On 23 June, 1314, the first day of the Battle of Bannockburn, two English cavalry formations advanced towards the Scots who were positioned beyond the Bannock Burn. As they crossed the stream, the English formations encountered a body of Scots, among them Robert the Bruce himself. Without warning, Henry de Bohun, the nephew of the Earl of Hereford, raised his lance and charged at the unsuspecting Bruce. Bruce turned to face him and, at the last moment as the two passed side by side, he swiftly pulled his pony aside, dodged the lance and split Bohun's head wide open with his battle axe. The effect of seeing the English knight fall dead at the feet of their King raised the Scots’ morale incredibly. The Scots then rushed upon the remaining English who struggled back over the Bannock Burn.
After being chided by his generals for risking his life in single combat, King Robert’s only regret was that he had broken the haft of his good axe in the duel.
The second English cavalry force advanced on the flank of the Scots, coming up against the schiltron commanded by Thomas Randolph but were forced to withdraw in confusion, unable to break the Scottish formation after a heated battle.