(84 AD) 10,000
Picts and 340 Romans killed when Calgacus fought Agricola. Romans
Forfarshire (20th May 685 AD)
The Saxon King Egfrid is defeated by the Pictish King Nechtan.
Egfrid is slain.
King Malcolm the 2nd and Owen of Strathclyde defeated the Northumbrian
army on the Tweed.
Of The Standard
1138 AD - Setting - Northallerton, Northumbria, England
Combatants - King David I of Scotland .v. Prince Stephen of Northumbria
The Scots, since the reign of Malcolm Canmore (1058 - 1093) had
been trying - in vain - to assert their claim on the lands known
as Northumbria, in the North of England. This had been carried
over to David's reign by way of duty. In 1138, David invaded England
and was met by a body of Norman's at Northallerton. The Norman's
standard emblem was a wagon with a mast, itself bearing religious
Scottish army numbered 26,000, but were 'ill formed'. There were
'lowlanders with long spears; men of Galloway with pikes only;
men of Orkney and the Isles with their battle-axes; and Highlanders
with their swords and small round shields'. Each attack they made
was repelled and when a cry went up that David was slain there
was further confusion. Though baffled, David was not dead, and
contrary to many other sources, it can be revealed that David
was not totally defeated at this battle. He rallied his men and
they wasted the English borders until Stephen gave up Northumbria.
The rest of his reign was peaceful.
Date - 1st October 1263 - Setting - Largs, Scotland
Combatants - King Alexander III of Scotland .v. King Haakon of
Since the reign of King Kenneth MacAlpin (843 - 937), the Vikings
had been attacking and raiding the outer isles of Scotland. By
the 1260's, Alexander III was anxious to rid Scotland of the Vikings.
After several spectacular raids against the Vikings, by 1263,
they were left only with possession of Orkney and Shetland.
at having lost another part of the Scottish isles (the Western
Isles) to the Scots in August of that year, King Haakon set out
to win them back. On October 1st, they landed at Largs, and were
subjected to a ferocious assault from the Scots. The Norwegians
eventually managed to get some backing from a couple of ships
that managed to get to their aid with fresh troops. But after
nightfall the weary Norwegians fled to their ships. Haakon had
to ask for a truce to bury his dead. He left with the tattered
remains of his once magnificent fleet, sailing round the isles
which were now lost to Norway forever. One night, when they reached
Orkney, he ordered the chronicles of his ancestors, the pirate
Kings, to be read to him. Around midnight, as they were being
recited, he died.
Date - 1296 - Setting - Dunbar, Scotland
Combatants - Guardians of Scotland .v. King Edward I of England
King John Balliol was placed on the throne in 1292. He was a weak
King, but he was a King nonetheless, something Scotland hadn't
had since 1286. Edward I of England, having already conquered
Wales, set his eyes on Scotland. In 1296, he marched North with
an army of 30,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry. He invaded Scotland.
He first arrived at Berwick, Scotland's main trading town. He
sacked the town, mercilessly killing practically the whole town's
population. He then marched to Dunbar and defeated a Scots army
sent to meet him. Scotland was now in Edward's hands. He marched
to Scone and removed the famous 'Stone of Destiny' and removed
it to Westminster Abbey, where it remained for 700 years - being
returned only recently. He asserted his domination by touring
Scotland, removing relics that were special to Scotland, and subduing
uprisings. Edinburgh castle was garrisoned with English troops
for the first time in it's history
of Stirling Bridge
Date - 11th September 1297
Date - 1298 - Setting - Falkirk, Scotland
Combatants - Sir William Wallace (Gaurdian of Scotland) .v. King
Edward I of England
After Wallace's victory at Stirling, he was knighted and given
the title 'Guardian of Scotland'. Edward I, on the other hand,
was in Flanders, hoping to secure new land for the English crown.
On hearing of the defeat of his entire northern army, he headed
home. He then marched north with 87,500 troops. Wallace could
only muster about one third of that. When Edward arrived in Kirkliston,
he considered retreating after he saw the Lothians had become
a desert. However, two Scottish knights sent a message to him,
betraying Wallace's whereabouts. The following day, Edward's army
rode to Falkirk where they attacked the Scots. The Scottish knights
also betrayed Wallace, turning and riding from the field at the
vital moment. Like most of the Scottish nobles, they would rather
have fought for the English where they believed chivalry was best
The Scots army suffered severe slaughter. The retreating body
of Wallace's men was too small to hold Stirling and had to pass
it by. There was little gain in Edward's victory, but he had defeated
Wallace. On the banks of the River Forth, Wallace sadly renounced
his guardianship. He was now an outlaw again.
of Loudon Hill
Date - 1307 - Setting - Loudon, Scotland
Combatants - King Robert the Bruce .v. King Edward I of England
After Wallace's execution in 1305, there was little hope for Scotland.
