Medieval Battles - Battle Of Stirling Bridge 1297 AD

Battle Date
11 September 1297

Battle Site
Stirling Bridge, close to Stirling Castle, Scotland

Battle Combatants
Scots and English

Battle Leaders
For the Scots: William Wallace and Andrew de Moray
For the English: John de Warenne (7th Earl of Surrey), Hugh de Cressingham (Treasurer of Scotland)

Note: The Scots forces were estimated at around 2,300 whilst the English had between 9,000 and 12,000. Their numeric superiority was cancelled through the splitting of their army as they sought to cross the bridge of Stirling.

Reason For Battle
Continuation of the Scottish Wars of Independence. Warenne was seeking to capitalise on his victory at Dunbar and to bring Wallace to battle.

Battle Timeframe
1 day

Battle Key Points
The key to the whole battle was the crossing of the narrow bridge at Stirling. Earlier that day many of the English and Welsh archers had crossed only to be recalled as de Warenne had overslept.

Suggestions that a flanking movement to cross the river at a better bridge were refuted by Cressingham who was looking for a quick and cheap conclusion. The timing of the Scots attack was also important and after they had destroyed the English who had crossed the bridge came the critical point.

De Warenne still had enough men south of the river to hold the Scots but losing heart he fled and abandoned Stirling Castle and the lowlands to Wallace. Cressingham and de Moray were both killed.

Extra Notes
There was over confidence by the English and the Scots showed more coherence and control than previously displayed. The victory propelled Wallace to be appointed Guardian of Scotland which was an extraordinary elevation for a lowly knight.

The timeline of medieval battles in the 13th century is useful to read in conjunction with this.