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Culloden

 


Scottish Battles

Mons Graupius (84 AD) 10,000
Picts and 340 Romans killed when Calgacus fought Agricola. Romans win!

Nechtansmere, Forfarshire (20th May 685 AD)
The Saxon King Egfrid is defeated by the Pictish King Nechtan. Egfrid is slain.

Carham (1018)
King Malcolm the 2nd and Owen of Strathclyde defeated the Northumbrian army on the Tweed.

Battle 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 standards.

The 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.

Battle of Largs Date - 1st October 1263 - Setting - Largs, Scotland
Combatants - King Alexander III of Scotland .v. King Haakon of Norway
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.

Angered 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.

Battle of Dunbar Date - 1296 - Setting - Dunbar, Scotland
Combatants - Guardians of Scotland .v. King Edward I of England (longshanks)
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

Battle of Stirling Bridge Date - 11th September 1297

Battle of Falkirk 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 served.
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.

Battle 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.

Bannockburn (23-24th June 1314)
The Scots under King Robert the Bruce win an essential battle against the English.

Halidon Hill - (1333) Edward the 3rd of England defeated the Scots.

Nevilles Cross - (1346) King David the 2nd defeated and captured by the English.

Battle of Otterburn - Date - 19th August 1388 - Setting - Otterburn, Northumbria, England
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.

However, 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' !

Battle 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' !

Battle of Harlaw 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.

Battle of Flodden 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.

With 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.

English 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 himself.

Pinkie - (1547) Duke of Somerset destroys the Scots, just outside Edinburgh.

Rullion Green - (1666) The Covenanters defeated by General Dalyell

Battle of Killiecrankie - 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

Dunkeld - (21st August 1689) With their leader dead, the Jacobites defeated by the Coventers.

Battle of Sheriffmuir - 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.

Glenshiel - (1719) Another failed attempt by the Jacobites ends in defeat by the Hanovarian's.

Prestonpans - (19th September 1745) Prince Charles Edward Stuart(Bonnie Prince Charlie) and his army defeat Sir John Cope to achieve the first Jacobite victory.

Falkirk - (17th January 1746) Jacobites defeat the English governments troops.

Culloden - (16th April 1746)

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