The Battle of Dunbar, 1296

King John Balliol defied King Edward I of England by not helping him in his war against the French. The English king invaded Scotland to make King John pay for standing up to him.

Find out about the Battle of Dunbar - the battle that started the Wars of Independence

What happened at the Battle of Dunbar?

In 1296 Edward I invaded Scotland. King John Balliol had signed a treaty with France, Edward's enemy. Edward thought this was disloyal. The Scottish and English armies fought at Dunbar.

The battle ended with one cavalry charge. The Scottish army was beaten and forced to run.

Most of them escaped but around 100 Scottish knights were captured and held prisoner in England.

One of these prisoners was Andrew Murray - who would later escape and beat Edward's army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge

What happened after the battle?

With no army to protect him, King John surrendered.

Edward ripped the royal insignia from his tunic. He removed the Stone of Destiny, the stone on which Scottish kings were crowned, from Scotland to stop the Scottish lords making another king. Balliol was made a prisoner in England.

Edward didn't have all his own way for too long, though. A man called William Wallace was planning to fight back...

Battle of Dunbar: Key moments

Illustration of Scottish cavalry at the Battle of Dunbar, 1296


The Battle of Dunbar was mostly fought by cavalry - knights on horses.

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