William Wallace

     The Scottish National hero William Wallace (c.1270-1305) was the second son of a Scottish Knight. He emerged in 1297 as a leader of the opposition to English rule and gained fame for defeating the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Wallace recaptured Berwick and invaded  northern England. For these exploits Wallace was knighted and appointed Guardian of Scotland by the Scottish King John Balliol.

     Wallace was the only major Scottish leader of resistance to the English who was not a great landed magnate, and some probably resented the pre-eminence of a man of relatively humble origins; but he seems to have enjoyed considerable popular support. At Falkirk in 1298 Wallace's army was decisively defeated by Edward I and support for him waned. He resigned his guardianship and the rest of his life is obscure, although he is known to have visited France, presumably to seek help.

     Wallace was eventually captured by the English and executed in London.

'In the spring of 1297 the whole of Scotland, with the possible exception of Lothian, was in a state of armed insurrection. At Lanark a complete garrison of English troops were massacred by troops loyal to a giant of a man named William le Wallace, son of a minor local knight from Elderslie. He quickly became the leader of a small army which traversed huge distances across the barren landscape, striking at unsuspecting English outposts. To terrify the enemy Wallace made it a point of principle to kill every Englishman who argued with him, and his continual intimidation and brutal harrassment of the civilian population made it impossible for the treasurer of Scotland, Sir Hugh de Cressingham, to raise taxes.'

The Scottish and Welsh Wars 1250-1400

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Article added: 2006-06-15 @ 1:30 pm  |  Last Modified: 2006-06-29 @ 8:58 am

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