Battleground Stirling.

This evening, I am focusing on the Battle of Bannockburn which took place near Stirling in central Scotland in 1314. This event was a key watershed in preserving Scotland’s independence from England which lasted until the birth of the United Kingdom in 1707.

Since the Norman conquest of England in 1066 the Kings of England ran various campaigns and initiatives to make Scotland subservient to English over-lordship with mixed success. It is noteworthy that the two key battles occurred within a few miles of Stirling Castle because this was the ‘buckle in the belt’ of Scotland. To secure Scotland an invading army from England had to cross the plain in central Scotland which Stirling Castle dominates. In 1297 William Wallace (aka ‘Braveheart’ ) had a success against the English at nearby Stirling Bridge but this proved something of a Pyrrhic victory because Wallace was subsequently betrayed and executed in London.

Central Plain of Scotland from Stirling Castle

In June 1314 Edward II of England amassed a huge army of some 40,000 to crush the still rebellious Scots. The two armies met over two days, June 23rd and June 24th, with the latter being the main battle. The battle site was Bannock Burn. ‘Burn’ is a Scots word meaning stream. The English were poorly organised and led and with the smaller Scots force taking advantage of their superior knowledge of the local terrain. The result was a resounding victory for the Scots. Paradoxically, the current British Royal Family are descended from the Scots victor, Robert I through his daughter and the House of Stewart.

The site of the battle has been lost in the mists of time but there is a Heritage Centre and Memorial, not far from Stirling Castle, which acts a proxy for the actual battle site.

The view below is taken from the Ladies’ Lookout close to the Royal Palace at Stirling Castle.

View of Bannockburn from Stirling Castle.

Video clip of Bannockburn taken from Ladies’ Lookout at Stirling Castle.

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