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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"The Patroit"


Sir William Wallace (Medieval Gaelic: Uilliam Uallas; modern Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; Latin: Guillelmum le Walois de Scotia militem; died 23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight and landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, and was Guardian of Scotland, serving until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk. In 1305, Wallace was captured in Robroyston near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason and crimes against English civilians.

Since his death, Wallace has obtained an iconic status far beyond his homeland. He is the protagonist of the 15th century epic poem The Acts and Deeds of Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie, by Blind Harry. Wallace is also the subject of literary works by Sir Walter Scott and Jane Porter and the Academy Award winning epic film, Braveheart.

Statue of Wallace at Edinburgh CastleAlthough he was a minor member of the Scottish nobility, little is known for certain of William Wallace's family history. Records show early members of the family as holding estates at Riccarton, Tarbolton, and Auchincruive in Kyle, and Stenton in Haddingtonshire. They were vassals of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland as their lands fell within his territory. It is believed by many historians that William Wallace's possible ancestor Richard Wallace came to Scotland in the 1130s in the service of Walter Fitz Alan who had been appointed Steward by King David I and settled in Ayrshire. There are several Ayrshire Wallace seals attached to the Ragman Rolls, but none of them display a lion (the traditional arms associated with Wallace) — using rather a saltire, a cross patty and a fleur-de-lis.

William Wallace was probably descended from one of Richard's sons who married into local Scottish land-owing families. Hence Wallace and his Scoto-Norman ancestors would have been well acquainted with Gaelic, French, Latin, Greek, and possibly an early form of Scots.

Some sources give the name of William Wallace's father as Malcolm Wallace, but the seal attached to a letter sent to the Hanse city of L├╝beck in 1297 appears to give his father's name as Alan. His brothers Malcolm and John are known from other sources. An Alan Wallace appears in the Ragman Rolls as a crown tenant in Ayrshire, but there is no additional confirmation. The traditional view regards Wallace's birthplace as Elderslie in Renfrewshire, and this is still the view of most historians,[9] but there have been recent claims[by whom?] that he came from Ellerslie in Ayrshire. There is no contemporary evidence linking him with either location, although both areas had connections with the wider Wallace family.

Wallace's year of birth can only be guessed at, although he was probably a relatively young man at the time of his military exploits and death.

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