Oliver & Pollard's latest attempt to settle the site of the Battle of Bannockburn on film


© 22 May 2020

This is the fourth attempt by them to solve this problem and it fails miserably as before. The first two achieved nothing, even though they were sent copies of Bannockburn Revealed (BR) published in the year 2000, (which no one was allowed to mention because it revealed some of the errors of Profs. Duncan and Barrow as Prof. Watson (then a lecturer at Stirling University) admitted. The culture of not correcting the errors of those in control meant they could not do so. Thus, Barrow's choice of the Dryfield as the site, which none of them understood, confused them. That was an impossible site because of the ridges and depressions, a huge one of 75ft and another west of it of 55ft made a cavalry charge across it impossible. Why did they fail then? They did not have a map and they still, twenty years later, do not have an accurate, justified map. A map made by a computer person who has no access to all the maps and papers which define the map of 1314 and with no knowledge of the ground today, or any justification whatever, is a waste of space. The map they show now has still 'forgotten' Livilands Bog which is on Bartholomew's map made for Miller's 1931 paper, which they know nothing about, or any of Miller's papers. That bog is about seven hundred yards long under the escarpment between St Ninians and Stirling and stretches out, expands in heavy rain, hundreds of yards into the Carse. The other bogs, Halbert's and Milton, do not appear, yet Roy has shown them in 1755 in excellent detail. A remark like that is beyond them. Where there is excellent detail which all over the map is confirmed by others like OS 1860, you know it is correct. Roy's map is brilliant. See GB [The Genius of Bannockburn] Ch IV. Their line of the Pelstream is still wrong: it has cut a deep, wide, wedge in the escarpment and must follow it into the carse. Its line is defined by the wedge. Go and look! How could it generate the power to run the mill at Kersemills when their map of it veers so far to the north first? The few Scots on the battlefield (5,500 infantry and 500 light horse, what Oliver and Pollard believe [i] ) could not manage to defend that 1200 yard stretch against a cavalry charge of well over two thousand equine tanks each a ton weight. The actual distance between the Pelstream and the Bannockburn in the Carse, even yet, (and every worthy map) is about 830 yards in ordinary weather, less after rain, as here (Barbour and Brut y Tywysogyon tell us about the rain and the pools of water that always accompany heavy rain). That is the distance the Scots had to defend. They forgot Livilands Bog and that prevents any stream running through it. It is a bog: it does not move.

Nor do you defend a cavalry charge by running towards the cavalry charge, for its horses each weigh a ton, will smash the men because they are running in pools of water and have no footing in them. Oliver and Pollard know nothing about the pools of water which Barbour and Brut y Tywysogyon tell us about. See GB maps, photos of pools, aerial photos of the Zig zag road across the Carse which has had to bend around the pools since 1314. If the pike-men charge, they will take the full force of the lance and the combined momentum of the armoured horses and the casualties among the Scots would be enormous. The very tonnage of these horses, itself, would mow down the pikemen. Whose pikes have no purchase whatever. The English would then break through and demolish the Scots, returning again and again to mow them down, though a single run would be enough with such few numbers. The men in the trench still know nothing about the battle area, the maps, papers and the chronicle sources. By this time, they are never going to know. Twenty years of acute ignorance is more than enough. They are children, not equipped to read the sources, let alone understand them. There are hundreds of sources, at least a dozen chronicle sources they have never seen and lots of papers and documents. They do not have the aptitude for dealing with the quantity of information available and necessary, or the time. They have jobs to do. They spend very little time on scholarship which is why they are such incompetent scholars. The Knoll was essential. Shown by Roy, 1755 and by Jefferys, 1746 in their maps which they have never seen. Without the Knoll,, King Edward would have been unable to see the Scots approach at all in such flat ground. As Barbour, and three English sources who were present, report. The woods in the Carse did not end at the present Balquhiderock Wood but stretched out into the Carse, GB (The Genius of Bannockburn) p.90,91; combining Roy's map and OS 1860 reveals it by the kink in the mill lade in the Carse. [All these citations are, as usual, wasted on Oliver and Pollard, though they appear countless times in the books of this research. They make no progress because they can learn nothing. They were educated to speculate like their teachers and unable to progress beyond it.

