Isabella of Angouleme: Wife of King John


Isabella of Angouleme

Isabella of Angouleme was born in 1188 to parents Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angouleme and Alice of Courtenay, sister of Peter II of Courtenay, Emperor of Constantinople and grand-daughter of King Louis VI of France.

Isabella was betrothed to Hugh de Lusignan, Count of LaMarche, but King John of England snatched the twelve year old Isabella, from under his nose.  They were married on the 24th August 1200 at Bordeaux, and on the 9th October she was crowned Queen of England, at Westminster Abbey.

King Philip II of France confiscated John’s lands in France, for such an unprincipled act, and the de Lusigan family rebelled against him.

There were political reasons, which led John to marry Isabella of Angouleme, it stopped a union between the houses of Angouleme and Lusignan, for it posed a serious threat to his dominance in the region.  John’s actions offended Hugh de Lusignan, who appealed for justice through Philip Augustus, who declared he had forfeited all his territories, except Gascony.

John had no choice, but to invade Normandy.  Following a long siege in 1203, the Chateau Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart’s castle fell to the French.  By 1204, Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, plus parts of Poitou, were also in French hands.  John was forced to flee France and the lands of his father.

Isabella became the Countess of Angouleme on the 16th June 1202.  On the 1st October 1207, she gave birth to a son and heir; Henry at Winchester Castle.  Richard was born on the 5th January 1209, Joan on the 22nd July 1210, Isabel in 1214 and Eleanor in 1215.

King John died on the 18th October 1216 at Newark, and was succeeded by his son Henry, aged nine.

King Henry III was crowned King of England at his Coronation on the 28th October 1216 at the Abbey Church of Gloucester.

King John’s will, did not allow Isabella to become one of Henry’s executors, and she found herself excluded from the Regency council and England’s politics.

In 1217, Isabella escorted her daughter Joan, to her bridegroom in Angouleme, but in an extraordinary turn of events, Isabella became the bride to Hugh de Lusignan, to whom Isabella had been betrothed to in her youth, but snatched by King John and they were married in 1220.

Joan was kept in France, until Henry’s government acknowledged her claim to certain Poitevin estates as part of her original dower settlement from John.  In the latter part of 1220, Joan was returned to England, without her claim being settled.

By September of 1221, Isabella’s English dower lands had been confiscated by England’s government, later returned and re-confiscated, when she supported the French invasion of Poitou.

Isabella had nine children by Hugh de Lusignan.  In 1241 Isabella was summoned to appear before the French court with her husband, to swear allegiance to Alphonse, brother of King Louis IX, who had been invested as Count of Poitou.

Hugh de Lusignan and Isabella played off England and France’s King’s against each other, offering support to one, then the other.

In 1244, two French royal cooks attempted to poison the King of France, and confessed of being in the pay of Isabella.  Isabella fled to Fontevrault Abbey, a refuge from trials, where she remained until her death on the 31st May 1246, and was buried in the Abbey’s churchyard, as an act of repentance for her sins.

Her husband Hugh de Lusignan died in 1249 on crusade in the Holy Land, and many of their children left France, undertaking positions in the court of Henry III.

By order of King Henry III of England, Isabella was moved inside the Abbey, and interred beside Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

(Image) Isabella of Angouleme: Arrayed in Gold

Eleanor of Provence: Wife of Henry III


Eleanor of Provence

Eleanor of Provence was born in 1223, at Aix-en-Provence to parents Raymond Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Beatrice of Savoy.

On the 14th January 1236, Eleanor aged twelve; married King Henry III aged twenty-eight at Canterbury Cathedral.

Eleanor was accompanied by her relatives, and Henry gave them influential positions in his government, which made her unpopular with England’s barons, its people, who didn’t trust foreigners.

On the 17th June 1239, her son Edward the future Edward I was born.

Henry an ambitious but ineffective King, lacked willpower.  Eleanor made up for it, showing herself to be self-confident in exercising her power.

When Henry was captured by his own barons, and forced into agreeing terms of reforms, she called upon France for assistance, raising an army to free him … it may have been a failure, but proved her heart was in the right place.

