The Price of Freedom
An image available in two versions, a reworking of the execution and freedom’s sword drawings. The Wallace sword stands alone and forgotten on the field of the Battle of Stirling Bridge whilst the spirit of Wallace, bound and shackled, looks on. Scotland paid a heavy price indeed to retain its liberty during the Scottish Wars of Independence.
Edward I and successive English kings mounted continuous invasions against our small country, travelling north with overwhelming forces to crush all notions of Scottish independence. The Scots were forced to revert to guerrilla tactics to wear down the invader, having quickly realised the futility of facing the vastly superior English armies in open battle.
But, occasionally, the tiny flickering spark of resistance would erupt into open rebellion and dramatic results were achieved against overwhelming odds. Andrew de Moray, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, with the assistance of many brave individuals, won incredible victories at Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn. Many leading figures of this resistance were brutally executed. Sir William Wallace was the first man recorded to have his severed head displayed publicly on London Bridge. Soon, the head of his brother, John Wallace, would accompany him. Sir Simon Fraser and his brother, also called John, followed soon after. Robert Bruce’s brothers, Niall, Thomas and Alexander suffered the same horrific death. Bruce’s other brother, Edward, died in battle alongside Sir John de Soullis. Andrew de Moray also died in battle and Sir James, the Black Douglas, was killed skirmishing whilst trying to deliver his beloved king’s heart to the Holy Land, a journey denied Robert Bruce in life as he was forced to spend his active years defending his country’s liberty. Then there are the countless, nameless thousands who died on the battlefields and the innocent civilians, casualties of starvation, exposure, neglect and massacre.
In the image on the right, the text “Freedom is best, I tell thee true, of all things to be won. Then never live within the bonds, of slavery, my son.” is the maxim by which William Wallace lived his life, taught him as a young lad by his uncle, the parson of Dunipace. Many have died down the years so that we could have the privilege of calling ourselves Scotsmen and women.