(This picture portrays Wallace's trial)
In this context, William Wallace killed an English sheriff in Lanark and managed to rally the local townsmen into his own small brigade. When word of Wallace’s revolt against England spread, his army quickly grew by the hundreds. He marched his small army upon many English strongholds in Scotland and captured them one by one. When Edward I, King of England, heard of this he immediately sent his army to Scotland to dispose of this small outbreak, although this small outbreak would turn out to be the final step in the freeing of Scotland. After many victorious battles against the English Wallace’s army was finally defeated in 1298, so Wallace immediately went into hiding. Scotland was a very easy place to hide in spite of all the English military occupation through out the land. The forests were thick and all of the peasants and many noblemen of Scotland considered Wallace to be a hero, thus making it almost impossible for the English to capture him. However, on August 3, 1305, Wallace was finally captured in Glasgow, Scotland. He was betrayed by a fellow Scotsman, Ralph Rae, a prisoner-of-war that was released by the English on the condition that he would lead them to Wallace, which he did. Following the capture of he was tried and convicted of high treason against England and Edward I. Although Edward was committed to the law, he granted Wallace no privileges or rights. Longshanks wanted Wallace’s fate to serve as an example to any remaining Scottish patriots.
On August 23, 1305, Wallace was brought before a bench of English noblemen in Westminster Hall. Then, an extensive and accurate indictment was read against him detailing all his military victories and the murder of numerous English prisoners-of-war. Yet this mattered little to the bench who were acting on direct orders given from the king himself. He was not allowed to defend himself, let alone speak, through out the reading of the indictment. Wallace did not speak except at one point record shows that he yelled to the bench that he admitted all the charges against him but treason, because he had never sworn allegiance to the King of England. This defense was valid but of little benefit for revenge mattered more than justice. He was sentenced to die and immediately following the trial was lead outside and tied to a team of horses, where he was then pulled to the place in which the execution was to take place, London England. On arrival at London he was hung until he was semi-conscious as an enormous crowed cheered. Then he was tied down and, while stile alive, his genitals were cut off and his stomach sliced open. Next his intestines were pulled out and burned for him to see, all while he was still alive. Finally and mercifully, he was beheaded. After his beheading his body was quartered and sent to the four corners of England as a warning while he head was impaled upon the spikes on London Bridge.
This exectution was meant to be an example to the people of Europe, but it ended up securing Wallace a place in history as the greatest Scottish hero ever.
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