Final update: 14th August 2015
The Safe Conduct Letter has been returned on loan to Scotland. David's role as Convenor of the Society of William Wallace was taken on by Duncan Fenton, until his untimely death in 2014. Since then the mantle has been passed to Gary Stewart, who (with Duncan and others) was instrumental in the process of having the Safe Conduct Letter returned. A number of technical problems meant this site was off-line for a period, but this has now been fully resolved, and the site is now under the care of the Society of William Wallace in perpetuity.
Last update: 22nd August 2010
Links to the Society of William Wallace's pages on David R Ross added. Orders page updated. Guestbook, petition and contact pages removed. The Petition to the Scottish Parliament regarding the application to have the Wallace Safe Conduct Letter examined by a panel of experts will be submitted tomorrow (23rd August 2010). Thanks to anyone who signed. No further updates are planned, and the site will remain as a tribute to Big Davie's efforts on behalf of Sir William Wallace and his eternal memory. The site was privileged to be recorded in the Web Archives at this point in December 2006.
Last update: 15th January 2010
The funeral of David R Ross was held on 11th January 2010 in Blantyre. A full report of the funeral proceedings can be found at the Crann Tara Website.
Last update: 3rd January 2010
It is with the deepest regret that we report the untimely death of David R Ross on 2nd January 2010 at the age of 51. An inspiration to every Scot.
Last update: 9th November 2006
A number of new photographs have been added to the site.
The town of Lanark is holding a "Living History Festival" on 19-20th August 2006. Please visit their site at Lanark Medieval Festival for further details.
An update on the fate of the Wallace Yew has been added - click on "The Yew" in the menu to read this.
Politician gets involved!
BBC Report - Call for Return of Wallace letter
The safe conduct
At the beginning of this week a public campaign was launched to have the Wallace safe conduct returned to Scotland. This artefact was a personal possession of Wallace's - the only genuine one in existence. The Lubeck letter was probably written by scribes, and though it has Wallace's seal on it, it may have been done by someone else, or it was only in his hands for a few seconds. Anyway, he sent it to Lubeck, near Hamburg, so it is rightfully theirs. The Wallace Sword is probably partly original, although we know James IV put a new pommel on it, but there is argument about its authenticity. And that will run and run.
The safe conduct letter from the King of France was, however, in Wallace's possession when he was captured in August 1305, and was written in 1301-02, and so it is a personal possession. Something we can look upon, and know that he held it many, many times. And it was in his sporran or pouch when they took him at Robroyston. Unfortunately, you can't see it, as it is hidden away in a drawer at the Records Office at Kew. Asked why historians and academics haven't made a fuss about this before, an eminent historian stated "...the academics dont give a toss, as if they want to see it, they can go to Kew, put on the white gloves, and pore over it before it goes back in the drawer, and then they come home. If you want it to come back, do something about it".
So we are. You can help too. Write to your MP, your MSP (don't forget the regional ones), the newspapers, and the National Museum of Scotland. Here are a few useful addresses:
Locate your Westminster MP by postcode
Locate your Constituency and regional MSP's
Don't forget to contact all the Regional MSP's, who also represent you. This gives you an expanded list of people you can get involved. Send a copy of at least one of your letters to the NMS (address below) to ensure that they are kept aware of the campaign.
National Museum of Scotland
EDINBURGH EH1 1JF
If all else fails, we're going to petition the Scottish Executive. The more backing we have the better, and the more likely we will succeed. This artefact belongs to Scotland, it belongs in Scotland, and we're determined to get it back. It is part of our history, not London's, and it should be on public display here in Scotland.
Just in case you're wondering, this is what it looks like:
A wee link just in - thanks Mirza! Ted Christopher sings I'm Coming Home in St Bartholomew's Church. Right Click here and choose "save target as" to download (a bit rough but you'll get some of the atmosphere).
The photographs have been rearranged, and also extensively added to. Many came in without any copyright notice, and if we've missed your name out we're sorry, please let us know and we'll rectify our error. A list of known contributors is below, and will apply to all pages where copyright is unknown. In the meantime general copyright is held by "Walk for Wallace" and pictures from the site may not be used for individual or corporate profit or gain.
