Lanark's statue of William Wallace

Sir William Wallace
of
Ellerslie

(AD1272 - AD1305)

Wallace coat of arms

"from Outlaw to Guardian of Scotland"


Guerrilla Leader

              Back in July 1296, William Wallace received intelligence reports that Fenwick (the English knight who murdered his father in 1291) will command a convoy laden with gold and silver from the English garrisoned stronghold of Lanark to Ayr. The intelligence report was so comprehensive that William Wallace even knew the exact date, route and strength of Fenwick's convoy, enabling Wallace to plan a guerrilla attack.

Loudoun Hill               William Wallace tactfully chose Loudoun Hill to concentrate his guerrilla attack on Fenwick and his convoy. Since at Loudoun Hill the track to Ayr narrows as it passes through a steep gorge, requiring the riders to pass at no more than two abreast. William Wallace ordered his band of fifty partisans to further narrow the track by fabricating that a landslide had occurred, there by forcing riders to pass the obstacle in a single file.

              Suddenly William Wallace and his band of partisans sprang from their concealed positions, as Fenwick and his convoy slowly milled around the obstacle. The first wave of William Wallace's attack concentrated on the front of Fenwick's convoy, in a bid to halt its progress. The partisan's thrust their swords and spears into the relatively unprotected underbelly of the English heavy cavalry. A scene from the film - Braveheart As the fatally injured armoured horses collapsed, the cavalrymen or knights would be thrown from their mounts and then dispatched by the sword-wielding partisans. Chaos and confusion soon plagued the English ranks as William Wallace launched the second wave of his attack, this time on the main section of Fenwick's convoy. Again the same tactic was employed against the heavy cavalry. As it forced the cavalrymen or knights to be dismounted and thus becoming easy prey for the partisans or to be trampled to death by their own startled horses or to be crushed by one of their fatally injured horses.

              Amid the ensuing mêlée William Wallace noticed, and made for Fenwick, in order to avenge his father's death. Though Fenwick offered some resistance he was soon toppled from his armoured horse by a calculated slash from William Wallace's claymore, as it sliced Fenwick's saddle straps. Then William Wallace's cousin, Robert Boyd of Kilmarnock was bestowed with the honour of dispatching Fenwick.

              William Wallace's first exploit as a guerrilla leader netted him two hundred packhorses heavily laden with provisions and treasures, heavy cavalry, armour and weapons. It cost William Wallace the lives of three of his men to defeat Fenwick and his convoy, but out of one hundred and eighty men from Fenwick's convoy only eighty survived Wallace's onslaught. However the English paid an even stiffer penalty for their humiliating defeat, the publicity that fifty lightly armed men managed to shatter the myth of the invincibility of the heavy cavalry.

              On hearing the news of William Wallace's devastating guerrilla attack on Fenwick and his convoy, the Great Council at Glasgow eventually decided that it was wiser to make a truce with this 'awful chieftain'. Sir Reginald de Crauford was then immediately summoned to appear before the Great Council at Glasgow, where Sir Henry de Percy (now the Warden of Ayrshire and Galloway) dictated the terms of the truce. It was also made crystal-clear to Sir Reginald de Crauford that his nephew, William Wallace, had to agree to these terms or else he would forfeit his land and sheriffdom.

              In August 1296, Sir Reginald de Crauford traced his nephew, William Wallace to his hideout at Clyde's Forest and briefed him about the truce being offered by the English. Advised to accept the truce by his kinsmen and to save his uncle's position, William Wallace reluctantly agreed to the terms of the truce. Then William Wallace and his band of partisans parted their separate ways, and Wallace returned to Crosshouse to lodge with his uncle, Sir Reginald de Crauford.

              Unbeknown to his uncle, William Wallace paid a visit to the nearby market town of Ayr. While in Ayr, William Wallace was subsequently recognised by a group of English soldiers, who then broke ranks to avenge the deaths of their fellow comrade-in-arms. William Wallace tactfully withdrew to Leglen Woods, but he left in his wake a trail of twenty-nine dead or dying English soldiers.