The Scots got into position first, knelt down, not to pray, under the eye of the King of England intent on severe reprisals for their rebellion, but to set their pikes in the ground, so that the ground would take the momentum of the charge and save the lives of the Scots. The very presence of the Knoll, a hillock a quarter mile by an eighth, 60 ft high, with a pond in front, tells you a move by the Scots on their left flank to drive the English into the Bannock burn is impossible. How would Edward II, with his entourage, get to Stirling Castle then? But far worse, in their film: the Scots do not approach in three divisions and three were seen by all four of the best English sources. The Scots were all on foot. There was no Scottish cavalry at all on the field! [GB p31,32] Seven sources tell us the Scots were all on foot and three of them tell us Robert Bruce led the entire Scottish army; his brother, behind him, led the two Bruce divisions, Moray on the left and Douglas on the right. These had to advance and fill the space across the Carse and then set their pikes. Bruce had to decide where to set his pikes. Another critical factor was the overconfidence of the English who expected a foxhunt of rebels in the morning and spent the night before in 'Wassail and Drinkhail' [Le Baker,7,8 ] who says a lot about this, supported by Baston. See it in the Proof in the website]. They were mostly drunk by morning and the Scots were able to appear suddenly at dawn out of the black backdrop of Balquhiderock Wood. Bruce set his pikes the first time right across the 830 yards of the Carse from Pelstream to Bannock burn, and waited. And Bruce realised that the English had hardly noticed him, only those up on the Knoll (who wrote about it afterwards) with the King. Seeing the English could do nothing to prevent him, Bruce got his men up and marched them forward within yards of the English cavalry lines (who had taken the best position for the foxhunt) and reset his pikes: each man with a foot or two between the next but otherwise bunched and all kneeling, their pikes over the heads of those in front, bunched on the axis parallel to the NE, the line to the Knoll. Why did Bruce move closer? To save Scottish lives. Depriving the English cavalry of space to get up speed was crucial. They did not have the momentum to penetrate the Scottish pikemen. The English were too sozzled, too tired, too unprepared, too hungover, to be able to prevent it: the commanders were all on the Knoll, the ones who could see the Scots. There was no command and control because it was not thought necessary. The English were there for sport. 14 pikes, seven on each side, splintered when hit by cavalry but their momentum was taken by the ground, not the men. Hence the low Scottish casualties: only two knights were killed. Halted, the cavalry were cavalry no longer. The knights pulled down and slain with the handaxe every Scot strung round the wrist, leaving two hands for the pike. [Trokelow. A brilliant source present at the battle, tells us: BR p192, for example: numerous other citations in the books of this research]

The English flew in all directions in the rout that followed. It only happened because the cavalry were halted: cavalry no longer. Some went to the R Forth, some to the Castle, most to the Bannockburn because that was the direction of England. That left flanking move by the Scots in the film was unnecessary and impossible. Edward Bruce led the centre division, Moray the left wing and Douglas, the right wing: his men killed Gloucester, Bruce's kinsman, who alone understood what the Scots advance meant: to reduce the space available for the charge. He tried to prevent the Scots advance, expecting his men, his own 500 mounted knights and men at arms, to follow him. He had no lance, only a sword. He hit Douglas, went on and was engulfed by his men following to get into position to receive the charge. The kneeling occurred after they reached it. The English archers could not see the kneeling Scots over the heads of the their own knights mounted on huge horses, a barrier nine ft tall. A brilliant tactic Bruce had devised all by himself. The Scots did not kneel to pray before the battle, they knelt to set their pikes. [Four sources say the Scots knelt to pray. Not so! They were all clergymen: to them, kneeling meant praying. For seven centuries, historians have swallowed this nonsense. Why would the Scots kneel to pray under the eye of the King of England and the finest army in Europe? The Four sources are (Lanercost, Bridlington, Barbour and Abbot Bernard de Linton GB p297). Two (Le Baker and Baston, both present) said they drank and sang all night. After 'praying' the Scots got up and marched boldly forward. But they set their pikes again very close to the English cavalry lines, because that was the way to halt the cavalry charge: to kneel. Tight packed behind, each man with a foot space on either side to aim the pike, butt in the soft ground. He got his men up and advanced closer because he saw they could do nothing to prevent it. Once halted, the cavalry were cavalry no longer: pulled down and slain with the hand axe strung on the wrist. Why were there three Scottish shiltroms? Because, as the Carse narrowed during their approach, they could shorten the distance between them to fill the space in front, as they marched. 200, 400, 200. Bruce had it all worked out in advance. Oliver, Pollard and McMaster [ii] would have lost the battle even now, twenty years after Bannockburn Revealed was published, fifteen after Bannockburn Proved was published and The Genius of Bannockburn which their producer, Falco Boermans, had purchased with BR before they ever started 'work'. Since they both had jobs, films of TV programs in Australia, making money, they spent little time at the battlefield and did nothing much at all. Children at the seaside playing with trowels in a six inch trench. They should have been looking for the skeletons of the slain English. They looked in the wrong place. They understood nothing because they could not read a book, still have not read these books. Four sources alone were not enough. They still cannot admit that the road to Stirling was defended at Milton Ford. That is where Bruce slew de Bohun. In that space on the N bank. They cannot admit it, because they took money from the Council to hide it from the public. The Council allowed buildings in 2010 within 25 yards of where de Bohun was killed, ten years after the publication of Bannockburn Revealed (BR) and five years after Bannockburn Proved (BP) also done for ex gratia payments for planning permission. Scotland's most important battle area has been desecrated by a council whose planners wanted to build in the Carse and much building there is below Balquhiderock Wood. McMaster's rubbish about Keith's cavalry scattering the English archers is demolished in Bannockburn Revealed, (BR p 254 or 211) a book he was given but unable to read, like Oliver and Pollard: they do not have the time nor the mental equipment. Real scholarship is a world they have yet to set foot in. Speculation is all the education they received. The Genius of Bannockburn (which Boermans bought in 2012) p31 and 32 gives seven sources who all say the Scots were all on foot (none of the English saw any Scottish cavalry) and three of them that Bruce led the whole army (he had to, so decide where to set the pikes: getting close was essential to saving Scottish lives. BR twenty years ago, in the year 2000, proves beyond doubt that the Scots all fought on foot. That is what knowledge is about: proof. It is a word foreign to all historians.

