The Wallace Monument, Stirling
Stirling Travel Blog› entry 35 of 38 › view all entries
The National Wallace Monument (generally known as the Wallace Monument) is a tower standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, a hilltop near Stirling in Scotland. It commemorates William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero.
The tower was constructed following a fundraising campaign which accompanied a resurgence of Scottish national identity in the 19th century. In addition to public subscription, it was partially funded by contributions from a number of foreign donors, including Italian national leader Giuseppe Garibaldi. Completed in 1869 to the designs of architect John Thomas Rochead, the monument is a 220 foot sandstone tower, built in the Victorian Gothic style. It stands on the Abbey Craig, a volcanic crag above Cambuskenneth Abbey, from which Wallace was said to have watched the gathering of the army of English king Edward I, just before the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
The monument is open to the general public. Visitors climb the 246 step spiral staircase to the viewing gallery inside the monument's crown, which provides expansive views of the Ochil Hills and the Forth Valley.
A number of artifacts believed to belong to Wallace are on display inside the monument, including the Wallace Sword, a 5 foot 4 inch-long claymore.
Quite regularly cyclists attempt to cycle up the pathway from the car park to the monument - some say, given the grade and surface, that this is an act of lunacy - the moniker for this particular climb is 'le pimple', a somewhat tongue in cheek reference!
Braveheart: Cultural significance
Statue portraying Wallace in the film Braveheart , at the foot of the Wallace monumentIn 1997, a statue of “William Wallace” was placed in the car park of the Wallace Monument. The statue however appeared not to resemble the historic face of Wallace; rather it seemed to be modelled after Mel Gibson's appearance as Wallace in the film Braveheart. Wallace’s shield even reads the word ‘Braveheart’ as can be seen on the image on the left.
William Temby claimed that Scottish people found this disturbing and that groups have agitiated for the removal of the statue due to its obvious lack of authenticity. Officials denied this request, and the statue has been subject to regular vandalism. As a result it was, incongruously for a sculpture that bears the word "freedom", enclosed in a security fence. According to the Rampant Scotland Newsletter, as of September 2004, with the lease for the space it occupies due to expire, the statue was for sale at an asking price of £350,000 with no takers. This discontent may be responsible for noticeable damage inflicted upon the statue's nose.