Sir William Wallace was a Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders during the First War of Scottish Independence. Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in September 1297, he was appointed Guardian of Scotland and served until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in July 1298. In August 1305, Wallace was captured in Robroyston, near Glasgow, handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him hanged and quartered for high treason and crimes against English civilians. Since his death, Wallace has obtained an iconic status far beyond his homeland, he is the protagonist of Blind Harry's 15th-century epic poem The Wallace and the subject of literary works by Sir Walter Scott and Jane Porter, of the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart. He was first cousin to Roger de Kirkpatrick. Roger himself was a third cousin to Robert the Bruce. William Wallace was a member of the lesser nobility, but little is known of his family history or his parentage.
Blind Harry's late-15th-century poem gives his father as Sir Malcolm of Elderslie. This Alan Wallace may be the same as the one listed in the 1296 Ragman Rolls as a crown tenant in Ayrshire, but there is no additional confirmation. Blind Harry's assertion that William was the son of Sir Malcolm of Elderslie has given rise to a tradition that William's birthplace was at Elderslie in Renfrewshire, this is still the view of some historians, including the historical William Wallace Society itself. However, William's seal has given rise to a counter claim of Ellerslie in Ayrshire. There is no contemporary evidence linking him with either location, although both areas had connections with the wider Wallace family. Records show early members of the family as holding estates at Riccarton and Auchincruive in Kyle, Stenton in East Lothian, they were vassals of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland as their lands fell within his territory. Wallace's brothers John are known from other sources; the origins of the Wallace surname and its association with southwest Scotland are far from certain, other than the name's being derived from the Old English wylisc, meaning "foreigner" or "Welshman".
It is possible that all the Wallaces in the Clyde area were medieval immigrants from Wales, but as the term was used for local Cumbric-speaking Strathclyde Welsh, it seems likely that the surname refers to people who were seen as being "Welsh" due to their Cumbric language. When Wallace was growing up, King Alexander III ruled Scotland, his reign had seen a period of peace and economic stability. On 19 March 1286, Alexander died after falling from his horse; the heir to the throne was Alexander's granddaughter, Maid of Norway. As she was still a child and in Norway, the Scottish lords set up a government of guardians. Margaret fell ill on the voyage to Scotland and died in Orkney on 26 September 1290; the lack of a clear heir led to a period known as the "Great Cause", with several families laying claim to the throne. With Scotland threatening to descend into civil war, King Edward I of England was invited in by the Scottish nobility to arbitrate. Before the process could begin, he insisted that all of the contenders recognise him as Lord Paramount of Scotland.
In early November 1292, at a great feudal court held in the castle at Berwick-upon-Tweed, judgment was given in favour of John Balliol having the strongest claim in law. Edward proceeded to reverse the rulings of the Scottish Lords and summoned King John Balliol to stand before the English court as a common plaintiff. John was a weak king, known as "Toom Tabard" or "Empty Coat". John renounced his homage in March 1296 and by the end of the month Edward stormed Berwick-upon-Tweed, sacking the then-Scottish border town. In April, the Scots were defeated at the Battle of Dunbar in East Lothian and by July, Edward had forced John to abdicate. Edward instructed his officers to receive formal homage from some 1,800 Scottish nobles; some historians, such as Andrew Fisher, believe Wallace must have had some earlier military experience in order to lead a successful military campaign in 1297. Campaigns like Edward I of England's wars in Wales might have provided a good opportunity for a younger son of a landholder to become a mercenary soldier.
