The Statue of William Wallace by Moonlight
When King Alexander III's grand-daughter and heir, the Maid of Norway, died in 1290, succession to the throne of Scotland was in dispute.
Edward I of England, claiming to be "Lord Paramount of the Kingdom of Scotland" intervened to arbitrate, and chose John Balliol as the rightful heir. Because of the patronising way in which he was treated by Edward, King John was provoked into armed resistance. The result was that Edward invaded Scotland, captured John, and took him South where he imprisoned him in the infamous Tower of London.
Sir William Wallace of Elderslie, who was about 22 years old, emerged as a skilled guerilla leader in the subsequent struggle against English domination. Moving around the country with a band of fighters, he managed to stay one step ahead of the English occupying forces, eventually defeating them at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Edwards forces withdrew, and in turn Wallace invaded England.
At this time he wrote:
"The Kingdom of Scotland, thanks be to God, has been recovered by war from the power of the English."
The English retaliated, defeating the Scots at Falkirk a year later, but the war of independence dragged on for many years longer, during which time Wallace himself was betrayed to the English and executed in London. But his bravery had inspired a wave of patriotism which lived on.
In 1814 the Earl of Buchan commissioned this monumental 7 metre high sandstone statue situated on a hillside overlooking the River Tweed near Dryburgh, secluded in woodlands of beech and scots pines.
Located near to Scott's View, five miles from Melrose, you can park and then walk along a forest road of about 200 yards to find this powerful monument.