William Wallace was a Scottish knight who lived from 1272-1305. Wallace is known for leading a resistance against England during the Wars of Scottish Independence, which were waged during the late 13th and early 14th centuries. During his lifetime, William Wallace was appointed the Guardian of Scotland. He led an infantry of soldiers who engaged the enemy in hand to hand combat. The prize possession of many of these soldiers was their sword. In order to survive on the battlefield one had to be a talented swordsman. In 1305, William Wallace was captured by King Edward I of England and was executed for treason. Today William Wallace is remembered in Scotland as a patriot and national hero. His sword is one of the most famous in the world.
The William Wallace sword is located at the National Monument in Stirling, Scotland. The shaft of the sword measures 4 feet by 4 inches in length (132cm) and it weighs 6.0 lb (2.7 kg). The sword is said to be the weapon that Wallace used at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and the Battle of Falkirk (1298). The pommel on the sword consists of an onion-shaped piece of gilded iron and the grip is wrapped with dark brown leather. The hilt or handle that is currently on the Wallace sword is not the original. It is believed that the sword has been modified on separate occasions.
After the execution of William Wallace, Sir John de Menteith, governor of Dumbarton Castle, received his sword. In 1505, King James IV of Scotland paid the sum of 26 shillings to have the sword binned with cords of silk. It is said that the sword underwent many changes, which might have been necessary because Wallace’s original scabbard, hilt and belt were said to have been made from the dried skin of Hugh Cressingham, who was an English commander.