An Alternative Design to the National Wallace Monument

by Scott Manning on February 10, 2013

The same year that America broke out into a civil war, the Scots and English began construction on their National Wallace Monument. The massive structure was not complete until 1869 and it stands to this day on the Abbey Craig as an imposing structure over Stirling and the River Forth.

Here is the monument in summer 2011.

The National Wallace Monument

The struggle to gain funding and support for building the monument is a historical story in itself, as Scots played a balancing act between demonstrating support for union with England while building a massive monument to a man who supported anything but.

One of the proposed designs came in 1859, entitled “Lion and Typhon,” by artist J. Noel Paton.1 It depicts a lion standing over a vanquished king who is half-human and half serpents. Complete with a broken chain, the image depicted the moment when “the lion of Scotland breaks from his fetters and overcomes tyranny.”2

Lion and Typhon by J. Noel Paton

The committee in charge of selecting a design rejected it.

While the lion is interesting, I am fine with the final selection.


  1. Image below comes from Elspeth King, Introducing William Wallace, Braveheart: The Life and Legacy of Scotland’s Liberator (Stirling: Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, 1997), 30. []
  2. Quoted in James Coleman, “Unionist-Nationalism in Stone? The National Wallace Monument and the Hazards of Commemoration in Victorian Scotland,” in The Wallace Book, edited by Edward J. Cowan, 151-168 (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2007), 163. []

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