Solving the Bannockburn Problems: What was it like?

© 12 April 2019

By 1993, I thought that the Scots all fought on foot and, because of it, they would be close to the English cavalry. I said so in an article in Quill, ISBN 0952191008, p74. By 1998, after my novel, The Bannockburn Years, won the Constable Trophy and was published by Luath Press, some historians assumed I had not read their work. I had, and knew that our history was in a mess and likely to stay that way, unless I did something about it. I began to seriously collect sources and get them translated. I soon had four sources which agreed that the Scots fought on foot, every one of them. The first excitement: I knew I was onto something. That meant a Scottish cavalry charge was a mistake. Could I prove it and what else was wrong? Could I take on the Bannockburn Problems and solve them? It would mean giving up being a novelist. I decided I could afford a couple of years at this. It has taken over twenty.

Publishers were not interested. They would not read anything on this, especially by an unknown author. There was far too much already, a solution impossible, they thought. Here is the first lesson for posterity. Do not look for a solution to problems within the academic community, for they have all grown up with the same prejudices: in this case that a solution is impossible. 'The ground is too much changed. There are not enough sources,' as some claimed even in 2008 and after. Both, I soon realised, in 1998, were false. I determined to collect every relevant source, get it translated rigorously, rate it for reliability, apply my training in psychology to it, and print all of them from the 14th century (anything else is too late, second hand, without detail and untrustworthy). Once I had done this, I put all the sources together in one volume and examined each for what it said. Two sources, Trokelowe and Baker, had never been translated in any book. So that was an important first. Historians, believing the problems insoluble, had never bothered to collect the sources or translate them. No wonder they could establish nothing. These sources are brilliant. The second is in bad Latin, but still contains gold. [It has turned out that the focus on every source and whether it is correct has corrected errors made even at the battle itself by people present. The Genius of Bannockburn (GB) Ch12. An important achievement. Of course historians who have not read this work, do not believe it. Yet, it is indisputably so. It is bad enough that an outsider has solved their problems; far worse that the insight has taken it so far.]

I counted every instance in the source which was pro and con the issue, for every source. When tabulated, the results were dazzling. See p.254 Bannockburn Revealed (BR)(et prior) published 20 years ago. Six sources (half of them written within days of the battle) make twenty statements that the Scots were all of them on foot at the main battle. Only one source, Barbour, who wrote over sixty years later, said there was a Scottish cavalry charge. The conclusion was clear: the Scots were all on foot. Any issue can be treated this way. The procedure is decisive. The question is: what does that mean? Very important. It is no accident but clear strategy. Why did the Scots dismount all their cavalry? How did they cope? Questions of this kind are invaluable: they decide where one must look and what one must do. Following every question to the end is basic procedure.

How to deal with the ground was obvious. Take the oldest and best map (of General William Roy, FRS, who had sixty very able helpers: six of them became generals) made c1750 and excise everything on it which had been put there after 1314. Examining every feature on the ground and the maps was fundamental to making an accurate map of the area in 1314 and understanding what had happened. Roy's maps are brilliant! Years spent with them prove it. His rendering of the bogs, such an important defence, is very detailed. There is nothing like it elsewhere and they had to be got onto the map. His is untriangulated, so mine would have to be, to start with. Accuracy was a constant aim. Papers and books of every kind and age, especially Rev Thomas Miller's, were scrutinised for the events between 1314 and 1750 to see what to exclude. Writing it all up like a lab experiment others could check was basic. I turned it into science, for it was repeatable. The work has thousands of insights, all justified, printed and confirmed by others. They can be studied and changed if incorrect. But if one or two were found to be wrong, it would make little difference. No one ever has in twenty years. The first Ordnance Survey map, surveyed 1860, published 1865; Thomson's 1820, John Grassom's 1817, William Edgar's 1745, and Thomas Jefferys's 1746, even Timothy Pont's c1600; all were carefully studied; revisions of OS maps too; the ground, most of all, as well as modern maps like Harvey's and recent OS's. Hundreds of visits were made to the battle area. Many more all over Scotland to prove related matters. A decent fraction of a thousand in twenty years, often involving overnight stays. Three of them in Dec 2018-Feb 2019.

