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The Battle of Culblean
St Andrew's Day 1335

Memorial to the Battle of Culblean
© Copyright Mick Garratt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

While the popular impression is that Scotland's independence was secured by the Battle of Bannockburn, it took much longer to achieve this.  The first War of Independence was concluded at the Treaty of Northampton in 1328.  King Robert died in 1329 and the English invaded again in 1332.  Edward III had  Edward Balliol crowned his puppet King, and he soon had more control over Scotland than his grandfather, Edward I.  The Battle of Culblean on St Andrew's Day 1335 was the turning point in the Second War of Independence.

In 1335 four castles remained in Scottish hands, and the David de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, loyal to Balliol, was laying siege to one of them,  Kildrummy Castle in Aberdeenshire, which controlled the North East. Among them was the Bruce's sister, Christian.  The Bruce's son, David was in exile in France and her husband, Regent Andrew de Moray raised an army of about 4,000 to lift the siege, including the Earl of March and Sir William de Douglas. On 29th November the  army camped at "Hall of Logy Rothwayne" on the north east shore of Loch Davan.  On learning of their approach Atholl abandoned the siege and camped at the east end of Culblean, perhaps aiming for his land of Atholl, to the south.

The battle was described by Wyntoun's Chronicle.  John of the Craig, defender of Kildrummy told de Moray of an approach to outflank Atholl, and splitting his forces, on St Andrew's Day , de Douglas feinted to the front of Atholls army, about 3,000 strong, and de Moray  hit them from the flank. Surprised and overwhelmed the pro English army was defeated. According to Boece's account Atholl himself was killed by Alexander Gordon, the successor to the Lordship of Strathbogie forefeited by Atholl.



The Campaign and Battle of Culblean 1333 by W Douglas Simpson MA D Litt FSA Scot 1930

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