The Mystery of William Wallace
William Wallace to be such a famous historical figure little is known about
his life. Maybe that mystery is what gives this Scottish hero a sort
of mythical quality. In the following articles on this page we will
tell you all we really know about Sir William Wallace.
A Short Biography
We don’t truly know the date of William Wallace’s birth, but it is projected that he was born sometime in 1272 in Ellerslie, Scotland. He was the second of three sons born to Sir Malcolm Wallace and Margaret de Crauford (daughter of the Sheriff of Ayr). Wallace was first schooled at home by his mother, but he later studied at the Paisley Abby. While studying here he learned to read and write but he was more interested in activities like swordplay and horsemanship. Wallace also became interested in the church. At one time he even had thoughts of becoming a priest. At the approximate age of 18 William traveled to Dunipace to further his studies, and to stay with his uncle who was a cleric at the local abbey. About a year later William left his uncle for Kilspindle where he would live with his mother and attend a church school.
these next several years (Wallace’s 20’s) William was constantly in trouble
with the English, and he moved around a lot. Wallace became an outlaw
in England at a young age because he killed the son of a constable, named
Selby, during a quarrel. Along with Selby he also killed several
of the young man’s friends before escaping to Kilspindie. The motivation
for this killing was not only that the constable’s son was poking fun at
Wallace, but a short time before a group of English soldiers had ambushed
and killed Wallace’s father. While hiding in Kilspindle English authorities
started a hunt for Wallace. Upon hearing of the hunt Wallace, his mother,
and younger brother went to back Ellerslie. While in Ellerslie William’s
uncle suggested that he would be safer in Riccarton. While staying
Riccarton Wallace was involved in another altercation with the English
authorities. Five English soldiers came upon Wallace while he was
fishing and demanded for him to give up his fish. William resisted
and one of the soldiers drew his sword. Taking this as a threat William
beat the soldier with a fishing rod and stole his sword. He then
proceeded to kill several of the other soldiers. Upon hearing of
his nephew’s crimes Wallace’s uncle sent him to live in Leglen Wood till
things calmed down. William would from time-to-time become bored
in the woods and travel to a nearby market in disguise. Each time
he did this he got into trouble. One such time he killed a steward
of Henry de Pearcy who was bullying a friend of his uncle. All of
these run-ins with the English were in a way foreshadowing to what Wallace
would do in the future.
Wallace the Leader
had always been a fairly wealthy and prosperous place, but from the very
late 1200’s it had been in a state of turmoil. The country was in
the midst of an English takeover. By around the year 1290 William
Wallace had established a great hatred of the English, and was turning
his back on his life in the church to fight for the good of Scotland.
However, Wallace was already seen as a murderer in the eyes of the English
so he really didn’t have a choice. William now had to fight to stay
In 1296 John Balliol, the Scottish King, was deposed by England’s King Edward I. Edward declared himself ruler and thought he had added Scotland to his empire. This is when Wallace decided to take action. Signs of minor resistance had started springing up across Scotland due to the unpopular actions of Edward, but the most noticeable single resistance was William Wallace and his army of 30 men who killed the English sheriff of Lanark. Soon after this event hordes of Scots began to join Wallace and his cause. The army stormed across central Scotland killing Englishmen and driving them from Scotland. In the summer of 1297 Wallace joined his army with the army of his good friend Moray in the city of Perth. The united army then prepared to meet the approaching army of the Earl of Surrey (who represented Edward I in Scotland).
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