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Scottish Wars of Independence, 1286-1329

The 13th and 14th centuries were troubled times in European history as nations competed with one another for power, influence and authority. Scotland's status as an independent kingdom came under threat from King Edward I and King Edward II of England. William Wallace and Robert Bruce rose to the fore, took up arms and looked to France and the Papacy for support to force the English kings to renounce their claim to sovereignty over Scotland.

This resource features documents held in the National Records of Scotland, The National Archives in England and the Hansestadt Lübeck Archiv in Germany that relate to William Wallace, Robert Bruce and key events that took place during the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Please right-click on images to copy and save for use in the classroom. We recommend that for legibility, the map of Europe is printed on A3 paper.

View a timeline of the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Image shows part of a drawing of the Maid of Norway travelling to Scotland.

Unit 1: The Succession Crisis, 1286-1292
Image shows part of John Balliol's seal. Crown copyright: National Records of Scotland reference SP13/1

Unit 2: John Balliol, King of Scotland, 1292-1296
Images shows part of the Lübeck letter. Reproduced courtesy of Hansestadt Lübeck Archiv

Unit 3: William Wallace, Guardian of the Realm, 1297-1298
Image shows part of a map of 14th century Europe.

Unit 4: The European dimension
Images shows part of a letter from King Philip IV of France to his agents at Rome. Reproduced courtesy of The National Archives, reference SC1/30/81

Unit 5: Wallace's mysterious mission, 1299-1302
Image shows part of a drawing of a man on the gallows.

Unit 6: Wallace's final years, 1303-1305
Image shows part of the Great Seal of King Robert I. National Records of Scotland reference: RH17/1/21

Unit 7: King Robert I, 1306-1314
Image shows part of the Ayr Manuscript. National Records of Scotland reference: PA5/2/44

Unit 8: King Robert I, 1314-1318
Image shows part of the Declaration of Arbroath. National Records of Scotland reference: SP13/7

Unit 9: The Declaration of Arbroath, 1320
Image shows part of the letter from King Robert I to Melrose Abbey. National Manuscripts of Scotland, Part II, No.29

Unit 10: A true peace which should go on without end, Fordun's Chronicle

 

 

 

 
 
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© Crown copyright: National Records of Scotland