03.07 Wallace Sword To Leave Stirling

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WALLACE SWORD SET FOR TRIP FROM STIRLING TO NEW YORK

William Wallace's priceless double-handed sword is rumored to be leaving Scotland for the first time in 700 years.

The 5ft 6in broadsword will be taken from the Wallace Monument, near Stirling, to New York to be the centerpiece relice at the Tartan Day celebrations in New York.

Armed guards will protect the priceless treasure on its journey across the Atlantic.

Mel Gibson, who played Wallace in the Oscar-winning movie, has been invited to a civic reception where the sword will be displayed. Braveheart writer Randall Wallace has been named Grand Marshal of the Tartan Day parade.

This year is the 700th anniversary of Wallace's brutal execution in London and tourist officials are determined to make the most of the opportunity. The Stirling Council is expected to aprove the plan to send the sword to New York for the event on April 6.

Provost Colin O'Brien said: 'Lots of other ancient treasures are moved round the world and many of them have come to Scotland. 'We've taken specialist advice and it will be handled extremely carefully. This is a priceless treasure and it will be guarded round the clock.

'I think Wallace's sword will be an important symbol for the Americans and if it encourages tourists to come to Scotland and find out more, then that's great. 'This is a super chance for Stirling to raise its profile."

HISTORY

After Wallace's capture in 1305 the sword was kept at Dumbarton Castle before being moved to Stirling in 1888.

King James IV ordered the sword to be rehilted in 1505, in a style more fitting to 'Scotland's national hero'.

Wallace is believed to have been at least 6ft 6in. Mel Gibson, who played him in Braveheart, is 5ft 8in