NQ Scottish History

William Wallace and Scottish resistance

Following the capitulation of Scotland in 1296, any prominent Scot whose name failed to appear on the ‘Ragman’s Roll’ was declared an outlaw and pursued by authorities. Many years later, Blind Harry claimed that one of these men was William Wallace, who had led some men against the Sheriff of Lanark to avenge the death of Marion Braidfute in May of 1297.

Following the murder of the Sheriff, many men joined Wallace in rebellion against English domination, which soon progressed to the Battle of Stirling Bridge. To the north, Sir Andrew Murray was staging a similar rebellion, slowly pushing the English out of the Highlands altogether.

In September of that same year, Wallace and Murray led the Scots to a victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, and the capture of Stirling Castle. Following this impressive victory, Wallace was named 'Guardian of Scotland'. Their victory was short-lived, however. The following year King Edward I once again marched on Scotland, the two armies meeting at Falkirk in July with decisive consequences in favour of the English.

After the disastrous defeat at Falkirk, Wallace resigned as Guardian of Scotland, and shortly thereafter was outlawed by the Scottish nobility that sought to regain Edward’s favour. He continued to resist until his capture near Glasgow on 5 August 1305 by Sir John Mentieth, a Scottish knight, loyal to Edward. He was brought before Edward in Westminster hall on 23 August 1305, where he was condemned for treason.

Immediately following the trial, Wallace was stripped and dragged by horses through the streets, after which he was hung, drawn and quartered, and his dismembered body parts were sent to five different cities for display as a reminder of Edward’s wrath.

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