              In September 1296, Sir Reginald de Crauford was yet again summoned to appear before the Great Council at Glasgow to answer for his nephew's actions in Ayr, as it violated the terms of the truce. To see that Sir Reginald de Crauford complied with the summons, Sir Henry de Percy and his men were sent to escort him. William Wallace and his fellow kinsmen, Gray and Kerly, also accompanied Sir Reginald de Crauford.

              During the journey from Crosshouse to Glasgow, Sir Henry de Percy's horse stumbled due to fatigue. Eager to exercise his supremacy, Sir Henry de Percy ordered one of his servants to exchange for Sir Reginald de Crauford fresher horse with his own exhausted one. Sir Reginald de Crauford eventually submitted to Sir Henry de Percy's bullyboy tactics rather than to cause a scene were blood would be shed. William Wallace was incensed by Sir Henry de Percy's treatment of his uncle, galloped off, closely followed by Gray and Kerly.

              William Wallace together with Gray and Kerly caught up with Sir Henry de Percy's baggage-train at East Carthcart. William Wallace then decided to vent his anger on Sir Henry de Percy's baggage-train, due to Sir Henry de Percy's treatment of his uncle. This incident resulted in five of Sir Henry de Percy's men being killed and William Wallace netted: - heavy cavalry, money, packhorses, provisions and weapons. Then William Wallace, Gray and Kerly headed for the safety of Lennox.

              Meanwhile at Glasgow, all the Great Council could do was to brand William Wallace an outlaw yet again, after his attack on Sir Henry de Percy's baggage-train was declared as highway robbery. By outlawing William Wallace the Great Council just attracted even greater interest about Wallace and his exploits against the English.

              The publicity generated by outlawing William Wallace attracted Irish exiles (e.g. Stephen of Ireland who became one of Wallace's trusted comrade-in-arms), outlaws etc. to join him in the wilds of Dunbartonshire and he soon recruited a band of sixty partisans. William Wallace instructed his kinsmen, Gray and Kerly to act as his bodyguards, until he could trust the men that had joined him. Since most of the recent recruits were a rough bunch of murderers, cutthroats and some could even be assassins/spies sent by the English authorities.

              William Wallace and his band of armed partisans (arms came courtesy of Sir Henry de Percy) marched north to Gargunnock, near Stirling, with the intention to capture its peel tower. The two scouts William Wallace sent ahead of the main party, reported that the peel tower's security was lax, as the drawbridge was down, its guards were asleep, workers going in and out without being questioned.

              Still under the cover of darkness, William Wallace and his partisans crept up to the peel-tower and found its door was bolted shut by an iron bar. Therefore William Wallace wrenched the iron bar free from its fixing, then kicked the door down. The noise woke up the guard, but he was quickly silenced. Then the bemused constable, Captain Thirlwall and twenty-two of his men stumbled into the scene, only to be swiftly dispatched by William Wallace and his partisans. However William Wallace spared the women and children from the same fate. The guerrilla attack was so skilfully executed that it had over whelmed the English before they even realised what was going on. William Wallace and his partisans stayed in the peel-tower for a period of four days, before carting off its cache of provisions and weapons; then they finally torching the peel-tower.

A scene from the film - Braveheart               William Wallace and his band of partisans then marched to Methven Wood, first crossing the river Forth at Kincardine; then the river Teith; and finally the river Earn. They were hiding during the day, trekking at night, and showing no mercy to any English soldiers they met.

              Arriving at Methven Wood, William Wallace with seven companions headed to Perth for a reconnaissance mission, while the rest of the partisans made camp. Then it became apparent to William Wallace that he didn't have the necessary resources to liberate the town of Perth. However William Wallace also learned that Sir James Butler would be returning home to Kinclaven with a convoy well laden with money, provisions, weapons, and only guarded by a detachment of ninety-three cavalrymen. Since the odds were much more favourable, William Wallace settled on attacking Sir James Butler's convoy, and therefore dashed back to Methven Wood to plan his ambush.

