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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Plantagenet: Edward I adversary William Wallace (1/2)


William Wallace

William Wallace was born in 1272 in Ellerslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland to parents Malcolm Wallace, a laird and Margaret de Crauford, and he was one of three brothers.

Who would have believed at the time of his birth, he would grow up, to become the Guardian of Scotland, and sacrifice his life for his beliefs…

Yet, neither man had met, but his biggest adversary in life, would come from King Edward I of England (Longshanks) who reigned from (1272-1307).

The young William was educated at home, during his early years, and received religious education from the Monks of Paisley Abbey.  Aged just seventeen or eighteen, he went to Dunipace, to further his education at the Chapelry of Cambuskenneth Abbey, in preparation for his entrance into the church.

Whilst he was growing up, Scotland was changing around him, and as yet hadn’t affected him.  He was preparing himself for a life within the church.

Everything changed when King Alexander III of Scotland died on the 19th March 1286.  His heir to the throne was Margaret, Maid of Norway, but she was but a child.  On route from Norway to Scotland, the new heir to the Scottish throne became ill and died on the 26th September 1290 in Orkney.

So the fight started to see who would become the next King of Scotland: Robert Bruce 5th Lord of Annadale in the south and the other main rival were the Comyn’s from the north.

With the threat of civil war looming, King Edward I of England was invited by the Scottish nobility to arbitrate in the process of choosing the new King of Scotland.  A suggestion that had been put forward by William Fraser, the then Bishop of St.Andrews looking to avoid outright war between the clans.

King Edward I accepted their invitation, on the condition that he be recognised as the “Lord Paramount of Scotland.”

Then on the 11th June 1291, the Lord paramount of Scotland, King Edward I ordered that every Scottish Castle would come under his control and furthermore all Scottish officials were to be replaced by English officials.

He promised at the time, it was only a temporary arrangement under the terms of arbitration, but history has shown us otherwise.  By being made Lord Paramount of Scotland, they had made him their ruler…

The Guardians of the Peace along with the leading members of Scottish nobility were required to swear allegiance to King Edward I as their Lord of the Kingdom of Scotland.  All Scottish people also had to pay homage to Edward I, by the 27th July 1291, at predestined sites across the country.

Sir Malcolm Wallace refused to swear allegiance and fled, then in the latter months of 1291, he was murdered by Fenwick an English knight at Loudon Hill, for his refusal to yield to the true authority of King Edward I in Scotland.

In December 1291 William Wallace became branded as an outlaw by the Governor of Dundee; Sir Alan Fitz-Alan.  His crime that he wilfully killed Selby, the son of a constable, yet Wallace was replying to Selby’s taunts of his father’s murder…  So his new life was beginning, no longer destined to enter the church, but an outlaw.

On the 6th November 1292, the Lord Paramount of Scotland, King Edward I, having heard all arguments as to who should be Scotland’s new King, ruled in favour of John Balliol.

King John Balliol of Scotland, so stated that Scotland was nothing more than another region of England, and under direct control by King Edward I of England.

Robert Bruce shocked by the revelations that had taken place, retired from the Scottish political arena and died on the 1st April 1295.  His son also named Robert Bruce, 1st Earl of Carrick passes his Earldom to that of his eighteen year old son; Robert Bruce who would become the future King of Scotland.

William Wallace hated the English and everything they stood for, holding them responsible for the death of his father.  He often got into skirmishes with them, he just couldn’t help himself, he just couldn’t leave his dirk in its scabbard.

On one of these occasions he did battle with a number of English soldiers in Ayr, and managed to kill a few.  However, he hadn’t been that lucky, for he was eventually captured and thrown into gaol awaiting his trial.

He was one lucky individual, for upon the day of his trial, he was found to be dead by the guards and believed to have died from a fever, sustained from his wounds.  His former nanny was granted permission to take his body for a Christian burial, and finds he is barely alive.  She and her daughter nurse him back to health, whilst keeping up the pretence to those around her, that William Wallace had actually died.

Once the news was out that the legendary William Wallace was indeed alive, and ready to tackle the English warriors once again a prophecy was written by Sir Thomas Rymour, believing he would drive the English out of Scotland,

For sooth, ere he decease,

Shall make thousands in the field make end.

From Scotland he shall forth the Southron send,

And Scotland thrice he shall bring to peace.

So good of hand again shall ne’er be kenned.

Fully recovered from his near death experience, he sent his former nanny and daughter into the care and protection of his mother at Ellerslie, fearing for their lives, once it becomes known they had aided his recovery.

The combination of William Wallace’s exploits against the English and the prophecy hailing him as the one who would deliver Scotland out of the hands of the English, into a life of Freedom.  Many Scots and close friends, who were sympathetic to his cause rallied round him, as their leader to liberate Scotland.

Cousins:     Adam Wallace, Richard Wallace, Simon Wallace and William de Crauford.

Nephews:  Edward Little and Tom Halliday.

Uncle:        Patrick Auchinleck of Gilbank.

