A dreadful dearth and famine, no unfrequent accompaniment of the ravages of war, now fell severely upon the country; and Wallace, profiting by the panic inspired by his victory at Stirling, resolved upon an immediate expedition into England. To enable his own people to lay in, against the time of scarcity, the provisions which would otherwise be consumed by his numerous army, and to support his soldiers during the winter months in an enemy's country, were wise objects. Previous, however, to his marching into England, he commanded, that from every county, barony, town, and village, a certain proportion of the fighting men, between sixteen and sixty, should be levied. These levies, "however, even after so decisive a victory as that of Stirling, were tardily made.
The vassals of Scotland, tied up by the rigid fetters of the feudal law, could not join Wallace without the authority of their overlords; and as most of the Scottish nobility had left hostages for their fidelity in the hands of Edward, and many of them possessed great estates in England, which, upon joining Wallace, would have immediately been forfeited, they did not yet dare to take the field against the English. A jealousy, too, of the high military renown and great popularity of Wallace, prevented all cordial co-operation; and the contempt with which this deliverer of his country must have regarded the nobility, who yet sheltered themselves under the protection of Edward, was not calculated to allay this feeling.