Tree memorial planned to William Wallace 700 years on

Work has begun on a permanent memorial to Sir William Wallace on the spot where he was chained before being taken to London more than 700 years ago.

An artist's impression of the granite sculpture

The granite sculpture in the shape of a tree trunk will form the centrepiece of the tribute in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, where the medieval freedom fighter is said to have been chained to an oak following his capture in August 1305.Known as the Wallace Oak and "the tree where Wallace bled", it stood in the grounds of what is now the Holy Family Church until 1995, when it fell in a storm.The Society of William Wallace (SOWW) has spent over two years raising funds for the £16,000 memorial, which is likely to be unveiled in October.The 4.5ft monument will resemble a tree trunk split at the top into a "Y" shape, surrounded at its base by a heavy chain. It will be inscribed with the story of Wallace's capture and that of the tree.The winning entry in a short poem competition for pupils at primary schools in Port Glasgow will also be included on the plaque.Cha Halliday, of The SOWW, said: "We are delighted that after years of planning and fundraising, work is now underway and a monument will finally mark the spot where Wallace was captured."It will be a permanent reminder of Wallace, and a fitting tribute to everyone who has worked so hard to make it happen."Wallace's most famous victory came at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, on 11 September 1297. Defeated by English King Edward I at Falkirk the following year, Wallace was eventually betrayed and captured at Robroyston near Glasgow.Mr Halliday said that Wallace was held at Dumbarton Castle, but the following morning was taken across the river to what is now Port Glasgow and chained to an oak tree.He added: "Wallace was handed over to the English and taken to London but the tree became famous as the Wallace Oak."People looked after the tree for centuries and it is important not only for Port Glasgow but for all Scots that the site is not forgotten -- the memorial will keep the legend alive."Wallace was hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield in London as the opening spectacle of Bartholomew Fair, the largest medieval market in England.His head was put on a spike on London Bridge and his body sent northwards in pieces to Newcastle, Edinburgh, Stirling and Perth as a warning to others.

Last year it emerged Scotland is set to get its own 21st century William Wallace stage show, which will see key players from the 13th and 14th centuries engaging in rap battles.

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West End producers are working with a leading Scottish theatre-maker and one of its most successful hip hop stars on an “original rap musical” which is expected to get its world premiere in the shadow of the Wallace Monument.

Cha Halliday with a fragment of oak from the famous tree

Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government’s arts agency, is funding the early development of the show, which is hoped to tour venues around Scotland in 2022.


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