The Battle of Bannockburn, 1314

The Battle of Bannockburn was the last major battle fought during the Wars of Independence. It took place over two days on the 23rd and 24th of June 1314.

Find out how Robert the Bruce defeated the English army at the Battle of Bannockburn.

How did Robert the Bruce win the battle?

Robert the Bruce led the Scottish army. Facing them was a much bigger English army, under the command of the English king, Edward II.

To beat them, Robert had to be clever.

Robert had organised his soldiers into large, tight formations called schiltrons.

The schiltrons looked like large hedgehogs because the men were armed with long spears and pikes.

Robert didn't rush into battle. He kept his army safe on the first day and waited for the English army to make a mistake.

Battle of Bannockburn: Key moments

Screengrab from short animation showing Stirling Castle in the background and Scottish soldiers in the foreground.

Stirling Castle

The Battle of Bannockburn near Stirling Castle - the last castle in Scotland held by English soldiers. Stirling Castle was the 'key' to central Scotland. If you controlled Stirling Castle, you controlled Scotland.

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Robert's battle plan

  • Robert hid his army in woodland to protect it from English archers
  • Robert waited till the English army crossed a stream
  • Robert's schiltrons surprised the English army by charging at them
  • The English army was trapped by the steep banks of the stream and couldn't retreat
  • Robert told men and women helpers to advance. This tricked the English into thinking he had a larger army

Robert's plan worked. The English army was caught by surprise and panicked when they thought even more Scottish soldiers were coming.

Thousands of English soldiers were killed. Only a few hundred escaped and made it home to England safely.

A modern re-enactment of a Scottish schiltron to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

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