William Wallace - Infamous Trial - VICTORY AT STIRLING BRIDGE

By September 11th, in 1297, Wallace heard that an English army led by the Earl of Surrey was advancing north. The armies met at the Abbey of Cambuskenneth, in Stirling, where Wallace's Uncle had taught him the poem about freedom.

The Scots were greatly outnumbered but refused to stand down. They wanted to make the English understand that Scotland was free.

Cambuskenneth Abbey is near the River Forth (of Firth of Forth fame). Stirling Bridge was the only way across the river.

Abbey Craig, a nearby hill, provided a great place for Wallace and most of his men to camp and watch the oncoming English. It also provided him with the critical vantage point he needed to give orders to his men who were on the other side of the bridge.

Most of the English were also across the river, around the great fortress of Stirling Castle. All that separated them from Wallace and his men was the narrow, wooden Stirling Bridge.

Refusing to listen to the advice of Earl Surrey who told him to stay off the bridge, Cressingham - the much-despised tax collector - led his contingent of English soldiers across it. He wanted to wipe out Wallace and his men.

Wallace, however, outsmarted Cressingham. Using a prearranged signal, he ordered his strategically placed men to destroy the bridge. The English forces were divided in two. English soldiers on the bridge were trapped.

Not only did the strategy work, the psychological benefit was greater than Wallace could have imagined. The men who remained with Surrey saw their fellow soldiers getting slaughtered. They panicked and ran back to the English border.

Stirling, the place where Scottish Highlands and Lowlands come together to form the best strategic location in the region, was now in the hands of the Scots. So was Stirling Castle, a key fortress in Scotland.

Earl Cressingham, the King's tax collector, died in the battle. Legend has it that Wallace and his compatriots sliced the portly treasurer's body into strips. William Wallace reportedly used some of the strips to make a sheath for his dagger.

When Edward heard about the stunning defeat of his overpowering forces at Stirling Bridge, he realized Scotland was not Wales. Next time, Edward would lead the battle himself.

High on his list of objectives was the capture of William Wallace.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Jul 03, 2015

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"VICTORY AT STIRLING BRIDGE" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2002. Feb 21, 2020.
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