Bruce's victory

Bruce had now defeated his enemies in Scotland and was now strong enough to hold his first official Parliament in St Andrews in March 1309 which launched a propaganda campaign justifying Bruce’s Kingship.

By 1314, Bruce had managed to recapture all of the Scottish castles from the English, apart from Stirling and Berwick.

Bruce's brother Edward was besieging Stirling Castle. The English commander of the Castle agreed to surrender the Castle by Midsummer 1314, if Edward II did not save them.

The Battle of Bannockburn 23-24 June 1314

By Midsummer, the English force led by King Edward 11 had arrived just south of Stirling:

Map showing the position of the English army and the Scottish army on the first day of the Battle of Bannockburn.
  • Bruce’s forces had arrived first however and chosen a better position.
  • Edward II sent two separate scouting parties ahead of his main force.
  • The Earl of Hereford’s party discovered Bruce inspecting his troops. Henry de Bohun, an English knight, charged at the Scottish King directly but was killed by Bruce, with a blow of his axe.
  • The rest of Bruce's men forced Hereford back to the English camp. The Earl of Moray fought back the second scouting party.
  • In the evening, Edward II moved his army and settled near Bannockburn for the night.

The following day the Scottish army took up battle formation, facing a disorganised English force. The boggy ground was difficult for the English cavalry to move on:

Map showing the position of the English army and the Scottish army on the second day of the Battle of Bannockburn.
  • The Scottish army moved forward in three separate 'schiltron' formations.
  • The English knights struggled on the marshy ground and the Scots slowly pushed them back.
  • The English archers could not attack the Scots. They were chased from the field by the Scottish cavalry.
  • The Scottish schiltrons broke through the English ranks.
  • More Scottish forces came down from Coxet Hill to help.
  • Edward II's army was forced to retreat and flee.