Young and impulsive, de Bohun was the nephew of the Earl of Hereford, eager to make his name on the battlefield.
On 23 June, de Bohun rode at the front of the Edward’s army as they approached the Scottish troops. Seeing them, Scottish spearmen emerged from the woods and formed up to confront them. Among them was Robert Bruce, mounted on a horse, organising his men.
Realising his chance for glory, de Bohun charged at Bruce with his lance, and Bruce, in a highly risky move, took up the challenge. At the last moment, Bruce swerved aside and brought his axe crashing into Bohun’s head, killing him instantly – and breaking his axe.
Thrilled by this feat, Bruce’s spearmen’s spirits were lifted and they surged forwards, killing de Bohun’s squire and throwing the rest of the cavalry into bloody confusion before they fled from the field.
This brutal clash between the two heroic horsemen became a symbolic victory. The story has become forever linked with Bruce, Bannockburn and heroic victory against the odds.
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