The Battle of Falkirk, 1298

King Edward I of England's army was defeated by William Wallace and Andrew Murray at Stirling Bridge in 1297, Edward was determined to beat the Scots at the Battle of Falkirk on 22 July, 1298.

Find out about the Battle of Falkirk

Why did William Wallace lose the battle?

Wallace had beaten a larger English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. So why did he lose this time?

At Stirling, Wallace had placed his soldiers in large, tightly-packed groups called schiltrons.

The men had been armed with long pikes and the groups looked like hedgehogs and the English knights couldn't fight their way past them

At Falkirk Edward I had learned his lesson.

Rather than fighting the schiltrons close up with knights on horses, he used archers armed with longbows to attack them from a safe distance.

The Scottish archers used much smaller bows that could only be used close up. This gave the English archers a big advantage.

Battle of Falkirk: Key moments

Illustration of the battlefield at Falkirk

Outnumbered

The two armies met at Falkirk on 22 July 1298. The Scottish army was led by William Wallace and had 6,000 men. The English army had 15,000 men and was led by King Edward I.

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Longbow facts

  • Longbows could be six-feet long
  • They could be taller than the men that used them
  • They had great range - more than twice the length of a football pitch!
  • The arrows they fired could pierce armour

The Scottish soldiers didn't stand a chance!

A modern recreation of archers using medieval longbows

Battle map

Click on the interactive to see how the two sides lined up on the battlefield: