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The Battle of Bannockburn took place over the 23rd and 24th June 1314 between the Scots, under Robert the Bruce, and a significantly larger army under Edward II of England. The English were under siege by the Scots at Stirling Castle and Edward's army was intended to relieve the siege. Instead, Bruce inflicted a massive defeat. This ultimately led to the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.
Much of the probable site of the battle is now built over. However, the National Trust for Scotland operates a visitor centre that offers a hi-tech battle experience (ticket only), a shop and a cafe. There is memorial to the battle on the site as well as a statue of Robert the Bruce. Note - there is no museum or exhibition.
The Battle of Hastings took place on 14th October 1066. It is probably the most famous battle in British history, when the invading Normans under William the Conqueror beat the English (Saxons) led by King Harold. The battle actually took place several miles north of Hastings adjacent to and within where the pleasant little town of Battle now is. Though the precise location of the battle has been much debated, wandering through the traditional site is worthwhile - and very pleasant when the weather's fine.
The battlefield of 1066 is managed by English Heritage alongside Battle Abbey, which was built as a penance and memorial afterwards.
The Battle of Lewes took place on 14 May 1264, the first major battle of the Second Barons' War. The prelude to this was widespread dissatisfaction with the manner of King Henry III's reign, particularly over issues such as taxation and inheritance. Matters came to a head and a rebel baronial faction led by Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester, took up arms against the king. De Montfort's force of about 5,000 approached Lewes, a royal stronghold with about 10,000 troops, from the downland to the north. The King's son, Prince Edward (later Edward I), rode out from Lewes Castle with heavy cavalry, engaged de Montfort's inexperienced left flank and chased it from the field. De Montfort, meanwhile, charged downhill at Henry's main army in the vicinity of Landport Bottom and won a decisive victory. Most of the fighting took place there, around the Black Horse pub on Western road, now a residential area and on the High Street. The king took refuge in Lewes Priory and was forced to surrender to de Monfort. Edward too was held captive - though later escaped. There is a link to a battlefield walk below. The address is for the Black Horse pub; walk from there up Spital Road, past the prison, and up onto the downs.
The Battle of Marston Moor was fought on 2nd July 1644 and was one of the major battles of the English Civil War. It engaged an estimated 18,000 Royalists and 28,000 combined Parliamentarians and Scots, lasted approximately 2 hours and resulted in a decisive defeat for King Charles. Some 4,000 Royalists were killed and a further 1,500 captured. One of the consequences was that the Royalists lost control of the North of England. This was the battle that helped make Oliver Cromwell's name as one of the commanders. The battlefield is situated on mainly agricultural land between the villages of Long Marston and Tockwith. A road runs across the area of the fighting, as it did in the 17th century and there is an obelisk memorial with an information panel.
Post code is approximate.
Memorial to the Battle of Roslin, erected in 1994. The battle was fought on 24th February 1303 between the Scots and English during the Wars of Scottish Independence. It was a Scottish victory, but it does not figure in many history books and few people have even heard of it. Some accounts of the battle suggest that a divided force of 30,000 English troops was picked off in 3 separate engagements by a rapidly assembled Scottish army of 8,000 fighting on terrain they knew. However, evidence is lacking and the above story may be a myth; the battle could have been a skirmish, or series of skirmishes.
A significant battle fought here on 25th September 1066, between King Harold's Saxon-English army and an invading force of Norsemen under Harald Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson. The English victory was emphatic, but Harold then had to march south to meet the invading Normans at Hastings. There is not much to see in the village, thought there is a memorial in the centre.
The battle was fought on 11 September 1297. Following Scots support for the French, Edward I of England invaded Scotland, deposed the King, John Balliol and left an army of occupation. Sir William Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray led a rebellion and met an English army outside Stirling. The English advanced over a narrow bridge over the River Forth. The Scots fell upon the English from the high ground on Abbey Craig, cutting the invading army in two. The English commander, the Earl of Surrey, could not reinforce because of the narrowness of the bridge. The portion of his forces that had crossed the bridge were cut down, though some of managed to escape by swimming back across the river. The Scottish victory destroyed the myth of English invincibility. Legend has it that the hated English treasurer, Hugh de Cressingham, was flayed after the battle and that Wallace made a belt from the skin.
The actual bridge of the battle was destroyed at the time. The current 'old' bridge was built downstream of it in the 16th century and is still in use by pedestrians. There is a plaque on the east end of the bridge, with a small portion of meadow adjacent, but it is thought that most of the fighting took place on ground that is now built over. It's a nice bridge, though. Post code is very approximate.
Site of the decisive battle on 22nd August 1485 where King Richard III was killed and the victor, Henry Tudor, started a new dynasty as Henry VII. There is a heritage centre with an exhibition/museum, shop and café. It is possible to walk round the battlefield on a well-signposted trail. Events are held including an annual re-enactment of the battle.
The Battle of Culloden on 16th April 1746 was the last pitched battle on British soil and brought the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 to a bloody end. Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, had taken his largely Highland Army as far as Derby, before retreating north to Inverness, pursued by Government forces under the Duke of Cumberland. On the morning of the battle, many of the Prince's troops were exhausted after an aborted attack on the Government army camped at Nairn. The ground chosen for the battle was partly marsh, wholly unsuited to the favoured tactic of the Highland charge. Moreover, on this occasion the Jacobites were no match for the well-trained, disciplined, Government troops. They were also slightly outnumbered. The battle lasted less than an hour and was a decisive victory for the Government. Afterwards, Cumberland ordered his troops to ruthlessly pursue and search out any surviving rebels and a shameful bloodbath ensued.
The National Trust for Scotland runs an impressive visitor centre at Culloden, where there is a detailed explanation for the Jacobite Rebellion, an impressive audio-visual experience and various talks and tours. It is possible to explore much of the battlefield, which the NTS is in the process of returning it to its appearance in 1746, taking in the opposing lines and the sad burial markers.
Site of the Battle of Heavenfield in 634AD between the Anglo-Saxon Northumbrians under King Oswald and the British led by Cadwallon. There is a small church, St Oswald's, on the site. It also marks the start (or end) of a long distance footpath between Heavenfield and Holy Island (Lindisfarne).