Sir William Wallace (c. 1272-76 - 23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight, landowner, and patriot who is renowned for leading a resistance during the Wars of Scottish Independence.William Wallace'searly years are not known to history, although there is a suspicion he may have lived on the margins of Scottish society. He burst on to the pages of history with the murder of the English Sheriff ofLanark in May 1297. Along with with Andrew Moray, he subsequently defeated an English army at Stirling, and became Guardian of Scotland. On 1 April 1298, the English invaded Scotland at Roxburgh. Theyplundered Lothian and regained some castles, but had failed to bring Wallace to combat. The Scots adopted a scorched-earth policy in their own country, and English quartermasters' failure to prepare forthe expedition left morale and food low, but Edward's search for Wallace would not end at Falkirk.After several years in hiding Wallace was eventually found in Scotland and handed over to Edward I ofEngland who had him executed for treason.
Wallace evaded capture by the English until 5 August 1305 when John de Menteith, a Scottish knight loyal to Edward, turned Wallace over to Englishsoldiers at Robroyston near Glasgow. Wallace was transported to London and tried for treason and the execution of civilians and prisoners at Westminster Hall where he was crowned with a garland of oak tosuggest that he was the king of outlaws. He responded to the treason charge, "I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject." With this, Wallace asserted that the absent John Balliolwas officially his king. Wallace was declared guilty.Following the trial, on 23 August 1305, Wallace was taken from the hall, stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse to theElms at Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered — strangled by hanging but released while still alive, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burnt before him, beheaded, then cut into four...
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