First War of Scottish Independence

Battle of Falkirk
English longbowmen were effective during the Battle of Falkirk ©Graham Turner
1298 Jul 22

Battle of Falkirk

Falkirk, Scotland, UK

King Edward learned of the defeat of his northern army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. In January 1298, Philip IV of France had signed a truce with Edward that did not include Scotland, thereby deserting his Scots allies. Edward returned to England from campaigning in France in March and called for his army to assemble. He moved the seat of government to York.

On 3 July he invaded Scotland, intending to crush Wallace and all those daring to assert Scotland's independence. On 22 July, Edward's army attacked a much smaller Scottish force led by Wallace near Falkirk. The English army had a technological advantage. Longbowmen slaughtered Wallace's spearmen and cavalry by firing scores of arrows over great distances. Many Scots were killed at the Battle of Falkirk. Despite the victory, Edward and his army soon returned to England and thus failed to subdue Scotland completely. But the defeat had ruined Wallace's military reputation. He retreated to thick woods nearby and resigned his guardianship in December.

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Last Updated: : Tue Aug 16 2022