              A scout informed William Wallace that three outriders from Sir James Butler's convoy had ridden by, but Wallace waited until the main party was in sight before he revealed his position. A scene from the film - Braveheart The cavalrymen acknowledged them as nothing more than a mere bunch of lightly armed bandits and therefore charged at them, with the notion that they will either scatter in disarray or get trampled. However William Wallace and his partisans stood their ground as the ninety strong cavalry lowered their lances and charged, at the very last minute they swiftly stepped aside to avoid the being skewered or trampled by the charging cavalry. Then they slashed at the horse's legs or belly as it thundered past, causing the rider to thrown from his mount and therefore allowing the rider to be easily dispatched.

              Sir James Butler together with sixty of his cavalrymen was slaughtered in the ambush. The surviving thirty cavalrymen fled in a state of panic for the safety of the nearby Kinclaven castle, with William Wallace and his partisans close on their heels. In the gatekeeper's eagerness to let his fleeing colleagues into the safety of Kinclaven castle he also inadvertently allowed William Wallace and his partisans to enter the castle. William Wallace and his partisans then purged all the English soldiers from the castle, but five partisans lost their lives as the English soldiers offered stiff resistance. However the women, the children and two priests were spared from the bloodshed. The castle was systematically plundered; then set ablaze, before William Wallace and his fifty-five remaining partisans retired to Shortwood Shaw with their spoils.

              Lady Butler and the rest of the survivors of Kinclaven castle made haste to Perth to inform its Governor, Sir Gerard Heron, of William Wallace's attack. On hearing the news, Sir Gerard Heron was so incensed that a mere outlaw had the sheer audacity to not only slaughter his men, but also to capture one of his castles. Sir Gerard Heron immediately mobilised six companies of heavy cavalry, totalling one thousand men, to search and destroy William Wallace. Eventually William Wallace was traced back to Shortwood Shaw. Five companies formed a security net around Shortwood Shaw to prevent William Wallace from escaping and the sixth company, commanded by Sir John Butler (Sir James Butler's son), would head the direct assault against Wallace.

A scene from the film - Braveheart               William Wallace anticipated that Sir Gerard Heron would employ his heavy cavalry to stage a counter-attack. So William Wallace's plan was to lure Sir Gerard Heron's heavy cavalry into a fortified corral within Shortwood Shaw, were they would be picked off en route and finally be slaughtered at the corral. Since William Wallace knew that in a heavily forested terrain horses are cumbersome and a liability to their riders.

              In the morning, Sir John Butler and his men advanced into Shortwood Shaw, shortly afterwards William Wallace launched his guerrilla attack. As anticipated the riders of the heavy cavalry proved to be easy prey and were eliminated one by one as they travelled deeper and deeper into Shortwood Shaw. Eventually Sir John Butler acknowledged the vulnerability of his heavy cavalry in such a heavily forested terrain and summoned the support of one hundred and forty highly skilled archers plus eighty spearmen.

A scene from the film - Braveheart               So now during each guerrilla attack, the English archers would answer back by firing volley after volley of arrows in the general direction of William Wallace and his partisans, showering the area in a deadly hail of arrows. William Wallace immediately acknowledged the strategic importance of an archer, and therefore ordered his men to concentrate on taking out the English archers first. A scene from the film - Braveheart However William Wallace only had twenty archers with a limited supply of arrows and therefore employed the strategy of one arrow one kill. After all the arrows were used up William Wallace and his partisans embraced the enemy in closed quarter fighting using their two handed claymores. Then an English marksman fired an arrow, which managed to piece the left side of William Wallace's protective steel collar, inflicting a debilitating and painful wound.

              By the afternoon Sir Gerard Heron had suffered heavy loses among his ranks, but was still not any closer in achieving his goal. Therefore Sir William de Lorraine (Sir James Butler's nephew) was sent back to Perth for a further three hundred soldiers to reinforce Sir John Butler's assault on William Wallace.

              The skirmish intensified as a further three hundred English soldiers, commanded by Sir William de Lorraine, converged on William Wallace's location in Shortwood Shaw. A scene from the film - Braveheart Confronted with an English army now ten times greater than his, William Wallace tactfully decided to withdraw deeper into Shortwood Shaw, along with his remaining fifty partisans. As William Wallace and his partisans seemed to have "melted away" within the heavily forested terrain without a trace, Sir John Butler then ordered his soldiers to fan out and search for them.

