Braveheart - A HERO EMERGES

This artistic interpretation—included in "Forman's Roll," an armorial which Sir Robert Forman sent to Mary, Queen of Scots around 1562, after the death of her first husband, Francis II—depicts John Balliol, King of the Scots.

What does the illustration mean? Balliol, who lost Scotland’s throne to England’s Edward I,  is seen with his crown and sceptre symbolically broken (and with an empty coat of arms). The work is maintained at the National Library of Scotland (Shelfmark ID Adv.MS.31.4.2, fol.4r.).


In the ensuing battles of 1296, the town of Berwick was sacked, its inhabitants massacred. Then Scottish lords, loyal to Edward I, helped the English Earl of Surrey to win the battle of Dunbar. Soon Edinburgh Castle fell and Balliol surrendered.

Edward I no longer needed subtlety. John Balliol's efforts at independent thinking were rewarded with imprisonment in the Tower of London (although he was later released and exiled to France where he died blind and forgotten).

Edward returned to England, leaving his hand-picked men in all the strategic Scottish castles, including the important fortress on the River Forth, Stirling Castle. He was the unquestioned ruler of England, Wales and now Scotland.

Or so he thought.

In the rugged land to the north, not everyone was willing to swear an oath of allegiance to the English king. Some of the Scottish people still coveted independence.

The Wallace family was willing to risk the consequences for refusing to swear allegiance to an outsider. Those consequences could be death. And...Malcolm Wallace...William's father, paid the ultimate price. He was killed on Louden Hill. (Five years later, William killed his father's assailant, Lord Fenwick, on the same hill.)

After the death of his father, Wallace's hatred of the English intensified. He was taunted by the son of the English constable at Shrewbury. Not willing to suffer English abuse, Wallace killed the man. He was now an "outlaw" who fled to the thick Scottish forests where he was able to hide. (Parenthetically, given the available evidence, it is relatively easy to believe that the legend of Robin Hood could have its roots in the story of William Wallace.)

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Jun 16, 2019

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"A HERO EMERGES" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2001. Jan 19, 2020.
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