History Bites: “Braveheart” vs. William Wallace

Every member of the CWS should be able to speak on each of the following sixteen points. This is a nice little refresher on where film “Braveheart” and facts disagree:

1. Wallace was the son of a Knight; not a poor cottar (farmer) as depicted.
2. Wallace was not a highlander; he did not wear a kilt.
3. His father, Sir Malcolm, was executed when Wallace was an adult.
4. There is no record of Edward re instituting “First Night”.
5. Wallace’s wife “Murren” (Marion Broadfoot) was executed because she helped Wallace evade capture.
6. Scots did not paint themselves blue in the thirteenth century AD. The blue emulsion is called “woad” and was reportedly used by ancient Celts in Roman times.
7. The wooden “castle” of Lanark was pure fantasy.
8. The battle at Stirlinq took place at a bridge, not in open ground; the bridge was the key to success.
9. Wallace never met Princess Isabella; he was dead before she came to England from France.
10. Edward II (who really did prefer the company of men) married Isabella after his father’s death. (1308).
11. Robert the Bruce did not ‘rescue’ Wallace after Falkirk.
12. Robert the Bruce’s father did not have leprosy.
13. Wallace was betrayed by Sir John Menteith of Dumbarton; Robert the Bruce was not present.
14. Wallace was dragged behind a horse to his execution. (1305)
15. Wallace was executed in the city of London; it is highly unlikely that any of his friends or followers could have been present.
16. Bruce never intended to ‘parlay’ at Bannockburn; he knew from the start that this battle was the keystone to Scotland’s

Originally published in “The Guardian” Vol 36 No 1

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