Page last updated at 00:13 GMT, Sunday, 15 March 2009

MSP demands Wallace letter return

Statue of Wallace in Stirling
The letter was supposed to guarantee Wallace safe passage

A letter carried by William Wallace when he was captured by English forces in 1305 should be returned to Scotland, a Nationalist MSP has claimed.

The document, known as the Safe Conduct, was written by the King of France and was supposed to guarantee Wallace safe passage to visit the Pope.

It is currently held at the National Archives in Surrey.

South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame said it should be in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The Safe Conduct was in Wallace's possession when he was captured in Robroyston in 1305 - eight years after he had led a Scottish army to victory against English forces at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

It was written by King Philip IV of France and has been held in England since Wallace was hanged, drawn and quartered on 23 August 1305 after being found guilty of treason. It is currently kept at the National Archives in Surrey.

In the year of homecoming it would be fitting to see this document finally returned to Scotland
Christine Grahame MSP
Ms Grahame has lodged a parliamentary motion calling for the return of the letter, and also lodged a parliamentary question asking if Scottish ministers will make a formal request to have it returned.

"This is a very significant historical document related to Scotland's most iconic and lasting national hero," she said.

"In the year of homecoming it would be fitting to see this document finally returned to Scotland.

"There are very few artefacts around today that we know for certain Wallace handled and held in his possession."

Ms Grahame said it would be "entirely inappropriate that it should languish, forgotten in some closed drawer in Surrey and urge the UK National Archive to pass it to the National Museum of Scotland where it can be properly displayed."

She claimed the document will be "an inspirational boost" for Scots to return for the Homecoming celebrations.

Tory deputy leader Murdo Fraser last year called for the only surviving document issued by Wallace to be returned to Scotland.

The Lubeck Letter was sent by Wallace and Andrew Murray in 1297 to notify the merchants of the German city of Hamburg that Scottish ports were open again for trade. The letter is held in Lubeck.



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