Thursday, March 25, 2010

William Wallace

I love Scotland and I love Heroes who fought and died for freedom and the countries that they cherished. So, who could I find cooler than William Wallace (in the category of Medieval history, that is), the Scottish Hero who fought and died for the freedom of his country?

Yes, of course, he, like next to all great Heroes, was defeated and murdered in the end. So I just won't write about that part and if you really want to know about it you can find it some other place. (I have a link to that place at the end of the post.)

William Wallace was really cool. O.K, that was extremely unprofessional sounding but equally true. To me, he is like someone out of a storybook; a Scottish Robin Hood sort of fellow. At times the story of Wallace seems to have just been made up by some author and not an actually event.

His loyalty to Scotland is part of what makes him so admirable. To say that he loved and was loyal to Scotland would be an understatement: he devoted his life to Scotland and died for Scotland.

He hated England as much as he loved Scotland; he killed every Englishman that dared get into an argument with him. Regardless of whether this story true or not, Sir William hated the English. It may be just a legend, but it is said that one night as he was going to visit his wife or sweetheart, some Englishmen came to get him, he ran out the back door and they, the English, burned down his wife/sweetheart's house, killing her. Needless to say, this made him mad. He tracked them all down and killed them. (How cool is that?)

It has, of course, occurred to me in the process of making this post, that perhaps Sir William, though he did great things for Scotland, might not actually have been a great heroic sort of person at the time of his life. Anyone who has seen
Star Trek: First Contact knows what I am talking about.

But you know what? To me, it doesn't really matter his exact character, because, for whatever reason, he did something wonderful:

"Wallace had behind him the spirit of a race as stern and as resolute as any bred among men. He added military gifts of a high order. Out of an unorganized mass of valiant fighting men he forged, in spite of cruel poverty and primitive administration, a stubborn, indomitable army, ready to fight at any odds and mock defeat."

[Sir Winston Churchill, The Birth of Britain, Vol. 1 of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc., 1956).]

Sir William was a great leader. He did something amazing, just truly amazing. He fought for, what is, perhaps, the most precious thing known to mankind, something for which people have fought for died for and, on rare occasions, obtained, ever since time began and they will continue to till it ends.


He wanted freedom. Freedom for his people. Sadly, this did not happen during his life time. He started the fight but other carried it on. Twenty-three years after the Battle of Stirling Bridge The Scottish wrote the Declaration of Arbroath, still fighting for freedom:

"As long as but a hundred of us remain alive,
never will we on any conditions
be brought under English rule.
It is in truth not for glory,
nor riches, nor honors, that we are fighting,
but for freedom
- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself"

That is but a part, it is long and sad, for it tells how sorrow was in Scotland, Scotland the Brave. But it shows how much it meant to them to be free. And it is words like these that make one think that perhaps William Wallace didn't die in vain.

This the best site on the matter; it has all kinds of info on the life of Sir William and the battle of sterling bridge and the battle of Falkirk (that part is really sad) and the death of sir William (that part is even sadder) but really, it tells just about every thing they know:

The Battle of Stirling Bridge

This is Stirling Bridge but it is far downstream from the original wooden bridge were the battle was fought.

On the 11th of September 1297, the First War of Scottish Independence took place, where Andrew Moray, William Wallace, and their armies defeated the combined English forces of John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey, and Hugh de Cressingham near Stirling, on the River Forth, at The Battle of Stirling Bridge.

That sounds entirely way to much like a school paper. (Coming from me, that is a criticism.)

At the Battle of Stirling Bridge, William Wallace and his friend, Andrew de Moray, defeated the English against the odds. I have read
many different estimated numbers for how many men were in each army, but in all of them the English always had significantly more than the Scottish.

I think that the story of the Battle of Sterling Bridge is most interesting. You see, the thing about William Wallace and the Battle of Sterling Bridge is that it sounds like something out of a book, like a
fictional book. Anyhow. One very interesting and almost comical thing (there are a few of those in the story) is that a Scottish traitor told the English of a ford not far down stream were a great many of them could cross the water quite easily, but they insisted on taking their very large army across this little bitty narrow wooden bridge. How silly was that?

