The name of William Wallace is mentioned not only in the history of Scotland but in Scottish Historical Romances as well. His figure is legendary and many stories and even films have featured his personality and vigor! A new journey marks his homecoming in a spectacular way.
Sir William Wallace (or better, in Scottish Gaelic Brogue, Uilleam Uallas) was a Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders during the First War of Scottish (March 1296 – May 1328). He defeated the English army at the famous Battle of Sirling Bridge in 1297 and he was appointed Guardian of Scotland. In 1305 he was captured near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England who had him hanged, drawn and quartered for high treason.
This was not something new, of course. High treason back then was considered the worst crime, especially since a King was like God for his nationals.
Returning to our subject, William Wallace aka Braveheart was first taken across the Scottish Border, more than 700 years ago and…it didn’t end well. After his hanging, his head was placed on London Bridge and his limbs were displayed in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling, and Perth…pretty cruel, huh?
It is said that during 2019, his 14ft bronze statue—which was created by the renowned Victorian sculptor David Watson Stephenson from Edinburgh and was added to the monument in 1887—will be dismantled into four pieces, symbolically, for the eight-week restoration at Lost Art, in Wigan Lancashire, in England. The essential repairs needing to be done to the iconic statue are hugely challenging and are expected to take around eight weeks to complete.
Since his death, Wallace has obtained an iconic status far beyond his homeland.
The statue is perched more than 60ft over the entrance to the Wallace National Monument in Stirling, honoring the famous warrior.
After being dismantled by Rothesay-based Industrial Heritage Consulting, his statue will undergo specialist restoration ahead of its 150th anniversary celebrations in September.
Stirling Council boss Scott Farmer said that “the outcome of Wallace’s last trip to England is, obviously, well known but those days are very much in the past. This time this Scottish hero will have a happy homecoming and will be back in peak condition”.
That is the reason why it is ensured that these painstaking restoration works will be carried out by expert craftspeople, including Lost Art, a company with a track record in bringing renowned Scottish historical structures back to their former glory. The painstaking revamp work forms part of the overall restoration project at the monument, which will cost more than £500,000.
A series of events have also been planned throughout the year, as well as two large-scale public celebrations in September to mark the 150th anniversary of the monument’s opening.
Zillah Jamieson, chair of Stirling District Tourism, said: “Not only will the statue of William Wallace be fully restored and returned to its home but the monument will also be undergoing a transformation of its own”.
Photo by Finlay McWalter
Seoras Wallace, the author, historical consultant and fight director with a successful career spanning three decades in the film, television and media industries, the person who advised on staging battle scenes on blockbuster movies Braveheart and Highlander, said: “It is incredible that William Wallace’s statue is being quartered and sent down to England after all this time. I’m sure that our national hero will be looking down at what is happening and will be smiling at the sheer irony of it all.”
So…How do you feel about that? Any thoughts of the subject?
Written by Lydia Kendall