23rd August 1305

William Wallace is brutally executed

William Wallace was possibly born in Renfrewshire, was certainly a prominent participant in the First War of Scottish Independence, and was definitely executed in London in 1305.

He led the successful Scottish fight against English troops at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, after which he was appointed Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland. However, a little under 12 months later, he led his troops to defeat at the Battle of Falkirk, leading to his resignation of the Guardianship.

William Wallace, as depicted on the Wallace Memorial above Stirling
William Wallace, as depicted on the Wallace Memorial above Stirling

William Wallace in France?

Wallace disappeared from the historical record for some time after the Battle of Falkirk but there is evidence to suggest he travelled to France until 1303 or 1304. He was captured in 1305 by Sir John Meredith who handed him over to the English king, and Wallace was taken to London for trial. He was charged with both treason and atrocities against civilians, and found guilty.

He was stripped naked and dragged behind a cart to Smithfield, where he was partially strangled by hanging. Before he died, he was taken down, had his genitals cut off, then was sliced open and had his intestines removed. These were burned in front of him, before his head was finally cut off and his body cut into parts. His head was dipped in tar and displayed on a pike, and his limbs were sent to opposite corners of the kingdom. The rest of him was buried in an unmarked grave.

Wallace’s life was depicted in the film Braveheart, which opened in cinemas in 1995.

Wallace Memorial above Stirling
Wallace Memorial above Stirling



Other events that occured in August

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