William Wallace Hero Essay

Sir William Wallace, (born c. 1270, probably near Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland—died August 23, 1305, London, England), one of Scotland’s greatest national heroes, leader of the Scottish resistance forces during the first years of the long and ultimately successful struggle to free Scotland from English rule.

His father, Sir Malcolm Wallace, was a small landowner in Renfrew. In 1296 King Edward I of England deposed and imprisoned the Scottish king John de Balliol and declared himself ruler of Scotland. Sporadic resistance had already occurred when, in May 1297, Wallace and a band of some 30 men burned Lanark and killed its English sheriff. Wallace then organized an army of commoners and small landowners and attacked the English garrisons between the Rivers Forth and Tay. On September 11, 1297, an English army under John de Warenne, earl of Surrey, confronted him at the Forth near Stirling. Wallace’s forces were greatly outnumbered, but Surrey had to cross a narrow bridge over the Forth before he could reach the Scottish positions. By slaughtering the English as they crossed the river, Wallace gained an overwhelming victory. He captured Stirling Castle, and for the moment Scotland was nearly free of occupying forces. In October he invaded northern England and ravaged the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland.

Upon returning to Scotland early in December 1297, Wallace was knighted and proclaimed guardian of the kingdom, ruling in Balliol’s name. Nevertheless, many nobles lent him only grudging support; and he had yet to confront Edward I, who was campaigning in France. Edward returned to England in March 1298, and on July 3 he invaded Scotland. On July 22 Wallace’s spearmen were defeated by Edward’s archers and cavalry in the Battle of Falkirk, Stirling. Although Edward failed to pacify Scotland before returning to England, Wallace’s military reputation was ruined. He resigned his guardianship in December and was succeeded by Robert de Bruce (later King Robert I) and Sir John Comyn “the Red.”

There is some evidence that Wallace went to France in 1299 and thereafter acted as a solitary guerrilla leader in Scotland; but from the autumn of 1299 nothing is known of his activities for more than four years. Although most of the Scottish nobles submitted to Edward in 1304, the English continued to pursue Wallace relentlessly. On August 5, 1305, he was arrested near Glasgow. Taken to London, he was condemned as a traitor to the king even though, as he maintained, he had never sworn allegiance to Edward. He was hanged, disemboweled, beheaded, and quartered (seedrawing and quartering). In 1306 Bruce raised the rebellion that eventually won independence for Scotland.

Many of the stories surrounding Wallace have been traced to a late 15th-century romance ascribed to Harry the Minstrel, or “Blind Harry.” The most popular tales are not supported by documentary evidence, but they show Wallace’s firm hold on the imagination of his people. A huge monument (1861–69) to Wallace stands atop the rock of Abbey Craig near Stirling. He was the subject of the movieBraveheart (1995).

"This is the truth I tell you: of all things freedom’s most fine. Never submit to live, my son, in the bonds of slavery entwined." —William Wallace

William Wallace

William Wallace was a freedom fighter in the late 13th century for Scotland and Ireland against England. The English took over Scotland and Ireland under the rule of their ruthless king, Edward I, more commonly known as "Long Shanks." Wallace led a giant, country-wide people's rebellion against the military presence in Scotland in the hopes of a free country for its entire population. This was triggered by the execution of William's own wife for attacking an English soldier because he was trying to rape her. William was said to be over six and a half feet tall with incredible strength, intelligence, and agility. He was a master swordsman and horseman and was said to be extraordinarily handsome.

William Wallace was a freedom fighter, but he did not achieve freedom peacefully. He slaughtered English soldiers as they once did to the helpless women, children and the elderly of Scotland. He fought many wars by the sides of his brethren and dispersed heavy cavalry with spears twice as long as a man. He gathered and united a once-scattered nation of Scotland and led its people against the English to regain its freedom. He fought not only for freedom, but also for every human's right to own land, personal property, and the pursuit of a better existence. William Wallace fought for Scotland’s right to breathe.

William Wallace was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Wallace’s father died while he was very young and he went to live with his uncle in Dunipace, near Stirling. He learned much of the outside world and many languages due to his uncle. He also became a prolific and feared fighter. He moved back to Ayrshire at 16 because of the English invasion. He fell in love and married there. He resided there until the rebellion.

The late 13th century in Scotland was a time of war between Scotland and the English. The Scottish throne was being ruled by a 4-year-old girl who was being overseen by a council until she was old enough to rule, and the Scottish nobility was weak. It was an everyday fight for freedom and personal liberties.

William Wallace is an important person in my life because he is a great role model. He believed in freedom and rights for all people and he stood by it. He fought and died for his people’s sake, so they could be free. He has made a difference in my life through his strong beliefs, but more by the action of not bending when others disagreed with him. He firmly stood by his belief of freedom and personal liberties. He died trying to save his people and for his cause... I don’t think you can be any more heroic than that!

Page created on 2/10/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 4:37:41 PM

Related Links

bbc.co.uk - Some historical info on William Wallace.
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