Battles involving England - Wars of Scottish Independence

Songs about the Wars of Scottish Independence

There were frequent border raids between the English and the Scots. In fact, the border fluctuated as one side or the other gained control. The dynasty of David I finally came to an end when Margaret of Norway died. There were two claimants to the throne, John of Balliol and Robert the Bruce. They asked Edward I of England to decide between them, and Edward chose John of Balliol. However, Edward undermined John's authority, as he wanted to become king of Scotland himself. John's advisors made a treaty of mutual assistance with France, which became known as the Auld Alliance. In retaliation, Edward invaded Scotland. John abdicated in 1296 and Edward gained control of Scotland. This caused Scotland to rise in revolt.

Battle of Stirling Bridge 1297 (location)

The English army was led by John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and Hugh de Cressingham. The Scottish army was led by Andrew Moray and William Wallace. There were Scots fighting in the English army, as well. They met near Stirling, on the River Forth. The Scottish army defeated the English army. Andrew Moray died afterwards from his injuries. William Wallace became Guardian of Scotland.

Battle of Falkirk 1298 (location)

Edward I had been abroad when the Battle of Stirling Bridge happened. He returned to Britain, and led an army against William Wallace and his forces near Falkirk. He defeated William Wallace, and went on to take Scotland. Finally William Wallace was captured and executed in 1305.

Battle of Bannockburn 1314 (location)

Robert the Bruce had always had a claim to the throne of Scotland. At the start of the War of Scottish Independence, Robert the Bruce varied between supporting Edward I or the Scottish. However, in 1306, he decided to rebel against the English. Edward I died in 1307, and Edward II became king. He was not such a good soldier. Through a series of battles, Robert the Bruce gradually won back Scotland, with the final battle south of Stirling, at Bannockburn. The Scots decisively beat the English army and Scotland became independent again.

Wallace Monument, where William Wallace watched the English army cross Stirling Bridge, before descending to defeat them
Wallace Monument, where William Wallace watched the English army cross Stirling Bridge, before descending to defeat them



The Flower of Scotland

This is a modern song (1967), used as a Scottish anthem for sporting events.

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit Hill and Glen
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

The Hills are bare now,
And Autumn leaves lie thick and still,
O'er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Those days are past now,
And in the past they must remain,
But we can still rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Scots Wha Hae

Robert Burns wrote the lyrics to this song in 1793, but the tune is traditional. The words are supposed to be a speech given by Robert the Bruce to his troops before the Battle of Bannockburn.

'Scots, wha hæ wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tæ yer gory bed,
Or tæ Victorie!

'Now's the day, and now's the hour:
See the front o' battle lour,
See approach proud Edward's power -
Chains and Slaverie!

'Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward's grave?
Wha sæ base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!

'Wha, for Scotland's king and law,
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or Freeman fa',
Let him on wi' me!

'By Oppression's woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

'Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow! -
Let us do or dee!'

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