Once, in 1999, I noticed lines on a map of Roy's, straight but kinked. What could it mean? A mill lade, surely, from the Bannock, but why did it head for Kersemills in 1750 by a series of kinks? Why not just one straight line? The medieval mind, I knew, was content to argue the number of teeth in a horse, still within the library. I determined to go and look, an action continually repeated these twenty years since, invariably bearing fruit every time. I prepared to return again and again until I understood. After attending St Giles one Sunday, I went in search of the mill lade across the Carse. I crossed the railway and found the remains of the lade. Then I looked up. What did I see? The mill lade had to be led in a circle around a lump of ground in the carse centre which stood in the way; at that time, a Council dump. I knew at that moment that the lade had been there in 1750. When was the mill erected? After 1459 [Miller, 1931, p9] When was there coal mining in this Carse? After 1904, only briefly, given up. The mill lade had been dug across the Carse before 1750, probably long before. The trench had to go round this mound. Thus the mound had been present in 1750 and before. And since this mound was a quarter mile by an eighth, and sixty feet high, no one had put it there between 1314 and 1750: there was not the manpower (I had to prove this later in population studies.) People do not build mounds that size out in the country for no reason. I knew that the mound, which I have come to call the Knoll, had to be where King Edward II had his tent pitched: able to oversee all his army around him. That insight was a delight; the ecstasy enjoyed all the way home and even yet. I realised at that moment how it was possible for King Edward to see the advancing Scots crossing the Carse towards him and kneeling down to beg for mercy as he thought [Barbour Bk 12, 447] with his whole army around him. Because he was on the Knoll! With all the tents, wagons, horses and men he would be unable to see anything otherwise in such flat ground. Roy's map gave this insight. Another map by Jefferys showed the Knoll in 1746, the right size, orientation and position, confirming Roy's. Roy does not show the Knoll itself, only the parallel lines that show the slopes, all he needed to do when there was no really high ground. They do show the knoll. Go and look. The kinks in the mill lade made its presence plain. The Knoll is sixty feet high: the kinks took the lade round it to the Mill. One of my first papers (refused at Glasgow Univ where Duncan was emeritus prof) failed because Duncan thought the knoll was a dump. Not so! The sight of the photos of the pools in the Carse were the real reason: he had translated pulis as streams in 1997, in his 'The Bruce' by Barbour. Attention would be drawn to his other errors. He would not want that; he would have seen them in BR five years before.

One of the best intellectual achievements of the entire work (BR) was the Charisma-Population Argument BR p.157 and p302. This is so elegant that few historians understand it. I never found one who did. Many able non historians understand it instantly. By 1314, Bruce was a charismatic leader: he had been king for seven years, recovered all but three castles and won several important battles. What was the population of Scotland in 1314? The historian with the least figure is Barrow with 400,000. [i] This means that there are about 200,000 men and 200,000 women. Of the men, half are too young or too old to fight. Thus there are about 100,000 Scotsmen of fighting age. (More recent historians e.g. Grant, A & Whyte, Ian D, say a population of a million, and 250,000 Scotsmen of fighting age). In the 1990s the History Community believed that 6,000 Scots beat 20,000 Englishmen at Bannockburn. [Duncan wrote this to me: 'we all do' said he.] Here is the logic of my argument: If Bruce was a charismatic leader, how was it that he could field only 6,000 Scots at Bannockburn, to defend their country against an English invader? Where were the other 94,000 Scotsmen of fighting age that day? Were they cowards? Of course not. If the higher figure of population is taken, the argument becomes: where were the other 244,000 Scotsmen of fighting age that day? A quarter of a million Scots of fighting age and not at the battle to defend it? Impossible! In either case.

(Barrow, after two editions he had 'corrected', in 2013, still had 6,000 Scots [p.273, 2013 in his Robert Bruce. BR was published in 2000; he said he had read it). What historians rarely absorb is that there is no evidence at all that the Scots numbered 6,000, what Barbour says sixty years later is 30,000; and the argument that the odds were three to one has no shred of reason for it. But if only 6,000 came, Bruce was not a good leader which everyone knows to be false. The 6,000 was pure speculation, like much of the traditional history of the event. Worse, speculation based on total ignorance of the ground and the sources which had never even been studied, collected, translated. They might deny this. If so, they are liars. The answer is in their books and mine. They have never known how to deal with sources. No wonder they did not bother to collect them, translate and print them together where they could be analysed.

The C-P argument is elegant and shows that the Scottish army had to be far more numerous than any historian believed. Why did they believe it? Because Barbour said that 30,000 Scots beat 100,000 English: (and Barbour was a Scot, revered, then) odds of three to one, they said. An English army some six years later numbered 20,000 (by which time Edward would have lost much of his power). So, they argued, the Scots had to have about 6,000 men (a third of 20,000). You do not need to be a mathematician to see that this is rubbish. What historians could not see is that their objection: 'Of course there could be only 6,000 Scots present,' is contradicted by the fact that Bruce was by 1314 the best leader they ever had, winner of engagement after engagement. A charismatic, never afterwards equalled. That is why the 6,000 is unbelievable. Where were the other 94,000 Scots? Why were they not with Bruce? That is clearly wrong. There had to be far more than 6,000 Scots. Three or four times. That is, the armies were about equal. Barbour romanticised it and they swallowed it because they wanted to. Truth had nothing to do with it. Pleasing the populace, but themselves, mainly. Because of it they all missed the marvels that actually took place: their speculations are nothing to the genius of the Scots, never yet celebrated, except by the few who read BR, BP and GB.

