Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sir Simon Fraser Executed

A knight known for his courage and chivalry, who fought with William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in the Wars of Scottish Independence, ended life with his head on a pole in London next to Wallace's.  On September 7, 1306, Fraser was hanged, drawn, and quartered and his head placed on a spike on London Bridge.  Wallace's head remained from his execution on August 23 of that year.

Sir Walter Scott includes this bit of history on Simon Fraser in the notes to Canto 2 of his "The Lord of the Isles":

'The fate of Sir Simon Fraser, or Frizel, ancestor of the family of Lovat, is dwelt upon at great length, and with savage exultation, by the English historians. This knight, who was renowned for personal gallantry and high deeds of chivalry, was also made prisoner, after a gallant defence, in the battle of Methven. Some stanzas of a ballad of the times, which, for the sake of rendering it intelligible, I have translated out of its rude orthography, give minute particulars of his fate. It was written immediately at the period, for it mentions the Earl of Athole as not yet in custody. It was first published by the indefatigable Mr Ritson, but with so many contractions and peculiarities of character, as to render it illegible, excepting by antiquaries.

This was before Saint Bartholomew's mass.
That Frizel was y-taken, were it more other less,
To Sir Thomas of Multoo, gentil baron and free,
And to Sir John Jose be-take tho was he

To hand

He was y-fettered wele

Both with iron and steel

To bringen to Scotland...'

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