Have you ever looked at a coin and asked yourself who has held this? Have you ever asked yourself if maybe one of your ancestors held this coin? Well I decided to dive into my past a little and collect some coins from the era of one of my more famous predecessors, John Wallace. Now you've probably never heard of John Wallace. But I'm sure you've heard of his much more famous older brother, Sir William Wallace. Not much is known about these two characters of history beyond a few battles and their deaths. But I am sure that for every step that William took, his brother John was close beside him. The Wallace's foray through history begins with the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The bridge itself was a narrow, wooden thing only wide enough to fit two horsemen abreast. The English numbered around 9,000 men under the command of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and Sir Hugh de Cressingham who was the Kings treasurer in Scotland at the time. The Scots numbered less than 6,000 men led by Sir William Wallace and Andrew Moray. And somewhere in the midst was John Wallace. The Scots knew they couldn't beat the English in a head on conflict. So they waited as the English army crossed the bridge. When a large part of the army was across the river they attacked. Without the full force of the army the English were crushed. At some point the bridge collapsed. Some say the retreating English were too heavy causing the bridge to break. A folk tale said William had an engineer put a flaw in the bridge to collapse. But in reality it most likely was the British purposely destroyed the bridge to cover their retreat. The victory was much needed by the Scottish. The English lost 100 cavalry and 5,000 infantry and Hugh de Cressingham was killed in the battle. It was said that William took a broad strip of skin from his body to make a baldrick for his sword. A year later the English began another invasion of Scotland led by King Edward I himself. William Wallace was called upon again to help fight the new menace. Once again the Scots were heavily outnumbered. The English were fielding 15,000 men to the Scots 6,000. The Scots relied primarily on spearmen while the English had Welsh longbowmen and more cavalry. The English archers would punch holes through the spearmen lines, where the cavalry would charge in making the most of the holes. The battle ended in a Scottish lose and the discreditation of William as a general. After the battle William stepped down as the Guardian of Scotland, a post he had held for less than two years. Not much is known about Williams life for the next few years. It looks like he was an ambassador to other Kings and rulers in Europe trying to get support for Scotland. In 1305 William was betrayed to the English by a Scottish knight loyal to Edward. He was given a mock trail and executed in London (it's very graphic so I won't go into details). His head was dipped in tar and placed on the London Bridge. John Wallace was captured two years later and was executed in the same manner as William. And eventually his head joined his brothers on the London Bridge. As you go back my family's line the majority of the men in my family have been named either William or John. With one George Washington Wallace thrown in there for good measure. I've known about my heritage for a while but it was fun to do more research into the people. And now to keep this coin related here are three of my newest pickups. English pennies from the time period of John Wallace. Did he or his brother use these coins? Perhaps. But it has the face of their enemy, the King of England so perhaps not. But if you're an army scrapping for any coin, you might just take what you can get. Edward I Silver Penny, 1272-1307, London Mint Edward I Silver Penny, 1272-1307, York Mint Edward I Silver Penny, 1272-1307,Canterbury Mint Thank for reading and feel free to share any coins from the same era.