The Memorial of Execution
This plaque marks the place, in modern day Smithfield, where Wallace
was executed by the horrific method of hanging, drawing and
beheading. It is thought that this type of execution was so painfully
cruel that even the medieval judges could not bear to watch.
Wallace travelled widely after his defeat at the battle of Falkirk. For
seven years he worked and fought for Scotland's freedom with courage,
determination and tenacity. It
is said that he went to the kings of France and Norway, and to the Pope in
his attempts to get help for Scotland. But he was captured at Robroyston
on August 3, 1305 and taken to London. He was tried for treason on August
23. His reply to the charge of treason was
"I cannot be a traitor, since
I never swore fealty to the English King".
Nevertheless, he was hanged, cut down while still breathing,
disembowelled, had his genitals cut off, and that great Scottish heart, still
beating, was torn from his chest and thrown into fire. His life,
culminating in his heroic death, roused Scots to a sense of unity and
identity that is envied by the English to this day.
After his death, an English mystic reportedly saw a vision of Wallace's soul
being carried triumphantly into the gates of Heaven by a host of Angels,
while thousands of lesser souls recently freed from purgatory stood
reverently aside to let him pass through ahead of them.
The monument at Elderslie, his birthplace, had the words Bas agus
Buaid (Death and Victory) and the English legend "His example, devotion
and heroism inspired those who came after him to win victory from defeat.
His memory remains for all time a source of pride, honour and inspiration
to his countrymen". In Latin is added the words "I tell you the truth. Freedom is what is
best. Son, never live life like a slave".
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