William Wallace; one of Scotland’s most famous men, his story is readily told all over the world, a blockbuster film was even made about his extraordinary life – but what you don’t know is just how many monuments are dedicated to this Scottish hero right here in Scotland. I had obviously heard of the biggest Wallace Monument located in Stirling, but apart from that my knowledge of Wallace Monuments was scarce, I hadn’t even heard of the Wallace Statue half an hour from my house! Today I thought I would share everything I have recently learnt about the different Wallace Monuments in Scotland.
The most famous Wallace Monument is found in Stirling, with people travelling from all over the world to visit it and learn all about the life and legacy of William Wallace. You can even see the actual sword he carried into battle with him. Following the decision to erect a National Wallace Monument in Scotland there was a competition for architects across the country to send in their design ideas. Unfortunately none of the unsuccessful competition entries still exist. The Monument finished construction and officially opened in 1869 and now attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year. Visiting the Monument is a truly historical experience as the tour guides are dressed in period clothing, while acting and speaking like a citizen from Wallace’s era. It really is a fun family day out that you won’t want to miss, not to mention the workout climbing the 246 steps to take in the views from the Crown at the top of the Monument.
In 1900 this Wallace Monument was erected and sits on the outskirts of Glasgow where Wallace experienced his last hours of freedom before being captured and taken to London where he was executed for treason. The location of this monument makes it particularly poignant given what it represents.
This statue of Wallace will be viewed by thousands of people every day as it located at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle. Visitors have two Scottish Heroes looking over them as they pass through the doors to learn all about Scottish History, as there is also a statue of Robert the Bruce on the other side of the arch.
Spirit of Scotland, Loudoun Hill
In Ayrshire’s Irvine Valley Wallace fought and won the “Battle of Loudoun Hill” against the English, which is why in 2004 it was decided to erect a Wallace Monument on this land. Richard Price was the sculptor chosen for the job and he worked on the monument for seven years. The idea is that you can view the landscape through the monument and he certainly achieved this with this stunning and unique sculpture with it’s dramatic rocky backdrop.
The first Wallace Monument to be erected in Scotland back in 1814 is found at Bemersyde and when the statue was originally placed here it was actually painted white, but over the years this has faded to expose the red sandstone. The statue is set to the extremely scenic backdrop of the Eildon Hills and the Scottish Borders, and located just along from the famous viewpoint Scott’s View.
Originally designed to sit in front of the National Wallace Monument in Stirling, this Wallace Statue had to be removed after creating huge controversy for too closely resembling the big screen Braveheart actor, Mel Gibson. The designer, Tom Church, wanted the monument to be William Wallace’s ghost coming out through Mel Gibson in Braveheart, unfortunately it was not received in this way. The statue was relocated in 2014 to sit outside the William Wallace Visitor Centre that is joined to the Barony St John Church, in order to increase awareness of Ardrossan’s connection to Wallace.
Castlebank Park, Lanark
Iain Chalmers of Chainsaw Creations carved this wooden statue to be a part of the refurbishment of the Castlebank Park Gardens and their new Wallace Trail. It is thought that Wallace escaped through the Woodlands of Castlebank after slaughtering the governor at Lanark Castle. This Wallace Monument is very different from the others in Scotland and is hoped to be a popular attraction at the park, bringing in plenty of visitors.
I could tell many more stories about the various Wallace Monuments in Scotland as there are apparently over 20, but I’ll leave this post here feeling confident that I have done well in educating you all on the history behind the Scottish Wallace Monuments. We can revisit Wallace and his battles in a later blog!