William Wallace Medieval Festival
Scotland's Festival of History
Next edition dates to be announced (the event was last held in 2016)
Delves Park, Lanark (Lanarkshire council)
a time travel back to May 1297 AD, to the days when William Wallace lived in Lanark. A large living history encampment featuring reenactors and specialists experts of the era to see how the Scottish hero and his countrymen lived in those days of glory...
Geographical, cultural and historical context
Lanark, a small historic market town with a strong agricultural tradition, is strategically located, overlooking the beautiful lower Clyde Valley, about 40 km from Glasgow, and is one of the oldest royal burghs in Scotland. The Romans first recognised the site’s significance building a fort on what is now Castle Hill, just south west of today’s town centre. Lanark was the location of the first meeting of the Scots Parliament in 978 AD, and has served as an important market town being granted its royal charter by King David I of Scotland (1083/5-1153 AD), who made it a Royal Burgh in 1140 giving it certain mercantile privileges relating to government and taxation.
Lanark is noted today for its rich farmland, the splendid waterfalls, and the Lanark Market, one of Scotland's largest farming markets. St Nicholas Parish Church has what is believed to be one of the oldest church bells in the world, while St Kentigern’s Church is one of the few remaining Scottish buildings of the 13th Century. The construction in the 18th century of the largest cotton mills ever built in Scotland prompted the establishment of the village of New Lanark, that got soon famed as the location of a revolutionary socio-economic experiment. Today this perfectly preserved industrial village, located about 2 km south of the old town, close to the Falls of Clyde Wildlife reserve, provides a unique insight into the development of early capitalism, and is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site.
But the very fame of Lanark lies upon being the hometown of William Wallace (c. 1270-1305 AD), a Scottish knight and patriot who lived and got married in Lanark prior to becoming one of the key leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence, a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Lanark is one of the very few towns in Scotland with direct links to William Wallace and physical ruins to visit: St Kentigern’s church, where Wallace is supposed to have secretely got married to Marion Braidfute, and Lanark Castle, then just a wooden structure, that Wallace took with his men in 1297 killing the English sheriff, Sir William Heselrig, and the whole garrison to revenge the death of his wife Marion, thus starting the First War of Independence. There is a plaque identifying the site of the house where William Wallace lived: “Here stood the house of William Wallace who in Lanark in 1297 first drew sword to free his native land.”
Event description and programme
The yearly event allows visitors to step back in time to May 1297 in Lanark and first-hand discover how William Wallace and his countrymen lived. A large living history encampment will provide the quite unique opportunity for the visitors to speak to historical specialists, and interact with knights, their ladies and retainers to learn more about the daily life in those turbulent medieval days. The visitors can watch the knights being dressed and armed for battle and then take part in combat demos in the arena. For children there is also an opportunity to take part in a free costume making workshop, where they can make their own outfits for knights and ladies. Elsewhere in the park the guests can visit the falconer’s mews and see their birds, which, weather permitting, will also give flying displays during both days. Since archery played an important part in medieval warfare, there is also a chance for the public to try their hand at this ancient pursuit, under expert guidance. The programme includes also artistic performances and shows, as well as medieval music and dance workshops where to learn some of the dance steps from that era. The colourful street market offers crafts, food and a variety of handmade goods.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
Scotland's Festival of History
Address: c/o Galbraith & Pritchards, 25 Bloomgate, Lanark, Scotland ML11 9ET, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 7963128365
Image: William Wallace is depicted with his wife, Marion Braidfute, above the ruins of St Kentigern’s chapel, art print by Andrew Hillhouse.
Text: Scotland Festival of History, Encyclopaedia Alba, Visit Scotland, Visit Lanarkshire, Wikipedia, South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture, Scottish Accommodation IndexThe Royal Burgh of Lanark Museum
Lanark on Google Maps:
Promos and video reportages of the event: