Thursday, 17 March 2011

Monument to Andrew de Moray proposed for Stirling

I missed these two articles published on 12th March. Thanks to @ScottishHistory on Twitter for the link to The Scotsman

Fighter, patriot and leader - monument call for the other hero of Stirling


TOGETHER they were heroic freedom fighters and leaders of the army of Scotland.
But while William Wallace has been immortalised in print, monument and film, the man said to have masterminded Braveheart's most famous victory is all but forgotten.

Andrew de Moray was knighted at about the same time as Wallace and was once held
in equal regard, but he is now relatively unknown, Mel Gibson failing to even mention him in his movie.

But now there are plans to create a national monument to commemorate Moray near Stirling Bridge, where both men jointly led the Scots to victory over the English in 1297. Moray was mortally wounded in the battle, and died soon after, disappearing into relative obscurity, while Wallace went on to become Scotland's hero with a world-famous monument overlooking the site of the victory.

Plans for the national monument to honour both men and raise the profile of Moray are to be discussed by Stirling Council.

Councillor Steven Paterson said "He gave his life for the cause of Scottish independence at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

"A fitting memorial to him is long overdue, and I am delighted to have brought forward a motion that will see a permanent memorial to him established by Stirling Bridge."

Fellow councillor Neil Benny said: "Stirling has always been the key to Scotland and our history is something that every one of us can and should be proud of.

"Placing the monument here in Stirling will help to attract visitors to learn about our history and visit our fantastic town."

The move is also backed by local list MSP Murdo Fraser, the deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

He said: "It is fitting to have a monument jointly for Andrew de Moray and William Wallace as they were co-commanders at the Battle of Stirling Bridge and fought alongside one another."

Moray, a Highlander, was the son of Sir Andrew de Moray, a staunch patriot and fighter who was once captured and held in the Tower of London.

Not much is known about him before 1296, when he was taken hostage and imprisoned in Chester following the Battle of Dunbar. But it was from the family home at Avoch in the Black Isle that Moray led the rising against King Edward I of England in the north of Scotland in the summer of 1297.

He captured castles in Aberdeen, Inverness, Montrose, Brechin, Forfar and Urquhart, successfully regaining control of Scotland north of the River Forth for King John.

He later merged his forces with those led by Wallace, and jointly led the combined army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Some historians say Moray was the senior partner of the two, and he is credited with devising the successful tactical plan that led to victory

How Forth crossing was a bridge too far for the English infantry

The Battle of Stirling Bridge began at dawn on 11 September, 1297. Wallace and Moray held their army on the soft, flat ground to the north of the River Forth as the English knights and infantry made their slow progress across the bridge.
When the vanguard - 5,400 English and Welsh infantry plus several hundred cavalry - had crossed, they ordered the attack. The heavy cavalry to the north of the river was trapped and cut to pieces, and those to the south were powerless to help.

Thousands of English were slaughtered, including more than 100 knights.

The English leader, Hugh de Cressingham - King Edward's treasurer in Scotland - was flayed and his skin cut into small pieces as tokens of the victory. Wallace is said to have used a strip to make a belt for his sword.

The remaining English fled to Berwick, leaving the garrison at Stirling Castle isolated and abandoning the Lowlands to the Scots.

The battle was a shattering defeat for the English and showed that, where the conditions were right, infantry could be superior to cavalry.

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