Action at Lanark

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The Action at Lanark was an attack at Lanark, Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence in May 1297. The Scottish William Wallace led an uprising against the English and killed Sheriff William Heselrig. The attack was not an isolated incident, but rather saw Wallace joining in with risings taking place across Scotland.

Not much is definitely known about this incident. The best account comes from the Scalacronica by Thomas Grey, whose father, also called Thomas Grey, was present. A fracas broke out at a court being held by Heselrig, but Wallace was able to escape with help from a girl who may have been his wife. He then came back with some supporters and attacked Heselrig and his men, killed Heselrig, nearly killed Thomas Grey senior, and set fire to some houses. Wallace then continued with his rebellion, which culminated in his victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge four months later.

It is unclear what Wallace was doing at Heselrig's court, and whether this was a spontaneous incident or if it was co-ordinated with other risings in Scotland. Wallace had the assistance of Sir William Douglas who helped with a raid on Scone in June 1297, the intention of which was to kill William Ormsby, another of Edward's governors.

According to the poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace, written by Blind Harry, Wallace was seeking revenge for the killing by Heselrig of his wife, Marion Braidfute of Lamington. However, there is little evidence for her existence. Harry also claims that Wallace then dismembered Heselrig's body.

 

Sources


Sources for this article include:
•  The William Wallace Society

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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018