Bannockburn Revealed (BR) was unusual in being full of arguments and ratings of arguments. No publisher would read it so it had to be self-published, a duty. At the time, my income was under £500 a month; publishing was unaffordable but done anyway. Vanity had nothing to do with it. It had to be published. Why was this book given no reviews in the major history journals? Because it was self-published? Better reasons are that Duncan had made a serious error of scholarship. He had failed to read a letter by Edward II on 28th November 1313. He relied on a summary by Bain in his Calendar of Documents on p.66, Vol III [BR p.124] missing the fact that Edward wrote that he had to be in Scotland by 24th June 1314, the date of the battle. Thus, Edward knew of the truce long before 28th November 1313. So the truce could not be three months and had to be a year as others like Scalacronica 52, Bridlington (Gesta Edwardi De Carnarvon 48/9) and Barbour (The Bruce, Bk10, 403, 825-829) report. The full translations are given in BR pp.117-118. Lanercost and Vita both have a mistake in transposition, proved in the pages that follow these. Barrow too had made mistakes, some of them elementary. He forgot about Balquhiderock Wood on a steep slope, missed the huge deep depressions of 75ft and 55ft and the sharp ridges on the Dryfield, which make a cavalry charge and a battle there (where he put it) impossible, and he could not draw or understand the Pelstream which made it impossible to understand the basic idea for victory. Worse, there was an error with sources: none of the best three, he said, (p.215 3rd ed. p.281, 4th) mention the battle by name. They do, several times BR p.85-90-93. One is on the cover of Bannockburn Revealed (BR), the others inside. Lanercost mentions Bannockburn three times BR p.89. Moreover, he tries to prove the existence of the village of Bannockburn in 1314 using sources none of which were written until many years later, some of them centuries later, an appalling error of scholarship p.214-215, BR pp.90-91. Had he only known it, Roy's map shows that there is no village at Bannockburn even in 1750! Plate 30b. BR after p.408. They would not admit these errors, did not want them broadcast and decided to bury the book. Reviews were obstructed. 'You are not good enough to play,' they were saying. Instead, I was so good that they could not live with my discoveries. BR has a number of significant insights. The road to Stirling in 1314. Since there was no bridge across the Bannock till 1516, it had to go by Milton Ford. It went along Main Street St Ninians because the Kirk was built on it in 1242, the only road north and south until about 1930, pp.359-368. The English had to cross the ford, impassable everywhere else for a mile up and downstream. So the Ford was Scotland's Thermopylae where a small army could easily obstruct a far larger one. Thus, the N bank of the Ford is where Bruce slew de Bohun. It never occurred to them to ask the question: when was the first bridge built? And what did people do before that? They used the Ford.

Here is another insight for posterity. Those in control of the subject, who feel free to speculate because the events are distant in time, are demolished by the first original and rigorous mind that applies itself with great effort to the problems. Their vanity makes them deny the original work any publicity whatever and even to rubbish its value. All to save their own faces. Papers I submitted were refused for spurious reasons. The rules of submission were even changed to obstruct my kind of proofs, the first proofs ever seen in this subject. I am the first to try to solve and prove the solutions; have spent years developing the concept of proof in history. I have succeeded, have made many proofs and they are more certain than science, because the evidence is all available in an event so long ago. It never is, in science.

The above argument [The C-P] is not the only elegant argument. Another one proves the battle site in six lines, still unpublished. There is even a third of that quality, quite independent, which takes two short quotations: less than half a page. The books already published contain many proofs of many things, the site, the strategy, tactics, where Bruce slew de Bohun, etc. and they are quite formal and final. Why have I continued to make even better proofs? Because I can. I won't be leaving this subject yet. I am turning medieval history into a science; I have already done so. An event seven centuries ago is now far better understood than at any time, including midsummer 1314. That is a miracle.

Four reporters at the battle (three of them present) misunderstood what was happening. Why? Because they were all clergymen: for them kneeling meant praying. Not here! The Scots were setting their pikes! Historians are mostly hell bent on advancing themselves; I am able to advance the subject further and should do so because no one else will. It is a privilege to be able to do so. Reforming the history community is also a basic duty. The failure of historians to provide an accurate history is due to the belief, handed down by their teachers, that proof was impossible. So they failed to collect and translate the sources, as if there was no point and so missed the elementary idea of rating every statement in every source for any issue and counting the result. This is why the Scottish cavalry charge was taken by every generation for the next seven as a sine qua non: the very reason for the victory. Nonsense! The real reason is that the Scots marched on the overconfident English, drunk in their camp, still singing or asleep, set their pikes, waited for their charge and fought them there and won because they had worked out how to win. They penned in the English between the two bounding streams of the Carse. Bruce, the king, led the entire Scottish army on foot close to the English cavalry lines! To deprive them of space to get up speed! He had to and he did. The sources tell us so and why he had to. That is a marvel of creative intelligence and courage, in equal measure; and composure. The finest move any Scotsman ever made. It was his doing. I am blessed to have understood it and proved it. You will find it all there in my books. Where can you read this? The Genius of Bannockburn (GB) on pp.31-32. Ch VI is vital. More errors exposed and proved, all of them fatal to the historians in control. The formal proofs there are different in style and utterly conclusive. The concept of proof in history has now been developed fully (still to publish). Of course no historian has had anything to say about it. Meanness and self-interest governs all. They hate outsiders doing what they have failed to do. Saying nothing about it is their self-defence, a pitiful response, devoid of decency. It means, they do not want the truth: the first reason for scholarship.

