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Roslin's Battle part one
Under the threat of English invasion, the people of Scotland have learned
how to turn adversity to advantage. When 'The Hammer of the Scots' began to
beat against the Anvil of Scottish Freedom at the Battle of Roslin, Scottish
independence began a gestation that ended momentarily with the Battle of
Bannockburn and the Declaration of Arbroath. "Oh for Scotland's king and law
freedom's sword will strongly draw. Freeman stand or freeman fall let him
It is not over yet!
The battle of Roslin involved a gorgeous woman and a Sinclair. What a
cocktail! On 24 February 1303. 8,000 Scots faced an English army 30,000
strong and the dying embers of Scottish patriotism burst into vibrant flame
when John Comyn, a guardian of Scotland, routed the English at the Battle of
Edward I, also known as Longshanks or 'The Hammer of the Scots', In the
absence of an obvious heir to the Scottish throne, the disunited Scottish
magnates invited Edward to determine the dispute. In order to gain
acceptance of his authority in reaching a verdict, Edward sought and
obtained recognition from the rival claimants that he had the 'sovereign
lordship of Scotland and the right to determine our several pretensions'. In
November 1292, Edward and his 104 assessors gave the whole kingdom to John
Balliol or Baliol as the claimant closest to the royal line; Balliol duly
swore loyalty to Edward and was crowned at Scone. Edward used the
opportunity to assert his feudal superiority over Scotland. Edward's later
invasions of Scotland were under the pretext of being Scotland's overlord.
Paradoxically, it was Longshanks grandson, Edward III, who started the
Hundred Years War with France when the King of France claimed feudal over
lordship of England.
The Scots were defeated at Dunbar. King John fled north in the face of the
English army. He would later surrender to Edward at Montrose.
In the end, King John was disgraced. Edward stripped him of the royal
regalia and destroyed the Scottish records, taking the Stone of Destiny to
London. There it lay for another 700 years until it was returned to Scotland
in 1996 King John was imprisoned in Tower of London.. He would become known
as the 'Toom Tabard' (empty coat) Edward had released John Balliol, the
nominal king of Scotland, the son-in law of Earl of Surrey, John de Warenne
from imprisonment in the Tower of London and Balliol promptly retired to
Balieul, Picardy, France. Retired? It was more like he slunk away to his
ancestral lands."The reign of this king, begun in humiliation, was continued
in disaster, and ended in disgrace."History of Dumbartonshire" by Joesph
Edward appointed Sir John Segrave governor of the province of Scotland and
commander of Edinburgh castle. In this capacity Segrave met the beautiful
Lady Margaret Ramsey, sister of Sir Edward Ramsey of Dalhousie. Segrave
visited to Dalhousie wooing the fair Margaret. However, the fair maiden
looked not at Segrave but set her cap for Sir Henry St. Clair of Rosslyn.
Sir Symon Fraser of Neidpath had knighted the young Henry St. Clair in 1297.
William Wallace was present at the ceremony and Lady Margaret was appointed
Queen of the Day. The young knight, St. Clair, O Fhlu\ir na h-Albann, and
the queen of the day were besotted with each other. During the knighting of
Henry St Clair news arrived of an English army marching on Stirling, led by
Earl of Surrey, John de Warenne and included the hated Hugh de Cressingham
Edward's treasurer for Scotland and the butcher of Berwick. Henry's wooing
of Lady Margaret was rudely interrupted by the clarion call of war. It was
Henry's first battle as a Knight at Stirling Bridge. Wallace called a war
council and the Scots met the English on 11 September 1297 at Stirling
Bridge. Wallace displayed his ability to exploit terrain decisively. A
crucial factor nearly 6 years later at Roslin, when among the issues of the
contest would be the favour and the hand of the young Lady Margaret Ramsey.
Late in 1302 Segrave was astonished to receive the intelligence at his base
in Carlisle that Lady Margaret Ramsey had consented to marry Sir Henry St.
Clair. He flew into a rage and had a letter dispatched to his king Edward
asking for permission to invade Scotland. Edward Longshanks, who had planned
his final campaign in Scotland for 1303, viewed Seagrave's intervention as
useful. The Hammer of the Scots Edward Longshanks, King of England, Duke of
Gascony, including parts of Ireland, the Channel Islands and Wales,
Crusader and warrior knew now that battle was now inevitable.
That Battle was at Roslin.
O flower of Scotland
When will we see
Your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again
Words and music: Roy Williamson. (c) The Corries (Music) Ltd.