Photos - 1: Westminster Hall, 23rd August 2005
Photos - 2: The six mile march through London
Photos - 3: The speeches at Smithfield
Photos - 4: The commemorative service in St Bartholomew's
Photos - 5: The procession to the Welsh Centre
Photos - 6: Evening event in the London Welsh Centre
Photos - 7: The coffin returns to the Smith Museum, Stirling
Photos - 8: The Homecoming - Lanark, September 11th 2005
Some of these pages contain a lot of graphic content and may be slow to load.
Nick & Cathy Brand
John Drysdale Johnston
Brendan & Anna McCabe
Bill & Val Pollock
Jim & Elma Singer
Some of the pictures shown have been taken from Eddie Tait's SCOTS IN LONDON HAMEPAGE for which we thank him. There are many more on his site, and we recommend you take a look.
Lajos Tam s Szalay, president of the Albannach Scottish Cultural Society in Hungary, organised a Wallace Commemoration there on 11th September 2005. The text of his article (in English) is here, and the pictures of the day are here. Again, we recommend that you take a look, and many thanks to Tam s for sending us the information.
It is unlikely that there will be many further updates to the site now, as our job is done. The site will remain, however, as a testament to the 700th anniversary commemoration. A CD containing photographs of both London and Lanark will be produced soon, but will not be for sale. It will be 'samizdat', with those receiving a copy encouraged to make copies and pass them on to others. Please do not e-mail the site requesting one, as we will not be distributing them. This is a private initiative by some of the people who have helped us out.
Press Coverage of London
Apologies for the lack of recent updates. Just got round to scanning some of the press coverage of London, and put it on the site today. Still sorting photographs of London, and I will be sorting these out into a logical progression when I get some spare time. The Homecoming at Lanark was a great success, and photographs of this will also be added.
Some more photographs, and a radio broadcast
Some more photographs have now been added in "photos - 3". The Australian Broadcasting Company had a reporter on site at Westminster, and a transcript of the report broadcast can be found here. An MP3 download (750 kb) of the actual broadcast can be obtained here - the sound of the pipes in Westminster Hall is included.
Some more photographs have now been added in "photos - 3". If you have any you would like to see included, please forward them to info @ walkforwallace.com with the details of where they were taken, and what name you would like to see them credited to. It is planned to eventually produce a CD of all the best photographs once they have all been collected. This will be distributed freely, and copies may be made to be passed around.
More London photographs, two film clips and Alex Salmond's speech
More photographs now in "photos - 2", David's speech at the plaque at St Bartholomew's following the end of the Walk here (large, 32 Mb), plus another very large (45 Mb) download in Windows Media Viewer format of Clann an Drumma playing in front of the plaque at St Bartholomew's prior to the service - here. Scroll down to "CLICK HERE for Video Clip".
The full text of Alex Salmond's speech at St Bartholomews can be found here.
"700 years on and William Wallace still has the establishment scared stiff. Note the absence of any official commemoration planned for today, the anniversary of the execution of Scotland's greatest national hero. And yet the event has been marked, not by official ceremony, but only by the activities of the many grassroots Wallace societies, which still flourish the length, and breadth of Scotland. Here I am at St Bart's in London where Wallace was judicially murdered. However, that has been arranged by the individual efforts of David Ross and others not by any official body. The contrast with the recent Trafalgar anniversary is telling. It was celebrated by official pageantry and limited public participation. For Wallace all that is taking place planned is what the people have organised for themselves. The "toom tabards" in the Scottish Executive have arranged precisely nothing. It was ever thus.
When the towering Wallace monument was built in the 19th century, every penny piece was raised by public subscription. When the film Braveheart was produced, ten years ago, most of the establishment were horrified but the film went on to triumph to popular and international acclaim - and the story of Wallace was restored to a new generation of Scots. However, the irony is that throughout history the more the authorities of the day have tried to suppress the Wallace legend the more that it has grown. The English chroniclers of the 13th century describe Wallace as a bloodthirsty "brigand" not as a national leader. He was hanged, drawn and quartered as a traitor to Edward 1 - an English monarch to whom he had never sworn allegiance. However, the more he was dismissed and defamed the more powerful became the Wallace legend. From the 15th century onwards, it bred into every young Scot with their mother's milk. The cornerstone text was the epic poem of "The Wallace"composed by the wandering minstrel, Blind Harry, around 1478.