Since they rubbished and ignored BR which proved everything to their standard, Bannockburn Proved (BP) (2004/5) set out to advance the history by proving everything to my more rigorous standard. Every necessary photo of the ground and map was shown as evidence. The elevations, ridges and depressions and even the main pools were added to the maps. Half a dozen proofs of the battle site were given, two especially of pp.64-79 [+pp.12-62], pp.83-88 and a chapter comparing them with science for their logical status. Copies were offered to libraries and several bought them: The George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, The Mitchell, Glasgow, The Bell, Perth, The Carnegie, Ayr, Aberdeen (which paid less than it cost and wanted an electronic copy!). The librarian in Ayr paid for a copy himself. He saw its value and donated it. Even Edinburgh University. Is it still there, I wonder? I offered it free whenever money was not available. Why is there a query? Because, at St Andrews University, after assessment by a historian, a librarian eventually handed back the copy of Bannockburn Proved (with all the praise on the front!), saying that the book was not wanted 'because the research subject was not of interest.' With her hands on that cover! She had to know what was happening. Nothing was written down. A few years later, a St Andrews historian published a book on the same subject. That librarian committed a serious moral failure. Was the cover disbelieved? The people writing it were all easy to contact. Some were celebrities.

Some will think I should not be saying such things. Of course I should. My passion for truth demands it. My duty to my country and to knowledge and the very human race itself, demands it. Every university principal should absorb these things, these deliberate obstacles to the advancement of human knowledge; for every principal has a primary duty not just to his university but to the whole of knowledge and everyone on the planet. The truth should be stated without fear. Anyone reading the Appendices to GB will see that it is a governing principal of this life. I am independent, will remain so. If called to a court I will tell the truth, no matter how inconvenient. It is my duty. When I began, I made a pact with myself to tell the truth at all times. I followed it relentlessly. Ten years ago, a friend returned from months of caring for a relative dying of cancer. Seeing her depressed state, I took her out for dinner. She spilled a glass of wine and I said to the waiter: 'Please wipe up that wine I spilled.' I was furious with myself. I had broken my principle. I keep a careful tally of such events. There is about one every 4 years, always a white lie. Its effect on the work? Among others, I am ruthlessly honest with my own work and it probably drives me to make expensive, time-consuming visits to outlandish parts of the country, over and over again until I have solved the problem.

An example is Polmoodie burn near Moffat which enters Moffat Water about nine miles NE (NT172144.) I needed to understand what the syllable 'pol' means. By then, I believed it meant pool (Barrow thought it meant 'stream'). I made about seven visits and was unsatisfied. It was difficult to prove. Finally, suffering a chest infection, I returned again to climb up a very steep track between mountains (White Coomb 821m and Carrifran Gans 737m.) Eventually, I understood: the burn had two sources which lay in a col between two high mountains. When the water table, in summer, fell below the level of the sources, the burn dried up and became a line of pools. That is what the syllable 'pol' conveyed. The photos I took proved it (in GB p.175).Trying to get better shots, I fell into a marsh and got covered in mud. In Moffat, I had to buy new trousers to be able to eat in a diner at about 4pm. I drove up the M74 in triumph and headed for Bannockburn yet again. I needed to check the ridging in my map. I spent an hour or more walking in the Dryfield among the housing, looking very carefully at the ridges and could not reach Bute that night. More expense. When I reached home I added two tiny marks to the ridges about 2 mm in length. That was a good day.

This is what I mean by rigour. No historian will have ever read the justification of this map or understood what it took to make. It took years, full time. I have damaged lungs because of that chest infection. Admitting they could not do it is too much for them. It never occurred to them to do it. They were too lazy to do the work themselves and too lazy even to read it when done for them. They prefer to ignore it and continue to play at being historians. Real scholarship is a country unknown to them. It demands effort, insight, honesty and a breadth of education denied to them. It demands that you read books like mine with, behind them, a national prize for writing, degrees, fellowships, service on a national committee and a track record of publication in academic journals.

What can be said about The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Scotland, The Society of Antiquaries, The Saltire Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh? All were sent at least a box of a dozen copies of GB at my expense. In every case, the historians in control would be referred to as if only their expertise could deal with it. The fact is, that these historians were ignorant, incompetent, could prove nothing, could not deal with the written sources and had no idea how to make a map of the battle area in 1314. They had a massive incentive to rubbish my work because of what they would lose by comparison. It takes years of effort to make a map as good as my one which is fully justified. It never occurred to them that it could be done. Now that it has been done all they want to do is ignore it because it saves them the effort of reading the justification and visiting the ground to check it, which has been done. They should be condemned for failing to deal with it properly before, ignoring the map and sources for twenty years. None of them ever knew what to do with sources except read everything, forget most of it and form an opinion, with a reference or two 'to justify' it. Instead, what you must do is collect them all, translate them all, print them all together in one volume and analyse them all. The results are dazzling. It’s utterly appalling that Barrow and Duncan had nothing to say about it, for it was the biggest advance in the subject in seven centuries. And it was in BR p.254 in the year 2000.

