Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Coronation Stone

His wife being dead, Edward now married the sister of the French king, and promised that Edward Carnarvon, the Prince of Wales, should marry a daughter of the same monarch. In all these years Edward had never lost sight of his principal ambition, to annex Scotland, and when the Scotch king died, a few years before, he had tried to make a match between his son and the baby queen of that realm. This little creature was called the Maid of Norway, because she had gone to live in that country; but on her way back to Scotland to be crowned, she was taken ill, and died on the Orkney Islands.

Thirteen different members of the royal family claimed the vacant throne of the Maid of Norway. Bruce and Baliol were the only ones who had any real right to succeed her, but as the Scotch could not decide which of the two should reign, they asked Edward to act as umpire and settle the matter.

After some consideration, Edward decided in favour of Baliol, but let him have the crown only on condition that Baliol should do homage to him for Scotland. The new Scotch king soon regretted having yielded to this demand, for several times, for mere trifles, Edward made him come to London to give an account of himself.

Annoyed by this interference, Baliol soon began to plot, and, helped by the Scots, who did not like to see their sovereign the vassal of an English king, he invaded England four years after he had been crowned at Scone. Edward made use of this attack as an excuse to make war against Scotland, and after defeating Baliol at Dunbar, brought him a prisoner to London.

The Coronation Chair


All Scotland was soon reduced to obedience and annexed to England. Its great seal was broken, and its famous coronation stone was carried away to Westminster Abbey and placed in the seat of a throne. The loss of this stone was a great sorrow to the Scots. They said it was the stone that Jacob had used for a pillow when he dreamed that he saw the angels of God ascending and descending a wonderful ladder which reached from heaven to earth. Besides that, there was an ancient prophecy which said:

"Should fate not fail, where'er this stone be found,

The Scot shall monarch of that realm be crowned."

The Scots, who had always been independent, were not satisfied to send members to the new English Parliament; so one of their patriot princes, the heroic William Wallace, called them to help him free their country.

After defeating the English forces at Stirling Bridge, and ravaging the northern provinces of England, Wallace was named Guardian of Scotland. But, one year after his first victory, he was defeated by Edward at the battle of Falkirk, and Scotland was again forced to yield. During the next few years Wallace dwelt in the mountains and waged an incessant petty war against the English; but he was finally betrayed into their hands.

Then he was taken to London, tried, and condemned to death for treason. He was drawn and quartered in the most barbarous way, and his head was set up on London Bridge. Yet, although he was dead, the Scots did not forget him; and when they heard how cruelly he had been treated, they rallied once more to fight the English.

Trial of Sir William Wallace.


Robert Bruce, a grandson of the Bruce who had disputed the throne with Baliol, was then a hostage at Edward's court. One day he received a purse of gold and a pair of spurs—a message which he readily understood; and, biding his time, he escaped on a fast horse whose shoes had been reversed so that he should not be tracked.

When Bruce arrived in Scotland, he met his ally Comyn, the son-in-law of Baliol, in a church. There they quarrelled, and Bruce, drawing his dagger, struck Comyn down, and then rushed out and told his followers what he had done. They cried that Comyn was a traitor, and went into the building, where they stabbed him again and again to make sure he should not escape. Bruce was crowned in 1306, and the Scots promptly rallied around him. But in spite of all his valour, and the devotion of his subjects, the English defeated him and forced him to flee to Ireland.

After this victory Edward showed himself very cruel to the Scots, whom he treated as rebels; and when they persisted in rebellion, under Bruce's untiring leadership, he was very angry. Although already so ill that he had to be carried in a horse-litter, he would not rest until he had seen his orders carried out. But when he reached Carlisle, feeling that his end was near, he called his son to his bedside, bade him never rest until all Scotland was conquered, and asked that his body be carried ahead of the army which he had hoped to lead himself. Thus died Edward I., who, although brave and clever, was a very cruel king. He reigned thirty-five years, and was succeeded by his son Edward, the first Prince of Wales (1307).