South Scotland

William Wallace statue in the Borders reaches 200th year

Wallace statue Image copyright Stuart McFarlane

A sandstone sculpture of William Wallace in the Borders has reached the 200th anniversary of its unveiling.

The 31ft (9.4m) work was first unveiled by the man who commissioned it - David Stuart Erskine, the 11th Earl of Buchan - near Bemersyde on 22 September 1814.

It was first sculpted by stonemason and craftsman John Smith of Darnick.

It stood largely forgotten until the Saltire Society raised £20,000 to have the statue returned to its former glory in 1991.

The repair work was carried out by Edinburgh sculptress Graciela Ainsworth who has been delighted to see the statue return to the forefront of Borders tourism.

She said the remote location and high winds had made the repairs operation a tricky one.

'Immense vanity'

"He had really stood up incredibly well," she recalled.

"It is understandable that the sword had weathered.

"If we were being lifted on the scaffold boards it is no wonder the sword was lost."

Sir Walter Scott described the earl who commissioned the work as a man whose "immense vanity obscured, or rather eclipsed, very considerable talents".

As well as building monuments like the Wallace statue and the Temple of the Muses he founded the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland.

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