William Wallace

1904 Words4 Pages

In 1286, by the time he was about sixteen, Wallace may have been preparing to pursue a life in the church. In that year, Alexander III died after riding off a cliff during a wild storm. None of Alexander III's children survived him. After his death, his young granddaughter, Margaret, the 'Maid of Norway', was declared Queen of Scotland by the Scottish lords, but was still only a little girl of 4 who was living in Norway. An interim Scottish government run by 'guardians' was set up to govern until Margaret was old enough to take up the throne. However, Edward I of England took advantage of the uncertainty and potential instability over the Scottish succession. He agreed with the guardians that Margaret should marry his son and heir Edward of Caernarvon (afterwards Edward II of England), on the understanding that Scotland would be preserved as a separate nation.

Margaret fell ill and died unexpectedly in 1290 at the age of 8 in the Orkney Islands on her way from Norway to England. 13 claimants to the Scottish throne came forward, most of whom were from the Scottish nobility.

Scotland was essentially occupied by the English at this time, and was beset by its own internal conflicts. The various aristocratic Scottish guardians of the throne plotted against one another, variously aligning themselves with King Edward or defying their loyalty to him when it suited them. At the same time English troops, including mercenaries and frequently disgruntled Welsh and Irish conscripts, operated freely throughout Scotland from stockaded camps and fortified garrisons. Civilian life was precarious, and abuses by the occupiers against the common people were rife. The Scottish nobles did little to maintain the rule of law and protect Scots from atrocities.

In this climate of lawlessness, William Wallace's father was killed in a skirmish with English troops in 1291. It is likely that the death of his father at the hands of the English contributed to Wallace's lifelong desire to fight for his nation's independence. However, little is known about Wallace's life during this period, except that he lived the life of an outlaw, moving constantly to avoid the English, and occasionally confronting them with characteristic ferocity.

Carrick's describes Wallace's skills as a warrior:

"All powerful as a swordsman and unrivalled as an archer, his blows were fatal and his shafts unerring: as an equestrian, he was a model of dexterity and grace; while the hardships he experienced in his youth made him view with indifference the severest privations incident to a military life.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that statues commemorating sir william wallace were erected overlooking the river tweed and in lanark. in 1869, the 220-foot high national wallace monument was completed near stirling.
  • Explains that william wallace's father was killed in a skirmish with english troops in 1291.
Show More
Open Document