The Battle of Bannockburn

January 1, 2016

 

The Battle of Bannockburn  (24 June 1314) was a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence, and a landmark in Scottish history.

Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress, occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. The English king, Edward II, assembled a formidable force to relieve it. This attempt failed, and his army was defeated in a pitched battle by a smaller army commanded by the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce.

 

 

 

English retreat

 

Edward fled with his personal bodyguard, ending the remaining order in the army; panic spread and defeat turned into a rout. He arrived eventually at Dunbar Castle, from which he took ship to Berwick. From the carnage of Bannockburn, the rest of the army tried to escape to the safety of the English border, ninety miles to the south. Many were killed by the pursuing Scottish army or by the inhabitants of the countryside that they passed through. Historian Peter Reese says that, "only one sizeable group of men—all footsoldiers—made good their escape to England." 

These were a force of Welsh spearmen who were kept together by their commander, Sir Maurice de Berkeley, and the majority of them reached Carlisle.

Weighing up the available evidence, Reese concludes that "it seems doubtful if even a third of the footsoldiers returned to England." Out of 16,000 infantrymen, this would give a total of about 11,000 killed. The English chronicler Thomas Walsingham gave the number of English men-at-arms who were killed as 700, while 500 more men-at-arms were spared for ransom. 

 

The Scottish losses appear to have been comparatively light, with only two knights among those killed.

 

Aftermath

 

The defeat of the English opened up the north of England to Scottish raids[10] and allowed the Scottish invasion of Ireland.[24] These finally led, after the failure of the Declaration of Arbroath to reach this end by diplomatic means, to the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton.[24] It was not until 1332 that the Second War of Scottish Independence began with the Battle of Dupplin Moor, followed by the Battle of Halidon Hill (1333) which were won by the English.

 

Notable casualties

 
Deaths
  • Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester

  • Sir Giles d'Argentan

  • John Lovel, 2nd Baron Lovel

  • John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch

  • Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford

  • Sir Henry de Bohun

  • William le Marshal, Marshal of Ireland

  • Edmund de Mauley, King's Steward

  • Sir Robert de Felton of Litcham, 1st Lord

Captives
  • Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford

  • John Segrave, 2nd Baron Segrave

  • Maurice de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley

  • Thomas de Berkeley

  • Sir Marmaduke Tweng

  • Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer

  • Robert de Umfraville, Earl of Angus

  • Sir Anthony de Luci

  • Sir Ingram de Umfraville

  • Sir John Maltravers, 1st Baron Maltravers

  • Sir Thomas de Grey of Heaton

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