Why was the road defended at Milton Ford? Because the first bridge across the Bannockburn was not until 1516 (Spittall's, a mile downstream of the Ford). Up to then the road had to cross at the Ford, the Roman Road having fallen into disuse for a thousand years, long enough for their bridge to disappear without trace. Oliver and Pollard's version of the Roman Road was laughable: bending here, there and all over the place. How is it they do not understand that Roman roads were dead straight because they had to move troops quickly? The Romans were fiercely proud of their roads. They were excellent engineers, ahead of their time. Pollard and Oliver's version would take twice as long as any Roman to travel because it is not straight. They go looking for a Roman Road but know nothing about the Romans! The road of 1314 went along St Ninians Main Street because the Kirk had been built on it in 1242. The line from the Kirk to the Ford is a straight line, except for a kink to and from the ford which must be crossed (and cannot be crossed in rainy weather even then). When did they never bother to look at a Roman road on a map? They are children, not scholars. TV will have to be got out of the hands of self-promoters who use children to excavate a tiny trench and then claim the site is settled because of a single little cross that might have been put there at any time. Their self-satisfaction at this fourth failed attempt shows what a desperate state Scottish History is in when this is the best that can be made public. The English had to try to cross at the Ford in 1314, because that was where the road crossed. Besides, they thought it was their road. Marshes defended it on right and left. Scotland's Thermopylae it is, where an invading army can be stopped dead because only a handful of knights can cross there at a time. Pikemen kneeling on the N bank leaving a space for them to cross over and ride at futilely, the more that crossed, the more congested the space, the more difficulty of manoeuvre to retreat and regroup. Trees on both sides of the ford and a high escarpment on both sides, up and down stream make it ideal. The recent rain had swollen the burn and made it worse than usual to cross, even on horseback. Bruce killed de Bohun in that space on the N bank. Any other place is impossible. Oliver and Pollard and most other historians know this by now. They just refuse to admit it because they were all too stupid to discover it. The culture of the community: not correcting the errors of those in control, makes progress within it impossible. Original discoveries are routinely obstructed and buried to save the faces of the speculators in control. That is why outsiders with an education in problem solving like mathematics, science, philosophy and psychology are essential: only they can solve such problems. Historians choose history because they cannot do anything else. Proof is a world in which they never set foot: never heard of one, never understood one and never even thought of trying to make one. Mathematics, Science, Philosophy and Psychology deal in nothing else. Medieval History teaching henceforth will have to be far wider in scope and demanding of effort to progress and it is unlikely to happen because mediocrity begets mediocrity: you only get to play if you are stupid enough to be no threat to those in control. Look around you at those now in control and wonder at their assumed authority. Ask questions. They act as if this a collegiate process of gentleman and women. Not so. There is no decency, only obstruction and burial for anyone capable of success. They are selfish to the core, care only for their own status which depends on agreement with the speculations they believe current, will diminish anything contrary without reading the evidence. All they care about is themselves. The Truth is assumed to be impossible to find. [This is why they did not even collect all the chronicle sources. Trokelowe and Baker were translated for the first time in a book, in BR published in the year 2000, seven centuries after the battle and they are magnificent sources!] They are not gentlemen, that least of all. Saving face is their constant concern. A real scholar seeks the truth and nothing but the truth and will embrace it gladly when it is available, abandoning his old errors.

