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David Butchee




Location: Houston Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2012 3:19 pm    Post subject: What did William Wallace's warriors really look like?         Reply with quote

Hi, I was wondering what if anyone has a good source for what Scottish warriors would have looked like in the 13th-14th century; around the time of Scotland's war with England, for example what would the surcoats look like, I can't seem to find anything by googling because of that horribly inaccurate movie Braveheart, can anyone help?
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Battle_from_Holkham_Bible.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...ckburn.jpg
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you are referring to the Scottish heavy cavalry, of which there was very little, their dress would have been the same as their English opponents. Many of the Scottish nobility of the time also had land holdings in England and close ties with the English monarchy - early in the Scottish rebellion many even sided with Edward and that included Robert the Bruce. So any depictions of knights from the British Isles of the time probably mirror the Scottish variety.

On the other hand, the rank and file equippage probably differed significantly between the time of Wallace and Bruce's victory at Bannockburn. By the time of Bannockburn the Scots had built up their treasury by raids into England to the point that it was possible to clothe, equip and supply the small Scottish army in the manner of much larger armies from wealthy states. Before that, when the rebellion had been, by accounts, sort of a spontaneous rising of various factions in the country the Scottish forces were probably a mish-mosh of arms and equipment. If I am not mistaken - and I know someone will tell me if I am - the army which Wallace led at Stirling Bridge did not even employ the schiltroms of Bruce's day.

Wallace's main force was probably made up of spearmen with limited armor, some archers and the few cavalry, both heavy and mounted men-at-arms, if available. They would have been clothed in whatever they had - forget the kilts of course. It was probably a raggedy bunch but they must have had some fighting ability and certainly good morale, at least prior to Falkirk, to be able to win the victory at Stirling Bridge, even when aided by the rather stupid English plan of putting forces across a bridge in a piecemeal manner.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982


Last edited by Lin Robinson on Sun 08 Jul, 2012 4:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ryan S.





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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 3:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think though Wallace's army would not be as rag tag as some people give the impression it is. I ask myself what type of person is most willing to join an army, and I think there is less risk for a person properly trained and equipped. Of course knights and nobleman had more to risk, because they could lose their lands and would have a harder time hiding. So I think Wallace's peasant infantry would be equipped on par with other peasant infantry. Scotland had plenty of Norman knights who knew how to fight in the typical medieval fashion, but it would be a lot harder for them to obtain remounts, Especially, since most of Wallace's men were separated from their source of income.
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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some helpful reference sites you can search.
http://effigiesandbrasses.com/
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/

Kurt Scholz wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Battle_from_Holkham_Bible.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...ckburn.jpg

That 2nd reference should be disregarded, since it probably dates from the early 15th century, but the first one is more appropriate for the period in question.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ryan S. wrote:
I think though Wallace's army would not be as rag tag as some people give the impression it is. I ask myself what type of person is most willing to join an army, and I think there is less risk for a person properly trained and equipped. Of course knights and nobleman had more to risk, because they could lose their lands and would have a harder time hiding. So I think Wallace's peasant infantry would be equipped on par with other peasant infantry. Scotland had plenty of Norman knights who knew how to fight in the typical medieval fashion, but it would be a lot harder for them to obtain remounts, Especially, since most of Wallace's men were separated from their source of income.