Her son came to the rescue, fought off the rebels and released his father from captivity.

In 1272, Henry died, and her son Edward became King Edward I of England, and she became Queen Dowager.  She assisted in the raising of her grandchildren, but when Henry her grandson died in her care in 1274, she founded Guildford Priory in his name.

In 1286, Eleanor took of her crown and donned the veil of a nun, living a quiet life, until she died on the 24th June 1291 at Amesbury Convent.

Queen Eleanor of Provence was buried in the Abbey of St.Mary and St.Melor in Amesbury on the 9th December 1291.  Her heart was buried at a Franciscan Priory in London.

(Image) Eleanor of Provence: Vikings to Virgin

Eleanor of Aquitaine: Wife of Henry II


Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine was born in France of 1122, to parents William X, the Duke of Aquitaine and Aenor de Chatellerault.  In 1130, Eleanor’s mother, brother and sister died, and on Good Friday 1137, her father died at Compostela.

Eleanor became the sole heir to the duchy of Aquitaine, considered at the time, to be the largest and richest province in France.

In June 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII, and upon the death of King Louis VI on the 1st August 1137, Eleanor and Louis VII, became King and Queen of France.

Eleanor had influenced her husband Louis, in letting her accompany him on the Second Crusade to the Holy Land, to free Jerusalem for Christianity in 1141, aged nineteen.

It is said, the church was pleased to receive many warriors through Eleanor, but they had not bargained on the three-hundred ladies, who would tend to the wounded.

Their relationship, and lack of male heirs, saw the annulment of their marriage, approved by the Pope on the 21st March 1152.  Eleanor had only given Louis two children; Marie 1145-1198 who married Henry I, the Count of Champagne, and Alix 1151-1198 who married Theobald V, the Count of Blois.

On the 18th May 1152 Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry of Anjou, and on the 25th October 1154 King Stephen dies, leading to the coronation of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of England in December 1154.

On the 28th February 1155, their first child and son was born; Henry, followed by Matilda in 1156, Richard the Lionheart in 1157, Geoffrey the Duke of Brittany in 1158, Eleanor in 1162, Joanna in 1165 and finally John in 1166.

Eleanor suffered much neglect, from her husband, as he paraded his mistresses, like Rosamund Clifford, believed to be the mother of two of his many illegitimate children.

Neglect, drove Eleanor to return to Aquitaine, along with her son; Richard the Lionheart in 1173.  Eleanor even went to the point of encouraging her sons to rebel against their father.

In 1174, Henry exiles Eleanor and her royal women back to England, and she spent the next fifteen years as Henry’s prisoner.

King Henry II died on the 6th July 1189, and she witnessed her favourite son Richard the Lionheart ascend to the English throne.  His first order of business as the English King, was the release of his mother.

Richard was taken prisoner, whilst returning from the Holy Land, and on the 3rd February 1194, she delivers the ransom, which set her son free.

Eleanor saw her youngest son John, become King of England, and she worked as his envoy in France.  Eventually she retired, living the life of a nun, at Fontevrault Abbey where she was buried upon her death in 1204.

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Plantagenet: King Richard II


King Richard II

1377  Edward III’s eldest son, Edward the Black Prince, who was supposed to succeed his father as the next King of England, died in 1376.

So, the throne of England was passed to Edward’s 10 year old grandson; Richard II on the 22nd June, and was crowned King of England, on the 16th July at Westminster Abbey.

Obvious choice of Regent for the young King would have been John of Gaunt, but with much opposition to his appointment, some believing he wanted the throne for himself.  It resulted in no Regent, but a council to decide policy and advise the young King’s minister’s … in effect, England had no government during Richard’s early years.

1380  John Wycliffe began translating the New Testament Bible from Latin into English.

The Poll Tax was introduced, where every man and woman over the age of fifteen, had to pay one shilling to the crown.

1381  The Poll Tax levied upon its people brought unrest, leading to the Peasant’s Revolt.

John Ball and Watt Tyler, rebel leaders marched on London with 10,000 supporters, and met the King at Mile End on the 14th June.  Richard II promised the abolishment of the Poll Tax, and most returned home; unaware the Crown would not keep their word.

