Help save ‘The Wallace Monument and Well’.
Robroyston, you can still stand on the ground where William Wallace slept on an August night over 700 years ago. You can still walk from the monument a short distance to the well that has for centuries bore his name, and you can still look in to see the source of water from which Wallace drank. If nothing else this would be significant, as so little is truly known of the life of William Wallace, that to be so sure of his exact location at any point in time is something special.
But what really matters, what makes Robroyston so special, so important, is that that night's sleep was to be his last – his drink was to be his final – as a free man. The man who dedicated his life to fight for the freedom of his country ultimately lost his personal fight for freedom on that night on 3rd August 1305.
In death the legend of Wallace was to grow so strong that within less than a decade Bruce would climb on Wallace's shoulders to wrench freedom for Scotland on the field of Bannockburn.
"Wallace stands forth from the dim twilight of the past as one of the High Prophets of Nationality to us all, Honour him; worship his memory; teach his name and deeds to your children". Italian Patriot, Giuseppe Mazzini
Why Wallace Matters
In an outstanding introduction to the Wallace sheet, Dr Gilbert explained exactly why William Wallace still matters: "The distinguished statesman and one-time Prime Minister, A. J. Balfour stated 'Nothing matters very much; few things matter at all'. It may be a rather cynical view but nonetheless it may be an accurate assessment. Things that truly matter are indeed very rare. In all history very few things matter very much. One of the very few people to have mattered as far as Scottish history is concerned was William Wallace."Visiting bookshops these days one cannot fail to be impressed by the number of books on Wallace ... [he] has become hugely popular. In one sense it is odd that so much has been written about Wallace for what we really know about him you could write on the back of an envelope. Countless myths and legends have taken the place of solid historical facts. Why so much has been written is not that we know so much but because he fires our imagination. We have heard the many stories and we imagine the kind of exploits he was likely to have been involved in. We can picture the man. We think we know him for we have heard so much about him and what we have learned we admire."He has become a symbol of what patriotism is all about. He really did fight and die for our 'Wee bit hill and glen'. He was Guardian of Scotland - a charismatic leader who truly led by example. He was the Scottish patriot par excellence. He, like few others, put national interests above self-interest. His was a truly noble life and he died a martyr's death. He puts present politicians in the shade, for he was a man of conviction, dedication and honour. He was a hero. He still remains a man to admire. All nations need their heroes and Wallace is one of ours because he stood for values that mattered and put his nation above personal glory. Wallace still matters ..."
Why Robroyston Matters
Dr Gilbert added:
"Wallace is, however, not simply a national hero but a local one. Robroyston was the scene of his capture and betrayal. Because Wallace matters, Robroyston also matters. Places of real historical significance are thin on the ground."... at Robroyston one can stand on soil which one can rightly and proudly assume to be the very place once graced by the footsteps of one of Scotland's greatest sons and certainly her greatest champion of freedom. It is a place steeped in history."
Objectives of this site
1. Precisely because Robroyston matters – for the reasons set out above by Dr Gilbert – it is time to try to raise the profile of the Robroyston Wallace Monument. The objective of this modest website is to stimulate interest in – and hopefully – generate investment towards positive, sustainable work to protect and enhance this cherished asset of national significance. Also, Wallace's Well needs to be protected.
2. Dr Gilbert also detailed a list of threats and opportunities facing the monument. Unfortunately over the ten-year period since the local historian wrote his prophetic words of warning, both the scale and speed of housing development at Robroyston has exceeded even his fears ... and it is not going to stop any time soon. This website will highlight the scale of the developments taken place – and ongoing – to make sure that the public understands exactly what is happening – and could happen – on the north-eastern edge of this fine city.
3. To highlight the issue of the return to Scotland of Wallace's Safe Conduct letter, see below, that he was carrying on the night he was captured. The Safe Conduct letter was supposed to guarantee Wallace safe passage to visit the Pope; it is currently held at the National Archives in Surrey. The letter was written by King Philip IV of France and has been held in England since Wallace was hanged, drawn and quartered on 23 August 1305.
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