The National Wallace Monument

(Wallace Monument)

Wallace Monument
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Wallace Monument

Standing on top of the wooded Abbey Craig, a volcanic 'crag-and-tail' feature to the northeast of Stirling, the National Wallace Monument (often referred to simply as the Wallace Monument) is a prominent feature of the landscape of Stirling Council Area. The tower was erected between 1861 and 1869 in honour of Scotland's national hero Sir William Wallace (d.1305) at a total cost of £15,000, raised through public subscription. The success of the fundraising campaign was based on a resurgence in interest in Scotland and Scottish national identity based on the work of author Sir Walter Scott and the enthusiasm of Queen Victoria.

Built of freestone quarried on and around the Craig and rising to 67m (220 feet), the monument was designed in the Scottish Baronial style by John T. Rochead of Glasgow (1814-78). However a controversy over the architectural competition which Rochhead had won and the bankruptcy of the contractor meant he never received his fee. Eleven fine stained-glass windows were installed in 1885, the work of James Ballantine & Son. Four of these are in the `Hall of Heroes¿, on the second floor, a room which commemorates notable Scots such as Robert the Bruce (1274 - 1329), Robert Burns (1759-96), Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) and Adam Smith (1723-90).

Visitors climbing the 246 steps to the top gain a panoramic view across the Forth Valley; from Ben Lomond and The Trossachs to the west, the Ochil Hills to north and the Pentland Hills to the east. The monument includes an exhibition which explains the remarkable story of Wallace, who took his campaign for Scottish independence on to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. On show is the gigantic two-handed sword with which Wallace 'made great room about him.'

The Wallace Monument receives a large number of visitors, especially following the 1995 epic film Braveheart, starring Mel Gibson. A new visitor reception area and café was been constructed in the former car park and opened in 2009. The care and management of the attraction is vested in Stirling District Tourism Ltd., a charitable company established by the Monument's owners Stirling Council.

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