From the graphic eye-witness pictures of the conflicts around the world today, one can only imagine what it was like for the peaceful land workers of Stirling who found themselves in the path of the vast, rampaging enemy as it swept through their lands, taking what food and livestock they chose - and worse.
Just like so many of the oppressed today, they made their choice and picked up whatever weapon of improvisation they could find to defy the oppressor. Sadly, the swing of a club or wood axe had an effect similar to that of firing a gun at a tank.
Instead, the “sma’ folk” from every quarter, gathered on the hill above the battle, under the Bruce’s most trusted ‘general’ – the warring, Bishop William Lamberton.
Who could have foretold that they were about to be a part of folklore that stirs the imagination to this day? The same story is told in too many different ways to be other than the truth – that, on the second day of battle, at the moment when the Scots were beginning to waver under the colossal pressure of enemy numbers, Lamberton and the army of “sma’ Folk” charged down the hill onto the English hordes and helped turn the tide.
What the English generals saw was what they thought were reinforcements but there was another element which will have chilled their souls: along with this rag-tag army of foot soldiers was a contingent of Knights Templar. Exiled and hunted down in their own lands, they had fled to Scotland where they favoured the banner of Bruce.
To that point, as Christians and in light of Edward II being head of the Holy Church. they has stayed their hand at Bannockburn. However, when they foresaw only success for the unwelcome Oppressor – they threw their lot in with the Scots. The attack smashed through the ranks of King Edward's infantry and cavalry. 500 Scottish knights led by Sir Robert Keith followed into the breach and the tide of history had once more turned on it own predictions.