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BRAVEHEART: SOME FACTS
First, I would like to state that I enjoyed Braveheart as a
nice piece of fiction. For anyone interested here is a
timeline of the actual events and an attempt to clarify a
few of the movie's (many) inaccuracies.
March 1286 Alexander III, King of Scotland falls off his
horse and off a cliff in West Fife to his death.
His three children all died between 1281 and 1283 so he was
only survived by his granddaughter Margaret, the Maid of
Norway (daughter of the King of Norway). A betrothal
between Edward I's son (Edward II) and the Maid was agreed,
but she died in 1290 before any of this could come to pass.
Edward I (r. 1272-1307) was asked to hear the claims of the
Scottish lords and to arbitrate the decision. This was from
1291-1292 and is known as the hearing of the Great Cause.
The two main claimants were John Balliol and Robert Bruce VI
(the Competitor). Both Bruce and Balliol were
descended from David, Earl of Huntingdon. Bruce was
nearer in degree, but Balliol's line was senior. Edward I
chose John Balliol on the basis of Feudal Law. The
Competitor died in 1295. Balliol ruled until 1296 at which
time he was deposed by Edward after he made a
Franco-Scottish alliance. Berwick was sacked brutally and
the Scottish feudal host was routed by the Earl Warenne at
Dunbar. The royal arms were stripped from Balliol's surcoat
in a humiliating ceremony and a system of direct English
rule under Earl Warenne was set up. The Stone of Destiny
was removed from Scone and taken to Westminster Abbey at
The Scots revolted in 1297 lead by Robert Bruce (grandson of
the Competitor) up until then the Bruces had been
consistently loyal to Edward I. He and his allies were
September 1297 William Wallace defeated Earl Warenne at
1298 English triumph at Falkirk
1304 Siege of Stirling Castle by Edward I
1305 Capture of William Wallace. August 23, William
Wallace was sentenced to be hanged, disembowelled, executed,
to have his innards burned and his body quartered, the
various punishments reflecting his various crimes of
robbery, homicide, treason and sacrilege.
1306 Rebellion and Enthronement of Robert Bruce in
1307 Death of Edward I
1308 Marriage of Edward II to Isabella of France (who was
1312 Edward III is born. Isabella actually had 4 children
(3 boys and 1 girl) The daughter Jeanne married David II,
King of Scotland (r. 1329-1371) the Son of Robert the Bruce,
Robert I, King of Scotland (r. 1306 - 1329).
1312 Actual death of Piers Gaveston. Who was not thrown
out the window by Edward I. The Earl of Warwick captured
him. He was tried and convicted on questionable grounds.
Amid scenes of mob enthusiasm, shouts of joy and blowing of
horns, he was executed.
1314 Battle of Bannockburn
J. Barbour, The Bruce ed. W.M. Mackenzie (London, 1909) is
the fullest account from the Scottish side. For a modern
account G.W.S. Barrow, Robert Bruce (London, 1965); R.
Nicholson, Scotland: the Later Middle Ages (Edinburgh, 1974)
and finally Michael Prestwich, The Three Edward: War and
State in England 1272-1377, (London, 1980).
To any who actually got this far thanks for reading.
Lady Thalia Paleogina