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John C. Dos Santos




Location: United States
Joined: 29 May 2019

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun 24 May, 2020 10:34 pm    Post subject: Slings used at Bannockburn         Reply with quote

Hello,

So there is a poem written by a clergyman(whose name escapes me now) where he talks about the use of slings at the start of the battle at least. Is there any other mention or evidence for the use of the staff or hand sling there? There were some low born fighters on the Scottish side who may have been minimally equipped and the sling may have been used by them?

Thoughts and opinions greatly appreciated.

I am starting to look into the the Scottish Wars of Independence. The arms and armour interest me.

Thank you,
John
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 132

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2020 2:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The poet was Friar Baston and his is the only eyewitness account of the battle to survive. It is, however, rather generic.

The bit with the slings is actually from a description of the deployment of the English army

Now they set forth the various functions, of the soldiers, that England may make full use of their forces. Do thou bear the banner whereby the Scots may be terrified; the army will follow after it in accordance with the practice of warfare; archer bend thy bow and, prithee, be not sparing in thy service; in yonder position do thou speed across they shafts destroying the foe. There, do thou launch thy darts, like lightning be thine exertion; to light. This man will oppose the foemen yonder with slings and stones opening a furious attack rendering hollow places level; and do thou fix stations where the war engines may be working effectively. Grim is the struggle threatened by such a host.

It is unclear what sort of sling Baston is imagining here, or indeed, whether he is accurately reflecting the actual deployment of the army.

Anthony Clipsom
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John C. Dos Santos




Location: United States
Joined: 29 May 2019

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2020 7:04 pm    Post subject: Slings used at Bannockburn         Reply with quote

He mentions darts. So he means javelins? Or fletched war darts like you see in later period images?

Thank you,

John
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 132

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 12:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dart meant any form of javelin. However, in this case, it is the translators word - Baston wrote in Latin. You would need to check the Latin text for the word he chose there but I'd guess he was again being generic rather than concentrating on describing actual weaponry.
Anthony Clipsom
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David JD Johnson




Location: London UK
Joined: 24 May 2020

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 3:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Or "darts" might even been so generic as to have included arrows and crossbow bolts. I don't think javelins were much used at that time by the English army.
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Neil Melville




Location: Scotland
Joined: 27 Oct 2009

Posts: 201

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 4:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I doubt if any of the details in Baston's description should be taken literally. He was wanting to create an impressive picture and, as a cleric, was very likely influenced by descriptions of mighty battles in the Old Testament. He had witnessed a mighty battle and he wanted it to be comparable to those famous ones. So we should be sceptical about slings, darts and especially 'war engines' which at this time were used only in sieges not in the field.
Neil

N Melville
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John C. Dos Santos




Location: United States
Joined: 29 May 2019

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 12:13 pm    Post subject: Slings used at Bannockburn         Reply with quote

If I may ask and pardon my ignorance,

What, if any, missile weapons would the Scots (lowland or highland) been equipped with? Also what other weapons might have been in use? Armour?

Thank you,
John
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 132

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 1:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scottish archery is quite well attested in this period. Scottish archers were present, for example, at Falkirk and Bannockburn, and at the skirmish at Lintalee in 1317. Robert I made several feudal grants on the basis of archer service and the English made use of allied Scottish archers.

In terms of general weaponry, the best guide is probably the legal requirement recorded in 1318

Item, it was ordained and assented that each layman of the kingdom having 10 in goods should have for his body in defence of the kingdom a sufficient haqueton, a basinet, and mailed gloves with a lance and sword. And anyone who shall not have a haqueton and a bacinet should have a good habergeon or a good iron for his body, a cap of iron and mailed gloves ...... Moreover the lord king wishes and commands that anyone having the value of one cow in goods should have a good lance or a good bow with a sheaf of arrows, namely twenty-four arrows with the pertinents, under the prescribed penalty.

What a "good iron" is isn't obvious. It is sometimes glossed as a mail coat but quite possibly means a coat of plates.

What is missing in this list is the axe, which is recorded in accounts of battles at this time.

Scottish men-at-arms would have been equipped as English ones.

Hope that helps.

Anthony Clipsom
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