February 2024
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Hall of Scottish Heroes – Wallace National Monument

The National Wallace Memorial Tower

The National Wallace Memorial Tower

Wow….Mairiuna…it was worth the wait ! 🙂 That sword is indeed very impressive…I would not have liked to be pierced through by it…yikes!

Not less impressive is Wallace Monument. You can see it from far afield, standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, when you visit the region. Designed by John T Rochhead it took 8 years to complete it. The foundation stone was laid in 1861, on Bannockburn Day, but the opening only took place in 1869, on the 11 september, the anniversary date of the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

The victorian gothic style highly ornate tower is 220 feet high. Notice, when approaching it, the “crown steeple” and the statue of knight with its sword raised.

A stunning monument and a mythic place too !!! It is said that this is where Wallace, together with Sir Andrew Moray, rallied his band of fighters on September 11, 1297, fought and defeated the army of King Edward I of England in the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Those who have stamina enough can climb the 242 steps which lead to a platform, named The

The National Wallace Monument

The National Wallace Monument

Crown. From there, they will get breathtaking views of the underlying city of Stirling and of seven very very important battlefields : Cambuskenneth (9th century), where Kenneth MacAlpin “made” Scotland; Wallace’s Stirling Bridge and Falkirk; Bannockburn, Sauchieburn, Sheriffmuir, and Falkirk (1746).

The weather was very wintry the day when we visited the monument and Jean-Claude was the only one to climb up to the top where he took many photos. Both of us gladly managed to ascend, through the narrow spiral staircase of the Memorial Tower, the 135 steps which lead up to the Scottish Hall of Heroes, on the second level.

Hall of Scottish Heroes

Hall of Scottish Heroes

I spent a lot of time in this room filled with fine marble busts sculptures of Scottish well known heroes and really enjoyed reading about the donors and unveilers. For our records, I will list them underneath:

* Sir David Brewster (1781 – 1868), scientist and inventor.

* Robert the Bruce (1274 – 1329), King of Scotland and national hero.

* George Buchanan (1506 – 1582), historian and scholar.

* Robert Burns (1759 – 1796), poet.

* Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881), writer and sage.

* Thomas Chalmers(1780 – 1847), preacher and writer.

Stained Glass - Sir William Wallace

Stained Glass - Sir William Wallace

* William Ewart Gladstone (1809 – 1898), politician and UK prime minister.

* John Knox (1505 – 1572), religious reformer.

* David Livingstone (1813 – 1873), missionary and explorer.

* Hugh Miller (1802 – 1856), writer and geologist.

* William Murdock (1754-1839), pioneer of gas lighting.

* Allan Ramsay (1685 – 1758), poet and man of letters.

* Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832), writer, poet and nationalist.

* Adam Smith (1723 – 1790), economist and philosopher.

* Robert Tannahill (1774 – 1810), songwriter.

* James Watt (1736-1819), inventor and developer of the steam engine.

These sculptures are the work of D.W. Stevenson, R.S.A. Was he related with Robert Louis Stevenson?

A series of 11 beautiful stained-glass windows are to be found in the different levels of the Monument. In the Hall of  Heroes, I stayed a long moment in front of the one representing Wallace leaning on his sword. He is wearing a helmet ornated with a dragon, or is it a basilisk ?

We stayed a long time in Wallace Monument. Maybe the weather will be better next time and we’ll feel like climbing up to the top. In the meantime, let’s ask JC to show us some of the photos he took from up there…

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