John Ball and Watt Tyler along with a group of hard core rebels, met with Richard II on the 15th June.  They demanded a complete reform of the law, abolishment of all Lordships and the disestablishment of the church.

Watt Tyler’s outburst against the King saw William Walworth, Mayor of London, draw his dagger and strike him down.  The murder of Tyler brought any resistance to an end.

1382  Minor uprisings against the Poll Tax continued for many weeks, as hard core rebels of the cause had been hunted down and killed.

William of Wykeham, the Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, founded Winchester College.

1384  John Wycliffe, believed the bible was the only true religious authority, and believed in the translation from Latin to English.  For his beliefs, he was labelled as a heretic by the Pope and the English church council.  In the December he died, and his books were burned, and his body removed from consecrated ground by order of the Pope.

1387  Richard was forced to accept, the Lords Appellant control of the government, led by the Duke of Gloucester.

1388  As a result of political and military actions, under the Lords Appellant, many of Richard’s friends and advisor’s were either executed or sent into exile.

1389  Richard declares himself to be of age, and chose the direction his government would take.  He appoints William of Wykeham as his Lord Chancellor.

1394  Richards leads the English army; reconquering the West of Ireland.

Queen Anne of Bohemia, Richard II’s first wife died in June, aged 27.

1395  Richard invaded Ireland, defeating their chieftains in the south east, and eighty were forced to pay homage to him.

Richard attempted to create a new alliance between the English crown and Ireland, over grievances levelled against Anglo-Irish landowners.

1396  Richard II marries Isabella of Valois daughter of the King of France, and signs a 28 year truce between England and France.

1397  Richard exacts revenge against the Lord’s Appellant, and exiled Henry Bolingbroke, seizing their lands and goods.

Thomas of Woodstock was murdered, Richard the Earl of Arundel was executed, Thomas Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick along with Thomas Arundel were exiled.

1398  Henry of Bolingbroke, the Duke of Hereford and Thomas Mowbray, the Duke of Norfolk, each accused the other of treason, and were exiled.

Richard (Dick) Whittington, becomes Lord Mayor of London.

1399  Richard II was in Leinster, Ireland, where his cousin Roger Mortimer and Governor had been killed by the Irish.

News reached Richard, that Henry Bolingbroke had landed at Ravenspur in Yorkshire, he returned home, to find his people had turned against him.

The Earl of Northumberland took him prisoner, and handed him over to Henry.  Richard confessed before Parliament, of being unworthy to reign and gave his crown to Henry Bolingbroke.

Richard was imprisoned at Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire.

Richard II died on the 14th February 1400 of starvation aged 33 at Pontefract Castle, and was buried at Westminster.

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Plantagenet: King Edward III

king-edward-iii1327  Edward III accedes to the English throne on the 25th January, after his father: Edward II renounced his throne, in favour of his son, Edward III.  He was crowned on the 29th January and ruled England with his mother: Isabella of France and her lover, Roger Mortimer as his Regents.

1328  King Edward III married Philippa of Hainault on the 24th January in York.

They were blessed with nine children, who reached adulthood:

Edward (The Black Prince), Isabella, Joan, Lional (Duke of Clarence), Mary, John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster), Margaret, Edmund (Duke of York) and Thomas (Duke of Gloucester).

1329  Edward III formerly recognizes Scotland as an independent nation, and part of England.

Edward bitterly resented giving independence to Scotland, and he saw his chance to win Scotland back, when Robert Bruce died.

David, the new King of the Scots, was Edward’s brother – in law.

1330  Edward takes over power, as ruler of his kingdom, after three years of governing by his regents; Isabella of France and her lover Roger Mortimer.

Roger Mortimer is executed, as for his mother, he allows her to live out the rest of her life at Castle Rising.  She was not allowed to leave the grounds.  She haunts this castle, her final resting place, where she died on the 22nd August 1358, and her screams and manic laughter can still be heard to this day.

