The columns of infantry, however, with the intermediate companies of archers, kept their ground, and a few of the armed knights remained beside them. Amongst these, Sir John Stewart of Bonkill, in marshalling the ranks of the archers from the forest of Selkirk, was thrown from his horse. The faithful bowmen tried to rescue him, but in vain. He was slain, and the tall and athletic figures of those who fell round him drew forth the praise of the enemy.On the death of this leader, the archers gave way; but the columns of the Scottish infantry stood firm, and their oblique lances, pointing every way, presented a thick wood, through which no attacks of the cavalry could penetrate.
Edward now brought up his reserve of archers and slingers, who showered their arrows upon them, with volleys of large round stones, which covered the ground where they stood. This continued and galling attack, along with the reiterated charges of the cavalry, at last broke the first line, and the heavy-armed horse, pouring in at the gap which was thus made, threw all into confusion, and carried indiscriminate slaughter through their ranks. Macduff, along with his vassals from Fife, was slain ; and Wallace, with the remains of his army, having gained the neighbouring wood, made good his retreat, leaving nearly fifteen thousand men dead upon the field.-f- On the English side, only two men of note fell; one of them was Sir Bryan de Jaye, Master of the Scottish Templars, who, when pressing before his men in the ardour of the pursuit, was entangled in a moss in Calendar wood, and slain by some of the Scottish fugitives. The other was a companion of the same order, and of high rank.
The remains of the Scottish army immediately rotreated from Falkirk to Stirling. Unable to maintain the town against the English army, they set it on fire; and Edward, on entering it on the fourth day after the battle, found it reduced to ashes. The convent of the Dominicans, however, escaped the flames; and here the king, who still suffered from the wound given him by his horse, remained for fifteen days, to recover his health. Meantime he sent a division of his army across the Forth into Clackmannanshire and Menteith, which, after ravaging the country, and plundering the villages, advanced in its destructive march through Fife. The whole of this rich and populous district was now regarded with great severity, on account of the resistance made by Macduff and the men of Fife at Falkirk. It was accordingly delivered up to complete military execution; and, to use the words of an ancient chronicle, "clene brent."