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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK
Walk marks execution of Wallace
David Ross before setting off
David Ross: "This will be the mourning that Wallace never had"
A historian is marking the 700th anniversary of the death of William Wallace by marching the route of his journey to execution.

David Ross, convener of the William Wallace Society, is walking the route from Wallace's capture in Robroyston, Glasgow, to his death in London.

The march is expected to take him nearly three weeks.

After arriving he hopes to be joined by hundreds of Scots for a march to the spot where Wallace was killed in 1305.

A private commemorative service will then be held inside St Bartholomew the Greater, the oldest church in London.

This will be the mourning that Wallace never had
David Ross

Speaking ahead of his journey, Mr Ross said: "I realised that this day could possibly come and go and there would be no mention of Scotland's national hero, that the 700th anniversary was upon us.

"It will be a strange journey for me, especially to cross the border and think about Wallace there 700 years before, every step taking him a step further away from Scotland that he loved.

"This will be the mourning that Wallace never had."

Tried for treason

Mr Ross stressed the solemnity of the occasion and the importance to Scots of commemorating the "betrayal".

Mr Ross will arrive in London on 23 August with an open invitation for people to join him on the final two hours of his walk along the route was dragged through the streets.

A symbolic coffin will then be returned to Scotland and go on show at the Stirling Smith Museum.

Crowds gather at the Wallace Monument to see David Ross off
Crowds gathered at the Wallace Monument to see David Ross off

Wallace, who led the Scots to a victory over English forces at Stirling Bridge in 1297, avoided capture until 3 August, 1305, when Sir John de Menteith, a Scottish knight loyal to Edward, turned Wallace over to English soldiers at Robroyston.

Wallace was taken to London and tried for treason at Westminster Hall where he was crowned with a garland of oak to suggest that he was the king of outlaws and declared guilty.

On 23 August, following the trial, Wallace was removed from the courtroom, stripped naked and dragged to Smithfield Market at the heels of a horse.

He was strangled by hanging, but released near death, drawn and quartered and beheaded, rendering the execution complete at the Elms in Smithfield, London.

His head was placed on a pike atop London Bridge, which was later joined by the heads of his brother, John, and Sir Simon Fraser, who had fought for Robert the Bruce.

The English government displayed his limbs, separately, in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling, and Perth as a warning to others.

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