William Wallace Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Abby Federico

Abby has taught elementary special education and has her master's degree in this area.

In this lesson you will learn about William Wallace, a Scottish rebel who fought against the English. After the lesson you will know more about Wallace's background, the Scottish rebellion, Wallace's rise to knighthood, and finally his capture and death.

The Beginning

What would you do if another country attacked and took control over your country? Would you want to fight back and take your country back? This is exactly what William Wallace did!

William Wallace was born in 1270 in Scotland. Wallace helped lead his country against the English when they took over his country. He became a hero to many and eventually became a martyr. A martyr is someone who is killed because of their beliefs.

Scottish Rebellion Begins

In 1296 the Scottish King John de Balliol was considered a weak king. The King of England, Edward I, forced King John to give up his throne and took over as the ruler of Scotland. The Scottish people were not happy with this, and began rebelling. In May of 1297 William Wallace and about 30 other men attacked and burned the town of Lanark, killing a sheriff who was English. Wallace then gathered an army to attack other towns under English control. The Scottish rebellion, or resistance to England and its rule over Scotland, had started.

The Rebellion Continues

The English began an attack on Wallace and his men on September 11, 1297. The English had many more soldiers, but Wallace and his men had a better position. The English had to cross a bridge in order to reach Wallace, which meant only a few soldiers could cross at a time. This allowed Wallace and his men to have a huge victory. Wallace continued on to gain control of Stirling Castle, leaving only a few English forces left in Scotland.

In October of 1297, Wallace decided to invade England. He traveled through some of England's northern counties, destroying things along the way. Wallace was known for his brutality (great violence) in battle, and this caused the English to become even more upset with him.

Statue of William Wallace
William Wallace

Sir William Wallace

In December of 1297, Wallace was knighted. This meant that he was given the title of knight (and called 'Sir'), which was only given to people as a special recognition of service. He was also asked to be Scotland's guardian, which meant that he was now the ruler. However, the English King Edward was not through with Scotland yet. He invaded again, and on July 22, 1297, Wallace's troops were defeated.

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