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BANNOCKBURN, FK7 0LJ

GETTING THERE

Postcode: FK7 0LJ

Lat/Long:  56.0933N 3.9378W

Notes:  The visitor centre is well sign-posted and has ample parking and is just a short walk from the battlefield itself.

WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?

The bulk of the battle site has been buried under modern housing however a monument has been erected and the National Trust for Scotland has an impressive museum/display at the site. Visitors can clearly see Stirling Castle in the distance; a reminder to all what Edward was trying to achieve being his rout.

VISIT BATTLEFIELDS TRUST SITE (Opens in new window)

Battlefield display run by the National Trust for Scotland.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

1. Following his defeat Edward II was refused entry into Stirling Castle by the English Governor who didn’t want to see the King fall into Scottish hands. Edward rode furiously for Dunbar where he escaped by ship leaving his horses abandoned at the gates of the castle.



View Battle of Bannockburn (1314) in a larger map
BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN (1314)

While attempting to lift a siege of Stirling Castle, English forces fought and lost a pitched battle against Robert the Bruce. At the Battle of Bannockburn Scotland ensured its independence from England and fatally undermined the Government of Edward II.

HISTORY OF BANNOCKBURN


Following the death of the warrior King Edward I, English fortunes in Scotland had changed significantly; by 1313 Stirling Castle was one of just two (the other being Berwick-upon-Tweed) left in English hands. After a protracted siege the castle’s governor agreed to surrender if not relieved by Midsummer 1314. Edward II answered this challenge; by May 1314 he marched north from Berwick-upon-Tweed with an army of between 12-13,000 soldiers and by 22 June 1314 he had reached Falkirk. Robert deployed his troops 2km to the south west of Stirling Castle where the road passed through woodland of the New Park forcing the English to either take the marshy route, in vicinity of the Bannock burn, or to by-pass the wood to proceed though; in either case the English advantage in heavy cavalry would be neutralised.


The battle commenced when the lead elements of the English vanguard, under the Earl of Bohun, followed the road into the woodland and were ambushed by the Scots; Bohun was killed and his troops were surrounded. Concurrently the cavalry element of the English vanguard, under the control of the Earl of Gloucester, skirted the wood to prevent a Scottish withdrawal. They were engaged by the Scottish commander, the Earl of Moray, who left the wood and fought a sharp action defeating the English men-at-arms. The main English army, having seen the engagement of the vanguard, had bypassed the woodland into the marshy plain in vicinity of the Bannock burn. They camped overnight in a deep, wet marsh remaining in arms as a Scottish ambush was expected.   


No overnight attack was made on the main body of the English and the next morning Edward deployed his forces ready for battle which the Scottish answered; Bruce deployed his men in three tightly packed formations (schiltrons) of spearmen. The English commenced the fighting with an attack by archers on the shiltrons who had been brought to the front of their force rather than the flanks due to the narrowness of the field. Bruce ordering a charge by his small cavalry force to attack the archers which in turn prompted a counter charge by the larger, heavier English cavalry who now attacked the still intact shiltrons. The English cavalry charge was broken and the rout started; as the Scottish schiltrons advanced the English fell back to the ditch of the Bannock burn where they were cut down. The English army as an organised fighting force has ceased to exist.

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