The Battle of Stirling Bridge, 1297

Clever tactics helped a small Scottish army led by William Wallace and Andrew Murray defeated a much larger English army in Stirling on 11 September, 1297.

Find out about the Battle of Stirling Bridge

How did William Wallace beat the English army?

The English army was far larger than the Scottish forces, so Wallace and the other Scottish leader, Andrew Murray, had to be cleverer.

The two armies were on opposite sides of the River Forth. The English could only reach the Scots by crossing a very narrow wooden bridge. On the other side of the bridge the Scots were waiting.

How Wallace and Murray used the land

  • They let some of the English army cross the bridge and then attacked
  • They trapped the English soldiers against the bend of the river
  • The rest of the English army couldn't get over the bridge to help
  • The bridge was too crowded for the English soldiers to escape over

Battle of Stirling Bridge: Key moments

Illustration of the wooden bridge outside Stirling Castle

The River Forth

The English and Scottish forces were on either side of the River Forth. To reach the Scottish army, the English knights had to cross a narrow wooden bridge.

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What happened after the battle?

The battle was a great victory but it came at a cost.

Andrew Murray, Wallace's co-commander, was badly injured in the battle and died soon after.

King Edward I was furious at losing. He took personal control of an English army and marched north to find and beat Wallace.

The next year, Wallace and Edward would meet at the Battle of Falkirk.

The view over the site of the Battle of Stirling from Stirling Castle