William Wallace, Guardian of Scotland

Despite the events of 1296, most Scots continued to regard John Balliol as their rightful king, and the following year William Wallace, son of Sir Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie, Renfrewshire, raised a revolt against the English occupation of Scotland.

Having killed the English sheriff of Lanark, Wallace waged guerrilla warfare against Edward I's occupying army and on 11 September 1297 joined forces with Sir Andrew Moray to rout the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. 

He then recaptured Berwick and invaded the north of England. From there, he and Murray wrote to the merchants of Lübeck and Hanover, inviting them to trade once more, 'because the kingdom of Scotland, thanks be to God, is recovered by war from the power of the English'.

Wallace was knighted and acted as Guardian of the realm in the name of John Balliol, but he lacked the support of the noblemen and Edward I continued to wage war implacably against the Scots. 

On 22 July 1298 Wallace was defeated at the Battle of Falkirk, Stirlingshire. His later movements are unclear but it is known that he resigned his Guardianship, travelled to France in an unsuccessful attempt to enlist support, and then returned to Scotland. 

Seven years later, he was betrayed to the English and captured near Glasgow. William was tried for treason at Westminster Hall, and hanged, drawn and quartered in London on 23 August 1305.

Image: The Queen visits the Castle at Stirling, an ancient town integral to the history and legends of Scotland.