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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Service remembers William Wallace
David Ross with Saltires
David Ross retraced Wallace's last journey to London
The 700th anniversary of the death of William Wallace has been marked with a memorial service in the House of Commons.

Among those attending the service in Westminster Hall was historian David Ross, who walked to London to recreate Wallace's last journey.

A candle was lit and there was a rendition of the song "Freedom Come aa ye". A number of SNP members attended.

A series of events also took place across Scotland.

Wallace was hung, drawn and quartered on 23 August, 1305, after being found guilty in Westminster Hall of treason. Since then he has become a cultural icon.

Throughout history the more the authorities of the day have tried to suppress the Wallace legend the more that it has grown
Alex Salmond
SNP leader

Angus Robertson, SNP MP for Moray, said: "The event today was a particularly poignant memorial to William Wallace who faced his show trial in the Hall before his execution.

"It is important for Scots everywhere to remember his sacrifice and ensure that Scotland remains a nation."

Angus MacNeil, MP for the Western Isles (Na H-Eileanan an Iar), added: "Today I felt inspired and proud to celebrate a Scottish Hero. We are the political heirs of William Wallace."

Establishment 'scared stiff'

At a separate commemorative service in St Bartholomew's church in Smithfield, SNP leader Alex Salmond said: "Seven hundred years on and William Wallace still has the establishment scared stiff.

"Note the absence of any official commemoration planned for today, the anniversary of the execution of Scotland's greatest national hero.

"And yet the event has been marked, not by official ceremony, but only by the activities of the many grassroots Wallace societies, which still flourish the length and breadth of Scotland.

William Wallace
William Wallace was hung, drawn, quartered and beheaded

"Throughout history the more the authorities of the day have tried to suppress the Wallace legend the more that it has grown."

Mr Salmond also called for Scottish history to be taught in every Scottish school and for the Saltire to be raised at every public building in the country on 23 August every year.

The SNP is also asking for a permanent memorial to Wallace to be installed at the Scottish Parliament.

'Wee cog'

Mr Ross, who is president of the William Wallace Society, walked from Robroyston, Glasgow, where Wallace was captured, to London where he was executed.

Describing his journey as "tough" he said it was "an experience never to be repeated".

"It was my way of raising awareness," he said. "I am just a cog in the machine, a wee cog. I don't really matter.

Royal Mile/Wallace Mile
The Royal Mile was given a new name to mark the anniversary

"It's the history of Scotland and where Scotland's going in the future that matters.

"This was a man that died for Scotland and its people and every single generation of Scots should recognise that."

In Edinburgh, a group calling itself the "Irrepressible Wing of Scotland's Frank Zapatistas" marked the day by putting up new street signs on Princes Street and the Royal Mile.

The former was called "William Wallace Street" and the latter "The Wallace Mile".


SEE ALSO:
Walk marks execution of Wallace
03 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Children examine 'modern Wallace'
13 May 05 |  Scotland
Wallace sword on way to Big Apple
29 Mar 05 |  Scotland
'Spirit of Scotland' unleashed
16 Sep 04 |  Scotland
Display marks Braveheart efforts
21 Jun 04 |  Scotland
Pardon call for Scots warrior
08 May 02 |  Scotland


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