In such days of harsh brutality and constant warfare as the 14th Century, it was expedient for many churchmen – bishops, priests, friars and monks alike, to be attached to the warring armies. Robert the Bruce benefited greatly from having he highest possible ranking churchmen William Lambert and Bernard de Linton at his side.
Lower down the ranking, however, it was inconceivable that invasive warfare could be conducted within sight and sound of cloisters and abbeys, without those whose lives were devoted to peace and worship taking up arms in defence of their flock and way of life.
Their place and effect in battle, however, was limited and it was the custom for those armed clerics to stand off from the heat of battle and allow those more dressed and trained for the occasion to do their bit, joining the conflict only when it was clear their help was needed.
So it was for the Monks of Cambuskenneth, many of whom gathered with William Lamberton on the Tor Wood Hill to watch the battle unfold below on the field of Bannockburn. Only when it appeared that the Scots were beginning to wane against such oppressive odds, it was Lamberton who led the charge downhill – a rag-tag army of famers, cooks, men and women in service and monks, waving knives and swords, cooking ladles and poles, with blankets and sheets for banners. At distance, they appeared to both armies as reinforcements and in that moment, the course of battle was changed.