In 2013 or so I entered the Oxfam shop in Perth and showed a copy of GB. The manager was impressed and I offered him copies free to sell for a fiver each. I gave him two boxes. In three weeks he told me, he had sold 20. The manager in Edinburgh wanted some. I sent boxes of GB to the Oxfam shops there. I heard that Barrow had seen one in Newington and complained to Oxfam. There were boxes of GB in Troon and several other places, such as N Berwick, St Andrews, Hawick and Glasgow, I think. I gave a lot of books away: an Oxfam van from Stirling, driven by the manager and her husband, whose mother had just died, collected several hundred from me in Bute all to be sold for whatever they thought they would sell. Only GB (500 pp. with over a hundred coloured photos and maps) was to sell for a fiver. Suddenly, I learnt that the books (about 1070 in all) were withdrawn. I had phoned a few shops at monthly intervals to see how they were selling. I had emails from the Perth Manager et al. I phoned the CEO at Oxfam and he agreed to investigate and appoint an independent to do so. After a few phone calls he found out I was right and appointed an in-house man he could rely on to tell lies to save Oxfam's face. [Note: Oxfam staff asked to tell lies for the sake of the company's good name will always do so. For the same reason, the Church easily gets people to tell lies when it will suffer from the truth; and in the Military, where it is called: 'for the good of the service.' Instead, some VIP is saved embarrassment] This person 'concluded' there was no evidence of anything amiss by Oxfam. I had sent copies of the emails. They were unequivocal. Oxfam offered to send them back. I refused. I had given them free on the understanding that they would sell them, which they had wanted to do. Many of the copies of GB were soon selling on the internet for a penny. Irvine Smith QC was apoplectic at the immorality of it. I never regretted not taking them back, even though Barrow would have wanted them all pulped, as some may have been. Whatever it was Barrow said, it had to be lies. He had made disastrous errors, I had exposed them and done what he could never do: found the truth. He got the books withdrawn. He will have tried to get them out of libraries, using his clout and connections, for sure. At the Stirling Library, I asked to see a copy of the books I had donated. They were no longer there.

A year ago, I sent a paper to the Antiquaries. It was refused by a single referee: (I had demanded several) one of Barrow's pals for sure. The one skill a mediocre mind must always nourish is the ability to flatter and manipulate. His survival depends on it. In this referee's view, historical research was collegiate. My work did not agree with the papers by others, so how could it be right? I had not even referred to them. Why not? Because they were irrelevant! Papers are supposed to be original. How can they be if they agree with what is already published? My work did not refer to them because there was nothing to learn there. That referee was about as incompetent as it is possible to imagine. The others were never going to prove anything. I was even told that I had found a result that others had already favoured: The site of battle in the Carse. He did not know that BR in 2000 was the first book to have a justified map and the first to show the battle in the Carse and explain very fully how it was won [ii] (the main ideas in Quill in 1993! ++) The referee did not understand what a justified map was and what effort it took to make. The word 'proof' meant nothing to this person. Probably, he had never seen a proof of anything or tried to make one or understood how valuable it is. This referee knew so little that he assumed I was wrong in saying the Scots were armed with an axe on a string. He had never read Trokelowe, probably never heard of him. Trokelowe is a brilliant source, present at the battle and says the Scots had axes. What kind? Pikes were essential for halting their cavalry. What kind of axes? A hand axe on a string on the wrist, the only way: then two hands are free when necessary, the axes are vital in the rout: many enemies killed by a blow to the back of the head.

The maps submitted with this paper are the ones in this website, each of them explained with captions including references and quotations. Never before has a paper on the battle ever had maps as accurate, detailed and described as fully as these. This should confirm that the referee was ignorant of the subject and incompetent.

I might decide to publish the paper here on this website, unless a journal wants it. I am open to offers.

Pollard, [iii] could understand nothing about the battle in his first two films with Oliver, despite my sending them copies of BR and GB in 2012 before they ever started 'work' [and BR and BP years before.] (They were too busy on TV to do any work; a six inch trench made by primary school kids was their limit). That is where they learned where it happened: in GB; and where Oliver got his voice-over in the first film, saying that Bruce led the army down the slope of Balquiderock Wood. He had read pp.31-32 GB, at last (or the producer had), but that was all! It was quickly removed for the two other showings when I complained. Why else was it shown three times? They used only four sources. They proved nothing. It is outrageous that they thought four were sufficient! They expected to find archaeology to prove it and failed. Their film was a waste of space.

