Planners dig in over homes at Edward I's eve-of-battle camp

THE former Scottish campsite of Edward I and his English Army is set to be the site of a major archeological excavation.

King Edward's soldiers stayed at Kirkliston on the eve of the Battle of Falkirk, where they crushed the Scottish rebellion of William Wallace

The site, which was later home to the famous Kirkliston Distillery, is now the subject of plans to build more than 100 houses.

Owner Scotmalt wants to transform the historic buildings into a modern development, complete with a village green.

But while the city council's planning department is set to grant the application, it is insisting a full-scale excavation is carried out first to assess the importance of any archeological relics remaining there.

Under the development, the historic Still House and Malt Kiln buildings would be retained, with 103 flats created in the surrounding area.

While there has never been an archeological investigation of the site before, it is believed it will cover the encampment of Edward's army, which was there in 1298.

Better known as Longshanks, the tyrannical king's reign was known for the bloody wars he waged on Wales and Scotland.

These included the temporary submission of Scotland and the insurrection of William Wallace.

In 1298, a year after Wallace had begun reclaiming Scottish lands and burning English encampments, Edward brought an army of more than 25,000 troops to Kirkliston, on his way to crushing the Scottish rebellion at Falkirk.

Nearby streets have previously uncovered evidence of the campsite.

Joe Henderson, chairman of the Kirkliston Community Council, said: "We would welcome this development as it will fill a site which many of us long feared would become rundown and rat infested. The history of the area is well documented, but it would certainly be interesting to see if more information about Edward's encampment could be uncovered. It would be very difficult as it was such a long time ago, but there have been a few small excavations around the edges of the site.

"The distillery as well was of huge historical importance to the area, so while we support this development I am glad the council want the area examined closely."

City planning chief Alan Henderson said: "The site is currently occupied by a range of brick and some industrial buildings, previously used as a malt extract factory, which are now vacant.

"The site is of archeological importance. A condition is recommended to secure the implementation of a programme of archeological work."

The council's planning committee is expected to grant the application at a meeting tomorrow.

THE FACTS

THE eldest son of King Henry III, Edward I suffered a harsh upbringing and as a young commander he was defeated in Wales by the Prince of Gwynedd during the civil war of 1264.

After his father's death in November 1272, King Edward returned to Wales to crush the armies that had defeated him.

He successfully invaded in 1277. In Scotland, however, he was less successful. The weak king John de Balliol whom he placed on the throne in 1292, proved his undoing.

Balliol allied with France in 1295, forcing Edward to invade.

He conquered Scotland, but faced bloody revolts led by William Wallace until he captured Stirling, and a year later he executed Wallace as a traitor in 1304.

But just when Scotland seemed stable, Robert the Bruce rebelled again and was crowned king in 1306.

 

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