The saltire yet rests with Wallace where he died.

Proud to be a friend to the Scots

There is not a corpuscle of Scottish blood in me but I am very fond of the frozen north and the many Scots who I count as friend. This blog is devoted to Scots and in particular to messrs. George Kirrin, Derek Scott and Andy Young who make my life fun and help me  understand pensions.

My story begins yesterday lunchtime when I embarked on a short run around the Western boundaries of the City of London. It was raining heavily.  As I jogged up the Old Bailey, I spotted something blue drowning in an oily puddle in the gutter. I ran on but then thought better and returned. There was a flag in the puddle, pulling it from the water I saw the saltire and – drenched though it was , I carried it home.

Despite the protestations of my partner that I was abusing the bathroom radiator, I dried the flag out and early this morning I reran Old Bailey and proceeded onto Giltspur Street and hence to Smithfield market where I bought a fine fillet of Scottish beef, a corn fed chicken and a large quantity of smoked streak bacon.

With the flag in my backpack I ran on to the Wallace memorial outside St Barts hospital.

Wallace was executed nearby on August 23, 1305. Wallace was a Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Wallace was tried in Westminster Hall (there, another memorial commemorates where he stood during the brief trial). He was charged with treason, to which he responded that he could not be guilty, for he had never sworn fealty to Edward I. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to the traitor’s death, one of the most vicious punishments devised during the medieval era.

Wallace was taken to the Tower of London where he was stripped naked, and dragged behind horses to the elms (a medieval term for a scaffold) at Smithfield. He was first hung by the neck, and then cut down whilst still alive. He was then eviscerated and castrated, and eventually beheaded. His body was cut into four parts, and his limbs sent to the corners of Scotland as a warning to the rebellious country. His head was set on London Bridge, where it was soon joined by other Scottish rebels.

Legend has it that Wallace remained silent and stoic throughout the ordeal. The church of St. Bartholomew stands close to the execution grounds. I like to  imagine that the deeply religious Wallace may have fixed his eyes on it before departing this world.

As I suspected, the flag of Scotland was absent, the flag showed tears where it had been ripped from the railings but the ties were still attached to the railings.

The noble memorial to Sir William Wallace

I re-attached the Scottish flag to its housing and I’m pleased to say it is once again a tribute to William Wallace. Scots honor him to this day with the flower of Scotland. Three thistles can be seen by the lion’s head in the photo below.

Flag reattached – though the wrong way round

It does England no good to desecrate Wallace’s memorial and treat the flag of Scotland in this way. We have much to thank the Union for and , though it may not last, we should cherish it while we can.

On behalf of Englishmen and women, I apologize for what has been done to your flag and ask you to believe that we are better than that.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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7 Responses to The saltire yet rests with Wallace where he died.

  1. Peter Tompkins says:

    Sweet story. I believe I am 1/32nd Scottish on my father’s father’s father’s mother’s father’s side so thank you

  2. Derek Scott says:

    Yes, thanks for sharing a good deed, Henry.

    But in the interests of full disclosure, I am only part-Scots. Scottish father, English mother.

    Being born in Carlisle, I’m not sure if that makes me one-half Scots or one-third. I’m not an actuary, so I don’t understand Peter’s 1/32nd precision on such matters.

  3. Margaret Snowdon says:

    Thank you Henry

  4. adrian furnell says:

    Henry, You seem to now be its ‘Protector; so now just keep an eye on it!

  5. George Kirrin says:

    “Protector” is a good description, Adrian.

    While the English may associate that term with Cromwell, who was Lord Protector of the “Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland” (alas, no mention of Wales there), Wallace was once upon a time a “Guardian” of Scotland.

    After winning big at Stirling Bridge, Mel Gibson then recaptured Berwick-upon-Tweed and invaded the north of England. From there, he and Sir Andy Murray wrote to the merchants of Lübeck and Hanover, inviting them to trade once more, ‘because the kingdom of Scotland, thanks be to God, is recovered by war from the power of the English’. Was this a previous Scottish solution to an earlier form of Brexit?

    The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. [Not Mark Twain]

  6. Greg Russell says:

    Nice one Henry – can we use your pics?

  7. Derek Scott says:

    From The National (the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland) page 3 on Saturday, 27 February 2021:

    A Scottish flag has been “ripped from the railings” of a William Wallace memorial in London, The National can reveal.

    Henry Tapper, an Englishman who runs the AgeWage blog, revealed that a Saltire was taken off the railings in front of the plaque outside St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

    In a post titled “The saltire yet rests with Wallace where he died”, Tapper said: “My story begins yesterday lunchtime when I embarked on a short run around the Western boundaries of the City of London. It was raining heavily. As I jogged up the Old Bailey, I spotted something blue drowning in an oily puddle in the gutter. I ran on but then thought better and returned. There was a flag in the puddle, pulling it from the water I saw the saltire and – drenched though it was, I carried it home.

    “I dried the flag out and early this morning I ran on to the Wallace memorial outside St Barts hospital.

    “As I suspected, the flag of Scotland was absent, the flag showed tears where it had been ripped from the railings but the ties were still attached to the railings.”

    Tapper, who travels to Highland Perthshire every year when he can, reattached the flag to the railings.

    The National understands the flag was not originally part of the memorial and was added by a member of the public.

    Barts Health NHS Trust, who is responsible for the memorial, refused to comment.

    Gary Stewart, the convenor of the Society of William Wallace, told The National: “It’s brilliant to see Henry Tapper showing a great interest in the Wallace memorial, going out of his way to get a saltire put back for Scotland’s greatest hero, and taking time to write a blog on his experience.”

    “It does England no good to desecrate Wallace’s memorial and treat the flag of Scotland in this way,” Tapper went on. “On behalf of Englishmen and women, I apologise for what has been done to your flag and ask you to believe that we are better than that.”

    The monument has been outside the hospital since 1956 to mark the site of the execution of William Wallace.

    There are 35 comments from readers, nearly all complimentary, below the digital edition page of the newspaper.

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