The official ceremony got under
way with "Sweet Rothesay Bay" on the pipes to set the tone, after which
local councillor Robert Maclntyre welcomed everyone from far and near
including those from Falkirk members of the Society of William Wallace
and also Harry and Diane McAlister from Seattle, USA.
In Honour of the
"Men of Bute"
who, under the command of
Sir John Stewart,
fell to a man
at the Battle of Falkirk, 22nd July 1298.
You fought for
Wallace on Falkirk's field
John Stewart's men with sword and shiled
But o'erpow'rd, thus! Your fate was sealed
For freedom fell.
Councillor Maclntyre then went on
to praise the memory of Sir John Stewart and his gallant men from the
lands of Bute, who fell to a man at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. He
gave thanks also to the Men of Bute Commemoration Group, remembering
Lexie Montgomery who had died earlier in the year.
Piper Ross Hunter played "The
Battle of Falkirk 1298" before guest speaker for the day, Ian Scott of
the Falkirk Local History Society gave the address; telling how the Men
of Bute had journeyed to Falkirk to join William Wallace and others in
fighting against King Edward and his invading English army. Ian Scott
paid tribute to the courage, duty and loyalty of Sir John Stewart and
his men. He reminded us that they could have retreated from the
battlefield as others had done, but chose instead to stand to a man to
protect their country and leader.
Mrs Aileen Samuel and her
granddaughter Marcella then unveiled the memorial stone to rapturous
applause from the crowd of onlookers who numbered just over 200.
Councillor Isobel Strong presented Mrs Samuel with a bouquet of flowers
and following this, several wreaths were laid including those from the
people of Bute, Knights Templars, the Society of William Wallace and
Argyll & Bute District Council. Personal floral tributes were also laid.
The Rev lain Goring dedicated the Memorial Stone followed by "The
Flowers o the Forest" lament and a minute’s silence. Robert Maclntyre
gave his closing remarks before inviting Canon lain MacMaster to offer a
short prayer in Latin and, finally, a Gaelic blessing.
Proceedings were brought to an end
with "ScotsWha Hae", sung by stonemason Andrew Wilson and his wife Mabel
with the assembled crowd joining in. Before going off to the adjoining
bistro in the Discovery Centre to celebrate, many photographs were taken
of the Memorial and its inscription.
Alastair McMillan whose verse appears on the
plaque, toasted the memory of William Wallace, Sir John Stewart and the
Men of Bute before christening the Stone with the remainder of the
LAMENT OF WALLACE AFTER
THE BATTLE OF FALKIRK
Thou dark-winding Carron,
once pleasing to see,
To me thou canst never give pleasure again;
My brave Caledonians lie low on the lee,
And thy streams are deep ting'd with the blood of the slain.
Ah! Base-hearted treach'ry
has doom'd our undoing,
My poor bleeding country, what more can I do?
E'en valour looks pale o'er the red field of ruin,
And freedom beholds her best warriors laid low.
Farewell ye dear partners of
Though buried ye lie in one wide bloody grave,
Your deeds shall enoble the place where ye fell,
And your names be enrolled with the sons of the brave.
But I, a poor outcast, in
exile must wander,
Perhaps, like a traitor, ignobly must die!
On thy wrongs, O my country! Indignant I ponder;
Ah! woe to the hour when they Wallace must fly.
Robert Tannahill (1744 -
Sadly, the Rev Ronnie Samuel,
whose wife Aileen unveiled the stone, died shortly before Christmas. The
remaining Men of Bute Commemoration Group are grateful to Lexie and
Ronnie for their enthusiasm and support shown in this project.
We now continue with an
educational programme to include distribution of 5,000 leaflets
throughout Argyll & Bute region. We also hope to put forward an annual
prize aimed at secondary school children on Bute, to promote and enhance
their awareness of the gallant Men of Bute and their part in the Battle
of Falkirk 1298.