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Action at Lanark

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Title: Action at Lanark  
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Action at Lanark

Action at Lanark
Part of the First War of Scottish Independence
Date May 1297
Location Lanark
Result Scottish victory
Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom of England
Commanders and leaders
William Wallace William Heselrig †
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
unknown but limited unknown

The Action at Lanark was an assassination attack at Lanark, Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence in May 1297. It was led by Scottish leader William Wallace who led an uprising against the English and killed Sheriff William Heselrig. At the time following the attack, it was not an isolated incident, but Wallace was joining in with risings taking place across Scotland.[1]

Not much is definitely known about this incident. The best account comes from the Scalacronica by Thomas Grey, whose father, also called Thomas Grey, was present. A fracas broke out at a court being held by Heselrig, which Wallace escaped from. He then came back with some supporters and attacked Heselrig and his men, killed Heselrig, nearly killed Thomas Grey senior, and set fire to some houses. Wallace then continued with his rebellion, which culminated in his victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge four months later.

It is unclear what Wallace's background was prior to this incident at Lanark, what he was doing at Heselrig's court, and whether this was a spontaneous incident or if it was co-ordinated with other risings in Scotland. [2]

According to the poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace, written by Blind Harry, Wallace was seeking revenge for the killing by Heselrig of his wife, Marion Braidfute of Lamington.[3] However, there is little evidence for her existence. Harry also claims that Wallace then dismembered Heselrig's body

Fictionalised versions of this incident have appeared in various accounts of the Wallace's life, notably in the 1995 film Braveheart, where his wife was called Murron MacClannough.


  1. ^ John Prebble The Lion in the North
  2. ^ Peter Traquair Freedom's Sword
  3. ^ Summary of Blind Harry's account

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