Betrayal & Capture
Although Robert the Bruce had officially surrendered, he was biding his time and waiting for the death of the elderly Edward before launching a new rebellion. Meanwhile, the net was closing in on Wallace who bravely remained in Scotland and evaded the enemy for as long as he could. He was an outlaw which meant that anyone who discovered him was allowed to kill him on the spot.
In 1305, Wallace apparently sent one of his men on a journey to deliver a letter to Bruce. It urged Bruce to return and assume leadership of the country and assured him that the nobility and clergy would not stand in his way. Bruce was pleased to receive the letter and told Wallace to meet him near Glasgow at the end of June. Unbeknownst to Wallace, a Scot named Sir John Menteith betrayed him and received the sheriffdom of Dumbarton as a reward.
One story suggests that a servant named Jack Short betrayed Wallace and collected the reward. Edward apparently offered 40 merks (Â£30) to any servant who spied him out and 60 merks (Â£45) to those who were there when Wallace was captured; this money was to be shared amongst them. The reasons for Menteith’s treachery are unknown although he may have been angered by the death of his uncle at the Battle of Falkirk and held Wallace responsible.
Whatever the reason, Wallace was captured at Robroyston near Glasgow on August 3, 1305. He was handed over to Sir Robert de Clifford and Sir Aymer de Valence and taken to Carlisle Castle. Rather than executing him immediately, Edward wanted to transport the prisoner to London to show other would-be rebels what happened to those who defied the crown. He was forced to travel another 300 miles to London where a terrible fate awaited him.
Execution Part I
There was a show trial in London, but in reality, there was zero chance that Wallace would escape with his life. While his death scene in Braveheart is excruciatingly painful, it was a mild demise compared to what really happened. After the inevitable guilty verdict on August 23, 1305, he was sentenced to die in one of the worst ways imaginable. Wallace was about to be hung, drawn, and quartered.
The English apparently took him from Westminster Hall and stripped him naked. Then they tied him to a hurdle and horses dragged him around six miles to Smoothfield where the pain began. During the journey, bystanders threw excrement and other assorted pieces of garbage at the unfortunate Scot, and he was also beaten with sticks and whipped by the angry mob.
In Braveheart, Wallace endures the painful trip to the gallows but he is clothed, and while the crowd throws items at him, he is not struck by excrement. He received the âdrawn’ punishment for committing treason, but there was much worse to come.