Alex Massie

June 24th, 1314: A Good Day for Scotland, a Vital Day for Unionism

Text settings

Robert Bruce (1274 - 1329), King of Scots from 1306, breaks the handle of his battleaxe as he kills the English knight Sir Henry de Bohun with a blow to the head before the Battle of Bannockburn, June 1314. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Mercy, how can one forget that this is the 695th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn? Scottish nationalists, naturally, like to claim the day for themselves and there's an annual (and I suspect, dreary and chippy) nationalist rally at the battlefield but it's not theirs to claim as their exclusive property. Far from it.

Because, in the end, Bannockburn was a great Unionist victory too. For without it, there'd have been no Union, merely the Incorporation of Scotland into England. As it was, the King of Scots became the King of England opening the way to the more-or-less happy Union we've enjoyed, if at times also endured, ever since. This, then, is an anniversary for Scots of all political persuasions to celebrate and one that English Unionists might also consider worth a glass or two.

[Thanks to Nathan O for the reminder]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articlePoliticsscotland