The only other paper worthy of mention is Tipping's [in Landscapes] which has 12 names attached to it to make it seem like science. It set out to apply science to the problems and admitted on the last page that nothing had been shown. [iv] Repeatedly, he referred to other work as 'hyperbole'. He meant mine but declined to say what was wrong with it. Genuine science does not proceed that way! It deals with books that are different cites them for sure to convey that they have read them. They did not even try to draw a map of the battle area. Only the Carse and they got that wrong. A tributary of the Pelstream runs parallel to the line of the escarpment! Of course all streams have to move perpendicular to the escarpment, from high ground to low ground. Their worst error (and one they will not understand) is to name the stream that enters the Forth east of Polmaise as Cockspow. Guess who suggested that? Barrow, who would have got the funding for them. He wanted it named Cockspow because it suited his speculative theory [demolished in GB Ch. VI] that pows are streams. Not so! They are all pools. Roy's map of Stirlingshire shows the huge bog from which it came: overflow from the bog, not a stream from higher ground.

In 2007 or so, Barrow was the only referee of the first paper I sent to the Antiquaries. He objected to my references in terms of BR which was unreasonable since only BR had all the sources and when these were available they were the same, (with permission). He also objected to maps with writing in places where nothing is happening, a useful move when 12 are being shown. It means the explanation is on the map. Where better? Ironically, he thought I should start by summarising 'his work.' Now that I have, I realise that no 'work' is involved. None of his statements show any acquaintance with the places mentioned. No wonder he understood nothing. His 'work' is speculation and nothing else. There is no evidence in it at all! Problems like the Bannockburn ones cannot be solved in a library. Barrow soon got a huge set of rules to be followed, knowing my style of proof with the date of every source every time, would be greatly diminished by my acquiescence. Before, there were no rules for submitting. I argued that someone making a proof for the first time should be allowed to do it his way. Not the way of one who had never proved anything. The mere presence of all these photos of the Carse of pools of water, some 100 yards long and a yard deep, were enough to demolish his speculations about the Carse being an area of streams. Hence he refused my paper. He determined that my proofs would not see the light of day, for his 'work' would be cast into oblivion.

Posterity: NEVER allow a single referee to vet papers when he or his pals have produced books on the same subject. They will refuse anything that shows them up. The Referee in the recent paper in 2018 was a pal of Barrow's for sure, they have been on many committees together. That a paper of that quality was rejected is a scandal!

Tipping's map is the first map in history to give the name Cockspow to that stream. Barrow could not know, because he knew so little. [There are burns that have the syllable 'pow' in them. They mean that a pool is involved. Every mill liable to have its stream dry up had a reservoir to keep the wheel turning in summer. That is the pow or pool. Hence the name 'powmill'; to show that the mill could operate even then.] That they should have applied a name never seen before to a stream in 2014 for the first time, to support a theory already demolished is bad science. The same kind of 'scholarship' Barrow showed in creating 5 gaps in streams in the Carse of Balqhiderock to double the number of streams and make them, confused with the contours, look like an area of streams, which it had never been. That was Barrow's most brazen error. He compounded it by having the same map just 8 pages on but without the 5 gaps! [Robert Bruce p.205, p.213, 3rd ed; p.270, p.279 4th ed.]; GB p.160, p.161]. He had forgotten by then what crime he had committed just before with that map. How am I supposed to respond to failures of scholars like these? I am bound to condemn them. Every historian ought to condemn them. They are morally culpable unless they do; not worthy of the appellation 'scholar' otherwise. This history community persists in making no progress precisely because of the failure to correct the mistakes of those in control who can offer grants, awards, degrees and even a quid pro quo to retain their status.

Peer groups are hopelessly inadequate at assessing genuinely original work because none of them know enough. When they cannot do anything original, that is obvious. They have a vested interest in rubbishing work that casts theirs into the shade. Since most of the historians in the last twenty years have achieved nothing at Bannockburn, this conclusion is clearly correct. Most of them do not think proof is possible, even now, despite my proving many things twenty years ago. History is of course different from other subjects. I am different in being independent, even if some intellectual celebrities are my supporters. Ignoring my work was their best defence. But the country is the loser. The old rubbish is still revered and taught and the miracles in the truth obstructed. How awful that Barrow and co. have been teaching the Scottish Cavalry charge that won the battle these last twenty years when the Scots all fought on foot and the truth is far more wonderful! Worse, housing has been built on the road of 1242 and 1314, within yards of where Bruce slew de Bohun. That is sacrilege. Council planners make money out of that kind of thing. Photo GB p.111.

It is entirely proper here to say such things. They are true. I would never be allowed to say them in a history journal. Historians are allowed to get away with false statements because of who they are. C.f. Cowan in the 2014 report on the Bannockburn Conference. I was excluded from his lecture reviewing my books. He suggests I was proving things in a novel on p.235. Nonsense! The novel was a reconstruction of events all proved in Bannockburn Revealed (BR) (2000), Bannockburn Proved (BP) (2005) and The Genius of Bannockburn (GB) (2012). After the reconstruction, some of these proofs were given for the sake of readers who had not read the three works of scholarship. He accused me of repetition. It was necessary to repeat arguments for I was dealing with historians who have little experience of them. Cowan is a prime example: he did not understand the Charisma- Population argument even by 2014 in his review in the Conference Report. He had not read these books, yet he was reviewing them. He had been judge of the Saltire Society's Research Award in 2005 when BP was entered. He never read it. He wanted to return it rather than keep it in the University Library at Dumfries. Quizzed on this, scarlet with shame, he replied 'Who reads everything?' A year later he published an article on Bannockburn in the Scotsman in which all the traditional mush was given yet again including the Scottish cavalry charge disproved in BR on p.254. His map had Gillies Hill south, not west, of Coxet Hill: he could not even draw the modern map. He accuses me of 'ludicrously lambasting historians,' p.238. Have I not a duty to do so?

