William Wallace letter to be loaned to Scotland
The letter is from King Philip IV of France to his agents in Rome, commanding them to ask Pope Boniface VIII to support Wallace and is dated 7 November 1300.
Sir William Wallace, having led resistance to the English king, Edward I, is known to have travelled to the court of Philip IV of France in 1299 in an effort to persuade him to support the Scottish cause. The document suggests that Wallace intended to visit the papal court, but it is not known whether he did reach Rome or if he received the letter.
An academic research group of distinguished historians and archivists from Scotland, England and France was set up last year to study the document's provenance and find out where and for what purpose it was created.
In March the panel, which included experts from The National Archives, concluded that the document was more likely than not in the possession of William Wallace, although it could not be certain to whom the document was issued or how it ended up in the Tower of London where it was discovered in the 1830s.
Following the panel's findings, The National Archives began discussions with the National Records of Scotland on a loan agreement which would widen access to this important historical document.
It has now been agreed that the Wallace letter will be loaned to the National Records of Scotland from January 2012 until December 2014, including a period when it will be on public display.
Oliver Morley, Keeper and Chief Executive of The National Archives, said: 'As the official archive for the UK Government, we hold records that are part of the shared history of the British Isles, including Scotland. We are delighted to be working with the National Records of Scotland to widen access to our collection.'
A digital copy of the letter is available to download from Discovery, The National Archives’ catalogue.