Statue of Scottish hero William Wallace heading to England
The last time Braveheart was taken across the Border, more than 700 years ago, it did not end well. He was hung, drawn and quartered for high treason.
This time it’s a 14ft bronze statue of the famous warrior will be dismantled into four of five pieces for the eight-week restoration at Lost Art, in Wigan, Lancashire.
Seoras Wallace, who advised on staging battle scenes on blockbuster movies Braveheart and Highlander, said: “It is incredible that William Wallace’s statue is being quartered and sent down to England after all this time.
“I’m sure that our national hero will be looking down at what is happening and will be smiling at the sheer irony of it all.”
The statue is perched more thna 60ft over the entrance to the Wallace National Monument in Stirling, honouring the warrior who was captured near Glasgow in 1305, handed over to King Edward I, and taken to England to be executed.
After being dismantled by Rothesay-based Industrial Heritage Consulting, his statue will undergo specialist restoration ahead of its 150th anniversary celebrations in September.
Stirling Council boss Scott Farmer said: “The outcome of Wallace’s last trip to England is, obviously, well known but those days are very much in the past.
“This time this Scottish hero will have a happy homecoming and will be back in peak condition.”
William Wallace was famously hung, drawn and quartered at his brutal execution in 1305. His head was placed on London Bridge and his limbs displayed in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Perth.
The essential repairs needing done to the iconic statue are hugely challenging and are expected to take around eight weeks to complete, Mr Farmer said.
“That is why we ensured that these painstaking restoration works will be carried out by expert craftspeople, including Lost Art, a company with a track record in bringing renowned Scottish historical structures back to their former glory.”
The painstaking revamp work forms part of the overall restoration project at the monument, which will cost more than £500,000.
The William Wallace statue was created by renowned Victorian sculptor David Watson Stephenson, from Edinburgh, and was added to the monument in 1887.
The monument will close from tomorrow while the work gets under way and will reopen in the spring with a new look. A series of events have also been planned throughout the year, as well as two large-scale public celebrations in September to mark the 150th anniversary of the monument’s opening.
Zillah Jamieson, chair of Stirling District Tourism, said: “Not only will the statue of William Wallace be fully restored and returned to its home but the monument will also be undergoing a transformation of its own.”