William Wallace: the Man, the Myth, the Legend
William Wallace is said to be Scotland's greatest hero. For this statement, their have been countless legends and myths written about him. Some of these have some fact to them, others do not. One fact that we do know is that he led the Scottish in their struggle to free themselves from England near the end of the Thirteenth century. Though William Wallace's life was not long compared to today's standards, living until 35, he led a life in which few can relate to or be compared with. His legacy has lived on through movies, books, and plays, each telling the story a little different. Though no one knows what truly happened during his life, partly due to the fear he struck in English writers, he was a great warrior of Scotland and natural born leader. Even though accurate representations of his life are available, one thing is for sure; Sir William Wallace is the greatest hero Scotland has ever seen and one of the greatest heroes of the world.
William Wallace was born around the year 1270. He was one of three sons had by his father Sir Malcolm Wallace and his mother whose name is not actually known, but is believed to be the daughter of Sir Hugh Crawford, Sheriff of Ayr. William had two brothers, William's younger brothers' name was John and his older brother's name was Malcolm. Malcolm's name was taken from their father, which unfortunately for William being a second son gave him none of his father's land or titles later in life. As a child William lived with his uncle, a priest, in a town called Dunipace. While William and his younger brother John lived peaceful lives in the country, they also practiced the martial arts of the time, including swordsmanship and horsemanship. These skills of course would later help him in his conquest to free Scotland. By the age of sixteen, William was preparing to follow his uncle's footsteps and go into the priesthood. In these times this was very common, the oldest son would gain control of the land and stay with the father while the younger sons would be sent to study at the church. But his uncle had a different direction for William to go in; he wanted William to continue his education, giving William the values of liberty and the essence of freedom which would later become the basis for the journeys in his life.
William continued his education in Dundee. Here he met John Blair, who became a Benedictine monk soon after their meeting. Later he eventually left the monastery and joined his friend William becoming his chaplain and comrade in the resistance against England. In this school he also met and befriended Duncan of Lorn and Sir Neil Campbell of Lochawe. Both of these men would later take part in Williams's battles.
In 1921, Malcolm Wallace was killed in a battle with English troops. This could have only increased William's drive to fight for freedom from the English. During this time, not very much is known about William's life. Traveling around as an outlaw is what he most likely did, trying to avoid the English.
Around the time William was born, King Henry III the king of England died. King Edward I came to power on August 18th, 1274. King Edward I was also known as Edward "Longshanks." He was given this name due to his well proportioned body and above average height. King Edward I felt he was the feudal superior to the Scottish crown and wanted to manipulate a Scottish monarch that he himself would install. By underestimating the Scottish and trying to do this, the Scottish turned against him. In 1297, after Edward marched his armies north to Scotland, he conquered Scotland after a five month campaign. Imprisoning John de Balliol, the ruler of Scotland, King Edward I announced himself ruler of Scotland. The government of Scotland however was placed in the hands of an Englishman, Hugh Cressingham.
Shortly after these events occurred, widespread disorder and defiance against England arose in the...
References: 1. Fisher, Andrew "William Wallace", Copyright Birlinn Publishing, April 1, 2002
2. www.highlanderweb.com.uk/wallace, "The Truth" , Copyright Highlander Web Magazine, 1998
3. http://www.waichung.demon.co.uk/william/wallace.htm, "From Outlaw to Guardian of Scotland", Copyright Kyn Wai Chung, 1998
4. http://www.clanmcalister.org/wallace.html, "Sir William Wallace", Copyright © 2001 Clan McAlister of America
5. MacKay, James "William Wallace: Brave Heart", Copyright James A. Mackay, May 1, 1996
6. http://www.electricscotland.com/history/wallace.htm, "Sir William Wallace", Roy Campbell,
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