There is so very much that I could say, so very many interesting things I could write, but I have decided that since I have been working on these posts for a long while and I am quite busy at the present, I will just have a link to the place that has it all:

It was truly a great battle.

Wallace sword

I feel as though I should give a bit of a disclaimer here: due to the fact that all of this happened so very long ago, it is not actually known (as near as I can tell) whether or not The Wallace Sword actually did belong to William Wallace, so, we shall just assume that The Wallace Sword did belong to Wallace and go on with our post.

The Wallace Sword is an antique claymore (from Scottish Gaelic claidheamh mòr, "very big sword"). I am forever astonished by the its size! It is, from guard to point, 66 inches (5ft 6in).The blade of the sword measures 4 feet 4 inches in length (132cm) and including the handle 5 feet 6 inches (168cm). The breadth of the blade varies from 2.25 inches at the guard to 0.75 inches before the point. The sword weighs 6 lb (2.7 kg) Legend has it that Sir William made a scabbard for his sword out of the skin of one of his enemies, but this is somewhat disputed. It is reasonable to assume that in order to carry, let alone wield, the sword Sir William Wallace must have been a man of considerable physical, as well as virtuous, stature. In fact, it is estimated that to be able to wield the sword Sir William must have been at least six feet six inches tall. The sword was traditionally kept in Dunbarton castle until 1869 when, of course, it was more fittingly placed in the New National Wallace Monument. I found this cool place with lots of information about the Wallace Sword:

The Wallace Monument

The thing that really started this interest of mine for William Wallace was when my dear uncle told me about the Wallace Monument, which he described as looking "like something out of The Two Towers." I was intrigued and determined to learn more. This led to these four posts on William Wallace.

The National Wallace Monument (generally just known as the Wallace Monument) is a tower standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, a hilltop near Stirling in Scotland, from which Sir William watched the English army gather on the south side of Stirling Bridge. How cool is that?

Both of these websites are absolutely great and have lots of information about the Monument:

If I ever get to go to Scotland, and I hope that someday I may, I will do every thing in my power to make sure that I get to visit the Wallace Monument.


Greetings Dear Reader, I started these posts a few months ago and I only just finished them a few days ago. But I didn't post them right away due to the need to proofread them and all that.

Then I realized I had to post them today, March 25. The reason: today is the 704th anniversary of the coronation of Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland, which took place in 1306. Under his reign, Scotland gained her freedom from England.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Officially Spring

Photo : Bruno Monginoux /

This post is a bit different, it is more like a letter to my Dear Readers, all seven (more or less) of you. But some of the coolest and dearest seven people that I know. You mean more to me than thousands. This may sound like a farewell to you but it is not; it is a fair well to Winter, and I want to wish all of my wonderful friends an awesome and wonderful Spring.

Depending on where you live, perhaps it has already been like Spring for a while for some of you and for others it may still seem like Winter a bit longer, but now, it is Officially Spring.

I know that many, if not all, of you have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this glorious time. My friend ( I may call you friend, can't I? I mean, we only actually met once.) The Night Writer will no longer be persecuted by Old Man Winter, My Dear Mother may work in her lovely garden, and all of you may enjoy the beautiful weather and life returning the the trees and flowers.

In the Springtime, Friends,
In the Springtime fair,
I wish all ye, my merry Friends,
A merry Springtime fair.

Say farewell to the Winter winds,
Say farewell to the Winter, foul,

Say farewell to the winter winds.

In the Springtime, Friends,
In the Springtime fair,
I wish all ye, my merry Friends,

A merry Springtime fair.

~By Sileas MacNab

Spring is very dear to me; I find it the best of all seasons. All of the life returning and the green mist spreading and all of the wonderful things of Last Year that we have forgotten about. I wish that all of you could be here and we might enjoy it together.
So, my Friends, I wish all of you an exceptionally exquisite Spring.

Eirene Kai Elpis