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William Wallace

image: Wallace as portrayed in the film BraveheartThe first celebrity to be hanged, drawn and quartered died 23 August 1305.

Who is William Wallace?

William Wallace is one of Scotland's most famous historical figures. He fought for Scotland's independence over 700 years ago, leading his army in raids on English forces and in major battles at Stirling Bridge and Falkirk.

Hero or murderous rebel?

William Wallace was a national hero to his fellow Scots, but a murderous rebel so far as the English were concerned, and they reckoned no death was too unpleasant for him.

Wallace's death was as unpleasant as you could get. The victim was only partially hanged, so that he was still alive when the internal organs were removed and burnt, and the limbs were quartered. Parts of Wallace's body were put on show in various towns and cities as a warning to others.

His head was placed on London Bridge. His limbs displayed in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Perth.

Why did Wallace, to the English, deserve such a gruesome death?

Wallace led the Scottish rebellion against Edward I and inflicted a famous defeat on the English army at Stirling Bridge. He showed no mercy to prisoners.

Wallace was seized near Glasgow and was charged and tried with treason, which he denied, saying he had never sworn allegiance to the English king.

He is remembered as a patriot and national hero to many Scots.


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