Scots Rebellion - William Wallace

The massacre at Berwick did not have the desired affect that Longshanks was looking for and instead of laying down to the English, some nobles rallied together taking up arms. The most relevant of the rebels was the Gaelic-speaking William Wallace. He was a commoner and according to the legend, Wallace was involved in a brawl with some English soldiers in the market place at Lanark. With the help of a girl (some say his wife) he managed to get away. Frustrated by his escape, Sheriff of Lanark caught the girl and put her to death. Wallace vowed vengeance and that evening he caught up with the guilty English patrol and the Sheriff – then proceeded to cut them in to little pieces

This blow against the English encouraged several more Scots aristocrats to raise their banners in rebellion. Among them were Sir William Douglas, the former commander of Berwick and witness the earlier slaughter. Also there was James Stewart, a major Scots landowner, and Sir Andrew de Moray.

William Wallace was a patriot and inspired and led his men, striking at unsuspecting English outposts - fuelled by his passion for vengeance and his love for Scotland.

Stirling Bridge 1297 - William Wallace positioned his men in the hills around a bridge crossing the Forth, north of Stirling. Not all the Scots felt confident about the confrontation and James Stewart approached the English warlord with an offer of peace. De Warrenne refused and his mounted knights began to advance across the narrow bridge two by two. This caused a funnel neck at the end of the bridge and the Scots under the leadership of William Wallace and Moray gave the signal to attack and they picked them off as they struggled to clear the bridge. A unit of Scots soldiers were sent to the bridge head to cut away the timber supports and the heavy horse and riders fell in the mire. It was a massacre for the English. It was the first time commoners had defeated mounted knights.

William Wallace celebrated that night at Stirling. However, Sir Andrew de Moray, Wallace's friend, was mortally wounded and never recovered from injuries. Wallace was later knighted by Robert the Bruce in the forests of Selkirk, and appointed "Guardian of the realm of Scotland".

Wallace’s victory at Stirling Bridge was a massive turning point for Scotland.

Falkirk – July 1298 - The Scots were led on the battlefield by the William Wallace, but they were greatly outnumbered. Edward I had an army of 87,500 troops – Scotland could only raise a third of that. The Scottish army was slaughtered. Wallace never commanded an army in the field again.

For seven years Wallace had avoided capture, but in 1305 he was finally caught and taken to London. Submitted to a form of trial in Westminster Hall and was barbarically executed – Hung drawn and quartered. Edward I (Longshanks) had Wallace’s dismembered body sent to the four corners of Britain to serve as a warning to any would-be rebels.

In 1897 The Wallace Monument was erected on Abbey Craig the site of Scottish army during the battle of Stirling Bridge. There were many stories and legends about William Wallace, but the one thing we can guarantee is that he was the greatest patriot Scotland has ever seen and his passion saved the country from English oppression.

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