Scottish Succession: A Fight for Freedom
William Wallace stands out as the most important man in the history of Scottish freedom. Historians debate the exact date of Wallace’s birth, but most agree that he was born circa 1270 AD. Wallace was born to Sir Malcolm Wallace, Laird of Elderslie and Achinbothie, and the daughter of Sir Hugh Crawford, Sheriff of Ayr (Campbell, 1).
Historians also confirm that William was the middle child in a family of three boys. William’s father and older brother were executed when he was young, so he and his mother were forced to flee to a small village near Dundee.
The village was so small that William would not be able to receive and education, so he was taken in by an uncle, Argyle. Argyle, a priest, was able to tutor him in Latin, French, English, and his native language, Gaelic. This education was of a much higher quality than many others of his age and time (M. Campbell, 1)
William returned to the village of his birth. There, in 1297, he married Marian “Murron” Braidfoot at the Church of St. Kentigernin in Lanark. Shortly after the wedding, in May of 1297, Murron was murdered by the Sheriff of Lanark, William de Hazelrigin. Wallace rallied a group of townsmen and took the village of Lanark, killing the sheriff there. When Edward I, the King of England, found out that his sheriff had been killed, he sent troops after Wallace to suppress the movement. Wallace was forced to hide in the Northern highlands of Scotland. By this time, William Wallace was leading a full fledged revolt for freedom against Edward I (Campbell, 2).
During this time of intense warfare, Wallace received two large honors from the Scottish people. After many successful military campaigns, William Wallace was knighted by Scottish nobles. Wallace was subsequently elected the Guardian of Scotland (Scott, 2). These honors would help him gain control over most of Scotland for the few years to follow.
William Wallace led many battles and skirmishes in Scotland during the Scottish resistance to English rule. The battles of Stirling and Falkirk are the two most important battles of Wallace’s military life. In September of 1297, Wallace led Scottish rebels against English powers at the historic Battle of Stirling (Nations 2). He was able to pull off a victory despite incredible odds due to his brilliant military tactics. The English army was better trained and outnumbered the Scottish army greatly. This triumph for Scotland led to a surge in popularity for Wallace and enhanced his ability to lead the country of freedom (Milne, 1). The Battle at Falkirk, in July of 1298, was equally important. Trapped and outnumbered, the Scottish were forced into battle with the English. Wallace’s cavalry fled. This time the superior English force defeated the weaker and more vulnerable Scottish resistance...