Wallace's personal seal bears the archer's insignia, so he may have fought as an archer in Edward's army. Walter Bower states that Wallace was "a tall man with the body of a giant... with lengthy flanks... broad in the hips, with strong arms and legs... with all his limbs strong and firm". Blind Harry's Wallace reaches seven feet; the first act known to have been carried out by Wallace was his assassination of William de Heselrig, the English High Sheriff of Lanark, in May 1297. He joined with William the Hardy, Lord of Douglas, they carried out the raid of Scone; this was one of several rebellions taking place across Scotland, including those of several Scottish nobles and Andrew Moray in the north. The uprising suffered a blow. Wallace and Moray were not involved, continued their rebellions. Wallace used the Ettrick Forest as a base for raiding, attacked Wishart's palace at Ancrum. Wallace and Moray met and joined their forces at the siege of Dundee in early September. On 11 September 1297, an army jointly led by Wallace and Andrew Moray won the Battle of Stirling Bridge
John de Menteith
Sir John Menteith of Ruskie and Knapdale was a Scottish nobleman during the Wars of Scottish Independence. He is known for his capture of Sir William Wallace in 1305 and joined with King Robert I of Scotland and received large land grants in Knapdale and Kintyre for his service. John was the younger son of Walter Bailloch Stewart, Mary, Countess of Menteith, the daughter of Muireadhach II Earl of Menteith. John possessed the land of Ruskie in Stirlingshire. John was a party to the Turnberry Bond with his father, Walter Stewart and the Bruces, signed at Turnberry Castle on 20 September 1286. With his older brother Alexander, John was involved in the resistance against King Edward I of England and were both captured after the Battle of Dunbar on 27 April 1296. While Alexander was released after swearing fealty, John remained a prisoner at Nottingham Castle in England until August 1297, when Edward released John from prison, on his taking oath and giving security to serve with the king in the campaign of 1297 in Flanders.
He was appointed the Constable of Lennox and was ravaging the lands of Edward's partisans in Lennox in 1301. John was refrained from pressing his mission. By 1303 John submitted and had been restored to Edward's favour, for on 20 March 1304 John was appointed Warden of the castle and sheriffdom of Dumbarton. Edward was keen to secure the fortification as a major access route into Scotland by sea. John, as sheriff of Dumbarton, captured Sir William Wallace in 1305 and handed him over to the English. For this John was labeled traitorous and was given the contemporary nickname Fause Menteith. Wyntoun, whose "Metrical Chronicle" was written in 1418, says: The English chronicler Piers Langtoft states that Menteith discovered the retreat of Wallace through the treacherous information of Jack Short, Wallace's servant, that he came under cover of night and seized him in bed. A passage in the Scalachronica, quoted by John Leland, notes, "William Walleys was taken of the Counte of Menteith, about Glasgow, sent to King Edward, after was hanged and quartered at London."
Menteith was nominated one of the representatives of the Scots barons in the parliament of both nations which assembled at London in September 1305 and was chosen upon the Scottish council, appointed to assist John of Brittany, the new Guardian of Scotland, in the English interest. John received on 1 June 1306 from Edward the Earldom of Lennox, while on 15 June he received the Warden of the castle and sheriffdom of Dumbarton office for life. John returned to Scotland in October. Edward appealed to John in December 1307 to join him in resisting the revolting Robert de Brus, however John abandoned his earldom of Lennox, joining Brus's side. King Robert I of Scotland, rewarded John with large grants in Kintyre. In March 1308, John was among the Scottish magnates who wrote to the King Philip IV of France on behalf of the nation and in 1309, he was sent with Sir Nigel Campbell to treat with Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, receiving a safe-conduct on 21 August, from King Edward II of England. John's English lands were forfeited for his treason.
In 1316 he was commissioned with Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray to treat on behalf of Robert Brus for a truce with the English. John remained attached to the royal court, as is shown by the numerous charters he attested and was at the Arbroath parliament in April 1320, signed the Declaration of Arbroath sent by the barons of Scotland to Pope John XXII. John was described as'guardian' of the earldom of Menteith, as his great-nephew Alan, as Alan was a minor upon Alan I, Earl of Menteith's death. John was one of the negotiators of the thirteen years' truce between Bruce and the English, signed on 30 May 1323 and was present at a Scottish council at Berwick in June; the last recorded grants to him are during the minority of King David II of Scotland. Menteith, by an unknown spouse, had issue: Sir John de Menteith the younger, married Helen daughter of Gartnait, Earl of Mar Walter Menteith Johanna Menteith, married Malise, 7th Earl of Strathearn, John Campbell, Earl of Atholl, Maurice de Moravia, Earl of Strathearn, William de Moravia, 5th Earl of Sutherland This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Menteith, John de".
Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. Paul, James Balfour, The Scots Peerage, Vol. VI
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce