Bruce’s younger brother, Edward, Earl of Carrick, had a formidable reputation as a brave if sometimes reckless soldier. His military conquest of pro-Balliol Galloway during 1308 was pivotal in establishing his brother’s position as king and it was his actions that were the catalyst for Bannockburn.
Having unsuccessfully besieged English-held Stirling Castle for almost a year, he brokered a deal with Scot,Sir Philip Mowbray, who held the fortress on behalf of the English: unless the castle was relieved by June 1314, it would be surrendered – an ultimatum to which Edward II responded with huge reluctance.
Having just dispersed his own army, seeking a brief respite from a prolonged campaign, Bruce was furious with his brother. As history was to prove, however, the result was worth the angst, andEdward went on to play a key role in the victory, commanding a Schiltron - a compact body of troops forming a shield wall with pikes and spears in the form of a hedgehog - almost impenetrable, even by heavy cavalry.
In the years the following Bannockburn, Edward continued to blaze his own path, opening an audacious attempt to open a second front against the English crown in Ireland, even claiming the Irish crown for himself.
He fell at the Battle of Faughart, just north of Dundalk in 1318, and his body was later quartered and send to various towns in Ireland, and his head was dispatched to Edward II inEngland.