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Building The Monument

In 1861 Victorian craftsmen embarked on a special assignment to build a monument that would commemorate a Scottish Hero.

For those workers this was no ordinary task.

But then Sir William Wallace was no ordinary hero…

The National Wallace Monument was designed by the Edinburgh-born Glasgow architect J. T. Rochead, and built between 1861 and 1869.  It is one of more than 20 Wallace Monuments which are located throughout Scotland, including the Wallace Monument at Dryburgh (1814) and Thomas Hamilton’s Wallace tower in Ayr (1833).

The Design

The task of designing The National Wallace Monument was set up as an architectural competition, which received a total of 106 entries.  Of those entries only two of the designs are known to have survived, the winning entry from J. T. Rochead and the ‘Liberty’ design from the firm Peddie and Kinnear which won “second premium”.

Eighteen of the architect’s original designs for the building of the Monument have been preserved and can be seen at Stirling Archives. In 2016 The National Wallace Monument funded the digitisation of sixteen of these drawings, examples of which are shown here.

The Location

There were discussions around the idea of a Monument as far back as 1818 when the original plan had been to build it in Glasgow – an idea which was not well received by the residents of Edinburgh! Eventually, it was decided to settle on a compromise – and the location in Stirling was agreed.

The Laying of the Foundation Stone

The Present Day

The National Wallace Monument is one of Scotland’s most celebrated landmarks.  The stunning 67 metre tower is instantly recognizable, and attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year.

For more information on the history of William Wallace and of The National Wallace Monument you can buy The National Wallace Monument Guide Book in the Visitor Reception Centre, or inside the Monument.