King John Balliol’s reign as the Scottish ruler was marred by the constant interference of King Edward I’s constant meddling in the affairs of Scotland, he had become a puppet of the English monarch.

Edward had Scotland firmly under his control, and informed his King of Scotland to make ready troops and funds for an invasion of France and be ready by the 1st September 1294.

The Scottish King’s war council debated their involvement of taking part in this invasion, and devised a counter plan that would be in the best interests of Scotland.

Emissaries were sent to the court of King Philip of France, and informed of King Edward I intentions to invade their lands.  So it was, a treaty was hammered out to thwart Edward’s plan of invasion.  If Edward crossed the seas to invade France, Scotland would invade England assisted by the French.  In return Edward Balliol son of King John Balliol of Scotland would marry Jeanne de Valois, the niece of King Philip of France.

An additional treaty was also created between King Erik II of Norway.  They would supply one-hundred of their battleships for a four month period, whilst hostilities between England and France continued for the sum of 50,000 groats.

King John Balliol of Scotland informed King Edward I of England, that no Scottish warriors would take part in the invasion of France.

News reached the ears of King Edward I in the summer of 1295 that the Scots had created a treaty between themselves and France.

In October 1295, English northern defences were strengthened against a possible invasion from Scotland and so King Edward I ordered King John Balliol to release his control of castles and burghs of Berwick, Jedburgh and Roxburgh.

On the 16th October 1295, all King John Balliol estates south of the border were seized by King Edward I.

In the December of 1295, King Edward informed two hundred of his tenants at Newcastle to form themselves into a fighting unit in preparation for attacks by the armies of Scotland.

In the February of 1296, King Edward had amassed a fleet of ships off the East Anglian coastline, destined to sail north to Newcastle to assist his land forces.

King John Balliol summoned all Scots who could bear arms to converge at Caddonlee by 11th March 1296; this was in response to the English forces heading towards the border between their two countries.

Some nobles chose to reject the request; among those was Robert Bruce, the Earl of Carrick who had their estates seized by the crown, along with any who were known supporters of the English.

In Mid-March of 1296, the armies of England and Scotland faced each other across the border each eyeing one another up.  One Lord Wark, Robert de Ros left his English forces to join those of the Scots, all for the love of a Scottish lass.  He led a Scottish contingent in an ill-fated attempt to capture Wark castle.

On the 26th March 1296, the Earl of Buchan, one John Comyn attacked Carlisle, but the town’s defences, proved impenetrable.  In utter frustration he laid waste to dwellings not protected by the town’s defences.  On his route back to his homeland of Scotland, his army plundered and burned villages, monasteries and churches.

On the 30th March 1296 King Edward I had thirty thousand foot soldiers and a further five thousand cavalry lined up on the outskirts of Berwick.  He offered unconditional surrender, but he was taunted by the town’s inhabitants.  The battle was over quickly, as the garrison commander Sir William Douglas swore his allegiance to the English King.

It is said between seventeen and twenty thousand men, women and children were butchered by English warriors in three days of orgy and wanton destruction.

The news of the genocide committed at Berwick sent shock waves across Scotland.  By 5th April King John Balliol dispatched the Abbot of Arbroath to King Edward I, carrying a letter of withdrawing his allegiance to him and England.

On the 23rd April 1296, the Scottish army had seized Dunbar Castle.  Then on the 27th April, John Comyn led his Scottish forces against the English forces led by John de Warenne in the Lammermoor Hills at Spottsmuir, Dunbar.  With one single move, the Scots were out manoeuvred and 130 battle hardened nobles were captured, and England’s resistance in Scotland crumbled.

28th April 1296    Dunbar Castle surrendered to the English.

8th May 1296       Roxburgh Castle surrendered to the English.

In Mid-May, Jedburgh, Dumbarton, Edinburgh and Stirling Castle all surrendered to the English.  Then English warriors headed north clearing out those pockets of rebels who resisted the English, through Perth, Montrose and Aberdeen.

On the 2nd July 1296 King Balliol begged forgiveness of the English King and informed him it was his intention to abdicate from the Scottish throne.

On the 7th July 1296 King John Balliol at Stracathro admitted his errors publicly and confirmed his reconciliation with King Edward I.  On the 10th July he abdicated his post from the Kingdom of Scotland.  First at Brechin to the Bishop pf Durham, then at Montrose in front of King Edward I.

In August of 1296 John and Edward Balliol were incarcerated in the Tower of London, and John was later moved and placed under house arrest in Hertford.

King Edward I removed the Stone of Destiny from Scone, and had it placed in Westminster Abbey.  He removed the Scottish regalia which included the Black Rood of St.Margarets along with a number of official documents from Edinburgh.

On the 28th August 1296, Parliament was convened at Berwick where prominent Scottish landowners had to prove their rights to their estates in the form of documental evidence.

King Edward I left Scotland on the 19th September 1296, leaving his appointed English officials to govern his provinces in his name.

John de Warenne:                Governor of Scotland.

William Ormsby:                    Justiciar of Scotland.

Hugh Cressingham:              Treasurer of Scotland.

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