The Battle of Bannockburn, 1314

William Seymour describes how Robert Bruce defeated the army of Edward II in Stirlingshire and eventually secured recognition of Scottish independence.

The Scottish struggle for independence had been in progress for many years before Bannockburn. The peace with England that had flourished (with the exception of Border raids) for almost exactly one hundred years was shattered in 1296, when Edward I marched against King John Balliol.

Berwick was sacked, and after the Earl of Surrey had defeated the Scots at Dunbar, the English King progressed through Scotland, demonstrating his power by such acts as the removal to England of the Black Rood of St Margaret from Edinburgh and the Stone of Destiny from Scone. John Balliol was imprisoned in England.

Scotland was occupied; and many of the most powerful baronial families were exiled or discredited. The outlook was bleak, but from adversity painful efforts were extorted; a national uprising produced a leader worthy of the men who rallied to his banner. William Wallace raised the standard of revolt in June 1297; at first, success attended his arms. At Stirling Bridge that September, he and Andrew Murray defeated Surrey, but in the following summer Wallace was confronted at Falkirk by Edward himself at the head of an army which included a strong contingent of long-bowmen.

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