Freedom Fighter

After managing to evade pursuers for seven years following his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk, Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace was captured on 5 August 1305 when one of his countrymen, John de Menteith, turned him over to English soldiers near Glasgow.

Wallace, who’d been making life hell for the English for almost a decade, was taken to Westminster Hall in London, where he was tried for treason and atrocities against civilians. An oak garland was placed on his head to suggest he was king of the outlaws. Wallace protested the treason charge, as he claimed he was never a subject of the English king, Edward and that John Balliol was really his king. Nonetheless, he was found guilty and, on 23 August, he was taken to the Tower of London, stripped naked, and dragged through the city to Smithfield. There, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered. His head was preserved in tar and placed atop London Bridge and his limbs sent to the four corners of the country as a warning. The Scottish Wars of Independence dragged on, with a brief respite, until almost the end of the century (and, one could argue, they continue to be fought even today).

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