              William Wallace and his partisans were eventually located near an impassable steep craggy ascend within Shortwood Shaw by one of Sir John Butler's search parties. The alarm was raised as to the whereabouts of William Wallace, immediately Sir John Butler, Sir William de Lorraine and the rest of the English army stampeded to Wallace's location. With their backs against the steep craggy ascend, William Wallace and his partisans confronted the search party head on in a desperate bid to escape before the full force of Sir John Butler's soldiers descended on their location. In the ensuing mêlée the English search party were swiftly slaughtered and those who were foolhardy enough to stand in their path also suffered the same fate.

              As the full force of Sir John Bulter's soldiers finally descended on the steep craggy ascend, all they witnessed was a bloody scene littered with the carcasses of their former colleagues. Then on hearing the news that William Wallace butchered Sir William de Lorraine, Sir Gerard Heron unleashed his remaining five companies of heavy cavalry to go in for the kill. However William Wallace and his partisans had already slipped passed Sir Gerard Heron security net via the north side of Shortwood Shaw, but seven comrades had sacrificed their lives in order to secure their escape. William Wallace and his surviving forty-three partisans then nursed their wounds in Cargill Wood, while the English were still frantically searching for them in Shortwood Shaw.

              Twenty-four hours later under the cover of darkness, William Wallace and his partisans returned to Shortwood Shaw, to recover their concealed cache of booty; then they headed for an area within Methven Wood called Elcho Park.

              Bored after a period of inactivity within Elcho Park, William Wallace decided to see his girlfriend in Perth. On their second meeting William Wallace was informed by his girlfriend that the English authorities had set a trap for him, after they forced her to divulge details of their rendezvous. William Wallace then immediately fled to the relative safety of Elcho Park, leaving behind a trail of dead English soldiers in his wake. The English soldiers vented their anger and frustration, over the deaths of their colleagues, by murdering William Wallace's girlfriend.

              Aided by bloodhounds, Sir Gerard Heron along with six hundred soldiers finally tracked William Wallace down to Elcho Park. Then Sir Gerard Heron along with half of his soldiers surrounded Elcho Park, while Sir John Butler lead the direct assault on William Wallace with the remaining three hundred soldiers.

              A bit apprehensive at first, Sir John Butler and his soldiers marched into the thick vegetation of Elcho Park. On their initial contact both parties just stared at each other over no man's land, in an effort to out psych their opponents. Then suddenly Sir John Butler gave the nod for his soldiers to charge, but William Wallace and his forty-three partisans stood their ground. In the furious mêlée that ensued, Sir John Butler suffered forty casualties while William Wallace suffered fifteen casualties.

              Finding that the area was indefensible, William Wallace and his partisans tactfully withdrew from the scene, but were finally cornered as they encountered the river Tay. Unable to navigate the river Tay, William Wallace was faced with the decision of either to fight or die.

              With their backs against the river Tay, William Wallace yelled out a battle cry, then charged straight at their pursuers, closely supported by his partisans. Sir John Butler's defences collapsed as William Wallace and his partisans carved through Butler's ranks, slaying sixty English soldiers and scattering the survivors in disarray. By the time Sir John Butler was in a position to give chase, William Wallace and his partisans had already breached Sir Gerard Heron's security cordon. As dusk approached, William Wallace finally ordered his partisans to scatter, in a bid to evade being captured by the pursing English.

              After an arduous trek William Wallace finally reached the river Earn, but was spotted by a sceptical Sir John Butler, who suspected that this bloodstained young man was one of his father's assailants. Therefore Sir John Butler moved in closer to investigate, and looked down on the bloodstained young man, as both men made eye contact, Butler instantly knew it was William Wallace. Then Sir John Butler immediately reached for his sword, but William Wallace had already slashed open Butler's thigh, and was proceeding to slit Butler's throat. William Wallace then mounted Sir John Butler's horse and galloped off, closely pursued by the mounted English soldiers.

