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WILLIAM WALLACE

People List

BORN

ELLERSLIE BY KILMARNOCK/AYRSHIRE/ SCOTLAND

LIVED

1270 - 1305


The ice that covered all of Britain began to melt around 10,000 years back. This allowed animals and humans from Europe to populate the land before rising sea levels made Britain an island. By 3000 BC, the first settlements appeared in Caledonia (early Scotland). Around 1000 BC, people known as Picts appeared. These people from an unknown origin, were famed for covering themselves in a blue paint.

The first Roman invasion of Caledonia was 56 BC. With these invasions soon proving unsuccessful, the Romans retreated to the north of England where they built Hadrian's Wall to keep the Caledonian tribes at bay.

The Celts, originally from Europe, where they were named Gaull's, had populated Ireland at that time. After the Romans left England in 407 AD, the Celts began to move into the west of Caledonia. Around the same time, the Scots also from Ireland, began populating the Western Isles, and by 550 AD, the Angles from Europe had settled in Southeast Caledonia.

The Kingdom of Scotland was founded in 1018 after King Malcolm II defeated the Northern English at the battle of Carham /Northeast England, defining the border of Scotland to roughly what can be seen today.

Variations of the name Wallace are found in records by the 12th Century in Ayrshire south west Scotland and Renfrewshire/south of Glasgow.

At the time of William Wallace’s birth 1270, Alexander III had been king of a peaceful Scotland for over 20 years.

King Henry III of England died in 1272 leaving his heir Edward I (Longshanks) to take over the English throne.

With Alexander III of Scotland outliving his sons when he died in 1286, his four-year-old granddaughter Margaret (Maid of Norway) was declared queen. This led to an interim government being set up in Scotland until the young queen came of age. At that time, Longshanks proposed the marriage of Margaret to his son and heir Edward.

Margaret died at the age of eight on the Isle of Orkney when traveling from Norway to England. With Scotland then having no king or queen, and the nobles fighting amongst themselves, Longshanks sent an army to occupy Scotland, this setting off a series of wars between England and Scotland.

When William Wallace was living with relatives near Dundee being educated, he had to flee after either killing an Englishman there that had been taunting him for some time, or, as another story goes, he and some followers had tracked down his uncles executioner, Sir John Fenwick, and his men at Lowden Hill / Lanarkshire, and slayed Fenwick. After whatever event was true, Wallace moved back to Ayrshire where he lived as an outlaw.

Although the Scot, John Balliol, was crowned King of Scotland in 1292, Longshanks was only using Balliol to control Scotland for England. This ended after Balliol joined forces with the French in a war against England. However, Longshanks proved to be a formidable opponent, as by 1297, he had returned from a successful campaign in France to conquer Scotland. Balliol was then imprisoned in the Tower of London.

By that time, William Wallace had been having regular confrontations with English troops in and around the town of Ayr in south west Scotland.

Wallace and his followers went on to win a succession of small battles throughout Scotland. By September 11th 1297, he had gathered enough support to challenge a mighty English army on route to Stirling in central Scotland.

 

To the right is an image of what William Wallace is believed to have looked like.

William Wallace image


Around 15,000 Scots met the English army, 50,000 strong, at Stirling Bridge, in front of the mighty Stirling Castle, that was being controled by the English. One thing in favour of the Scots was, the English had to cross a narrow bridge to attack.

The Scots held back until the English were split on both sides of the river before making their counter attack. The following battle saw the 5,000 or so English, that managed to cross the river, massacred, and the rest fleeing towards England.

Wallace and his men trailed the English army across the border, this leading to them carrying out raids throughout the north of England.

On his return, he was seen as a hero and given the title 'Guardian of Scotland'. The English however, claimed he was the butcher of women and children, the old and the sick.

To the right is a photo of the Wallace Monument overlooking Stirling Bridge.

Wallace Monument overlooking Stirling Bridge image


In July 1298, a massive English army led by Longshanks met the Scots led by Wallace at Falkirk near Stirling. The smaller Scottish force was devastated in that battle with around 10,000 killed. Although Wallace survived, he was forced into hiding, this allowing Robert the Bruce to succeed him as Guardian of Scotland.

On August 5th 1305, Wallace was captured near Glasgow and taken to London to stand trial for treason. On August 23rd 1305, he was hung drawn and quartered at Elms in Smithfield/London.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wallace People List