THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN 1314
1314 will be ingrained in the minds and souls of every scot for all time as a turning point in Scotlands chaotic history and continuing to inspire us that no matter the odds you can succeed against the odds..
On the 23rd of June 1314 the English army commanded by King Edward II arrives at Bannockburn to relieve the English Garrison at Stirling Castle
King Robert having fewer numbers and less skilled fighters had perfected a new style of combat using Strategy and tactics rather than overwhelming numbers.
Having arrived earlier Bruce surveyed the land and selected the Battlefield to benefit Bruce’s own men
They fortified their positions by creating ditches to curtail the use of a heavy calvary charge and instead bottle neck them to all the scots Schiltroms the advantage
Most medieval battles were short lasting only a few hours Bannockburn was a big exception as it lasted two days overall
On the first day of Battle
two English cavalry formations advanced. The first was commanded by the Earl of Gloucester and by the Earl of Hereford They encountered a body of Scots led by Robert the Bruce. Bruce and Henry de Bohun, nephew of the Earl of Hereford, faced off in what became a celebrated instance of single combat.
Bohun like many English didn’t like being in Scotland and wished the situation would be dealt with quickly allowing him to return home to his blessed lifestyle as a young Jousting star sitting upon his spied the Bruce talking his men seeing his chance to end this quickly he charged at Bruce.
Little did De Bohun know the Bruce was also a skilled jouster and, when the two passed side by side, Bruce split Bohun’s head with his axe
It is said the upon returning to his own men bruce stated
“Did you see the men… The bastard broke my favourite axe”
as he held up the broken shaft of his axe the head of which either remained lodged in De Bohun’s skull or left upon the battle field
The second English cavalry force was commanded by Robert Clifford and Henry de Beaumont. Their forces included Sir Thomas de Grey of Heaton, father of the chronicler Thomas Grey. The younger Grey described the battle:
Robert Lord de Clifford and Henry de Beaumont, with three hundred men-at-arms, made a circuit upon the other side of the wood towards the castle, keeping the open ground. Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, Robert de Brus’s nephew, who was leader of the Scottish advanced guard, hearing that his uncle had repulsed the advanced guard of the English on the other side of the wood, thought that he must have his share, and issuing from the wood with his division marched across the open ground towards the two afore-named lords.
Sir Henry de Beaumont called to his men: “Let us wait a little; let them come on; give them room”.
“Sir,” said Sir Thomas Gray, “I doubt that whatever you give them now, they will have all too soon”.
“Very well” exclaimed the said Henry, “if you are afraid, be off”.
“Sir,” answered the said Thomas, “it is not from fear that I shall fly this day.”
So saying, he spurred in between Beaumont and Sir William Deyncourt and charged into the thick of the enemy. William was killed, Thomas was taken prisoner, his horse being killed on the pikes, and he himself carried off with the Scots on foot when they marched off, having utterly routed the squadron of the said two lords. Some of the English fled to the castle, others to the king’s army, which having already left the road through the wood had debouched upon a plain near the water of Forth beyond Bannockburn, an evil, deep, wet marsh, where the said English army unharnessed and remained all night, having sadly lost confidence and being too much disaffected by the events of the day.
— Sir Thomas Grey, Scalacronica,
Image by the late talented @Andrew Hillhouse