The Battle of Falkirk

22nd July, 1298


After the crushing defeat imposed on the English by William Wallace at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 a furious King Edward I led a large English army north to subdue the Scots. Wallace had implemented a scorched earth policy which led to major supply problems for the advancing English but it was not enough to stop them and in July of 1298 almost 30,000 English troops faced Wallace's army of around 6,000 near Falkirk.

Wallace once again formed up his force in schiltron formations but as they stood on open ground the English king ordered his longbowmen into action and the Scots began to fall to wave after wave of English arrows. Once the Scottish army had been weakened Edward ordered his cavalry to charge and though they fought on fiercely the outnumbered Scots were defeated.

Despite their success the English army was weakened by hunger and disease and they retreated to Carlisle after the battle. Wallace took the defeat badly, his reputation was damaged and he resigned from his position as Guardian of Scotland. Wallace spent the rest of his days as an outlaw and Scots began to look elsewhere for leadership in their struggle against the English.