missiles were playing havoc on his dense ranks, directed his small cavalry force to charge the archers on their left flank. The unsupported bowmen at once fell back in confusion, leaving the cavalry to do its work. Meanwhile the English men-at-arms were advancing in three "battles," the first of which then came into action. Many of the English fell into the pits prepared for them, and the Scottish shields and pikes broke the attack of those who evaded these obstacles. Gloucester fought with rare gallantry, but was badly seconded by his followers. At last his horse was slain under him, and he was knocked down and killed. The troop which he led fled panic-stricken from the field. The Scots then advanced with such vigour that the English never recovered from the disorder into which their first disaster had thrown them. While these things were going on, the second and third English "battles" had been making feeble efforts to take their part in the fight. But the first line cut them off from direct access to the foe, and the archers of the second battle did more harm to their friends than to their enemies by shooting wildly, straight in front of them. There was no single directing force, nor, after Gloucester's fall, even one conspicuous leader who would set an example of blind valour. Hundreds of English knights, who had not drawn their swords, were soon fleeing in terror before the enemy. Edward, who had taken up his station in the rear battle, rode off the field and never dismounted until he reached Dunbar, whence he fled by sea to Berwick.

Abandoned by their leaders, the English retreated as best they could. Many of their best knights lay dead on the field, and more were drowned in the Forth or Bannock, or swallowed up in the bogs, than were slain in the fight. The Scots, whose losses were slight, showed a prudent tendency to capture rather than slay the knights and barons, in order that they might hold them up to ransom, and though many desisted from the pursuit to plunder the baggage train, those who followed the English fugitives reaped an abundant harvest of captives. Hereford was chased into Bothwell castle, which was still held for the English. But next day the Scottish official who commanded there for Edward opened the gates to Bruce, and the earl became a prisoner. Pembroke escaped with difficulty on foot, along with a contingent of Welsh infantry. The mighty English army had ceased to exist; and with the surrender of Stirling, next day, Bruce's career attained its culminating point. His long years of trial were at last over, and the clever adventurer could henceforth enjoy in security the crown which he had so gallantly won.

The military results of Bannockburn were of extreme importance. The ablest of contemporary annalists aptly compared Bruce's victory to the battle of Courtrai. An even nearer analogy was the fight at Morgarten where, within two years, the pikemen of the Forest Cantons were to scatter the chivalry of the Hapsburgers as effectively as the Flemings won the day at Courtrai or the Scots at Bannockburn. The English had forgotten the military lessons of Edward I., as completely as they had forgotten his political lessons, and their reliance on the obsolete and unsupported cavalry charge was their undoing. Bruce, on the other hand, had improved upon the teaching of Wallace and Edward I. His use of his men-at-arms on foot anticipates the English tactics of the Hundred Years' War. The presence of these heavily armed troopers in his ranks gave him a strength in defence, and an impetuosity in attack, which made it a simple matter to break up the undisciplined squadrons opposed to him. Bannockburn rang the death-knell of the tactics which since Hastings had been regarded as the perfection of military art. The political lessons of the victory were of not less importance. It is almost too much to say that Bannockburn won for Scotland its independence, for Scottish independence had already been vindicated. But the easy victory brought home to men's minds the full measure of the Scottish triumph. It was already clear that so long as Edward lived, England would never make the continued effort which, as Edward I.'s wars both in Wales and Scotland had shown, could alone systematically conquer a nation. Bruce's difficulties were not so much with the English as with the Scots. It was no small task to unite the English of the Lothians, the Welsh of the south-west, the Norsemen of the extreme north, and the Celts of the hills into a single Scottish nation. He had against him the separatist local feeling which Scottish history and ethnology made inevitable, and it took time for him to obtain that prestige, which should hedge a king, and raise him above the crowd of feudal earls and clan chieftains, who thought themselves as good as the sometime Earl of Carrick. Such dignity and distinction Bannockburn supplied, and such measure of national unity and strong monarchical authority as Scotland ever enjoyed, came from the triumph of him who became, even more than Wallace, the hero of the new nation. For the next few years the Scots took the aggressive. They induced the French kings to renew the alliance which Philip IV. had made with them in the early years of the contest. They obtained papal recognition for their king and the withdrawal of the ban of the Church on Comyn's murderer; they plundered northern England from end to end, and broke down Anglo-Norman rule in Ireland; they plotted for the resurrection of the Welsh principality; and, worse than all, they made common cause with the baronial opposition. Hence it followed that the political results of the victory were as important to England as they were to Scotland itself. The troubled history of the next eight years reveals in detail the effects of Bannockburn on England. Edward's defeat threw him into the power of the ordainers. The ordainers, when called upon to govern, showed themselves as incapable as ever Edward or his favourites had been. The results were misrule, aristocratic faction, popular distress, and mob violence. Ineffective as are the first seven years of the reign of Edward of Carnarvon, the eight years which followed Bruce's victory plunged England deeper into the pit of degradation, from which neither the king nor the king's foes were strong, wise, or honest enough to release her.


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