On this day in 1297, the Scots beat the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. This was William Wallace’s big victory, although he was working with Andrew Moray and his troops. In fact, Moray was fatally wounded in that battle. It was toward the beginning of the First War of Scottish Independence — a war that went on for over three decades. The Scots were heavily outnumbered, but they destroyed the English. This was due in part to good strategy by Wallace and Moray and by English errors and by lots of luck.
Moray died within days. Wallace next met with the English six months later at the Battle of Falkirk, where he lost badly. He resigned and spent much of the rest of his life (about seven years) trying to get France to intervene on behalf of Scotland. And then he was captured by the English and killed about as brutally as you can imagine. What I find interesting about this is that Edward I was actually a rather good king. But I’m not sure the torture death of Wallace said as much about Edward’s desires as the English people’s.
Regardless, I only bring the whole thing up because it is nothing like Braveheart. That movie say more about Mel Gibson’s personal problems than it does about William Wallace and the war. Heroes are meant for books and films, I suppose. But we should never take them for truth. Who was William Wallace? A failed diplomat.