Field of Bannockburn
The foreground of this print, which dates from the 1870's, is about three miles almost directly south from Stirling. That ancient burgh, and its castle, are seen on the middle-ground, near the left side of the picture. Beyond them rise Dumyat and the rest of the Ochils, beneath which runs the Devon, a stream celebrated in two of the lyrics of the Ayrshire hard.
Some of the links of the Forth are seen in the middle-ground, near the centre of the picture; but it has been found impossible, at such a distance, to convey any adequate impression of the beauty of that singular river and its banks. The industrious villages of Bannockburn, Miltown, and St Ninians, are nearer the position of the spectator, but concealed by some high ground, which rises about a mile in front of the Gillies" Hill. The spectator looks towards the north-east, and the back-ground is occupied by the distant hills of Fife.
The battle of Bannockburn was fought (Monday, June 24, 1314,) on the part of the low ground where the principal light falls, in front of the Gillies' Hill. The Scottish army, thirty thousand in number, was drawn up in three divisions, in a direction from southeast to north-west, the right division being placed on the skirts of the Gillies' Hill, with its right flank resting on the natural defenses of the rugged channel of the Bannock, while the centre occupied the low ground immediately to the east of the Gillies' Hill, with a morass in front, and the left division was placed on the eastern slope of Cockshot Hill, seen in the print swelling a little into light. The gillies (servant lads) belonging to the army, fifteen thousand in number, were placed behind the hill which still bears their name; and on the Caldam Hill, in front of the army, the Scottish king had planted his standard in a mass of granite, still called, from that circumstance, the Bored Stone.
Thus posted, as a cover for Stirling Castle, the army of Bruce received the attack of an English host, said to have been nearly a hundred thousand strong, commanded by Edward II in person. The English were at the very first thrown into difficulties by a series of small concealed pits which the Scotch had dug in their path; and when hard fighting was making them waver, their overthrow was accomplished by the sudden appearance, over the neighboring hill, of a new and unexpected host, composed of the gillies who had been stationed in the rear, but who, becoming impatient, had resolved to advance into the conflict.
The result was the permanent assertion of the independence of Scotland.
The Artist was D. O. Hill S. A. The engraver is W. Richardson This print is is 4" x 5 1/2" inches, overall page size is 6 1/2 " x 9 1/2".
- Original image in the possession of M.Jex