1332  Exiled barons, who supported Robert Bruce, invaded Scotland, headed by Edward Baliol, who became King of Scotland, upon their victory, only to be driven out a few months later.

Parliament, is divided into two houses; the Lords and Commons, and English becomes the common language, replacing the Norman French language.

1333  Edward III defeated the Scots at Halidon Hill.

1337  The French King; Philip VI seizes Edward’s Duchy of Aquitaine.  Edward’s response was to declare himself as the rightful heir to the French throne, as grandson of Philip IV, and his mother; Isabella… The result was the “100 Years War,” with France.

1340  On the 24th June, an English fleet of ships, destroyed the French navy at Sluys, and the ensuing war was fought on French soil.

1342  The rebuilding of Windsor Castle commenced.

Edward went to Brittany and fought against the French, proving himself a military warrior in the process.

1344  In the January, King Edward III held a Round Table Tournament at Windsor, known as the “Order of the Garter” originally consisting of 300 knights dressed in blue robes, with St.George as their patron.

1346  Edward III accompanied by his son Edward (The Black Prince), defeated the French King; Philip VI at the “Battle of Crecy” on the 26th August.

King David II of Scotland invades England, and was defeated at Neville’s Cross, where he was taken prisoner.

1347  Edward attacks Calais, which is captured by his forces… With a high success rate, he was forced to make a truce, as money ran out.

1348  On the 23rd April at the feast of St.George, he announced that the “Order of the Garter”£ would be reserved for 24 knights, who showed their loyalty to their King, and chivalry on the battlefield.  At the head would be King Edward III and Edward, the Black Prince, making a total of 26 knights.

1348/1349  Black Death arrives in England, and takes the livces of one-third of its population.

1356  Edward the Black Prince defeats the French at Poiters, and takes King John II of France prisoner.

1357  King David II of Scotland is released from captivity.

1360  King John II of France, is released from captivity, after promising to pay a ransom, leaving Louis of Anjou in English held Calais as hostage.

Edward now controlled a quarter of France.  His success rate, consolidated the support of his nobles, and eased criticism of the taxes, which paid for the war with France.

1364  Louis escapes from Calais, forcing John to return to England, for he could not pay the ransom.  He lived out the remainder of his life in England.

1369  The French take back the lands of Aquitaine, and war with England and France, kicks off again.

1370  Edward the Black Prince, massacres 3,000 people at Limoges.

1373  John of Gaunt leads an invasion into France, on the borders of Burgundy.

John of Gaunt returns home, Edward III his father, and Edward the Black Prince are both ill.

1375  The French King; Charles V, reversed England’s conquest in the “Treaty of Bruges” reducing Edward’s gains to Calais and coastal areas of Bordeaux, which received much criticism in England.

1376  Parliament elected the first speaker who would represent the Commons, and an attack on high taxes and critism against the King’s advisers.  Furthermore, he refused to grant their King anymore money to continue his war with France.

Edward the Black Prince dies, and with it, Edward III lost his mind over the latter years of his life.  He was heart-broken.

1377  King Edward III, died on the 21st June aged 64 at Sheen Palace, Surrey and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

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Plantagenet: King Edward II


King Edward II

1307  On the 8th July, Edward the son of King Edward I and Eleanor of Castile succeeded his father as King Edward II of England.

1308  On the 25th January in Boulogne, France, King Edward II of England married Isabella Capet, the daughter of King Phillip IV of France, and of Jeanne of Navarre.

On the 25th February Edward II and Isabella Capet were crowned King and Queen of England, at Westminster Abbey.

Edward was forced to exile his friend and adviser, one Piers Gaveston, with whom he confided in, for misgovernment.

1309  Edward recalled his exiled friend, Piers Gaveston from France, and granted him the Earldom of Cornwall, much to the annoyance of England’s baron’s.

1310  Parliament creates the “Lords Ordainers” committee, with the express task of controlling the King and his administration.  Thomas, the Earl of Lancaster, is appointed to take control.