Edward was making the final plans to merge Scotland into England.
Edward was an old man though, and would not last much longer.
In 1306, something happened that tore the very heart out of Edwards
plan's. On the 27th March, 1306, Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick,
and claimant to the throne of Scotland, crowned himself at Scone.
As you can imagine, Edward I was outraged and immediately headed
north to topple King Robert. At Loudon hill, King Robert met his
first defeat. He was now an outlaw, forced to seek shelter wherever
he could. Hardly befitting for a King. Scotland would have been
finished then and there if it wasn't for the greatest stroke of
luck ever to happen to Scotland. On 7th July 1307, Edward marched
north for the last time, his aim - to seek out Robert the Bruce.
Thankfully, as he was just about to cross the border, he collapsed
and died. Edward was replaced by his much weaker son (Edward II)
who had no interest whatsoever of continuing the campaign in Scotland.
The army returned home, and King Robert came out of hiding.
(23-24th June 1314)
The Scots under King Robert the Bruce win an essential battle
against the English.
- (1333) Edward the 3rd of England defeated the Scots.
- (1346) King David the 2nd defeated and captured by the English.
- Date - 19th August 1388 - Setting - Otterburn, Northumbria,
Earl of Douglas (the Black Douglas) of Douglas, Scotland .v. Sir
Henry Percy of Northumbria
This battle was in reply to an English raid of three years previous.
This time, the Scots were a more powerful force. The Earl Douglas,
with 300 lances and 2000 infantrymen advanced as far as Durham
to return laden with booty. In Newcastle, Douglas took the greatest
prize - or loss- to a knight; the pennon of Northumberland's Sir
Henry Percy. Douglas boasted he would place it on his tower in
Dalkeith. Percy vowed it would never leave Northumberland, and
Douglas challenged him to take it from his tent that night if
he dared. The English barons restrained Percy from such a foolhardy
attempt. They suspected it to be a trap leading them into an ambush
by a supporting army of Scots, for they had no intelligence as
to the size of the Douglas' force.
on the 19th August, both sides met and fought in the moonlight.
During the course of the battle, the Earl of Douglas, who was
in the thick of the battle, suddenly fell to the ground with three
spears protruding from his body. He was dragged to safety, and
away from the sight of his troops. There, dying, he instructed
his second-in-command - his son the next Earl of Douglas - to
shout the Douglas war cry ('A Douglas, A Douglas !!'), and press
forward into the battle again. This was done, and on hearing the
war cry, Douglas' troops plunged forward and drove the English
back. Sir Henry Percy was captured and the Scots won the battle.
That is how - 'a dead man won the fight' !
of Homildon Hill
Date - 1402 - Setting - Homildon hill, England
Combatants - The Earl of Douglas (son of winner at Otterburn)
.v. Sir Henry Percy
Douglas again went on a raid into England. Douglas marched on
Durham with 10,000 men and sacked the town. They were just returning
with their plunder when they meat Percy and his army.
Even though the Scots took a strong position on Homildon hill,
the Percy was all for an immediate attack. However, his second
in command March, was against this and suggested using arrows.
He made his archers fire on the densely packed Scots, which caused
havoc. Though two Scots nobles with about 100 retainers made a
brave charge, they were all cut down. The Scots were defeated
and Douglas captured. However, the English claimed that 'had the
rest fought as bravely as those who had charged, the battle's
result would have been very different' !
Date - 1411 - Setting - Harlaw, Grampian Region, Scotland
Combatants - Donald, Lord of the Isles .v. Lowlanders
Donald, Lord of the Isles, declared war on the lowlands because
his claims to the Earldom of Ross were rejected by the Earl of
Mar and the Scottish government. Like his ancestors, some of whom
had sided with the English kings against their own, he hardly
regarded the Stuarts as his monarch. With a force of 10,000 men
of , comprised mainly of the MacLeod, MacDonald and MacLean clans,
he attacked the lowlanders army at Harlaw. The fight was so severe
(the Battle is now known as 'Red Harlaw'), and the victory so
important, that certain privileges were granted to the heirs of
the fallen lowlanders. If Lord Donald had succeeded in defeating
this army, the history of Scotland would be a great deal different
than the one we know nowadays.
Date - 9th September 1513 - Flodden Moor, Northumberland, England
Combatants - James IV of Scotland .v. King Henry VIII of England
Flodden was a disastrous and unnecessary confrontation for Scotland.
James IV of Scotland was married to the sister of England's King
Henry VIII and a treaty of friendship existed between their countries.
