| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
EDWARD I.—THE HAMMER OF THE SCOTS
 WHEN Edward had joined Wales to England, he longed more than
ever to gain possession of Scotland. It seemed, too, as if
he might succeed in doing this, for the King of Scotland
died, and the heir to the throne was a little princess
called the Maid of Norway.
Edward I. arranged with the people of Scotland that this
princess should marry his son Edward, Prince of Wales, and
in that way England and Scotland would be peaceably joined
together. But unfortunately, on her way from Norway to claim
the crown of Scotland, the princess died. So Edward's hopes
of joining the two countries together in that way were at an
After the death of the Maid of Norway, twelve Scottish
nobles claimed the crown, and, as they could not agree as
to who had really the best right to it, they asked Edward,
who was known to be a wise and just man, to settle the
Edward said that a man called John Balliol had the best
right to the crown of Scotland, and John was accordingly
crowned at Scone, the town where all the kings of Scotland
But before Edward said that John was the real heir, he made
him promise to own the King of England as over-lord.
Edward had no right to demand this homage, and
 John Balliol
had no right to give it. But John did give it. Perhaps he
thought, if he did not, Edward would choose some one else.
The Scots had always been a warlike people, and, ever since
the days of the Romans, they had fought with the people in
the south part of the island, and had tried to take away
part of their land. At last it had been agreed between the
kings of England and Scotland that the Scots should be
allowed to keep part of the north of England, on condition
that they did homage for that part, just as the Norman kings
of England did homage to the King of France for Normandy and
their other French possessions. But the King of England had
no more right over Scotland than the King of France had over
The people of Scotland were very far from agreeing to John
Balliol's bargain with Edward, and in less than a year
quarrels began, and war followed. Edward marched into
Scotland with a great army, and although the Scots were in
the right and fighting for their freedom, Edward was the
stronger, and the Scots were defeated.
Edward, thinking he had conquered the Scots, went back to
England, taking with him the crown and sceptre of Scotland,
and also the "Stone of Destiny" on which the Scottish kings
sat when they were crowned. This stone was supposed to be
the very stone which Jacob used as a pillow when he slept in
the wilderness and saw the vision of the ladder up to
heaven, with the angels going up and down upon it. The Scots
prized this stone very highly, and it had been prophesied
that wherever it was, there the kings of Scotland would be
"Unless the fates are faithless found,
And prophet's voice be vain,
Where'er this monument is found,
The Scottish race shall reign."
 Edward took the Stone of Destiny to Westminster, and there
it remains to this day, and it is always used when the kings
of Britain are crowned.
Besides taking these treasures away, Edward caused many of
the old Scottish records to be destroyed, hoping in that way
to make the people forget their freedom. But all this only
made the Scots more determined not to submit to the King of
England. Their weak king, John Balliol, had been driven from
the throne, but other brave leaders arose, and wars between
England and Scotland continued until Edward died in 1307 A.D.
Edward died while on his way to fight once more against
Scotland. He was within sight of its blue mountains, and he
died knowing that its people were still free, and that his
dearest wish was not fulfilled. The disappointed king begged
his son to go on with the war, to carry his bones with the
army, and bury his heart in Scotland.
But Edward II. did not do as his father wished. He turned
back to London, and Edward I. lies buried in Westminster,
where you may still see his grave with these lines upon it
in Latin: "Here lies Edward I., the Hammer of the Scots,
1308. Keep troth."
Edward I. has many names: Edward of Westminster, because he
was born there; Edward Longshanks, because he was very tall
and his legs were long and thin; Edward, the Hammer of
Scots, because of the many battles he fought with them; but
the name by which it is best to remember him is Edward, the
Lawgiver. He earned this name by the many wise laws which he
made. Although his people were not always pleased with these
laws at first, they generally came to see that they were
just and good.
Edward was a great soldier and a valiant knight, but
 it was
because he loved England and made good laws, because he was
a true man and kept his word, that his people loved him, and
mourned for him when he died.
"All that are of heart true,
A while hearken to my song
Of douleur that death hath dealt us new
That maketh me sigh and sorrow among;
Of a knight that was so strong
Of whom God hath done His will:
Methinks that death hath done us wrong
That he so soon shall lie still.
"All England ought to know
Of whom that song is that I sing;
Of Edward, king that lieth so low,
Though all the world his name did spring
Truest man in everything,
And in war wary and wise
For him we ought our hands to wring,
Of Christendom he bare the prize.
"Now is Edward of Caernarvon
King of England in his right,
God never let him be worse man
Than his father, not less of might.
To hold his poor man to right,
And understand good council,
All England to rule and direct
Of good knights there need not him fail.
"Though my tongue were made of steel,
And my heart smote out of brass,
The goodness might I never tell
That with King Edward was.
King, as thou art called conqueror,
In each battle thou hadest the prize;
God bring thy soul to the honour
That ever was and ever is
That lasteth aye without end,
Pray we God and our Lady
To that bliss Jesus us send."
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