Thursday, June 24, 2010

Battle of Bannockburn

On St. John's Day (June 24) in 1314, the Battle of Bannockburn took place.  The siege of Stirling Castle by Edward Bruce focused activity in this area, and toward this day.  Bruce made a deal with Sir Philip Mowbray, who commanded the castle, that if English reinforcements did not arrive by midsummer's day (6/24), the castle would be turned over to the Scots. 

King Edward II of England moved approximately 18,000 troops to the area to prevent the loss of the castle, and to meet the Scots in pitched battle.  The Scottish forces, under King Robert Bruce, are estimated in the 6,000 - 7,000 range.  Among those may have been a group of excommunicated Knights Templar under Sir William Sinclair.  The day turned decidedly in favor of the Scots, in a major pivotal victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Walter Scott includes Bannockburn in his The Lord of the Isles.  He also wrote a history, which is included in "Builders of Democracy" by Edwin Greenlaw.  A small portion is below:


THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN


SIR WALTER SCOTT

(1314)

King Edward the Second, as we have already said, was not a wise and brave man like his father, but a foolish prince, who was influenced by unworthy favorites, and thought more of pleasure than of governing his kingdom. His father Edward the First would have entered Scotland at the head of a large army, before he had left Bruce time to conquer back so much of the country. But we have seen that, very fortunately for the Scots, that wise and skilful, though ambitious King, died when he was on the point of marching into Scotland. His son Edward had afterwards neglected the Scottish war, and thus lost the opportunity of defeating Bruce when his force was small. But now when Sir Philip Mowbray, the governor of Stirling, came to London, to tell the King that Stirling, the last Scottish town of importance which remained in possession of the English, was to be surrendered if it were not relieved by force of arms before midsummer, then all the English nobles called out, it would be a sin and shame to permit the fair conquest which Edward the First had made to be forfeited to the Scots, for want of fighting. It was therefore resolved that the King should go himself to Scotland, with as great forces as he could possibly muster...


Sources:
http://sinclair.quarterman.org/sinclair/history/med/battleofbannockburn.html
http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/battleswars12011400/p/bannockburn.htm

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