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Wallaces' Waterloo Traditional Cache

This cache has been archived.

geoarab: Time for this one to go

Hidden : 06/27/2008
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

A cache to commemorate the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

A victory which was the '... reason the Scots adopted stout hearts..." (Poem in Bower’s Scotichronicon on the Battle of Stirling Bridge)

The cache itself is not at the location of the original Stirling Bridge which was slightly further upstream that this one but is near the 15th Century Stone one

The town of Stirling was the key entry point to the north of Scotland. The tidal River Forth was too wide to cross east of the town and upstream lay the enormous bog of The Carse of Gowrie.

The Battle of Stirling Bridge 11th September 1297

At dawn the English and Welsh infantry start to cross only to be recalled due to the fact that their leader, Warenne, has overslept. Warenne recalls a further attempt to cross the bridge as he believes the Scots might finally negotiate. Two friars are sent to Wallace to acquire his surrender and return shortly afterwards with William Wallace's first recorded speech:

"Tell your commander that we are not here to make peace but to do battle, defend ourselves and liberate our kingdom. Let them come on, and we shall prove this in their very beards."

Warenne decides to advance. He is advised to send a cavalry force upstream to The Ford of Drip in order to cover the infantry’s crossing, however Edward’s treasurer, Hugh de Cressingham, intervenes, pointing out that too much of the king’s money has already been wasted and insisting that they cross at once to bring the campaign to a swift end.

Wallace and Murray wait until more than half the English army has crossed the bridge before springing their trap. The Scots spearmen rush down the causeway. Those on the right flank force their way along the river bank to the north end of the bridge, cutting off any hope of escape. Trapped in a confined space with the river to their backs the English heavy cavalry is virtually useless. Only one group of English knights, under Sir Marmaduke Tweng, succeed in cutting their way back to the bridge. After they have crossed, Warenne, who has wisely stayed put, has the bridge destroyed and flees to Berwick.

Over half the English army is left to its fate on the Scots side of the river. Those that can swim do so, the rest (over 100 men-at-arms and 5,000 infantry) are inevitably massacred. Many of them are Welsh, but among them is Hugh de Cressingham, Edward’s hated tax collector, who had crossed first.

Victory brings the collapse of English occupation. Wallace, now Guardian of Scotland, goes on to devastate the north of England in the hope of forcing Edward to acknowledge defeat. Unfortunately this merely to have increased Edward’s determination who in less than a year will defeat Wallace’s Army at The Battle of Falkirk

The significance of the battle is clear. Until 1297 the heavily armed and mounted knight had been an invincible force on the battlefield. Stirling Bridge was the first battle in Europe to see a common army of spearmen defeat a feudal host. Only five years later a host of French knights were to go down to similarly-armed Flemish townsmen at The Battle of Courtrai. Stirling Bridge also destroyed the myth of English invincibility. The Scots had not defeated a major English army since the Dark Ages, but this victory seems to have strengthened their will to resist Edward I.

Pictures of local views around the area (including the Bridge) can be found here

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