William Wallace was, perhaps, one of the greatest men to ever live. In the early thirteen hundreds, against all odds, he fought the mighty country of England, who sought to overtake and conquer his native homeland of Scotland. Through Divine Providence, he several times soundly defeated the English at such battles as Stirling Bridge and Brigger. Without the aid of the nobles of his country, many of whom were fighting for the English, without the aid of vast amounts of money, he took on the flower of English knighthood and fought them again and again, and defeated them, despite the fact that his wife was killed, his friends deserted him, and he was betrayed and left to die on the battlefield of Fallkirk.
Out of patience, he went to France to seek aid, when he returned, he found his few remaining friends had deserted him, leaving the Scottish people to groan under the yoke of oppression to seek their own interests.
At last, after years of fighting, Wallace was betrayed by a friend, and dragged to London to be executed. In the words of one historian:
“He was loaded with irons and taken at once to London…Wallace spent a long cold night chained in a cart, there being no room for him inside. (of Carlisle Castle) The wheels of justice, so called, moved with lightning speed in disposing of the Scottish patriot. The day after he arrived in London, August 22, he was taken to the great hall of Westminster. A scaffold had been erected at one end and he was placed there, wearing a laurel wreath, a form of mockery typical of the period. Charges were made against him of being a traitor to the king (he had sworn allegiance only to the King of Scotland and so could not be a traitor to Edward), of sedition, homicides, depredations, fires, and felonies.
As he had been declared an outlaw, he was not allowed to make any answer in his own defense…The fate of William Wallace had already been determined and the trial was no more than a formality. He was found guilty by five judges, who sat on the case and was condemned to die by the now familiar method, he was to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.
The sentence was carried out without so much as an hour’s delay. Wallace was taken from Westminster to the tower and then through the streets crowded with avid watchers to Smithfield, being dragged the whole distance on a hurdle at the heels of the horses. The gallows at Smithfield had been raised high so that multitude assembled could see the body turn on the hempen rope. He was cut down before dead and was mutilated in the manner prescribed by law. His head was struck from his lifeless trunk and was hoist on a spear above London bridge.
Edward was one of the very few men in London who did not see Wallace die.
The body was cut into quarters and distributed for display in Stirling, Perth, Newcastle, and Berwick.
It is said by one historian that as Wallace was about to be pulled up on the rope for the last time, he was asked if he had anything to say, to which he replied by shouting at the top of his voice “Freedom!” And then the rope was pulled taught.
May God grant us the courage to do the same for Christ’s cause.
Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott