William Wallace the Brave Heart
In April 1297,William with nine of his men made
his way back to Lanark to be with his wife Marion.Now,in May of that same
year he went to St.Kentigern's Church for mass.Lanark's sheriff Sir William
Heselrig ,who had killed Marion's elder brother some time ago, and the
Captain of the guard Robert Thorn devised a plan by which they would trap
Wallace and arrest him.
Wallace often went about town in armour of some
sort but today he wore a green outfit since summer was approaching and
expected no trouble as it was Sunday and he was just leaving mass.
The plan Heselrig and Thorn devised was to get
Wallace to pick a fight and then with a large number of men apprehend him.The
largest soldier in the English garrison made a taunt at Wallace in English
and French but Wallace knew he was being baited.Several other English soldiers
gathered around while insults flew back and forth more English kept coming
hoping the Scots wouldn't notice their arrival butt hen one of the English
soldiers made a comment questioning Marion's integrity as a lady.Wallace
The large number of soldiers that Heselrig gathered
may have been the main reason Wallace and his men escaped.The Scots had
fought many battles like this and the number of civilians in the area complicated
the English soldier's position soon there were 50 dead of the Sheriff's
men.Wallace and his group fled for Marion's house and then to Cartland
Crags one mile northwest of Lanark.
Heselrig was furious that Wallace escaped and
charged into Marion's house with his soldiers.Marion had aided in William's
escape and in his anger Heselrig killed Marion in her own house.This act
enraged Wallace to the point of uncontrollable hatred of the English and
he was determined to see Heselrig and every other English soldier in Lanark
pay in the worst way possible.
Patrick Auchinlick ,a land owner and friend, sent
10 men to help avenge Marion's murder and that night one by one the Scots
crept into the walled city of Lanark.Wallace led one group to attack Heselrig's
home and a Scottish knight Sir John Graham went to handle Robert Thorn.
Wallace broke open Heselrig's front door and charged
in finding Heselrig in bed and with a single swordstroke he cleaved Heselrig's
head and neck in two from forehead to collarbone.Heselrig's son a soldier
in his twenties attacked but Wallace stabbed him and threw him down the
staircase.Graham who was sent to kill Thorn simply burned down the English
captain's house with him in it.During the night the Scots under Wallace's
command killed every English soldier they could find and forced the English
women,children and priests to leave the city immediately.
Scotland was in full revolt.The word that the
English had been driven from Lanark spead like wildfire.Gilbert De Grimsby
one of King Edward I's finest warriors joined Wallace and the two surviving
Guardians of Scotland James the Steward and the Bishop of Glasgow gave
their support.William Wishart who was the Bishop elect of Glasgow defied
the wishes of the Pope in giving support to Scotland.
Judge Arnulf of Southampton summoned prominent
Scots to a session which was to have been held in a large barn in Ayr but
as the Scots entered the barn they were hung one by one.Wallace was away
in Kingace but made the journey to Ayr in two days.Wallace had a girl in
the village mark all the doors where the English slept with chalk and the
Scots went about securing the doors.The next step in William's plan was
to surround the large barn where the English soldiers were sleeping after
getting drunk the night before with kindling and logs.The Scots burned
the great barn with the English soldiers still in it to the ground.
William had the hearts of the people but the lords
of Scotland were a bit harder the Earls of Atholl,Menteith and Bucham still
supported Edward I.
Dunnottar Castle was the site of one particular
raid in which 4,000 English fled before the Scots even got there they burned
this castle to the ground as well as the others.Eventually William got
word that the English were gathering in Sterling.