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the Battle of Bannockburn
"O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
Your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
To think again."
~ Flower of Scotland, Roy Williamson, 1967
In 1314, Robert the Bruce defeated King Edward II’s army at Bannockburn, sending England “homeward tae think again.” Although the English had about 2000 armored horsemen and 15,000 foot soldiers, compared to the Scots's 500 horsemen and 7000 foot soldiers, Robert used geography to his advantage, forcing the English to attempt crossing two large and boggy streams. The victory was a huge turning point in the Scottish War of Independence towards helping secure Scotland's freedom. Robert the Bruce likely spoke Scots, Gaelic, Latin, and Norman French, and was an avid reader. According to a parliamentary brief from around 1364, Robert the Bruce "used continually to read, or have read in his presence, the histories of ancient kings and princes, and how they conducted themselves in their times, both in wartime and in peacetime.” In his free time, he would recite tales about Charlemagne and Hannibal from memory. This memorial tartan uses grey for the Scottish weather, black for the English defeat and red for the blood shed in the Battle of Bannockburn. 🏴
Robert I (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland in 1306. Revered as a national hero in Scotland he reigned as King of Scots until his death in 1329.
Robert led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England and fought successfully to regain Scotland's place as an independent country.
At one point Robert the Bruce was forced into hiding after Edward I of England invaded.
There is a famous legend that when his spirits were at a particularly low point Robert took refuge in a cave. There, he watched as a spider tried over and over again to build her web before eventually succeeding.
This is said to have inspired Robert to carry on the fight for independence, and after the death of Edward I in 1307, he went on to defeat Edward II's forces at Battle of Bannockburn on 24 June 1314.
This was a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence. The part that a humble spider played in this landmark in Scottish history remains the stuff of legend.
For a three-dimensional reconstruction of what Robert the Bruce may have looked like, click his portrait.