Skip to comments.Battle Of Bannockburn Stirrups Unearthed
Posted on 10/17/2003 2:45:19 PM PDT by blam
Battle of Bannockburn stirrups unearthed
ARCHAEOLOGISTS claim to have discovered the first physical evidence of the Battle of Bannockburn.
A pair of horse stirrups, found earlier this year on a flood plain believed by most historians to be the site of the decisive second day of the battle, have been dated to the 14th century.
They were unearthed by Tony Pollard and Neil Oliver, two archaeologists working on the final day of excavations for the forthcoming BBC2 series Two Men in a Trench.
The badly-corroded iron stirrups are thought to have belonged to an English knight, probably one of the 10,000 English invaders killed in the battle.
Laboratory tests carried out at Glasgow University reveal the items, which are not a matching pair, were once coated in shiny metal, suggesting they belonged to a wealthy English knight of the heavy cavalry. They are believed to have been torn off in the heat of battle.
Mr Pollard, 38, said: "The stirrups are the first archaeological finds to be retrieved from the site in 700 years.
"We can only assume that the ground was very muddy at the time.
"Thousands of men would have churned up the land and bucket loads of things would have been dropped.
"The English were routed, and those who survived would have left the field in panic, leaving things like weaponry and armour behind.
"After medieval battles it was common for scavenging to take place. Iron weaponry may also have eroded to nothing in the damp, carse soil, and we are left to discover the little which remains."
The stirrups were discovered after several days scouring fields around the Carse, near Stirling, with metal detectors.
It was only on later examination that their importance became evident. Mr Pollard said: "We didnt know what they were at first, because they just looked like unusual lumps of iron.
"It was only when we got back to the lab, cleaned them up and had a good close look at them that we saw what they were."
Stirling Councils regional archaeologist, Lorna Main, who has investigated possible Battle of Bannockburn sites, said:
"They are the first physical evidence ever found from the battle, and they help to substantiate the theory of fighting on the Carse."
It is also the song which opens the highland games at Grandfather Mountain North Carolina. At least it was the last time I was there years ago. The melody is what I would call haunting.
Of course that was a LONG, LONG time ago - I think the last year I competed must have been '73 or '74. :-D
It's a good song. As a Highlander, I prefer the Gaelic songs, but that's just me.
I was leading everyone at 150 yards by about 20 feet then the bear jumped on my back. I think I finished 3rd. They ran the 100 about 10 minutes later and my legs were like rubber. I think I still finished about 3rd again.
"By the beard of my father! but ye are whelps of the true breed. Why so keen, then, to be soldiers?"
"That we may fight the Scots," they answered. "Daddy will send us to fight the Scots."
"And why the Scots, my pretty lads? We have seen French and Spanish galleys no further away than Southampton, but I doubt that it will be some time before the Scots find their way to these parts."
"Our business is with the Scots," quoth the elder; "for it was the Scots who cut off daddy's string fingers and his thumbs."
"Aye, lads, it was that," said a deep voice from behind Alleyne's shoulder. Looking round, the wayfarers saw a gaunt, big-boned man, with sunken cheeks and a sallow face, who had come up behind them. He held up his two hands as he spoke, and showed that the thumbs and two first fingers had been torn away from each of them.
"Ma foi, camarade!" cried Aylward. "Who hath served thee in so shameful a fashion?"
"It is easy to see, friend, that you were born far from the marches of Scotland," quoth the stranger, with a bitter smile. "North of Humber there is no man who would not know the handiwork of Devil Douglas, the black Lord James."
"And how fell you into his hands?" asked John.
"I am a man of the north country, from the town of Beverley and the wapentake of Holderness," he answered. "There was a day when, from Trent to Tweed, there was no better marksman than Robin Heathcot. Yet, as you see, he hath left me, as he hath left many another poor border archer, with no grip for bill or bow. Yet the king hath given me a living here in the southlands, and please God these two lads of mine will pay off a debt that hath been owing over long. What is the price of daddy's thumbs, boys?"
"Twenty Scottish lives," they answered together.
"And for the fingers?"
"Half a score."
"When they can bend my war-bow, and bring down a squirrel at a hundred paces, I send them to take service under Johnny Copeland, the Lord of the Marches and Governor of Carlisle. By my soul! I would give the rest of my fingers to see the Douglas within arrow-flight of them."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The White Company
(a very good read, BTW)
I won the Intermediate Championship one year - I still have that tacky old trophy bashing around here somewhere. I went to dance camp for 3 weeks before Grandfather - so I didn't have a chance to get out of shape.
It creeps up on me quicker every year though . . . now it seems like I only have to miss one morning jog to feel like the Mother of All Bears is hitching a ride . . . :-(
My Daddy had been several times in the 70's but he really was frustrated this time because the traffic was horrible. He said that would be our last time.
No...wait..that wasn't me.
My husband is only vaguely Scottish - his mom is half aboriginal Irish and half Bremen German, his dad is a Heinz 57 from central Georgia whose mother was a Dunbar (lowland Scot, not Highland). But he wears his kilt and enjoys himself just the same.