Sir Thomas Maule: Hero of the Castle

Sir Thomas Maule: Hero of the Castle King Edward now considered that Scotland was his: there was no longer a puppet king and Scotland became merely a part of England, 'the land of the Scots' as he chose to determine it, governed directly by him. The English armies of occupation, however, met with immediate resistance. Eventually the great patriots William Wallace, in the central belt, and Andrew de Moray, in the north, emerged as the leaders of the uprisings. In 1297 Wallace led his army north via Brechin - where he probably captured the castle - to join forces with Moray. Under their joint command, the Scots army marched south to inflict a crushing defeat on an English force under Earl of Surrey at Stirling Bridge in 1297. Within the year, however, Edward, 'The Hammer of the Scots', lived up to his pseudonym by crushing the Scots at Falkirk.

The English were again to be disappointed in believing that the Scots were conquered: insurrections continued and Edward felt it necessary to invade in 1300 and again in 1301. It was in 1303 that he made his most comprehensive invasion knowing that he had to conquer the entire country not just the south, but also in the knowledge that now there was little threat from France to hinder him. He made rapid progress meeting with little resistance and using prefabricated pontoon bridges to enable his 7,000 or more soldiers to cross the Forth. The only serious opposition to the English advance was met at Stirling and Brechin.

Sir Thomas Maule held Brechin Castle in the face of a large English army of war-experienced troops and siege weapons including the fearsome 'Warwolf' which could hurtle massive stones with considerable velocity. Sir Thomas refused to surrender impressing even the enemy with his courage and audacity. Matthew of Westminster remarked how he so inspired his men and mocked the enemy by leisurely walking the battlements 'dusting' with a piece of cloth where they had been damaged by the missiles. While his daring had been morale boosting for his men, it was more than commensurately demoralizing when he was struck by one of the missiles. Mortally injured, he urged his men not to yield but his exhortations were ignored and capitulation followed swiftly on his death. Nevertheless, the garrison had held against the English for some twenty days.

© Copyright Brian Mitchell 2000

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The Battle of Mons Graupius.
Centre of Religion
Hugh de Brechin: The Amorous Priest
Royal Connection: Henry de Brechin
Battle of Stracathro
Brechin and the Scottish Wars of Independence
Sir Thomas Maule: Hero of the Castle
Treason at Brechin
Walter Stewart, Lord of Brechin