He says I am not the first to suggest that the Scots fought on foot (ibid). That a novelist, Jane Porter did. [His citation 637, is incorrect in three editions, unfound.] I proved the Scots were all on foot in BR p.254. There is a difference and it matters! He had not even read it in BR by 2014. He does not see the point of population calculations. They are essential. The Charisma-Population argument depends on them and it is crucial. He does not understand it. Woodland in 1314 depends on it when there were so few people that woodland was not being cut and had free reign, as, in places, it still has at Bannockburn today. Population is essential in proving the existence of the Knoll: nobody made it between 1314 and 1750 for there were not the people in the area. Cowan says: 'his beefs with me, need not be detailed' p.236. His wish, and anyone can see why. Cowan did not understand the Charisma-Population argument. Nor the many proofs of many things. Why not? Because he never read them! When he was judging a competition he did not read BR and others no doubt. Why would he read them all now? That is why. It is why he says: that I 'suggested' the Scots fought on foot. He had never read BR p.254 (et prior) which proves it. He says the Mount Everest argument suggests the mountain did not exist until mentioned in the 18th century, p.236. Nothing of the kind. He rubbishes what he does not understand. What it says in GB p.43, is 'Mount Everest can be seen today and in all maps back until the first maps worthy of the name were made (c.1750 say). Without very good evidence to the contrary we are obliged to believe that Mount Everest also existed in the years before 1750 and even in 1314.' It was not created in between. The same with Gillies Hill, Coxet Hill and the Knoll which is a quarter mile by an eighth and 60 feet high. As we have seen, without the Knoll, King Edward could never have seen anything over the heads of those in front in such flat ground; additional confirmation. What he wrote in his review is manifestly incorrect: rubbish. An editor who checked it should have excised it. That editor would be glad of any dirt thrown, no matter its invalidity. [v] Criticism has to be correct and fair. Editors exist to see that it is. Of course, huge masses like the Knoll, Coxet Hill and Gillies Hill existed in 1314 because there is no evidence to the contrary and some that they did exist then, just given above. That is what the Mount Everest corrects: the tendency of historians to object that something in the past cannot be proved because it is past. You don't need to prove anything about Mount Everest existing in 1314. It is too big not to exist then and nothing happened between to cause it.

What do I intend to do about the meanness, selfishness and stupidity of the historians? I have solved everything by now. I just have to write up and publish a few papers with further insights to finish it off. If I cannot find a journal I will publish them myself, put some in libraries and give away copies by the hundred, paying the postage. That will do nicely. I set out to solve the Bannockburn Problems. I have done it. I first did it in the year 2000 in BR, to their standard. I did it to my own in BP in 2004/5 (copies of each in the National Library). I took the matter much further in GB in 2012 and I even added important insights in BGB 2013 and the Bannockburn: the Poem 2014.

I do not care a toss for the good opinion of the history community. I am too conscious of its utter failure of scholarship and decency when originality presents itself. They care about themselves. I care about the truth. They detest nothing so much as an outsider who solves their problems, success is due to dedication, effort and time spent. They prefer to continue to play games among themselves like medieval men, without ever assembling and translating the sources for analysis or making a fully justified map of the battle area at the time. They actually regret that I did it! That it is correct (and they do not know how valuable it is) and it's clear from the extent of the detail. Take it and go and look at the Dryfield and you will see that these ridges are correct. They do not want to look. They really are medieval in mind. My duty is almost complete.

There may be others like me, willing to devote themselves for years, full time, to the solution of problems that affect our nation. This solution, if it ever reaches the public will inspire the people of Scotland for ever. That much is certain. The Scots won by intelligence [Genius, indeed], leadership, courage, daring and determination. That was our finest hour. The Royal Society of Edinburgh and the others should address the question: what to do when an unknown presents unusual advances in a subject. [vi] Giving it to a historian or a bunch of historians because it is about history is a mistake. They could not solve the problems. They will have speculated about them. Their failure means they will definitely condemn the new work because it casts theirs into the shade. This history is simple. The science, straightforward. Many laymen have understood all of it. The scientists should read it themselves, not depend on the imagined decency and knowledge of historians in the group. For sure, that will be a mistake.

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


[i] I computed the population of Scotland in 1314 as about 320,000 by several independent methods in BR, BP, GB. This meant that the Charisma-Population Argument ceased to be a problem, if and only if, the Scottish army was about 25-30,000, what Barbour said it had been, some of them unfit for service. Mathematics really is useful: this makes sense at last as nothing else ever did.