              When the mounted English soldiers caught up with William Wallace, a running battle ensued, in which a total of twenty soldiers were killed. Fifteen miles later, near Blackford, William Wallace's horse stumbled and then died of exhaustion, this resulted in Wallace having to trek on foot the rest of the way to Dunipace.

              But firstly William Wallace had to negotiate the river Forth, to avoid detection; Wallace had to swim the river at Cambuskenneth. The icy currents of the river Forth took its toll on William Wallace's battered and bruised body, as he just barely managed to crawl out onto the south bank of the river.

              In his weaken state, William Wallace was forced to ask for shelter at a hut occupied by a widow and her three sons, near Torwood. Then the widow tended to William Wallace's wounds; feed and provided him with dry clothes, before concealing him in a nearby thicket, guarded by her two sons, whilst the third son contacted Wallace's uncle in Dunipace.

              William Wallace's uncle was pleased to see that his nephew was alive and well, but pleaded with him that this was the time to make peace with the English. Since King Edward I would have surely rewarded him with gold and land, if he just yielded to his rule. His uncle's advice had the negative effect, as it stiffened William Wallace's resolve, that he wasn't motivated by greed, as befouled other "Scottish nobles", but for the principle of freeing Scotland from the tyranny of English domination.

              Meanwhile William Wallace was now joined by two of his most trusted men, Stephen of Ireland and Kerly of Cruggleton, who were ecstatic that Wallace was alive and kicking, and not as rumours have it drowned in the river Forth. The old priest was still concern was about his nephew's safety, therefore he provided horses and provisions for his nephew, William Wallace and his two friends. The three of them decided to lie low for a period of time, and rode off towards Dundaff moor, for Dundaff in Stirlingshire.

              Having reached Dundaff, William Wallace and his friends were greeted with a frosty reception by the Lord of Dundaff, Sir John Graham Sr. Though Sir John Graham Sr. was sympathetic to William Wallace's cause, but this elderly Lord preferred a quite life and had already made peace with the English by yielding to their rule. His son, Sir John Graham Jr., however didn't share the same views, and goes on to become one of William Wallace's loyal-band of followers, until his death on the 22 July 1298 at the Battle of Falkirk. William Wallace and his two friends stayed for three nights before heading south to Gilbank, a small estate in Lesmahagow parish.

Lanark, as depicted in the film - Braveheart               William Wallace passed the Christmas period of 1296 at Gilbank with his cousin, Patrick Auchinleck, as quietly as possible, but he wasn't totally inactive. William Wallace sent Stephen and Kerly touring around Scotland to drum up support for his next campaign, and Wallace himself wound slip into the town of Lanark for "sport", by slaying all those of English origin.

The ruins of St. Kentigern Church, Lanark               It was during this period that William Wallace met and fell in love with Marion Braidfute, the eighteen years old daughter and heiress of Hugh Braidfute of Lamington, whilst he was visiting St. Kentigern Church in Lanark. As their relationship flourished, William Wallace wound discreetly visit Marion Braidfute at her dwelling, in the centre of Lanark. Their relationship were further complicated by the fact that the Sheriff of Lanark, Sir William Heselrig, had desires on her valuable estate, and planned to marry Marion Braidfute off with his son.

              Soon after the Christmas festivities William Wallace together with his friends Adam Wallace, Kerly, Patrick Auchinleck and Robert Boyd rode towards Corheid in Annandale. To rendezvous with Edward Little and Tom Halliday, both veterans of the Shortwood Shaw campaign, and with the cleric John Blair, they were all ecstatic to see that William Wallace was still alive and kicking. With their ranks increased to a total of fifteen, William Wallace headed towards Lochmaben, with the clear intention to seize this strategically important castle.

              Leaving most of his men in a Knock Wood, near Lochmaben, William Wallace together with Edward Little, Kerly and Tom Halliday rode off to celebrate mass in a local parish church. Whilst they were still in the church, Clifford, the young nephew of Sir Henry de Percy, along with his bully-boy friends strutted passed, and they instantly despised the fact of Scots owning horses finer than theirs. Hearing all the commotion outside, William Wallace and his friends rushed out, only to see Clifford and his bully-boy friends smugly admiring their handy work of removing the tails from their horses. William Wallace and his friends answer to the mutilation of his horses were to put Clifford and his bully-boy friends to the sword.

