The Battle of Stirling Bridge

11th September, 1297

The Battle of Stirling Bridge was William Wallace´s most famous battle. A Scottish force of around 7,000 infantry and 150 cavalry under the command of Wallace and Andrew Murray defeated an English force of 18,000 infantry and 750 cavalry under the command of John de Warenne, the Earl of Surrey and Hugh de Cressingham.

On the morning of battle the Scots occupied a commanding position to the north of the river on the Abbey Craig hill. They waited patiently as the English slowly began to cross the narrow bridge and when as many as they thought they could overcome had crossed they charged and cut the English army in two. The heavy cavalry was slaughtered along with around 5,000 infantry as the rest of the English looked on helplessly from the south bank of the river, only one English knight, Sir Marmaduke Tweng, made it back across the bridge and the hated Cressingham himself was killed in the attack. Sadly Andrew Murray was also fatally wounded in the battle and died two months later. Pieces of Cressingham were kept as trophies and Wallace is rumoured to have made a new sword belt from his skin.

The horrified Earl of Surrey ordered the bridge destroyed and retreated to Berwick with the remainder of his army. This was a crushing defeat for the English which prompted a temporary end to the occupation and led to Wallace's appointment as Guardian of Scotland.

Stirling Bridge today, thought to be close to the site of the battle