1312  Edward and Isabella’s first child was named Edward.

Piers Gaveston, Edwards homosexual lover, was captured by the Earl of Pembroke, and believing he was bad distraction for the King and England; was executed.

1314  Edward invades Scotland only to be defeated in the “Battle of Bannockburn” by Robert Bruce.

Scotland’s Independence was assured.

1315  Thomas, the Earl of Lancaster, had made himself the real ruler of England, with Edward as the face of England, and the baron’s had the power.

1320  Welsh border baron’s, the LeDespenser’s gained the King’s favour, and supported Edward, offering advice.

The Scots gained their independence, by signing the “Declaration of Arbroath.”

1322  Edward’s support of the Despenser’s ambitions for Wales, saw them banished from England by a group of baron’s.

Thomas, the Earl of Lancaster is defeated in battle against Edward at the “Battle of Boroughbridge” in Yorkshire.

Edward had the Earl of Lancaster executed, and recalled the Despenser’s, who assisted in his ruling of England.

1325  Isabella and Edward’s dislike for each other, had scaled to new heights.

Isabella went to Paris on a mission to see her brother; Charles IV of France, and craftily succeeded in getting her son, Prince Edward, sent to join her in France.  The stage was set for a successful coup, in which Edward II would be deposed and be replaced by his own son, Prince Edward.

1326  Edward’s wife, Isabella of France led a successful invasion against her husband, and had him imprisoned in Berkeley Castle.  She deposes Edward, seizing power.

The Despenser’s are put to death.

1327  Edward II was forced to renounce his throne in favour of his son; Prince Edward, and Parliament duly deposed Edward II.

Edward III ruled England with his mother; Isabella of France and her lover Roger Mortimer as Regents.

Edward II is murdered in Berkeley Castle, upon the express orders of his wife on the 21st September 1327, aged 43 and was buried at Gloucester.

Additional Info:

Edward II, was the second King of England to be dethroned… The first was Ethelred in 1013.

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Plantagenet: Edward I adversary William Wallace (2/2)


William Wallace

William Wallace sought revenge from Fenwick the English knight who had murdered his father in 1291, for not swearing his allegiance to King Edward I of England, and Lord Paramount of Scotland.

Fenwick passed through Loudon Hill in July 1296, commanding a convoy, and Wallace unmounted him and his cousin Robert Boyd dispatched him into the next world, as his small army attacked the convoy.

In September 1296, Wallace attacked another convoy, belonging to Sir Henry de Percy at East Carthcart.  The Great Council branded him an outlaw on the charge of highway robbery.

Irish exiles, like Stephen of Ireland, joined him in his exploits against the English.

In the autumn of 1296 they seized the Peel Tower in Gargunnock and burnt it to the ground.

In late 1296 attacked Sir James Butler’s convoy as it passed through Methven Wood, then seized Kinclaven Castle, plundered it, and set it ablaze.  Sir John Butler son of Sir James commanded a large force of cavalry and archers, were ordered to seek out and destroy Wallace and his men, by Sir Gerald Heron; Governor of Perth.

Wallace and his men escaped into Cargill Wood and escaped by the skin of their teeth, and lost many brave men that day.

Christmas 1296, and Wallacew spent it with his cousin; Patrick Auchinleck.  For a spot of light relief from time to time, ventured into Lanark and slayed some English infidels’.

William Wallace fell in love with Marion Braidfute, the eighteen year old daughter of the late Hugh Braidfute of Lamington.

In January 1297 seized Lochmaben Castle the stronghold of Robert Bruce 6th Lord of Annandale, the current governor of Carlisle Castle.  Before heading to Dunduff to see out the cold winter months, seized Crawford Castle.

In the spring of 1297, he sneaked into Lanark to visit his girlfriend Marion Braidfute, whom he had married, and they had one child, a daughter who grew up and married Shaw, a squire of Balliol’s blood.

In May 1297, after attending Sunday mass at St.Kentigern Church in Lanark, English soldiers attempted to capture this known outlaw.  He escaped by slipping through Marion’s house, and she delayed their pursuit.  She paid a high price for her loyalty, for Sir William Heselrig, Sheriff of Lanark murdered her, and torched her house, for assisting a known outlaw.

