They may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM! Poor William Wallace or Braveheart as we know him best, never knew that he’d be hung, drawn and quartered at this very spot in Farringdon.
You would never know it was there, but on a very nondescript wall near St. Bart’s Hospital and Smithfields Market, is a plaque that serves as a memorial to the execution of Scottish patriot Sir William Wallace. On the bottom of the plaque there’s a Latin inscription of a couplet that was taught to the young Wallace by his Uncle whom was a Priest. Translated it means “I tell you the truth, son, freedom is the best condition, never live like a slave.”
Wallace was a Scottish landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Under his command the Scots defeated the English at several battles including the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, bu was captured by the English in 1305 and brought to London. He was tried for treason at Westminster and found guilty. Wallace was taken from Court at the Tower of London, stripped naked and dragged through the city by a horse to Smithfield where he was hanged, drawn and quartered. I had to look this one up for further detail: strangled by hanging but released while he was still alive, emasculated (chopped off his male parts), disemboweled and had his bowels burnt before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts. His preserved head (dipped in tar) was placed on a pike atop of London Bridge. Then his limbs were displayed separately in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling, and Perth. Yowza. The English liked to teach a lesson. Good thing Mel Gibson doesn’t live in England.
William Wallace (Braveheart) Memorial, West Smithfield EC1