William Wallace - Return To Scotland & Capture

Wallace TrialIn 1302, Wallace returned to Scotland to try and improve the resolve of the Scots. He would have been a thorn in the side of the English but with the French disowning him (in return for help in Flanders) his power base was declining and on the 5th August 1305 he was captured at Robroyston near Glasgow.


His betrayer was Sir John de Menteith. Initially, Wallace was promised safe lodgings in Dumbarton castle but instead he was secreted south to Carlisle castle and thence to London where he was tried as a traitor and subsequently castrated then hung, drawn and quartered on 23rd August 1305. His head was placed on a pike beside London bridge and his limbs sent separately to Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Aberdeen.
Right: The trial of William Wallace


However, this wasn't the end of Scottish nationalism. Robert Bruce one of the Guardians of Scotland murdered the other Guardian, John Comyn. He then took up arms against England but was defeated. He then retrenched and tried again. However Edward was now old and before further battle could be joined he died in 1307 at Burgh by Sands on the Solway firth.


Edward II was no match for Robert Bruce and Wallace's life long ambition culminated in the defeat of the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Scottish independence was formally recognised after Edward II was murdered and Edward III sat on the throne of England. With this act the Scottish Wars of Independence came to an end. Unfortunately, there was no lasting peace and the days of the Border Rievers arrived until the eventual union of the crowns in 1603 when Elizabeth I died and James I sat on the throne.

Wallace Monument in StirlingThe Legacy Of William Wallace
In 9 brief years he went from being totally unknown to being made the pre-eminent Scot in the land. He represented his country in Paris and Rome and defeated the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.


Unlike his peers he never countenanced any kind of negotiated peace with the English and remained devoted to the Scottish cause until he was executed. Wallace became a central figure in Scottish nationalism and has been remembered in folklore, literature and more recently on film.


Left: Wallace Monument in Stirling


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