When the news reached Wallace that his wife had been killed for her actions, he was consumed with guilt and revenge.

William Wallace had been content to liberate Scotland from the English.  Everything had changed, for the English had killed his father and wife, and persecuted his mother until her death.  Now this was a personal vendetta against the English… He wanted justice; he wanted to see the blood of English soldiers, run through the hills of Scotland.

A small group of his men slipped into Lanark and entered the home of Sir William Heselrig.  He was slain by Wallace’s own hand as he laid in his bed, then went on and killed his son who attacked him with sword in hand, and his final act of revenge was to torch the village.

William Wallace and his men, went on a killing frenzy and slaughtered some two-hundred and forty English soldiers, evicted priests, women and children from their homes, making them destitute.

After the massacre in Lanark by William Wallace and his band of men against the English… news spread across Scotland like wildfire.  It didn’t take long before like minded Scots took up arms to join him.  His army grew in size to three thousand well armed men, fuelled by his exploits against the English.  Old friends Adam Wallace and Robert Boyd joined his ranks.

Robert Wishart, the Bishop of Glasgow, recruited Wallace to fight the cause for freedom in the name of John Balliol, giving it a veil of respectability.

Sir William Douglas, former governor of Berwick, joined up with Wallace and captured Sanquhar Castle, only to lose it to Captain Durisdee, who himself lost it to William Wallace.

In June 1297 King Edward I released Scottish nobles formerly captured at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296, on condition they quell this minor insurrection in the Moray province.

In June 1297, Wallace and his growing array planned and executed a symbolic strike to liberate Scone, resistance was minimal, for most English had fled when news reached them Wallace was heading in their direction.

By the end of June 1297, Scotland was in rebellion from the north to the south, and the east to the west.  The instigators of this rebellion were; Andrew de Moray, James Steward, Robert Wishart (Bishop of Glasgow) and William Wallace.

“Ever formost in treason, conspired with the Steward of the Kingdom, named James, for a new piece of insolence, yea, for a new chapter of ruin.  Not daringly openly to break their pledge to the king, they caused a certain bloody man, William Wallace, who had formerly been a chief of brigands in Scotland, to revolt against the King, and assemble the people in his support.”

John de Warenne Governor of Scotland returned to Berwick in July 1297, under orders from King Edward I to stamp out this insurrection.

In the early days of July 1297 Sir Henry de Percy and Sir Robert de Clifford crossed the English-Scottish border with an army of forty thousand foot soldiers and three hundred cavalry to put an end to this Scottish Rebellion.

Robert Wishart the Bishop of Glasgow called upon the Scottish Nobles, and they gathered at Irvine with their vassals, (A man who gives military service to a lord in return for protection and land) to rid Scotland of the English.  On the 7th July the Scottish Nobles surrendered without any blood being spilt. Then Robert Wishart was taken into custody by the English for his involvement and imprisoned in Roxburgh Castle.

William Wallace attacked Glasgow with three hundred horsemen in reprisal for Robert Wishart’s arrest.  Some four-hundred English soldiers were known to have died that day.

Earls of Atholl, John Comyn, Mentieth, John of Lord with a cumulative force of fifteen-thousand warriors attacked resistance groups of Argyll.  In response Wallace attacked their force, with a short swift blow, and the battle only lasted two hours.

At Ardchattan on the shores of Loch Etive, Wallace gave Duncan of Lorn and Sir Neil Campbell their ancestral lands, for both had been loyal supporters for a free Scotland.

William Wallace and his army marched cross country and attacked the town of Perth, where two-thousand English soldiers were slaughtered in the battle.

The new Sheriff of Perth was the rebel Knight; Ruthven appointed by Wallace for his actions and granted a hereditary Lieutenancy of Strathearn.

William Wallace and his army captured Dunnottar Castle in 1297.  Some four thousand warriors retreated into the church; seeking refuge.  Wallace proceeded to burn the church to the ground with the English inside, and then proceeded to destroy the castle.

