Title William Wallace Question How important was Wallace’s character for Scotland during their War of Independence? Outline Plan Define and justify: The subject of this study is to identify the role of William Wallace in the Scottish War of Independence against the British, how he brought about the victory of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, and the importance of his presence for Scotland at the time. Sources: Rogers, Charles, The Book of Wallace, 1889, [available online at: http://archive.org/stream/bookofwallace01roge/bookofwallace01roge_djvu.txt] The Historical Inaccuracies in Braveheart, [http://www.angelfire.com/rebellion/historicalheros/historyvsbraveheart.html] National Archives of Scotland, The Wallace Document, 6 January 2017, [http://webarchive.nrscotland.gov.uk/20170106021747/http://www.nas.gov.uk/about/100 604.asp] Extended Essay Little is known about the early life of the Scottish patriot. It is reported that he was born around 1270 A.D. to a member of the lesser Scottish nobility - a man named Alan Wallace. The father was a landlord of sorts, owning a bit of land and thus, being a member of such nobility, he shares it with his son, William. He grew up in the West of Scotland, along with his brothers John and Malcolm. It is mentioned that as William grew up, he became a giant of a man, reaching 6 foot 7 inches in height, and had a large build. This would later prove to be quite advantageous in medieval battle, as strength was a major requirement. The death of Scotland’s current King Alexander III, who died when he fell from horseback, was seen as a golden opportunity by English King, Edward I to expand his conquest. With no immediate heir, it was thought that Margaret (the ‘Maid of Norway’, and the late King Alexander’s granddaughter) would take over the throne. Edward I had planned to take control of Scotland by having his son wed Margaret, and control Scotland via matrimonial rights, but things were thrown in turmoil between the English and Scottish when Margaret died en route to Scotland. William, from early on, had not been a supporter of the King of England at the time - Edward I. He refused to sign the Ragman Rolls; a collection of instruments in which the nobility of Scotland using to subscribe their allegiance to King Edward I. This classified William as an outlaw. He would soon lead an army into battle with the British, through guerilla warfare and then later by traditional mean. But for a man inexperienced in battle to lead men into battle seems a little absurd, so it was thought that he gained some experience through Edward’s campaigns in Wales. His personal seal had on it an archer’s insignia. This brought about the possibility that he served as an archer for Edward’s army in order to gain experience to lead his own military campaign. There is no solid evidence to support, but William Wallace may indeed have been married. It was greatly explain his attack on Sheriff William Heselrig and his english guards if he had been the one to kill his wife. William is said to have cut the Sheriff to pieces, and burned down two houses with English guards inside. This was William’s first act of true rebellion, he would further influence another in the raid of Scone. While being influential in the South of the Kingdom, he was helped along by another rebel group in the North - being led by Andrew Moray. The two men continued their raids on several different places, and were said to meet possibly at the siege of Dundee in early September 1297. From there on, with an army combined of both Wallace’s and Moray’s forces, they fought the English in their most famous battle, the Battle of Stirling Bridge. What made this battle so memorable is that, although the Scottish were vastly outnumbered, they proved victorious. The bridge provided them a huge military advantage. It was very narrow, not allowed more than a few men to cross at any given time. This made it easier for the Scottish to fight back as they would eliminate the men as soon as they got off the bridge. This type of engagement conducted by Wallace utilised the opportunistic terrain, and gave the Scottish their biggest win over the British yet. After the battle, the Scottish Nobility name both William Wallace and Andrew Moray as Joint Guardians of Scotland. Wallace, riding the wave of success, brought the war into the North of England. Moray stayed behind in Scotland after sustaining injuries in the Battle of Stirling Bridge, and would soon die, leaving William Wallace as the sole Guardian of Scotland. Even with this, the English recognised the threat that the Scottish posed, and sought out a truce in their war with France to focus solely on the Scottish. William met this with a counteroffensive - retreating up North and employing the scorched-earth policy, which worked, for a time. Edward’s troops were starved and threatened mutiny, and thus were about to turn back until they learned that Wallace was within striking distance. Edward quickly made his decision to force a battle. This was remembered as The Battle of Falkirk (July 22, 1928) in which the Scots fought fought valiantly but to no avail against much, much greater numbers. At the sight of the English army, Wallace’s noble cavalry immediately defected - they could see it was a lost battle before it even begun. Although the infantry withstood the initial onslaught, Wallace was not able to carry the battle into the enemy without cavalry. When the English brought in their archers, the Scots were decimated. With this, Wallace withdrew from being Guardian of Scotland and left the centre of the political stage, leaving Robert the Bruce and John III Comyn. Just like his early life, little is known of his life after resigning as Guardian of Scotland. It is recorded that he went to France and Rome in search of help against Edward, but came up short. Upon his return, he became an object being relentlessly pursued by Edward. In August 1305, he was betrayed by his one-time subordinate Sir John Menteith. Wallace was soon after transported to London, and tried for treason. Wallace claimed that it wasn’t so, as he was never a supporter of Edward I, but that didn’t ultimately matter, as the decision was made by Edward. He was condemned to be dragged by horses to the gallows, hanged, and disemboweled. His head was hung at London Bridge, and each of his limbs were sent to four different castles in Scotland. It doesn’t seem like Wallace was originally any different from any Scottish patriot. But as mentioned in sources, his size, stature, and build, made him stand out. His charismatic character brought out the best of his soldiers during the war. His tactics and opportunistic mindset led him to win many battles and skirmishes against the English. He was granted knighthood in 1297 and became a leader that many followed. His person was important enough for Edward to hunt down even after he had become of little relevance to the War, and his death had to be made known by hanging his head from London Bridge and sending each of his limbs to four of Scotland’s castles. He was that much of an important figure during the War, whether he played a big role in it or not. Evaluation of Sources Source 1 : A digitized version of the original book published in 1889 by Charles Rogers (1825-1890). The book is out of print but it is available on the internet. Although a secondary source, detailed accounts are given about the background of the Wallace family (and many more), thus giving us a very detailed background to the relations at the time. Source 2 : The movie Braveheart focuses on the life of William Wallace, but without needing to say, a lot of it is purely fictional. This is a website made by a historian pointing out the critical historical inaccuracies in said movie. The information is detailed and is of good enough standard to be treated as a secondary source. Source 3 : The National Archives of Scotland contain many primary documents from very long ago. Same goes for William Wallace. This source focuses on the Wallace Document, but there are a lot of other documents and books that are recommended. The page itself explains the Wallace Document, and even gives a picture of the document itself. This was a good primary source to use for the project.