On this day in history : 23rd August 1305 – Sir William Wallace, Scottish patriot, is hanged, drawn, beheaded and quartered in London….

Statue of William Wallace, Aberdeen

After the English had been defeated at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 Wallace was appointed Guardian of Scotland and remained so until his defeat in the Battle of Falkirk in July 1298….

In 1305 he was captured and handed over to King Edward I and brought to trial on the charge of treason – to which he responded “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject”….

Wallace’s trial in Westminster Hall – by Daniel Maclise – Public domain

Following the trial Wallace was taken to the Tower of London…. Here he was stripped naked and then dragged through the streets of the city behind a horse….to the Elms at Smithfield…. He was hanged, drawn and quartered…. He was also emasculated and eviscerated – his private parts and bowels burned before him…. Wallace was then beheaded and his body cut into four parts…. His head, dipped in tar to preserve it, was displayed on a pike on top of London Bridge…. His limbs were sent to Perth, Stirling, Newcastle and Berwick to be displayed separately….

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