August 23, 1305
Smithfield, London, Middlesex, England
William Wallace is executed for treason and wartime atrocities against non-combatants “sparing neither age nor sex, monk nor nun”

Wallace was a Scottish knight and one of the instrumental leaders in the Wars of Scottish Independence and managed to avoid capture by the English until he was given over to English soldiers by a Scottish knight loyal to King Edward I. At his trial, Wallace was given an oak crown to wear, a mockery claiming him to be the king of outlaws.

Found guilty of war crimes and treason, Wallace was stripped naked and dragged approximately 6 miles. He was then hanged and drawn (a noose was tied around his neck and a rope around his ankles which in turn was tied to a horse. The horse then would pull, choking and stretching Wallace to near-death). Wallace was emasculated and eviscerated, his bowels burned in front of him, and his heart carved from his chest while it was still beating. His head was severed and covered in pitch to preserve it, was impaled on a pike, and set as a display. Wallace was also quartered with each limb sent to a different city as a grim reminder of the fate of those who betrayed the throne.

Other crime stories from today:
1931: Unusual Suicide Device (graphic)(2017)
1944: Airplane crash kills 61 including children (2017)
1912: 4-year-old disappears, “found” in another state (2018)

Horror-related birthdays and release dates:

Today in Horror History: August 23

4 thoughts on “Execution of William Wallace

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