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Dermod Mac Arthy, Duci Hibernicorum de Dessemound;
RYMER's Acta Republica, vol. III. pp. 476, 477.
Their chief, Fitz-Louis-St. IX. p. 233. Fitz-Louis, or Mac-Louis, otherwise called Fullarton, is a family of ancient descent in the Isle of Arran.' They are said to be of French origin, as the name intimates. They attached themselves to Bruce upon his first landing ; and Fergus MacLouis, or Fullarton, received from the grateful monarch a charter, dated 26th November, in the second year of his reign (1307,) for the lands of Kilmichel, and others, which still remain in this very ancient and respectable family.
The forces of King Robert lie.-St. X. p. 234.
Two days before the battle, Bruce selected the field of ac. tion, and took post there with his army, consisting of about 30,000 disciplined men, and about half the number of disorderly attendants upon the camp. The ground was called the New Park of Stirling; it was partly open, and partly broken by copses of wood and marshy ground. He divided his regutar forces into four divisions. Three of these occupied a front line, separated from each other, yet sufficiently near for the purposes of communication. The fourth division formed a reserve. The line extended in a north-easterly direction from the brook of Bannock, which was so rugged and broken as to cover the right flank effectually, to the village of Saint Ninian's, probably in the line of the present road from Stirling to Kilsyth. Edward Bruce commanded the right wing, which was strengthened by a strong body of cavalry under Keith, the mareschal of Scotland, to whom was committed the important charge of attacking the English archers; Douglas, and the
young Steward of Scotland, led the central wing ; and Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, the left wing. The king himself commanded the fourth division, which lay in reserve behind the others. The royal standard was pitched, according to tradition, in a stone, having a round hole for its reception, and thence called the Bore-stone. It is still shewn on the top of a small eminence, called Brock’s-brae, to the south-west of St Ninian's. His main body thus disposed, King Robert sent the followers of the camp, fifteen thousand and upwards in number, to the eminence in rear of his army, called from that circumstance the Gillies' (i. e. the servants’) Hill.
The military advantages of this position were obvious. The Scottish left flank, protected by the brook of Bannock, could not be turned; or, if that attempt were made, a movement by the reserve might have covered it. Again, the English could not pass the Scottish army, and move towards Stirling, without exposing their flank to be attacked while in march.
If, on the other hand, the Scottish line had been drawn up cast and west, and facing to the southward, as affirmed by Buchanan, and adopted by Mr Nimmo, the author of the History of Stirlingshire, there appears nothing to have prevented the English approaching upon the carse, or level ground, from Falkirk, either from turning the Scottish left flank, or from passing their position, if they preferred it, without coming to an action, and moving on to the relief of Stirling. And the Gillies' Hill, if this less probable hypothesis be adopted, would be situated, not in the rear, as allowed by all the historians,
but upon the left flank of Bruce's army. The only objection to the hypothesis above laid down, is, that the left flank of Bruce's army was thereby exposed to a sally from the garrison of Stirling. But, first, the garrison were bound to neutrality by terms of Mowbray's treaty; and Barbour even seems to censure, as a breach of faith, some secret assistance which they rendered their countrymen upon the eve of battle, in placing temporary bridges of doors and spars over the pools of water in the carse, to enable them to advance to the charge.' '2dly, Had this not been the case, the strength of the garrison was probably not sufficient to excite apprehension. 3dly, The adverse hypothesis leaves the rear of the Scottish army as much exposed to the Stirling garrison, as the left flank would be in the case supposed.
It only remains to notice the nature of the ground in front of Bruce's line of battle. Being part of a park, or chase, it was considerably interrupted with trees, and an extensive marsh, still visible, in some places rendered it inaccessible, and in all of difficult approach. More to the northward, where the natural impediments were fewer, Bruce fortified his position against cavalry, by digging a number of pits so close to gether, says Barbour, as to resemble the cells in a honey.comb.
An assistance which (by the way) could not have been rendered, had not the English approached from the south-east ; since, had their march been due north, the whole Scottish army must have between them and the garrison.
They were a foot in breadth, and between two and three feet deep, many rows of them being placed one behind the other. They were slightly covered with brushwood and green sods, so as not to be obvious to an impetuous enemy.
All the Scottish army were on foot, excepting a select body of cavalry stationed with Edward Bruce on the right wing, under the immediate command of Sir Robert Keith, the Marshal of Scotland, who were destined for the important service of charging and dispersing the English archers.
Thus judiciously posted, in a situation fortified both by art and nature, Bruce awaited the attack of the English,
Note XI. Beyond, the Southern host appears.-St. X. p. 234. Upon the 230 June, 1914, the alarm reached the Scottish army of the approach of the enemy. Douglas and the Marshal were sent to reconnoitre with a body of cavalry.
“ And soon the great host have they seen,
spears, And so fele knights upon steeds, All flaming in their weeds.