The auld alliance between Scotland and France had been recently
renewed also. There had been English attacks made upon Scottish
ships at the time when Henry VIII, on behalf of the papacy, invaded
France. James IV declared war immediately, with nothing to gain
and ties to both England and France that their war neutralised.
the whole nation behind him, James amassed twenty thousand men
with ease, both Highlanders and Lowlanders. His fleet set sail
and his army crossed the border into Northumberland with the intention
of drawing upon England's numbers in France. Norham Castle was
among the places captured before confronting the English defenders,
led by the Earl of Surrey and his son, west of the River Till,
near Branxton, on 9 September. The Scots took the advantageous
high ground. With slightly fewer numbers but superior equipment
and artillery, the English moved around the Scots on their west
and opened with cannon fire. They struck their target with great
success, which the Scots could not match. James dropped strategic
tactics and ordered all to attack. Initially giving the upper
hand, the Scots were again thwarted by England''s superior equipment,
the long halberd with its axe, hook and spike bloodier than the
spear in hand-to-hand conflict.
losses were heavy but the dead Scots numbered between five and
ten thousand. It is said that "the slaughter struck every
farm and household throughout lowland Scotland" There was
an unusually high number of aristocracy engaging in combat that
day and among the slain were dozens of lords and lairds, at least
ten Earls, some abbots, an archbishop and the body of the King
- (1547) Duke of Somerset destroys the Scots, just outside Edinburgh.
- (1666) The Covenanters defeated by General Dalyell
- Date - 27th July 1689 - Setting - Pass of Killiecrankie, Perthshire
Combatants - Viscount Dundee (Bonnie Dundee) .v. General MacKay
(under command of King Willaim and Queen Mary of England and Scotland)
This was the first of the Jacobite wars, fought in the vain attempt
at trying to restore the deposed Stuart Kings. In this case, it
was the cause of King James VIII of Scotland, III of England,
who was being fought for. Viscount Dundee stationed himself at
the pass of Killiecrankie and waited. On the 27th July General
MacKay (acting in the interests of King William and Queen Mary)
appeared on the scene. Dundee's men used the famous'highland charge'
against Mackay's troops, and routed them. They were defeated before
they could even fix their bayonets. Unfortunatly, Dundee himself
was killed whilst ordering a charge, and the army fell into disarray
- (21st August 1689) With their leader dead, the Jacobites defeated
by the Coventers.
- Date - 1715 - Setting - Sherriffmuir, outside Stirling, Scotland
Combatants - Jacobites .v. Hanovarians
On the 6 September 1715, the 6th Earl of Mar, John Erskine, declared
himself for James Francis Edward Stewart, the Old Pretender, and
left Braemar carrying the Stewart standard to head south to the
Jacobites in England. By the end of the month he had taken over
Inverness with twelve thousand men behind him. When November came
he had brought the east of Scotland as far as Perth under Jacobite
control. While this was happening, the 2nd Duke of Argyll, John
Campbell, assembled four thousand pro-Hanovarians to halt Mar
moving any further south than the Forth.
Two thousand of Mar's army had been sent with William MacKintosh
of Borlum to Edinburgh so that when Argyll was confronted at Sheriffmuir
on the Ochils slopes near Dunblane in Perthshire, the numbers
were ten thousand to four thousand. Argyll assembled the right
flank of his army uphill, with General Whetham administrating
over the left flank. The middle and right flanks of the Jacobites
were commanded by MacDonald of Clanranald, MacDonnell of Glengarry
and MacLean of Duart, who charged their men into Whetham's in
an attack so ferocious that 'a complete rout and prodigious slaughter'
commenced immediately. Whetham fled to Stirling to tell of the
total defeat of the King's men. While he was doing this however,
Argyll had swept down into Mar's right flank and battered them
back into two miles of retreat and into the Allen Water. The battle
ended in this situation with both sides' left flanks defeated.
Argyll withdrew to Dunblane, Mar pulled back to Perth, and both
proclaimed themselves victorious.
Still with superior numbers, Mar's next move had to be to finish
off Argyll, but he did not. When the French and Spanish heard
of Mar's indecision, their faith in the Rising was lost and their
support withdrawn. Argyll had won the battle in propaganda terms.
The Earl of Mar, known also as 'Bobbing John', lost interest in
the disintegrating Rising, fled to France, and betrayed many of
his Jacobite collegues by revealing their identities.
- (1719) Another failed attempt by the Jacobites ends in defeat
by the Hanovarian's.
- (19th September 1745) Prince Charles Edward Stuart(Bonnie Prince
Charlie) and his army defeat Sir John Cope to achieve the first
- (17th January 1746) Jacobites defeat the English governments