When you think of the William Wallace death, the first thing that may come to your mind is the movie Braveheart, followed shortly by an image of Mel Gibson covered in blue paint and crying “Freeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!”
Braveheart is an amazing film and is one of the best medieval movies of all time, however, it unfortunately not an accurate depiction of the life or death of William Wallace.
One of the unfortunate inaccuracies was that Wallace’s death was in fact a lot more gruesome than was depicted on screen. Wallace may have lived by the sword, but his death was not by the sword.
When was William Wallace’s Death
On 23 August 1305, William Wallace’s death took place.
Found guilty of treason, Wallace was taken to the Tower of London, where his clothes were removed and he was tied to a hurdle and dragged through the streets by horses. At the end of this, he was hung, drawn, and quartered.
If this was not bad enough, Wallace’s bowels burnt before him.
How did William Wallace Die
- William Wallace was put on trial in London. This was largely for show, and Wallace had no chance of winning his case.
- After the court found Wallace guilty of treason on August 23, 1305, Wallace was sentenced to die in one of the most painful ways imaginable. Wallace was sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered. Wallace was taken to Westminster Hall and stripped naked.
- Wallace was then tied to a hurdle and was dragged by horses for six miles to Smoothfield.
- If this was not bad enough, during the journey, people that were watching threw feces and pieces of garbage at the Scottish hero.
- He was also beaten with rods and whipped by the crowd as he passed them by.
- As if his situation was not already bad enough, Wallace was also found guilty of robbery and murder meaning that he was sentenced for these crimes by hanging. Sadly, Wallace did not find rest when hanging by his neck by a rope – he wasn’t allowed to die.
- The next step of this sick process was the cutting off of the testicles and penis of William Wallace.
- Next, his intestines were removed and burned in front of him.
And we are still not finished.
9. The next step of this painful ordeal was the ripping out of Wallace’s heart from his chest. We don’t know if Wallace’s heart was still beating as it was removed from his body.
10. For finality, the final step was chopping Wallace’s head off with an axe.
What happened to William Wallace’s body after his death
After the execution of William Wallace, his body was cut into four separate pieces and shown around the country to demonstrate what would happen to rebels and traitors of the King.
Wallace’s head was put on display upon a pike on London Bridge.
Wallace’s limbs were sent separately to Berwick, Stirling, Perth, and Newcastle.
The King of England died two years later, and 14 years later, Scotland had its independence.
William Wallace’s sacrifice was not in vain.
Robert the Bruce honored the memory of Wallace and led his people to glory with a huge victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
What led to the William Wallace Death
In 1305, Wallace had sent one of his men on a mission to get a letter to Robert the Bruce.
Robert the Bruce had officially surrendered and was now waiting for the death of the elderly King of England before launching a fresh rebellion.
The letter that Wallace sent was urging Bruce to resume his leadership of the country
Wallace assured Bruce that neither the Scottish nobility or clergy would stand in his way.
Bruce was happy and wanted to meet Wallace near Glasgow at the end of June. A Scottish man named Sir John Menteith found out about these plans, and betrayed Wallace, selling information to the King of England in order to receive the sheriffdom of Dumbarton as a reward.
Sadly, the reasons for Menteith’s betrayal are unknown. He may have been angered by the death of his uncle at the Battle of Falkirk, which Wallace was a part of, and blamed Wallace for his death.
One story suggests that a servant named Jack Short betrayed Wallace in order to obtain the bounty offered by the King. The King of England apparently offered £30 to any servant who spied out Wallace and provides information that would lead to his capture.
Whatever the reason or cause, Wallace was met by the English and captured at Robroyston near Glasgow on August 3, 1305.
He was delivered to Sir Robert de Clifford and Sir Aymer de Valence and taken to Carlisle Castle. King Edward did not want Wallace to be executed immediately, but rather, organized for Wallace to be transported to London to show other potential rebels what happened to those who defied the crown.
Wallace was forced to travel another 300 miles to London where a terrible fate awaited him.