Slava Novorossiya

Slava Novorossiya

Sunday, August 23, 2015

BRAVEHEART: SIR WILLIAM WALLACE (1270 TO AUGUST 23, 1305)



I can not be a traitor, for I owe him no allegiance. He is not my Sovereign; he never received my homage; and whilst life is in this persecuted body, he never shall receive it. To the other points whereof I am accused, I freely confess them all. As Governor of my country I have been an enemy to its enemies; I have slain the English; I have mortally opposed the English King; I have stormed and taken the towns and castles which he unjustly claimed as his own. If I or my soldiers have plundered or done injury to the houses or ministers of religion, I repent me of my sin; but it is not of Edward of England I shall ask pardon.

- Statement at his trial, rejecting the assertion he was a traitor to Edward I of England (23 August 1305), as quoted in Lives of Scottish Worthies (1831) by Patrick Fraser Tytler, p. 279


            710 years ago on this date, August 23, 1305, Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason at Smithfield in London. I will post information about this Guardian of Scotland from Wikipedia.

 
Wallace in stained glass at his monument in Stirling
 
Born
c. 1270
Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died
23 August 1305
Smithfield, London, Middlesex, England
Cause of death
Hanged, drawn and quartered
Resting place
London, England, in unmarked grave
Nationality
Scottish
Occupation
Commander in the Scottish Wars of Independence
Religion
Roman Catholicism
Children
None recorded
Parent(s)
Father: Alan Wallace

Sir William Wallace (Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; Norman French: William le Waleys; died 23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in September 1297. He was appointed Guardian of Scotland and served until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in July 1298. In August 1305, Wallace was captured in Robroyston, near Glasgow, and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason and crimes against English civilians.

Since his death, Wallace has obtained an iconic status far beyond his homeland. He is the protagonist of Blind Harry's 15th-century epic poem The Wallace and the subject of literary works by Sir Walter Scott and Jane Porter, and of the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart (1995).

There are several standing monuments and statues to Wallace's life and memory which can be viewed.

Background

Political crisis in Scotland

Silent years prior to the Wars of Independence

Start of the uprising

Battle of Stirling Bridge

Battle of Falkirk

Capture and execution

Wallace evaded capture by the English until 5 August 1305 when John de Menteith, a Scottish knight loyal to Edward, turned Wallace over to English soldiers at Robroyston near Glasgow. Letters of safe conduct from Haakon V of Norway, Philip IV of France, and John Balliol, along with other documents, were found on Wallace and delivered to Edward by John de Segrave.

Wallace was transported to London, lodged in the house of William de Leyrer, then taken to Westminster Hall, where he was tried for treason and for atrocities against civilians in war, "sparing neither age nor sex, monk nor nun." He was crowned with a garland of oak to suggest he was the king of outlaws. He responded to the treason charge, "I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject." With this, Wallace asserted that the absent John Balliol was officially his king.

Following the trial, on 23 August 1305, Wallace was taken from the hall to the Tower of London, then stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse to the Elms at Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered — strangled by hanging, but released while he was still alive, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burned before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts. His preserved head (dipped in tar) was placed on a pike atop London Bridge. It was later joined by the heads of the brothers, John and Simon Fraser. His limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling, and Perth. A plaque stands in a wall of St. Bartholomew's Hospital near the site of Wallace's execution at Smithfield.

In 1869 the Wallace Monument was erected, very close to the site of his victory at Stirling Bridge. The Wallace Sword, which supposedly belonged to Wallace, although some parts were made at least 160 years later, was held for many years in Dumbarton Castle and is now in the Wallace Monument.

Historiography of Wallace

Although there are problems with writing a satisfactory biography of many medieval people, the problems with Wallace are greater than usual. Not much is known about him beyond his military campaign of 1297–1298, and the last few weeks of his life in 1305. Even in recent years, his birthplace and his father's name have been argued.

To compound this, the legacy of subsequent 'biographical' accounts, sometimes written as propaganda, other times simply as entertainment, has clouded much scholarship until relatively recent times. Some accounts have uncritically copied elements from the epic poem, The Acts and Deeds of Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie, written around 1470 by Blind Harry the minstrel. Harry wrote from oral tradition describing events 170 years earlier, and is not in any sense an authoritative descriptor of Wallace's exploits. Much of the poem is clearly at variance with known historical facts and records of the period and is either fabricated using traditional chivalric motifs or 'borrowed' from the exploits of others and attributed to Wallace.

Wallace in fiction

Film
  • A well-known account of Wallace's life is presented in the film Braveheart (1995), directed by and starring Mel Gibson as Wallace, written by Randall Wallace, and filmed in both Scotland and Ireland. The film, however, was criticised for inaccuracies regarding Wallace's title, love interests, and attire.
Literature
  • In the early 19th century, Walter Scott wrote of Wallace in Exploits and Death of William Wallace, the "Hero of Scotland",
  • Jane Porter penned a romantic version of the Wallace legend in The Scottish Chiefs (1810).
  • Nigel Tranter wrote a historical novel titled The Wallace (1975).
  • The Temple and the Stone (1998), a novel by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris, includes an account of Wallace's victory at Stirling, his defeat at Falkirk, and his trial and execution in London, along with a fictional connection between Wallace and Templar Knights.

William Wallace Statue, Aberdeen
The William Wallace Statue was erected 1888 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and depicts Sir William Wallace. Created by William Grant Stevenson, the statue is positioned opposite His Majesty's Theatre and across from Union Terrace Gardens. "It was paid for with funds left for the purpose by John Steill of 38 Grange Road in Edinburgh, the son of James Steill sometime of Easter Baldowrie in Angus."

The statue bears this inscription:


I tell you a truth, liberty is the best of all things, my son, never live under any slavish bond.

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