William Wallace

William Wallace is perhaps the greatest hero of the Scottish people. His legend inspired 100,000 people to gather on June 24, 1861, 556 years after his death, at the opening ceremony of the 300-foot National Monument in Stirling that continues to honor his memory. It was here Wallace once led a band of desperate and outnumbered Scots to a glorious victory over the English.

The fabled five-foot sword that once belonged to Wallace is on display in Stirling Castle. Born around the year 1267, Wallace was the second son of Malcolm Wallace, a middle-class landowner who was educated and spoke three languages. William Wallace was educated at Paisley Abbey by his uncle but little is recorded of his day-today life. It is believed he once went to the Pope to plead for Scotland's freedom and, while guardian of Scotland, attempted to develop trade for his country. Material wealth was of no intrest to Wallace, who refused the Crown of Scotland when it was offered to him. While the Scottish nobles around him were accepting lands and titles from the English King, Wallace remained committed to freedom and honor for Scotland.

The main source of his legends come from 300 pages of rhyming verse attributed to a blind poet known as Blind Harry, who could neither read nor write. The work is said to be taken from the diary of Wallace's chaplain, Mr. Blair, who was always at his side. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the legends of Wallace indicate the passions his story is able to arouse more than hard fact; however, it was these exciting tales that inspired Randall Wallace to write the screenplay for "Braveheart."

Today, the Wallace Clan with Clan Chief Seoras Wallace are direct descendants of William Wallace. They live in Glasgow and shared with screenwriter Randall Wallace their knowledge of their celebrated ancestor. A collection of diaries and memorabilia about William Wallace has been passed down from generation to generation. The Wallace Clan left Glasgow in the middle of January to become technical advisors for "Braveheart," traveling with the production unit and often residing in tents. During principal photography, their advice on historical facts was continuously sought. They also became part of Wallace's close-knit band of warriors as extras. According to Seoras Wallace, his clan is descended from one of the four surviving family members at the time of the Scottish knight's death. The clan chief also verifies that the battles portrayed in the film truly happened the English throne was intent upon exterminating the Scottish people and this is a part of history no Scot can forget. Screenwriter Randall Wallace believes his screenplay for "Braveheart" captures the spirit of William Wallace in bringing to the screen the hero whose story has gone untold for too long.