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William Wallace led a rebellion of the Scots in 1297.

The first act which is definitely known to have been carried out by him was his killing of William Heselrig, the English Sheriff of Lanarkmarker, in May 1297. At the time this was not an isolated incident, but he was joining in with risings taking place across Scotland.

Not much is definitely known about this incident. The best account comes from the Scalacronica by Thomas Grey, whose father, also called Thomas Grey, was present. A fracas broke out at a court being held by Heselrig, which Wallace escaped from. He then came back with some supporters and attacked Heselrig and his men, killed Helselrig, nearly killed Thomas Gray senior, and set fire to some houses. Wallace then continued with his rebellion, which culminated in his victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridgemarker four months later.

It is unclear what Wallace's background was prior to this incident at Lanark, what he was doing at Heselrig's court, and whether this was a spontaneous incident or if it was co-ordinated with other risings in Scotland.

According to later legend, written by Blind Harry, Wallace was seeking revenge for the killing by Heselrig of his wife, Marion Braidfute of Lamington. However, there is little evidence for her existence. Harry also claims that Wallace then dismembered Heselrig's body

A fictionalised version of this incident appeared in the film Braveheart, where Wallace's wife was called Murron MacClannough.

References

  1. John Prebble The Lion in the North
  2. Peter Traquair Freedom's Sword
  3. Summary of Blind Harry's account



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