Experienced cavalry commander
This highly experienced knight from England’s borderlands was a veteran of the earlier battles in the wars of independence.
Appointed by Edward I to guard the border in 1296, he fought at the battle of Falkirk in 1298. He was granted the Douglas lands by Edward as a reward for his loyalty. James Douglas was determined to win these back.
One of Edward’s most trusted commanders, Clifford led a 300-strong cavalry division.
On the first day of the battle he drove his horsemen between Bruce’s army and Stirling Castle, possibly in an attempt to cut off the Scots’ retreat. He and his men surrounded Randolph’s schiltron near the village of St Ninians but were unable to penetrate it. Many men and horses met a gruesome end at the hands of the spearmen while others were captured.
The following day Clifford was killed fighting down on the Carse, risking all in an attempt to make up for the previous day’s defeat – a high profile and shocking casualty.
As a gesture of respect from Robert Bruce, Clifford’s body was returned to England.
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