In Our Time: Battle of Bannockburn

From the BBC Radio programme: In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Battle of Bannockburn. On June 23rd 1314, Scottish forces under their king Robert the Bruce confronted a larger army commanded by the English monarch Edward II at Bannockburn. It was the culmination of a war of independence which had been going on since the English had invaded Scotland in 1296. After eighteen years of intermittent fighting the English had been all but expelled from Scotland: their last stronghold was the castle at Stirling.

The Scots won a decisive victory at Bannockburn. The English were routed and their king narrowly escaped capture. Although it took a further 14 years for Scotland to achieve full independence with the 1328 Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, this was an important triumph; today it remains one of the most discussed moments in the nation’s history.



Matthew Strickland (University of Glasgow)
Fiona Watson (University of Dundee)
Michael Brown (University of St Andrews)

In Melvyn Bragg’s email newsletter about this episode, he writes: “After the programme had finished, Matthew Strickland pulled out a £20 note.  This, printed by the Clydesdale Bank, is Robert the Bruce triumphant even now in 2011.  On one side we have a head and shoulders, helmeted, chainmail around his neck, granite-faced, every inch the medieval warrior.  On the back there is Robert the Bruce on a massive warhorse (although all the reports talk about him being on a pony, like the other Scots, which is one of the reasons why, as Fiona Watson put it, the Scots “unfortunately” could not catch Edward II as he raced away from the battlefield).  In the background is Stirling Castle, looking every inch an impregnable fortress, and in one corner we have Bruce in armour again with his great seal.  Bannockburn is branded into the currency of Scotland.”

The programme was first broadcast on February 3, 2011

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