Battle of Falkirk - Hedgehogs versus Horses

22 Jul 2023
by Samuel Taylor

On this day the 22 July 1298, the English under King Edward 1 defeated the Scots under William Wallace. The Battle of Falkirk was a major battle in the First War of Scottish Independence.

The battle came in the aftermath of the famous Scottish victory at Stirling Bridge and subsequent Scottish raids on England. This battle saw the use of the schiltron, a thick, circular mass of pikeman and archers (reminiscent of a hedgehog) deployed as an extremely effective anti-cavalry formation.

However, despite the efficacy of schiltrons against English cavalry, they proved facile targets for English missiles. Large, unmoving and poorly armoured, the blobs of Scottish pikemen and archers were barraged with arrows, boltsandstones from all sides. The schiltrons were broken apart and the Scottish forces were routed.

After the defeat, William Wallace resigned as the official Guardian of Scotland. It's said that the battle of Falkirk should never have happened, as William Wallace was more attuned to the guerilla style of warfare over the more formal pitched battles.