Centuries later, our national bard Robert Burns cited Blind Harry's poem as the fountainhead of his own love affair with Scotland. Two hundred years later yet it was this very poem, which provided the basis for the Braveheart screenplay. written by the Canadian, Randall Wallace. The reasons for Wallace's continuing appeal are obvious. He was a leader who emerged from out with the magic circle of aristocracy to inspire a nation. He sought no personal gain but fought as a Guardian of Scotland for a king John Balliol, who was not fit to lace his boots. When Scotland's establishment leaders bargained and sold it was Wallace's uncompromising patriotism, which saved the nation from surrender and annihilation. It is why his memory has been revered by the common people of Scotland. He died a martyr's death, still refusing to bow the knee. And in his death, he provided the platform for the national struggle to be carried forward to victory by the hero King, Robert Bruce.
Generation after generation of Scots learned this epic story and were inspired. And when many of our children had this history deliberately withheld from them at school, and when popular oral tradition made way for television, along came a Hollywood blockbuster and brought the story back to life for young Scots. And so Wallace's historical victory has been all but complete. Next to no English youngster knows anything about the history of Wallace's great protagonist Edward 1. The deeds of that most successful and ruthless of the Plantagenet monarchs are lost in the history books. In contrast, the story of Wallace - and the release of Brave heart - was certainly a factor in spurring Scotland on to the restoration of our national Parliament. And so Wallace has triumphed in the minds of the common people and it is the Scottish people who should demand that his anniversary be properly honoured. This should be done in two ways.
Firstly, that we have a renewed effort in the current review of the national curriculum to ensure that Scottish history is offered and taught to every single schoolchild in Scotland. That this still does not happen SIX years after the restoration of our own Parliament should be a source of shame to every self respecting Scot.
Secondly, we should demand that the Saltire, the flag of Scotland, is flown from every public building in the country on every August 23rd, in memory of William Wallace. And not at half-mast as if in mourning. But high and proud in celebration of the life of the man who ensured that Scotland, the nation, lives."
London on the day
The first few photographs are now on the "photos - 1" page. Many more will follow, but after a hectic week which included the North East events, London itself, Stirling and then Elderslie there hasn't been any time to do much to the site.
What the BBC said
Dundee Evening Telegraph Wallace feature
The Walk - is completed, all but the final part
Apologies for the lack of updates recently but everyone has been very busy. David reached a point 18 miles from London on Thursday, and he and Denis then drove all the way home to attend the North East Commemorations in Aberdeen (Friday 19th) and Stonehaven (Saturday 20th). Both days were a stunning success, and David said that the Stonehaven event was the best night he's ever attended. He and Denis then jumped into the van at midnight and drove all the way back down to his last position. The 18 miles from there was completed this evening, and he's now gone for a meal with the TV crew who had filmed his last mile. He's justifiably proud of what's been achieved, and looking forward to the commemoration on Tuesday.
Photographs of the day will appear sometime next week, as there's still Stirling and Elderslie to go next week. Be patient, they will be posted when we get time.
The Walk - Progress
Yesterday, David passed a rusty old road sign that said "London 182 miles", and this was his first indication that London is finally drawing closer. The Walk is now entering its last third, and David has averaged in excess of 25 miles per day over the stretch. The cost to his feet and sylph-like figure (!) has been extensive, but he is soldiering on. Denis continues to provide a superb back-up service, and the messages of support David has been receiving daily are helping to spur him on. Thanks to everyone who has sent one, he appreciates it.
Robroyston - 6th August 2005
Duncan Fenton of the Society of William Wallace made the speech at Robroyston this year in David's absence. Full report and some photographs here.
The Walk - Progress
Despite some severe blistering, David continues to make great progress and is now beyond the half-way mark. Walking on hard roads, in the noise and fumes of heavy traffic, has taken its toll but he is heartened by his achievement so far. He went for a swim after walking 25 miles the other night, just to relax for a bit. The exercise involvd has led to him losing nearly a stone in weight, but we're assured that he still carries a slight 'kite', as it's known locally... He has been thinking on how hard it must have been for Wallace, obviously tied up and probably a rope round his neck as he was dragged toward London.
TORCHLIGHT COMMEMORATION FOR WALLACE in the capital city of Hungary:
The Albannach Scottish Cultural Society also joined the program of the Wallace anniversary. It is our common aim to present and represent Scottish tradition, national and cultural values, thus we consider it our duty to commemorate William Wallace.
