Scottish Battles - The Wars of Independence.
1296 - 17th
March 1328 The
First War of Scottish
Independence began when King John Balliol of Scotland
support King Edward I of England in his French campaign. Hostilities
came to an end after thirty two years with the signing of the Treaty of
Northampton in 1328.
27th April 1296 Battle
When King John Balliol of Scotland refused to support King Edward I of
England in his French campaign, Edward marched an army on Scotland.
After capturing Berwick-upon-Tweed, he lingered for a time before
marching on Dunbar. The Scots occupied the high ground but as the
English broke ranks to cross a gulley, they abandoned their position
assuming that the enemy was dispersing. The result was that the Scots
were decimated in a single charge. Large numbers of Scottish noblemen
were subsequently taken prisoner and either executed or pardoned.
July 1297 Battle
To avenge the death of his wife, Marion Braidfoot, who had been
miserably killed by William Heselrig, the English Sheriff of Lanark,
there is a local tradition that William Wallace and his guerilla forces
won a significant victory over the English on the outskirts of the
Lanarkshire town of Biggar.
11th September 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge
William Wallace, Aberdeen, William Grant Stevenson (1849–1919). Bronze
Having been victorious at Dunbar a year earlier, Edward I's commanders
John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey, and Hugh de Cressingham, seriously
underestimated the determination of the Scots to be free from English
domination. The bridge at Stirling was only wide enough to allow two
horsemen to cross side-by-side, and the Scottish leaders William
Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray allowed the English army to cross the
bridge, thus creating a bottleneck, before attacking. As a consequence,
the English were massacred and Surrey retreated to Berwick.
One tragic outcome was that Sir Andrew Moray was killed in the
fighting. Soon afterwards, Wallace was knighted by the nobles of
Scotland and appointed Guardian of Scotland. The site where the battle
took place is upstream from today's Stirling Bridge.
22nd July 1298 Battle
Incensed by the news of his army's defeat at the Battle of Stirling
Bridge, Edward I of England, who had been preoccupied fighting the
French in Flanders, returned home to march on Scotland. After
various set-backs en route, Edward discovered that the Scots were at
Callendar, close to Stirling, and seized the initiative. It was the
efficiency of the English longbows against the Scottish spear men which
won the day, and it is estimated that over 2,000 Scots were killed.
Nevertheless, the English army which numbered almost twice that of the
Scots force suffered a similar number of casualties.
With a large number of the survivors having deserted the cause, Sir
William Wallace resigned as Guardian of Scotland.
24th February 1303 Battle of Roslin Glen
This was a victory against the occupying forces of Edward I of England
and although of considerable significance, does not have the
pre-eminence it surely deserves, possibly because it did not involve
particularly large numbers.
An English force under Sir John Segrave was marching north from
Northumberland, supposedly towards Linlithgow, when they were surprised
by a contingent of Scots led by John Comyn and Simon Fraser beside
Roslin Glen on the outskirts of Edinburgh. During the confusion, the
English army was divided into three, so that there were, in effect,
three confrontations. It was an overall victory for the Scots and it
was said afterwards that the waters of the River North Esk ran red with
Circa February 1304 Battle of Happrew
Men under Sir William Wallace and Sir Simon Fraser were defeated by
soldiers led by Sir John Segrave near Peebles. The following year,
Wallace was captured at Robroyston, near Glasgow. He was taken to
London and executed.
19th June 1306 Battle
the Bruce at the borestone, Bannockburn, Stirling. Charles d'Orville
Pilkington Jackson (1887-1973). Bronze statue, 1964
Although implicated in the murder of his cousin John Comyn at the
Church of the Greyfriars in Dumfries, Robert the Bruce was nevertheless
inaugurated as King of Scots in the following month at Scone. So far as
Edward I of England was concerned, this was an outrage, and he
appointed Aymer de Valence, Comyn's brother-in-law, to give no quarter
to Bruce or his followers. Valence and the Comyn faction therefore
based themselves in Perth. Bruce's soldiers were quartered
nearby at Methven, but were surprised during the night and were all but
destroyed. Bruce escaped, but after this he abandoned knightly chivalry
and resorted to Wallace's more ruthless guerilla tactics.
11th August 1306
Battle of Dalry (sometimes known
as Battle of Dalrigh or
Having gone on the run and retreating west from their defeat at
Methven, King Robert's supporters were confronted near Tyndrum in
Argyll by the MacDougalls of Argyll, who were related to the Comyn
Family. Tired and demoralised, the King's men who had survived the
earlier battle were once again routed, but Bruce managed to escape.
April 1307 Battle
of Glen Trool
This was a minor skirmish, but nevertheless a victory for the Scots.
King Robert had been a fugitive for several months, but in the spring
of 1307 re-appeared in Galloway with a force of Highlanders. After a
raid on an English encampment on Clatteringshaws Loch, Aymer de Valence
was advised that Bruce was to be found at the head of Glen Trool in
today’s Galloway Forest Park. He sent his cavalry commander John
Mowbray off to capture him, but Mowbray's men were ambushed and driven
back and Bruce and his men disappeared into the surrounding countryside.
Scottish Battles (continued)