Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/121

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1298 A.D.]

The Campaign of Wallace.


for his expenses; so, on September 7th, the Prince of Wales wrote on behalf of the absent King, requiring Surrey to remain at his post until Scotland should be at peace.[1]

Surrey attempted by means of two friars to come to terms with Wallace, but without success, and the English prepared to attack. The Scots lay on and about the Abbey Craig, a picturesque and precipitous height on the north bank of the Forth, which, at the present day is conspicuous among all neighbouring hills by the Wallace Monument, erected thereon in 1861. There was a long wooden bridge across the Forth, the exact position of which is not known. Lord Hailes, accepting the current tradition, suggests that it was at Kildean Ford, about a mile above the present stone bridges. But Wallace's object would undoubtedly be to defend the bridge, which, if situated at Kildean, would have been too far from his position on the Abbey Craig to enable him to do so effectively. The probability is, that this bridge either stood very much where the older of the existing stone bridges now stands, a position affording ready communication between the castle and town of Stirling on the south bank, and Cambuskenneth Abbey on the north bank; or else at a ford lower down, where the river runs nearest to the Abbey Craig. Sir Richard de Lundin (the same who left the Scottish army before the submission of Irvine) vehemently remonstrated when Surrey ordered his vanguard to cross the bridge in face of the enemy, for it was so narrow that not more than two

  1. Stevenson, ii., 230.