              They immediately fled the scene on their injured horses, but were closely pursued by a number of mounted English soldiers. Their horses began to subdue from blood loss and pain, allowing the English soldiers to gradually gain ground. William Wallace acknowledged the fact that riding to Knock Wood was now futile and he therefore must make a stand know now. Rapidly dismounting, William Wallace and his friends with their swords at the ready, standing still and facing the enemy head on, as they thundered nearer and nearer. The ferocity of their defence left fifteen dead or dying English soldiers, the survivors retreating and was waiting for reinforcement before they even consider another confrontation with William Wallace.

              This gave William Wallace the opportunity to contact the rest of his men at Knock Wood, thus enabling him to organise an effective counter-attack against their English pursuers. In the ensuing skirmish that followed, the opposing English side suffered twenty casualties, including the much-noted Sir Hugh de Morland, and was totally annihilated. The reinforcement in the guise of Sir John de Graystock, the English commander of the region, was so incensed at the death of Sir Hugh de Morland that he kept up the pursuit. Forcing William Wallace and his men to fight a rear guard action, as they once again fled from the English soldiers.

              By sheer luck William Wallace met up with Sir John Graham Jr. with thirty of his men and Kirkpatrick of Torthorwald who had a further twenty men, at Queensberry. With the reinforcements, William Wallace has now sixty-seven men under his command, and he decided it was now the time to make a defiant stance against his pursuers, Sir John de Graystock. Therefore William Wallace and his men turned round, faced the enemy head on and charged straight at their pursuers, this had the effect of scattering the English soldiers in disarray, except for Sir John de Graystock and one hundred of his men who held their nerve. William Wallace then gave the honour to an eager Sir John Graham Jr. to engage Sir John de Graystock and his remaining one hundred men, Graham carried out his order with such efficiency that the English force were totally annihilated.

              Then William Wallace concentrated on taking Lochmaben Castle, the stronghold of the 6th Lord of Annandale, Robert Bruce (the father of the future King of Scotland and currently the governor of Carlisle Castle), due to its of strategic importance. As Lochmaben Castle straddles the main trade route between Carlisle and Glasgow, effectively controlling the movement of traffic in Annandale.

              Being natives of Annandale, Tom Halliday and Watson were assigned as pathfinders, so they rode ahead of the main force heading for Lochmaben Castle. The gatekeeper recognised Watson as being a local and therefore he opened the gates to let him through, Tom Halliday then swiftly dispatched the unsuspecting gatekeeper. The gates were thrown wide open, allowing William Wallace and the rest of his men to storm the castle, but they found that it was only occupied by servants, women and children. The survivors from the Queensberry conflict were now starting to limp back to base in twos and threes. Watson would casually wave them pass the gates, whilst Wallace and his men were lurking in the shadows ready to seal their fate.

              With Lochmaben Castle finally secure, William Wallace appointed Johnstone of Eskdale as its Captain, before riding north with Sir John Graham and forty men to assault the Lindsay stronghold of Crawford Castle in Lanarkshire. After he laid waste to Crawford Castle William Wallace retreated back to Dunduff Castle to wait out the rest of the winter months.

              During the spring of 1297, William Wallace accompanied by nine friends left Dunduff Castle and rode south to Gilbank to visit his cousin, Patrick Auchinleck. By the time of April 1297, he would been sneaking into Lanark, heavily disguised, to visit his girlfriend, Marion Braidfute. It was also about this time that William Wallace and Marion Braidfute got married, and shortly afterward she gave birth to a daughter, who later married a 'squire of Balliol's blood' called Shaw.

