William Wallace

Sir William Wallace of Elderslie was one of the greatest Scottish folk heroes when he led a rebellion against the British occupiers.

Origin and youth:

Exact details of the date and place of his birth of William does not exist. It is believed that he was born between 1270 and 1280 in Elderslie.
Also, nothing is known about his parents, researchers suspect his father in the person of Malcolm Wallace or David Wallace.

Part of his youth, he spent possibly with his uncle in Cambuskenneth Abbey at Stirling, who worked there as a cleric and William trained in writing and reading. There he should then also be trained as a clergyman, which turned out, however, William. His further career is not known.




William as leader of the rebellion:

It was the English King Edward I of England, who in 1296 forced the Scottish King John de Balliol to abdicate himself to take over the rule of Scotland. The freedom-loving Scots, on the other hand, after the English invasion began to organize themselves into groups that were eventually united by William to fight against the English soldiers.

So William began at the end of the 13th century with attacks on English soldiers. He found support here, e.g. also from nobles like Prince Andrew Moray.
For several years, this guerrilla tactic was maintained until it came on 11 September 1297 in the Battle of Stirling Bridge for the first open confrontation between the English and the rebel army. In this battle, the Scots inflicted a great defeat on the English, they were able to expel Scotland and even followed them to the north of England.



William Wallace

William Wallace



Only a year later, in 1298, the Scots themselves suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Falkirk.

After this defeat, William was able to escape the capture of the English and fled to France.




William's capture and his death:

William was betrayed by his compatriot Sir John de Menteith, lord of Dumbarton Castle. The reward that was set by the English Crown for the seizure of William made him weak. On August 5, 1305 William was then captured in Robroyston near Glasgow, tied to a horse and had to run 2 weeks to London.

There he was then charged with treason for the trial of whose judgment was a cruel death. The execution was carried out on August 23, 1305, William was initially tied naked to a horse and was driven through the streets of London. The inhabitants threw stones at him. William was then hung on a gallows and castrated and gutted shortly before his death.

His last words, which have been handed down in writing, are:
You English dogs you, effeminate whores are you, kisses my Scottish butt and are proud to be able to do this, something better can not happen to a miserable Englishman.



William Wallace Denkmal in Schottland

William Wallace monument in Scotland



Interesting to know:
The story of William Wallace was filmed in 1995 in Hollywood in the feature film "Braveheart". The lead role was played by Mel Gibson.






You can find the right literature here:


William Wallace and Robert the Bruce: The Lives of Scotland’s Most Famous Military Heroes

William Wallace and Robert the Bruce: The Lives of Scotland’s Most Famous Military Heroes Paperback – June 3, 2015

*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the major battles of the Scottish Wars of Independence *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents “A false usurper sinks in every foe And liberty returns with every blow.” – Blind Harry From their very beginnings, England and Scotland fought each other. Emerging as unified nations from the early medieval period, their shared border and inter-related aristocracy created endless causes of conflict, from local raiders known as border reivers to full blown wars between their monarchies. Every century from the 11th to the 16th was colored by such violence, and there were periods when not a decade went by without some act of violence marring the peace. Out of all of this, the most bitterly remembered conflict is Edward I's invasion during the late 13th century. After Edward’s death, the English were eventually beaten back at the famous Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, and thus the early 14th century was a period featuring some of Scotland's greatest national heroes, including William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. It still resonates in the Scottish national memory, all the more so following its memorable but wildly inaccurate depiction in the 1995 film Braveheart, which had Scottish audiences cheering in cinemas. William Wallace is one of the most famous freedom fighters in history, and over 700 years after his death he is still remembered as Scotland’s beloved hero. But while the movie Braveheart helped make him a household name, and he is commemorated across Scotland as a natural leader and a loyal son of his homeland, he is also “the most mysterious of the leaders of the Scottish resistance to Edward I.” This is because, paradoxically, the very famous soldier is also one of the least well known. In fact, the mystery surrounding Wallace is figuring out precisely, or even vaguely, who he was. Where did this champion of Scottish independence come from? Who was his family? What did he do before emerging from obscurity with the brutal murder of William Heselrig, the English sheriff of Lanark, in May 1297? So little evidence on Wallace’s life exists that answering even the most basic questions about him can be a challenge. Piecing together the story of William Wallace’s life is an exercise in asking more questions than can be answered, and often in looking at just as much conjecture as proof. This book attempts to separate fact from fiction while looking at the life and fighting of the man who inspired Braveheart. Though it’s often forgotten today, Robert the Bruce was a bit shiftier, if only out of necessity. Robert the Bruce has become a figure of Scottish national legend, renowned as the man who threw off the shackles of English oppression, but prior to 1306, this Anglo-Scottish nobleman did little to cover himself in glory or to earn a reputation as a hero of the national cause. A member of one of Scotland's leading noble families, Bruce inherited his grandfather's claim to the right to be King of the Scots. That older Bruce had been one of the two leading competitors in the Great Cause, and the family still held ambitions toward the throne. They also held resentments dating back to that disputed inheritance against the Balliol clan and their supporters the Comyns. Of course, this was all forgiven and forgotten after Bannockburn and Bruce’s rise to the Scottish throne, which he held for over two decades. This book analyzes the lives of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the two Scottish heroes like never before.

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William Wallace: Brave Heart

William Wallace: Brave Heart Paperback – Unabridged, March 1, 1996

Sir William Wallace of Ellerslie is one of history's greatest heroes, but also one of its greatest enigmas—a shadowy figure whose edges have been blurred by myth and legend. James MacKay uses all his skills as a historical detective to produce this definitive biography, telling the incredible story of a man who, without wealth or noble birth, rose to become Guardian of Scotland. William Wallace, with superb generalship and tactical genius, led a country with no previous warlike tradition to triumph gloriously over the much larger, better-armed, and better-trained English forces. 700 years later, the heroism and betrayal, the valiant deeds and the dark atrocities, and the struggle of a small nation against a brutal and powerful empire, still create a compelling tale.

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Braveheart (DVD)

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