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Battle of Dunbar (1296)

Battle of Dunbar
Dates of battle27 April 1296
ConflictWars of Scottish Independence
Battle before none
Battle after Battle of Stirling Bridge
Site of battleHalidon Hill,
near Berwick
Combatant 1Scotland
led byJohn Balliol
Combatant 2England
led byJohn de Warrene
resultdecisive English victory

Table of contents
1 Prelude
2 Battle
3 Aftermath


The first battle of Dunbar was the first of the series of conflicts of the Wars of Scottish Independence. King Edward I had invaded Scotland in 1296 to punish John Balliol for his refusal to support English military action in France.


After sacking Berwick-upon-Tweed and massacring the population on March 30, the English had continued up the coast towards the town of Dunbar. Before Dunbar, the English force was met by the 40,000 strong Scottish army. On April 27 they met in a depression beyond Spottsmuir. The Scots charged down from their higher position but the English under John de Warrene were well prepared and repulsed the charge. The Scots then turned to flee and as was common in battles of this era a massacre then ensued and the Scots suffered heavy casualties and a number of noble prisoners were taken.


The English soon occupied much of Scotland. Balliol surrendered at Stracathro near Brechin on July 10 and lost his office. Edward installed English garrisons in many Scottish castles before returning south with what he thought was the Stone of Destiny and the Coronation Chair.

See also: History -- Military history -- List of battles -- History of Scotland.