The year is 1305. Crowds are gathered in the Smithfield area of London. They are expecting a show !!
Earlier in the day, a man was taken from his prison cell, where he had been for the previous few weeks, since he had been captured in Robroyston, near Glasgow, into Westminster Hall for a trial.
The verdict was already known when he arrived, the King had already decreed his guilt.
The gathered crowd also knew what the punishment would be, the traditional one for treason. Hung, drawn and quartered.
The man in question had been an enemy of the English for many years, King Edward had been keen to get his hands on him for a long time and was now going to make an example of him.
When accused of treason and atrocities against the English, he answered loudly;
“I cannot be a traitor, for I owe him no allegiance. He is not my Sovereign; he never received my homage; and whilst life is in this persecuted body, he shall never receive it. To the other points whereof I am accused, I freely confess them all. As Governor of my country I have been an enemy to its enemies; I have slain the English; I have mortally opposed the English King; I have stormed and taken the towns and castles which he unjustly claimed as his own. If I or my soldiers have plundered or done injury to the houses or ministers of religion, I repent me of my sin; but it is not of Edward of England I shall ask pardon.”
Still he was found guilty by the kangaroo court and removed to the Tower of London to be prepared for his punishment.
Once there, he was stripped naked and tied to the legs of a horse. The horse then dragged him through the streets of the city towards Smithfield. The roads of the day would be quite rough and cobblestones, so he was sure to have been bloodied by the time he reached the crowds.
He was taken onto the raised scaffold, already erected for this purpose. A noose placed about his neck, he was pulled up from the scaffold and slowly strangled. The cheers of the crowd rang out as his punishment for alleged offences began.
He would not be allowed to die from the strangulation, even he would know that. His body would be starved of air to the point of passing out, but he would not be given the chance to be unconcious for the next part of his treatment.
His body brought back down onto the scaffold, he would then be tied to a bench and forced to watch his body being cut open.
A fire would be burning brightly on the platform. He would be made to watch his bowels being cut from his body and burned on the fire.
His manhood was cut off and thrown into the flames also.
The blood loss and shock had not fully extinguished his life by now, and his eyes were seen to blink before the axe was brought to his neck, beheading him.
His head was taken to London Bridge where it was placed on a spike. His body was hacked into four pieces to be displayed in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Perth, to warn other potential rebels of the fate that would await them.
The warning did not work, Wallace’s memory has become legendary over the years. A figurehead for the Scots wanting to break free form the yoke of English tyranny.
Longshanks could not have imagined what a martyr to the cause he was making that day at Smithfield !!