[ii] Christison did not prove anything. He was right about the Carse but knew very little because his paper (11 pp.) in the Proceedings of the Antiquaries was too short, like the time he had to spend on it. My paper deserved to go there because it proved everything. That referee ought to die of shame. Probably, he is too ignorant to understand his error. He never even read my paper. It was enough for him that I was against his pal, Barrow. He was too ignorant to understand it. The General had too few sources and got one of them wrong. He had a Scottish cavalry charge and an army of 6,000, alas.

[iii] In the Conference Report 2014, Pollard has a map. For the first time he has the Scots close up to the English cavalry lines. He got this from my maps in 2000, 2005 and 2012. But, he did not understand even the idea first published in Quill in 1993 that since they were on foot, there was a reason and it meant that they all had to be very close, not just the wings. Depriving the English cavalry of space to get up speed was essential to save Scottish lives. He was confused by Lanercost who has the centre division slightly behind the wings: not after setting the pikes for the second time.

[iv] Landscapes p.130, vol 15 2014 part 2. 'analyses of the landscapes around Bannockburn were not however obtained. The thesis that rapid climatic deterioration changed the landscape…to one unsuited to English military strengths could not be tested…but the approach is not flawed. Ultimately these types of reconstruction are the only ones not capable of hyperbole. This is important.' So is the fact that nothing was achieved by 12 names, 'working' a day or two a month for a few months in 2014. How could it be? They could not even draw a map of the battle area. Is this supposed to negate the value of my books? How shameful. Any work of science would have mentioned the works associated with 'hyperbole' and shown their errors. They judged it wiser not to record my name or books in case someone read them, a procedure adopted by Barrow et al since BR published in the year 2000.

Note: I began looking at the Bannockburn battle area in 1991. A lot of building has occurred since 1999 when I was working full time at the problems. It should have been stopped in the year 2000 when BR was published and it was not. The head of planning (Councillor G. Thomson), wanted to build in the Carse and said so at the public meeting in Bannockburn H.S. reported in Stirling Observer on Feb 28th 2001. Many houses have been added since, obscuring the road, the Ford where Bruce slew de Bohun and the valley below the village of Bannockburn. My work was mainly done between 1999 and 2012 but continues today. I think it would be difficult for a beginner now to understand it from scratch. I caught it just in time. I knew at the beginning that what I was doing was important. That justified map matters! The Council, Historic Scotland, The Antiquaries, the Saltire Society and The National Trust have all failed the country. That ground should all have been protected.

One day, the Scots will want to return it to its state in 1314, which is possible. All they would say was they would 'consider my views'. They applied to historians who could not understand these were not opinion but proof, as many other able folk have seen. The historians do not know enough to understand the advances made and hate the truth because it comes from an outsider. Having titles, positions, and even salaries, they have the arrogance to feel superior but the fact is they have done nothing here at all except obstruct, confuse and hinder progress in every way. When I complained to the Saltire Society about Cowan, as judge of the Research Award in 2005/6 failing to read the book at all and showing it in an article he published a year or so later, no investigation was carried out. The complaint was dismissed by the Director. I heard no more about it. Were the copies of GB sent by me to board members read? Probably not, probably dumped. I regret none of my doings. I do not regret failing to attend Saltire meetings in Glasgow: I had my head down doing the work. I gave it everything I had. It was my duty. It was successful.

[v] The one who excluded me from the conference lecture at which my books were to be reviewed. If anyone should have been invited it was I.

[vi] I sent copies of GB to about 30 Fellows of the RSE, some directed to the head of it. There was no response. When I phoned I was given the brush off. I now see that Barrow had learned of it and had gone around in a panic that anyone would read it and see his awful errors and put them all off doing so. How did he manage it? The Fellows can work it out. But it must not happen again. Efforts like mine should not be wasted. Fellows should note this: I sent a copy to Gavin McCrone, an ex-secretary of the Society. He said he would read it and wrote a few lines of response, saying nothing at all except suggesting I send it to Oliver and Pollard. An economist like him is a mathematician or should be. Tuned in to the beauty of ideas. Yet he had nothing to say. It means he missed the C-P argument, a rare gemstone, in the class of Euclid's proof of the Infinity of primes. Why? He was a next door neighbour of Barrow whose work was demolished by it (GB).

Loyalty to his friend, dreading the exposure of all his mistakes, was more important to him than to the people of Scotland or his country or to Truth. He failed as a scholar and a patriot that day. What he was denying has the power to inspire every Scotsmen for every generation hereafter. It is right and he must know it is right. What GB says is accurate, compelling and irresistible, as many have said. Failing to see the elegance and power of the C-P is as if he was shown Euclid's proof of the infinity of primes and had nothing to say. What an intellectual crime! Why? Because for centuries, Scottish Historians have believed 6,000 Scots beat 20,000 English at Bannockburn. That is impossible. The Charisma-Population Argument is utterly compelling and decisive. The Scots had to have at least 20,000 for the population figures to make sense. How could a miraculous king like Bruce attract only 6,000 Scots to defend the country? Any Scot should have scoffed at the very idea. None did, till now.