Continued Scottish resistance

Falkirk was a crushing defeat for the Scottish Army. Although William Wallace managed to escape the battle his reputation was destroyed, especially in the eyes of the nobility. The difficult political situation meant that he had to resign as Guardian.

Scottish resistance continued without Wallace as its leader. Despite their dislike of each other, Robert Bruce and John Comyn became the new Guardians of Scotland.

Wallace continued to play an active part, for instance travelling to Europe in 1299 to promote support for the Scots against Edward I.

The English occupation proved unstable in Scotland, with Edward I focusing much of his attention towards activities in France.

Between 1300 and 1302, there were rumours of King John returning to Scotland. He had been released into French custody by the English and some thought that he would come to Scotland with a French army.

This unsettled Bruce. He saw John's return as a threat to his own ambition to become King of Scotland. Bruce resigned the Guardianship of Scotland in 1300. He switched his support to Edward I in 1302. Comyn continued to lead Scottish resistance, with the aid of John Soules.

In the early 14th century Edward I focused more attention on Scotland. At first his success was limited. The Scots were unwilling to face Edward I's forces in open battle, opting instead for hit and run tactics.

Support for the Scottish cause had started to fall away before it was dealt a serious blow. After falling out with the King of France, the Pope shifted his support to Edward I. He wrote to the Scottish bishops blaming them for continuing the war. With the Papacy on his side, Edward I was in an increasingly strong position.

Edward I gathered a force and invaded Scotland in 1303. The English army crossed the River Forth for the first time. They remained in Fife, the power base of the Comyn family.

By the summer of 1304, Stirling had again fallen to the English. The Scottish nobles sued for peace. Edward I treated most of the surrendering nobles favourably, giving them roles in government and returning their lands.

However, Scotland ceased to be an independent kingdom and Wallace was not permitted to surrender.