After massacring the English at Dunnottar Castle it is said some of the rebels are believed to have knelt down before the Bishop of Dunkeld, resting upon their swords, and asked for absolution for the acts that had taken place that very day.

Wallace’s army headed up the east coast to Aberdeen, where one hundred fully laden ships lay in the harbour.  At low tide, they attacked the English ships, killing crews and soldiers alike, then liberated the cargo, and set the ships on fire.

In August 1297, Sir Henry de Lazom seized control of Aberdeen Castle for the rebel cause.

In the latter part of 1297 William Wallace and his highly outnumbered seized control of Perth and its castle.  As they drove the deflated English from Scottish lands, they seized Cupar Castle, killing all the English soldiers within.

After the battle, Moray and Wallace assumed the title of Guardians of the Kingdom of Scotland on behalf of King John Balliol.  Sadly Moray died from his wounds suffered on the battlefield in late 1297.

As the English retreated from Scotland, they burnt farms, crops and slaughtered livestock.  With winter just around the corner, food would be in short supply.

On the 18th October 1297, William Wallace and his army invaded England, and stripped the counties of; County Durham, Cumbria and Northumbria of food and livestock.

Around Christmas of 1297, William Wallace was knighted for his deeds in freeing Scotland from the English by Robert Bruce the 2nd Earl of Carrick.

By September of 1298, William Wallace had resigned his position as a Guardian of Scotland in favour of Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick crowned King of Scotland in 1306 and John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, King John Balliol’s nephew.

William Wallace had become the most wanted man by the English and evaded capture until 5th August 1305.

To many noblemen of Scotland, William Wallace roots show he is nothing more than a commoner with a grudge against the English.  No one can deny, if it hadn’t been for him, Scotland would have become nothing more than a province of England under English rule.

So who betrayed William Wallace to the English?

It is said that Sir John Mentieth a Scottish noble born in 1275, in Ruskie, Stirling, son Walter Bailoch Stewart, the 5th Earl of Menteith, and Mary the 4th Countess of Menteith.  He also replaced the Stewart name to that of Menteith.

In 1296 at the Battle of Dunbar, against the English, he along with his brother Alexander Stewart the 6th Earl of Menteith were captured with many other nobles and imprisoned.

In the June of 1297 King Edward I released Scottish nobles formerly captured at Dunbar, on condition they quell this minor insurrection in the Moray province.

John Menteith pledged his undying support to King Edward I, and was appointed Governor of Dumbarton Castle, this became a secure fortification, becoming a major access route into Scotland from the sea.

On the 5th August, Sir John Menteith being a loyal supporter of King Edward I of England, betrayed William Wallace to English soldiers, and played a part in the capture of this outlaw.

William Wallace was escorted under heavy escort from Robroyston to London on the charge of treason.  He was brought before the authorities charged with treason and atrocities against civilians in war, and crowned with an oak garland, meaning he is the King of the outlaws.

His response was “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.”  Wallace implied that John Balliol was his King.

On the 23rd August 1305 he was removed to the Tower of London having been found guilty of all charges against him, and stripped naked and dragged through the city streets.  He was then hanged, drawn and quartered; an English medieval ritual to ensure one could not rise again on Judgement Day.

They first strangled him by hanging, but stopped short of death.  Emasculated him by removal of his testicles.  Eviscerated him by removal of his internal organs, disembowel and burnt before his very eyes.  Then they beheaded him, and cut his body into four parts.

His head was dipped in tar and placed on a pike on London Bridge.  The remaining four parts of his body were displayed separately in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling and Perth.

William Wallace was seen by the Scottish people as a true martyr of Scotland, and as a symbol of the struggle for independence.  What he had started continued on after his death.

Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick was crowned King of Scotland in 1306.

Scotland gained its independence from the English some fifty years after the execution of William Wallace.  He has been remembered as one of Scotland’s greatest heroes.

In 1869 the Wallace Monument was erected on Stirling Bridge.

A plaque is located on the wall of St.Bartholomews Hospital in London, close to the place of William Wallace’s execution at Smithfield.


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