William Wallace kills the Sheriff of Lanark and starts the Scottish Wars of Independence
In May 1297 William Wallace, the famous Scottish patriot, gathered a body of men at Lanark and, for reasons which are to this day obscure, killed the occupying English Sheriff of Lanark and many of his men. With this act Wallace sprang into the national conscience and started the First War of Independence.
The famous Scottish patriot William Wallace has well known links with Lanark. It was the events in Lanark during May 1297 that were to show that the Scottish people had a spirit that was not crushed after the savage attack made by Edward I and his army on Berwick in 1296 and the ensuing defeat of John Balliol, King of Scotland. As a result of this, many Scots pledged themselves to serve Edward I by signing the Ragman's roll. One family to resist from the very beginning was William Wallace's. Others joined, not only angered by Edward's attitude towards the Scots but incensed also by the high taxes imposed by Walter Cressingham, King Edward’s tax collector. Walter of Hemingborough an English monastic chronicler wrote at the time:- " In the month of May (1297) the perfidious race of Scots began to rebel."