              After a period of time William Wallace discarded his disguise, as he grew more and more confident that the occupying English garrison would not harass him as he ventured into Lanark. By now William Wallace was joined by Sir John Graham Jr. together with fifteen well armed men, boosting their numbers to twenty-six. The Sheriff of Lanark, Sir William Heselrig, wasn't a man who would tolerate such an act of defiance to his authority for long. Together with his garrison Captain, Robert Thorn, Sir William Heselrig conspired a plan to capture the outlaw William Wallace either dead or alive.

              The opportunity for Sir William Heselrig to put his plan into action occurred in May 1297. As William Wallace and Sir John Graham Jr. had just finished attending their regular Sunday mass at St. Kentigern Church, and were walking down Lanark High Street. Then one of Sir William Heselrig's soldiers stood directly in William Wallace path and started to taunt him. Immediately a further two more English soldiers joined in the taunting, then a few more. Rather than to get drawn in, William Wallace kept his cool, looked around, noticed that the locals were a little edgy and there were English soldiers disguised as locals loitering about. Sensing an ambush and his current position indefensible, as it would have forced him to fend off attacks from all flanks, William Wallace and Sir John Graham Jr. immediately retreated to one of the side streets that lead off the High Street.

A scene from the film - Braveheart               By now the English mob had swollen to two hundred in numbers and lurking in the background was Sir William Heselrig, who finally ordered the mob in for the kill. But due to the width of the side street, the English soldiers could only confront William Wallace and Sir John Graham Jr. at two abreast in any one time. Whilst the majority of the English soldiers merely acted as spectators to the slaughter of their comrades further up the field, as William Wallace and Sir John Graham Jr. fought a rear guard action.

A scene from the film - Braveheart               Leaving a trail of fifty dead or dying soldiers in their wake, they made for the refuge of Marion's house at the foot of the High Street, where William Wallace and Sir John Graham Jr. were hastily admitted. They then immediately fled out the back door, across the garden, over the town walls and headed for their hideout in the Cartland Crags. In close pursuit were the remaining English soldiers and Sir William Heselrig. Marion desperately played for time to allow her husband to escape, but Sir William Heselrig grew impatient of her delaying tactics and kicked the front door down. Once inside Sir, William Heselrig saw that William Wallace had escaped through the back, in frustration Heselrig murdered Marion and finally torched her house.

              On hearing the news of his wife's murder, William Wallace was madden with rage and consumed with grief, since now the English have murdered both his wife and father, and persecuted his mother until her recent demise. This event proved to be a turning point in William Wallace's life as previously he was content just to liberate Scotland, but now it grew into a personnel vendetta against the English. But firstly, as honour demanded it, William Wallace must return to Lanark to avenge the death of his wife.

              At nightfall, William Wallace and a select band of men sneaked into Lanark from the various gates in the town walls, in ones or twos and at random intervals, as not to arouse the suspicion of the guards. They rendezvoused at a pre-determined location within Lanark, and waited until their contingent was at full strength.

              William Wallace led the assault on Sir William Heselrig's abode; he kicked the front door down and stormed up the stairs to confront a startled Heselrig. Sir William Heselrig immediately arose out of his bed, only to be struck down by an almighty blow from William Wallace's sword. Jets of blood spurted from Sir William Heselrig's headless torso, hitting William Wallace in the face temporary blinding him. As he wiped the blood from his face, Wallace in a defiant gesture kicked Heselrig's head down the stairs. Heselrig's son at this stage was at the bottom of the stairs and watched as his father's head tumbled down the stairs. Heselrig's son immediately rushed up the stairs clutching a sword, suddenly his sword hand was amputated by William Wallace and then with another swipe of the sword, sliced open Heselrig's son abdomen, allowing his entrails to spill onto the floor. Finally William Wallace sealed this bloody act of vengeance by torching Sir William Heselrig's house.

              Under the hands of Sir John Graham Jr., the Captain of the Lanark garrison, Robert Thorn, also suffered the same fate as Sir William Heselrig. Then for the rest of the night, William Wallace and his men went on a killing frenzy, slaughtering in total two hundred and forty men of English origin. Whilst the surviving English nationals from the night of carnage (priests, women and children) were forcibly evicted from the town and left destitute.


Page 1-Background
Page 2-The Outlaw
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