The Wallace Book

The Wallace Book

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 1906566240

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Wallace Book

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 1906566240

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Exploring the life of a man who for 700 years has been revered as the consummate, incomparable Scottish hero, this study examines how the legend of William Wallace—an ingenious and capable man who initiated a resistance movement that ultimately secured the nation’s freedom and independence—overtook historical reality, a process which has continued for centuries as manifested in modern media and film. Here, a team of leading historians and critics from both Scotland and England investigate what is known of the medieval warrior’s career from contemporary sources, most of which were actually created by his enemies. Showing how he was perhaps too dangerous for his own era, as Wallace was reviled, opposed, and eventually betrayed, this book discusses how he was later viewed differently by various generations of Scots, primarily as the archetypal Scot who would teach kings and nobles where their duties should lie and who would live free or freely die for the liberty of his nation.

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(from what follows) with his sword.97 This source agrees with ‘Fordun’ in killing only one man, so we can reject the version of a battle against an English company given in The Wallace98 and accept that the assault could well have taken place at night, as Wyntoun describes. ‘Holding the king’s pleas’ in the charges describes the reason for Heselrig’s presence at Lanark and makes the offence an attack upon the king, for the sheriffs and others appointed by Edward are described as ‘holding his

period after 1305, for which pro-Bruce sources were available, is much more favourable, and John Comyn’s killing is blamed on Comyn’s wickedness.112 Perhaps, therefore, the author simply parroted whatever sources were available. Yet what made Comyn wicked in 1306 was breaking his oath to join Bruce in fighting for Scottish freedom. This, once more, fits the Gesta’s basic theme, the troubles caused by uncontrolled magnate quarrels and feuding – certainly a message that David II and his circle

couple were seen walking through this landscape, with ‘Let us go, lassie, go’ as a voice-over. Then it moved into a picture of the poet Norman MacCaig, in profile, speaking a couple of his own lines: ‘Only men’s minds could ever have unmapped / Into abstraction such a territory’. These lines come from an early poem, ‘Celtic Cross’.10 What a stone cross asks, says MacCaig, is Something that is not mirrored by nor trapped In webs of water nor bag-nets of cloud; The tangled mesh of weed lets it

patriotic as he is stoic, and we know that his unique qualities will enable him to survive the disaster at Falkirk just as they will strengthen him during the final horror at Smithfield, conveniently foreseen courtesy of the muse: Oh, Wallace! Thy bold unruffled brow Speaks the calm of a noble mind; Thou hast drunk of the wave at the ebb and flow, Thou stand’st like an oak, while tempests blow, Unbent by the wavering wind! ’Mid the bursting flame, or the midnight flood, ’Mid horror’s

should join together in celebrating the ‘shared advantages’ and ‘yeoman service’ that the national independence of Scotland had brought to the Union and the British Empire, while the Standard praised the beautiful surroundings of the monument and called Wallace a man of the people.65 Yet, just as the unionist-nationalist projection of Wallace appears to have gained acceptance by a formerly disapproving English press, the Burns view of Wallace’s legacy was alive and well, albeit at a short remove

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