Our society decided to organize a torchlight commemoration on the Heroes Square of Budapest on 11. September 2005 the same day when our Scottish friends commemoration takes place in Lanark. Thus we can build a relationship overcoming borders between the two countries. Following the solo of Gy rgy K ri only hungarian bagpiper and a short speach by the President of our society, participants will light their torches and form a W-shape for the short and silent commemoration at 7 p.m.
As the program will take place on 11 September, we would also like to commemorate the victims of the tragic terror attacks of New York and London.
The torches will flame and the bagpipe will sing for them as well.
Download the full story (Word Document, 1.3Mb) here.
The Walk - Progress
David continues to make good progress, he is averaging around 30 miles a day. It has not all been plain sailing though, he has had some abuse from locals and yesterday some "bad boys" threw bangers at him from a passing car. He came up with a novel way to wash his clothes by just standing fully clothed under the showers in a swimming pool this morning. He says his legs are sore but he is managing fine and getting a kick out of hearing how many folk are asking for him and following his progress. His driver, Denis, is spoiling him by doing all the cooking etc., and occasionally poking him with a sword if he shows signs of slacking.
Articles from the Sunday Mail, 7th August 2005, including comments from Alex Salmond.
The Walk - Progress
Latest update on the progress of the walk: interest in this remains high. Several newspapers, BBC Scotland and the Fred Macaulay Show have all expressed their interest in both the progress of the Walk and its culmination in London. David received a phone call from Sir Sean Connery just after commencing the Walk, wishing him well. Physically, he is in good shape and manages to walk off any initial stiffness first thing in a short time. The Border has been crossed, and David is now walking through England headed for London - making good time and well on schedule.
Articles from the Herald, Scotsman, London Times and BBC Scotland (with photos) added, on the day David begins his mammoth trek.
A couple of mobile phone photos of David prior to his departure from Robroyston, courtesy of Blackearnside TA - thanks!
We would request that people stop contacting the site with regard to invitations for the service in St Bartholomew's on the 23rd August. There are none now available, and asking is pointless. The answer is No.
Further information added to Lanark page regarding events in the town between Friday and Sunday 9th - 11th September 2005.
Scottish Parliament Motion from Campbell Martin MSP
S2M-3036 Campbell Martin: Sir William Wallace That the Parliament recognises the historic significance of the contribution of Sir William Wallace in fighting against the English occupation of Scotland and securing international recognition of the right of Scotland to exist as an independent nation; further recognises that Wallace s example, heroism and devotion continue to be an inspiration to those Scots who seek the restoration of Scotland s independence, and calls on the Scottish Executive to ensure that the Saltire of Scotland is flown at half mast from every public building in Scotland on 23 August 2005 in remembrance of William Wallace, who was kidnapped from Scotland and murdered in London on 23 August 1305.
Information added to Lanark page regarding events in the town between Saturday and Sunday 20-21st August 2005.
Information added to index page regarding the North East Wallace Commemoration 19-20th August 2005.
Some new press cuttings and reviews of David's latest book by the Scots Magazine and Historic Scotland's magazine. New photo in the gallery. Plus this poem by Alan Reid:
Seven Hundred Years
And how did you go to your death?
Did you hold the martyr's defiance that our fathers proudly told,
Or did you scream for mercy at the butcher's cut:
a mortal man on the edge of the abyss?
Where were your thoughts that final day?
Did you drift homewards,
Clinging to the last images of the land you held so dear,
Or did you mind your days of learning and struggle above the noise
To place your soul in the hands of a higher judgement?
And how did the eyes of London see your passing?
Did they hate you as a traitor and a killer of priests and bairns,
Revelling in the justice of your spilling blood?
Surely there were those clutching their own breasts
As the beating heart was torn from your frame,
Dwelling on the thinnest thread that held their earthly life.
Perhaps it was still hatred you clung to,
A rage to dull the pain until the merciful axe fell.
To have met them to their beards -
had that not been enough for one man and one life time,
Cressingham's bloated corpse consolation for your own?
Or was it Falkirk's Field and failure that haunted your dying thoughts,
In a despair that cried 'All for nought' - the fight is lost!
So courage does not prevail over steel and gold, fear and greed.
Were doubt and terror your only companions at Smithfield?
Can we honour such a man in stone and words alone -
In poetry and film?
A man of deeds and courage lives on in deeds and courage.
Or not at all.
To live meekly by the rule of another shames us all
And shames us still.