Wallace Day

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Wallace Monument
Jean McLean 08:25, 1 October 2009

The life of William Wallace is commemorated every year in August on the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of his death. The day starts with a march from Johnstone to the site of his birth in Elderslie beside the monument. A wreath is laid at the monument and there are speeches celebrating his life. The day ends with a ceilidh in the village hall.

Sir William Wallace was born around 1270. He rose to prominence in the late thirteenth century as a leader in Scotland’s first war of independence with Edward I of England.In August 1305 Wallace was captured near Glasgow by Sir John Menteith. He was taken to London where he was tried as a traitor. He was allowed no legal defence and was found guilty. Wallace was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. The quarters of his body were put on display at Berwick, Newcastle, Perth and Stirling as a warning to others. In 1905, on the 600th anniversary of Wallace’s death Theodore Napier, a Scottish patriot, issued a circular suggesting different ways to honour Wallaces memory.He suggested that statues should be erected and wreaths laid on the anniversary of his death. A monument was erected in 1912 at his birthplace in Elderslie with funds raised by the London Renfrewshire Society.(£2000) The form of the monument is based on a medieval mercat cross and was designed by John CT Murray, a Glasgow born architect and Andrew Minty of London. Murray had previously worked on the Central Hotel, Glasgow and became chief architect to the Admiralty in 1903.The sculptured plaques were sculpted by Albert Hodge at the time of construction but due to a lack of funds were not added to the memorial until 1970. The Clan Wallace society donated the money to allow the sculptures to be added.

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