Subscribe to our Newsletter

Our newest articles
Monthly competitions
Upcoming Living History Events


William Wallace and Robert The Bruce

By   |  Comments

There are two men whose names were a clarion call to all Scots.

Robert the Bruce, who took up arms against both Edward I and Edward II of England and who united the Highlands and the Lowlands in a fierce battle for liberty: and a humble Lowland knight, Sir William Wallace.

Sir William Wallace 1272 – 1305

Wallace killed the English Sheriff of Lanark who had apparently murdered Wallace's sweetheart.

A price was put on his head, so Wallace took the bold course and raised the Scottish Standard. Supported by a few of the Scots barons, he inflicted a resounding defeat on the English at Stirling Bridge in 1297. The jubilant Scots made him Guardian of Scotland but their joy was short-lived.

Wallace then made a fatal mistake; he took on the English Army who greatly outnumbered his men, and in a pitched battle at Falkirk in 1298, Edward I of England annihilated the Scots battalions and Wallace became a fugitive for 7 years.

While in Glasgow in 1305 he was betrayed and taken to London where he was tried for treason in Westminster Hall. He was one of the first to suffer the fearsome penalty of hanging, drawing and quartering. His head was 'spiked' on London Bridge and fragments of his body distributed among several Scottish cities as a grim reminder of the price of revolt.

Robert the Bruce 1274 – 1329

Robert the Bruce, as every school-child knows, was inspired by a spider!

Bruce had paid homage to Edward I of England and it is not known why he changed his allegiance later. Maybe it was ambition or a genuine desire to see Scotland independent.

In 1306 in the Greyfriars Church at Dumfries he murdered his only possible rival for the throne, John Comyn, and was excommunicated for this sacrilege. Nevertheless he was crowned King of Scotland a few months later.

Robert the Bruce was defeated in his first two battles against the English, and became a fugitive, hunted by both Comyn's friends and the English. Whilst hiding, despondent, in a room he is said to have watched a spider swing from one rafter to another, time after time, in an attempt to anchor it's web. It failed six times, but at the seventh attempt, succeeded. Bruce took this to be an omen and resolved to struggle on.

His decisive victory over Edward II's army at Bannockburn in 1314 finally won the freedom he had struggled for. Bruce was King of Scotland from 1306 - 1329.

Robert the Bruce is buried in Dunfermline Abbey and a cast taken of his skull can be seen in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.


Share and Comment!

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like...

Black AgnesBlack Agnes - Between the attacks, and in clear view of the English, Agnes sent her maids dressed in their Sunday finest onto the ramparts to dust and clean the marks of the shot from the walls with their dainty white handkerchiefs ...
SaltireKings and Queens of Scotland - Sovereigns of Scotland 1005-1603 ... King Edward IThe Wars of Scottish Independence - A chronology of the Anglo-Scottish Wars ...
Glass of French wineThe Auld Alliance - France and Scotland - Dating back to 1295, the Auld Alliance was built upon Scotland and France’s shared interests in controlling England’s aggressive expansion plans