Well, I think they were rag tag, at least for the first year or so. The English soundly thrashed an army under the Earl of Buchan in 1296 and the limited contemporary accounts of that fight indicate the Scots were very undisciplined and lacking in military experience. And, in the case of the Scottish knights, as mentioned above, a large number of them were for Edward and many remained so until Bannockburn. The Scottish "leadership" could not get their act together in 1296 - 1297 which is why someone decisive, even a man of low birth like Wallace, was welcome to take the reins and provide some semblance of leadership. The only truly cohesive force in Scotland at the time was the Gaelic army raised by Andre de Moray and that was who Wallace relied on at Stirling Bridge. de Moray was mortally wounded there which probably influenced the outcome of Falkirk. Since the major nobility of Scotland were being very circumspect about their loyalties at that time, it is unlikely that the funds were available to provide the equipment, supplies and training needed for a strong and disciplined force. As I stated above, Bruce's raids on England and the resulting wealth it put into his treasury enabled him to have a very strong, though much smaller force to meet the English at Bannockburn.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jul, 2012 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would imagine that in the aftermath of Stirling, the Scots would have been much better equipped thanks to the large amount of loot they gained. At Falkrik much of the rank and file would have probably been armoured in gambesons and iron caps looted from the English. Though I agree with Lin that it was only under King Robert that the Scottish army became a cohesive well equipped force.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We need to be careful with the idea of ragtag and poor. Both sides lowest classes were similar. The English levies would have been more or less as poor as their Scot equivalent. This is actually one of the reasons for changes starting with Edward I to Edward III that lead to the regard reward system to give men incentive to armour up.

Loot certainly could have helped but I am not sure it changed as much as the fact once Robert knew he was in for a protracted war against all three Edwards he began issuing various arms and armour requirements.

Some more or less the same as the English. That said this is not the case in the Highlands or the Isles of Scotland.

RPM
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2012 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
We need to be careful with the idea of ragtag and poor. Both sides lowest classes were similar. The English levies would have been more or less as poor as their Scot equivalent. This is actually one of the reasons for changes starting with Edward I to Edward III that lead to the regard reward system to give men incentive to armour up.


Weren't peasants in Britain a bit better off than their continental cousins, though? After all, the Lowland schiltrom may have had links to the earlier Anglo-Saxon fyrd and its shieldwall, which was based upon a relatively wealthy peasantry (or a reasonably large wealthy segment of the peasantry) that could afford a decent set of arms.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2012 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Generally it seems so. Campbell wrote something about the economic development of Britain a few years back and Lowland Scot seems to have been one of the top places to be in Britain. My point was that both common classes were made up of the same type of people so there is a danger of Bravehearting this again.

RPM
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Ryan S.





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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have always heard that Wallace was a member of the lower gentry, not exactly low born. By not rag tag as people think, I mean they would have been more professional and semi-professional soldiers, with at least the basic kit. Of course Wallace's army would have also included highlanders, which well not resembling those in braveheart, would be equipped differently.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul, 2012 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Did his army really include Highlanders? Especially that early...
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul, 2012 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ryan,

Wallace was of the knightly class. His family was from SW Scotland. The Scots by 1300 had spent most of the the decade fighting so they were sure getting lots of practice.

Higlanders were sure different. By the 14th the transition to England is going on in the rest of Scotland while the Highlands will hold on to it. Dress and habits are much different as well. That said the Highlanders play much less of a part than most assume. They really played a fairly minor role during much of the Wars of Independence. When they are it is often because their leader was a Lowlander.

RPM
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Michael Ekelmann




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jul, 2012 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Highlanders and people of the Isles would have been busier with the goings on in Ireland than what some Lowland lords were doing. I just finished reading Galloglass by John Marsden and his take is that those areas really looked more towards Ireland as the place to go for military adventures. He does write that the clans did support the Bruces, both in Scotland and Ireland, but how many men were sent to fight in the Lowlands is not clear.
“Men prefer to fight with swords, so they can see each other's eyes!" Sean Connery as Mulay Hamid El Raisuli in The Wind and the Lion
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jul, 2012 8:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Ekelmann wrote:
The Highlanders and people of the Isles would have been busier with the goings on in Ireland than what some Lowland lords were doing. I just finished reading Galloglass by John Marsden and his take is that those areas really looked more towards Ireland as the place to go for military adventures. He does write that the clans did support the Bruces, both in Scotland and Ireland, but how many men were sent to fight in the Lowlands is not clear.


Michael...

I agree with you on that point. By Bruce's time the Highlanders were apparently more involved. Near contemporary writings state that the King's division at Bannockburn was made up of Highlanders - it is doubtful they were all Highlanders - led by Angus Og MacDonald to whom Bruce supposedly said, "My hope is constant in thee", before sending them into battle. Both comments are not likely to be 100% correct given the source and cannot be verified at this late date.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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