At least they have taken out the scene in the ceramic factory where there is a mountain of newly made white plates (lots of folk have copies). What had that to do with the site of a battle in 1314? Even children can make progress. A pity it is so trifling. A consequence of speculation: all they are capable of. They end by praising themselves for having, at the fourth attempt made the best investigation ever of the Battle of Bannockburn. What stupidity that is. What arrogance. Connexions and access to money is their sole asset. Scholarship, they know nothing about. The truth about it after their twenty year involvement is still a complete mystery to them. Their main problem is they were never taught to read. All they can do is skim the surface and plagiarise a few things from scholars: the few things they can collect in the skim. Reading all of it is too much for them.

Will there be a fifth film by this pair? Are not four failures enough? They proved nothing at all. To suggest that theirs was the most complete investigation ever was a travesty of the truth. But they got the battle in the Carse at last? You protest. ?Only because they read it in BR, BP and GB and plagiarised that much and a little more. They expected to establish it by archaeology and failed. After the first two films they had no idea where the battle site was. All they found this time were a couple of rusted items of harness which could have been dropped there any time before or after the battle and a single cross with a little gold, the same. You could find such things anywhere around Stirling and they prove nothing. Even if it were possible to date an item as 1314 (it is not) it cannot be shown to be put there on the 24th June 1314. Only children could imagine that is proof. They are never going to be scholars because they can never make an original statement which is correct and give references to prove it. All they will ever be able to is say: we think that. Speculation, then. Without plagiarism, this pair will never make any progress, like all the academic historians for the last seven centuries who defend their status by their arrogant assumption that they are scholars and men of science. Not so! None of them are in this subject: Bannock burn.

Why did Oliver and Pollard film the crossing of the Bannock burn at another stream in another part of the country? Because, since the year 2000 when the truth was first available in BR, Stirling Council Planning dept had allowed buildings to be erected on the road at the Ford. They were careful to leave that out when the pair were filmed crossing the Ford. Go and look. They were to get paid £40,000 for archaeology by the Council who would have demanded that the buildings be left out [children's archaeology, as if turned out]. Thus, the discovered history is far less important than the errors committed by the Council. Which do the people of Scotland want? See the buildings on GB p111. Yet that is where Bruce defended the road and killed de Bohun, a sacred place for every Scottish person, desecrated by the Council when it should have been protected. Historic Scotland and The National Trust for Scotland have been singularly uninterested in this as if it did not matter to them.

© William Scott, BA,BSc,MEd,FIMA,FSAScot


[i] That Oliver and Pollard still promote this rubbish after twenty years of its being disproved in BR is outrageous. Have they no ability to think for themselves? Is it credible that in the battle to protect Scotland from invasion, only six thousand Scots turned up? The least figure of the population of Scotland in 1314 by Barrow was 400,000. Half of whom were men, and a quarter of whom were men of fighting age. That is 100,000 fighting men. What happened to the other 94,000 Scotsmen that day? Were they all cowards?

You do not need anything but common sense to see the stupidity of that. A lot of non- graduates see it instantly.

[ii] Everything sensible MacMaster had, he got from the twenty page summary I sent to Mrs Seonaid MacPherson, Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland. He never could read Bannockburn Revealed in a year or since. Not used to reading textbooks. His ignorance was very clear during the tour of the battle area he made when I took a party including them over the battle area. That is why he still believes in the Scottish Cavalry charge, demolished in BR p 254 et prior. That the English infantry and hangers on ran into the spaces left by the cavalry, making retreat and regrouping impossible, was plagiarised. It is there in my all my 3 books: on the maps in GB.