NQ Scottish History

The Scottish Wars of Independence, 1286-1328

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After the death of King Alexander III in 1286, Scotland was plunged into uncertainty while a new heir was chosen. Eventually, with the aid of King Edward I of England, John Balliol was selected in 1292, but his was not to be a peaceful reign.

Refusing aid in England’s war with France, Balliol attracted the wrath of Edward and the two kingdoms descended into a conflict that would endure for more than 40 years. Some of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history took place in this time, immortalising the memory of such notable men as William Wallace, Andrew Murray, and Robert the Bruce.

1) Background

• The Reign of Alexander III, 1249-1286
• The Battle of Largs
• The Treaty of Perth


2) Scotland 1286-96: The succession problem and the Great Cause

• The Maid of Norway
• The Golden Age of Scotland
• The Treaty of Birgham

3) John Balliol and Edward I

• King John Balliol and Edward I 
• The War with France, 1292-1295
• The Ragman's Roll


4) William Wallace and Scottish Resistance

• Andrew Murray and William Wallace
• Victory at Stirling
• The Battle of Falkirk

5) The rise and triumph of Robert Bruce

• The Battle at Bannockburn
• Declaration of Arbroath
• The Treaty of Edinburgh

6) Perspective

• Significance of the Wars of Independence
• The development of Scottish identity


Classroom materials

These are documents which are considered integral to the coursework and can be downloaded for use in conjunction with the information and resources provided on this website.

Video resources

These videos provide additional insight into the people, events and historical context of this topic.

Audio resources

Listen to a selection of interviews and readings which relate to the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Historical documents

These online interactive historical documents have been produced from the archives of the National Archives of Scotland.