William Wallace

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Sir William Wallace (Medieval Gaelic: Uilliam Uallas; modern Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; 1272 or 1273 – 23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight and landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.[1]

Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, and was dubbed the Guardian of Scotland, serving until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk. A few years later Wallace was captured in Robroyston near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him executed for high treason.

Wallace was the inspiration for the epic poem The Acts and Deeds of Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie, by the 15th century minstrel, Blind Harry. Blind Harry's poem was, to some extent, the basis for Randall Wallace's screenplay Braveheart.

Contents

Background

Little is known for certain of William Wallace's immediate family. The Wallace family may have originally come from Wales or Shropshire as followers of Walter Fitzalan (died June 1177), High Steward of Scotland and ancestor of the Stewart family. The early members of the family are recorded as holding lands including Riccarton, Tarbolton, and Auchincruive in Kyle, and Stenton in Haddingtonshire.[2]

The seal attached to a letter sent to the Hanse city of Lübeck in 1297[3] appears to give his father's name as Alan.[4][5] His brothers Malcolm and John are known from other sources.[6] Alan Wallace may appear in the Ragman Rolls as a crown tenant in Ayrshire, but this is uncertain.[7] The traditional view is that Wallace's birthplace was Elderslie in Renfrewshire, but it has been recently claimed to be Ellerslie in Ayrshire. There is no contemporary evidence linking him with either location, although both areas were linked to the wider Wallace family.[8]

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