Duncan Fenton giving the introduction to the
I’d like to
welcome everyone to the annual commemoration of the betrayal & capture of
Scotland’s greatest patriot, Sir William Wallace, who was taken by stealth
on this spot on 3rd August 1305. After being taken to London,
& dragged through its filthy streets, he died a horrifying death, which
we can barely begin to imagine. This took place 700 years ago.
700 years -
I don’t think Wallace himself could have entertained the idea that his
name would have been remembered for more than a generation or two after
his death. Yet here we stand, still celebrating the life and exploits of
this great man – such is the stature of this true Scottish hero.
of adversity & hardship often produce heroes. Ordinary mortals, who,
through a combination of time & circumstance, prove worthy of their
country. Foremost in that category is Sir William Wallace, whose feats
instilled a belief in a nation under the yoke of overlordship – a belief
that they could seize the moment to shape their own destiny & drive the
English occupying forces back over the border.
challenge anyone who has read of the life of Wallace to claim that they
have not been affected by it, nor influenced by it.
I feel a
strong empathy with Wallace & the men who stood shoulder to shoulder with
him - who fought & died to free this land, & it causes a fierce pride to
burn within me.
From the days
when Scotland’s sons and daughters had to wrest their freedom from the
mailed fist of the English oppressor, up to the present day when we
still have to fight to retain our own heritage, our own identity, we
owe it to our children, and our children’s children, to provide them with
the future that our ancestors fought and died for.
sometimes hard to reconcile the values of today’s Scotland with the brutal
reality of medieval life – but some things are ephemeral, timeless, like
the ideal of freedom, the thought in the minds of people of Scotland then,
as now, they resonate through the ages to the present day; the ideal of
freedom that has been fiercely fought for, & bravely won. Remember your
past & help to influence your future.
still haunted by the spirits of all the brave heroes who gave their lives
so dearly only for her sovereignty to be given away so cheaply many years
later. That freedom which Wallace & Bruce fought for was sold, as our
national bard put it by “a parcel of rogues in a nation”.
vilified Menteith for betraying his own countryman, & says that Wallace
was godfather to two of Menteith’s children.
historians have tried to vindicate Menteith & excuse his actions, but that
just doesn’t work for me. Even in an age when loyalty was a sparse
commodity, Menteith’s role is still a singularly spectacular piece of
betrayal. That will never be forgotten.
I said at the
beginning that times of adversity & hardship often produce heroes.
crying out for another hero. But this is not Hollywood. An all-conquering
hero will not come charging out of the mist.
answer lies within all of us – in all of you. People like yourselves who
have Scotland close to your heart. You have a birthright & a lineage, &
an easily identifiable image that many countries of the world envy. Be
proud of it. Use the media – TV & newspapers to voice your opinions on
what you feel strongly about. It's no use thinking "“Someone else will do
it” – we all must do it. This image that the rest of the world has of
Scotland – that of the bagpipes & the tartan are instantly recognisable,
but it seems that our politicians are embarrassed by it. So much so, that
on a visit to America, the First Minister chose to wear, not our national
dress, but a black skirt. How embarrassed by your own country do you have
to be before you consider it less embarrassing to stand on a stage in a
black skirt, than to wear your national dress.
have been writing to TV companies & the press about their portrayal of
Wallace. He is invariably described as a rebel or a traitor or both. We
know he wasn’t a traitor because he pledged allegiance only to King John
Balliol, & never signed the ‘Ragman’s Roll’ for Longshanks. He wasn’t a
rebel because he was fighting against a foreign invader, in order to free
his country. This makes him a freedom fighter, not a rebel.
So in future
I would like to see all media articles refer to Sir William
Wallace, Guardian of Scotland & freedom fighter
Introduce the authors of the MacBraveheart website,
John & Lynn Anderson.
The Spirit of Wallace has been kept alive for the past 700
years. You have all played your part in some measure in keeping it
alive. And now David Ross, the Convenor of the Society of William
Wallace, after retracing Wallace’s journey from Robroyston to London, will
bring Wallace’s Spirit home where it belongs – on his native soil.
Rabbie Burns was a great fan of Wallace, & he wrote;
“The story of Wallace poured a Scottish prejudice into my
veins which will boil along there until the floodgates of life shut in
And it was Burns who penned the lines to the age-old
marching tune “Hey Tuttie Tatie” which was known to have been used during
medieval times. We know it now today of course as “Scots Wha Hae”, & as
is customary at these gatherings, I’d like to close the proceedings by
asking Lynn Anderson to sing it, & please, everyone join in.
“Scots Wha Hae”
leads singing of “Scots Wha Hae” while crowd joins in
I’d like to thank everyone for coming here today to
remember and reflect on the life of Sir William Wallace. Everyone is
invited to the Fort Theatre, Bishopbriggs, for tea or coffee & sandwiches.
Thank you all again.
Proceedings were opened with a welcome by the vice
The wreath was then laid by Heather Cassidy.
Speech by vice convenor.
Introduction of guest speakers, John & Lynn Anderson,
co-authors of MacBraveheart website.
Lynn spoke about the impact that the film Braveheart
still has on the public, 10 years after its first release.
Lynn Anderson leads singing of “Scots Wha Hae” while
crowd joins in.
Vice convenor thanks every one for taking part, & to the
crowd for coming, & invites all to buffet at Fort Theatre, Bishopbriggs.
Photos taken by members John Quinn & Ian Logan