11th September 1297

The Battle of Stirling Bridge

English forces had made significant gains in Scotland in the First War of Scottish Independence, in the run up to the Battle of Stirling Bridge. But its fortunes were about to change.

Scottish leader Andrew de Moray turned the tide over the following 12 months and, in autumn 1297, joined with William Wallace. Together, they marched on Stirling. In total, around 15,000 men – 9,000 Scottish and 6,000 English – faced each other across the River Forth.

The current Stirling Bridge replaced a predecessor that was destroyed in the Battle of Stirling Bridge
The current Stirling Bridge replaced a predecessor that was destroyed in the Battle of Stirling Bridge

England’s mistake

After several days of negotiation, the English forces at last made their move, and pushed north toward the Scottish camp across the only bridge in the vicinity. This was narrow, allowing only two mounted riders to cross it side by side, so it was impossible for the English troops to cross at any great speed.

As a result, the English troops were effectively split on either side of the river. When a little less than half of them had crossed, Wallace and Moray ordered their own troops to do battle. Their victory, on their own northern side of the river, was swift and decisive.

England retreats

Realising their dire position, John de Warenne, who, as Earl of Surrey, was leading the English force, ordered that the bridge be destroyed to stop the Scots from bringing the battle to the remaining English troops.

The English troops retreated south, and Wallace could rightly claim a significant victory. He was appointed Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland, and he held that position until the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Falkirk. Andrew de Moray, however, was seriously wounded in the battle, and died two months later.

The new Stirling Bridge
The new Stirling Bridge



Other events that occured in September

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