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.