William Wallace
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William Wallace (1272 - 1305)

Sir William "Braveheart" Wallace
Born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Died at about age 33 in London, Smithfield, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 22 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 62,419 times.
Scottish Clans
William Wallace was a prominent member of a Scottish Clan.
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William Wallace is a member of Clan Wallace.
Notables Project
William Wallace is Notable.
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With the passage of time there has been a loss of the historical record pertaining to the life of Sir William Wallace, the patriot and Guardian of Scotland. With that has come numerous traditions and stories which may contain glimpses of the truth, but are for the most part completely fictional. What little is known can be found in a few surviving documents and published works.

Wallace's Boyhood

William Wallace is believed to have been born at Elderslie, Renfrewshire,[1][2][3] to Malcolm Wallace[1][4][5] and Margaret Crauford.[4][5][6] There are no surviving records of his birth, but it is commonly accepted that he was born sometime between 1270[2] to 1275[7] and that his mother was the daughter of Hugh Crauford. (See Research Notes)

Purported Marriage and Child

Tradition holds that he had a relationship with, or was possibly married to Marion Braidfute.[8][9]There is no surviving record of such a marriage. (See Research Notes)

John (or Arnold) Blair left the monastery to become the Chaplain for Sir William Wallace, at Wallace's request,[10] sometime between 1290 and 1297, and is the most likely to have presided over a marriage ceremony.

The Baillie family claims to be a direct descendant of Sir William Wallace through a child, in most cases unnamed, but who is called Elizabeth in some sources.(See Research Notes)

The Patriot and Guardian of Scotland

In 1296, it appears that Sir William Wallace first shows up in the historic record when he killed the Sheriff of Lanark.[11] It is traditionally said that he killed the Sheriff for murdering his wife, however, there is no evidence to support this.

In June of 1297, Wallace was believed to be hiding in Selkirk forest.[12] Sir William Douglas, Robert Bruce and other nobles deserted Wallace and gave homage to King Edward I of England at Irvine, on 9 Jul 1297, effectively abandoning Wallace's cause.[13] On 11 Sep 1297, Wallace fought the English at Stirling Bridge.[14] He and his men spent the winter months in England, raiding and causing trouble for the English.[14]

On 29 Mar 1298, Sir William Wallace granted a charter to Alexander Skirmeschur Scrymgeour, for the lands near Dundee and the office of the Constable of the Castle of Dundee.[15][16]

In 1298, at the Battle of Falkirk, William Wallace and his men were abandoned on the field by the nobles of Scotland.[14][17] Not long after this defeat, he resigned the office of Guardian.[18]

Branded an outlaw by the English king, Sir William Wallace travelled to France seeking the assistance of King Phillip IV. King Phillip, in turn, sent him to Rome to see Pope Boniface VIII, in 1299.[19] After his return, while still in hiding, he and his mother travelled from near Dundee to Dumfermline, in disguise.[20]

John Comyn was asked to capture Sir William Wallace and give him to the King of England in exchange for the removal of Comyn's banishment, to which he was sentenced 9 Feb 1303-4. He did not succeed in this task.[21]


In 1305, William Wallace was captured by Sir John Menteith and turned over to the English king.[22] An Inquest was held 1 Sep 1305 pertaining to William de Mowat being held against his will by Sir William Wallace and his men.[23] Sir William Wallace was tried, found guilty, and executed; his body drawn and quartered, with the pieces hung from towers across England and Scotland,[24] on the order of the King of England.[22]

Battles and Skirmishes

Statues, Monuments, Representations and Locations Associated With William Wallace

Research Notes


For the purposes of this profile, we are using the commonly accepted date of 1270, as the year of his birth.


There is no evidence either that Wallace was ever married or had children let alone has descendants down to the present day.
John D. Carrick makes mention of family on Vol II, pg. 167 of Life of Sir William Wallace. The notation leads us to Appendix R, for further details.
  • Suggests he left a natural daughter who married first a Shaw, and then second Sir William Baillie of Hoprig. - pg. 277
  • his wife is believed to be the heiress of Lamington, daughter of Sir Hew de Bradfute. - pg 277
  • Source: Rogers, Charles; The Book of Wallace; (Edinburgh, Printed for the Grampian Club, 1889); Vol I, Pg 22
  • Source: The Life and Acts of Sir William Wallace ~Henry the Minstrel (Blind Harry); (Translated and critiqued by John Jamieson; Published by Maurice Ogle; Glasgow; 1869); Pg 375
This natural daughter is sometimes called Elizabeth (Wallace) Baillie
  • Source: Not located - Caledonia, Vol I, pg 579, as cited in the Life and Acts of William Wallace, pg 375
George Chalmers identifies Wallace's mother as Margaret, daughter of Sir Reginald Crawford, Sheriff of Ayr
  • Source: Chalmers, George; Caledonia; (Gardener, Paisley, 1887); Footnote (h)
Blind Harry identifies his mother as daughter of Ranald Craufurd, Sheriff of Ayr.
  • Source: The Life and Acts of Sir William Wallace ~Henry the Minstrel (Blind Harry); (Translated and critiqued by John Jamieson; Published by Maurice Ogle; Glasgow; 1869); Pg. 406
William Robertson outlines the Crauford lineage connected to Sir William, which seems to clear up the confusion of the identity of his mother.
  • It is most likely that she is the daughter of Hew (Hugh) and granddaughter of Reginald Crauford. Pg 219

Killing the Sheriff of Lanark

It is often claimed by non-contemporary authors that William Wallace killed William Hesilrig (sheriff of Lanark) in retaliation for the death of his purported wife, Marion. The Schøyen chronicle, however, indicates that this act was perpetrated by Wallace, and another William (of Lundie) on 3 May 1297 and makes no known mention of a wife. (Source - See Also section)

Sources To Be Found

  • Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 530
  • Nicholsons Scot. Hist. lib. pp. 248, 249
  • Langloft's Chronicle, p. 322
  • Life of Sir William Wallace, Written by John (or Arnold) Blair in Dunfermline Monastery
  • Relationes Qucedam; Arnoldi Blair, Monachi de Dimfermelen & Capellani, D. Willidnii Wallas, Militis" &c. (Vide Cottonian MSS. Brit. Museum ; Nicholson's Scot. Historical Library, pp. 248, 249; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 397, 531.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Life and Acts of Sir William Wallace ~Henry the Minstrel (Blind Harry); (Translated and critiqued by John Jamieson; Published by Maurice Ogle; Glasgow; 1869); pg 406
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rogers, Charles; The Book of Wallace; (Edinburgh, Printed for the Grampian Club, 1889); Vol II, pg 89
  3. Scotland's Places; Renfrewshire OS Name Books; Wallace's House
  4. 4.0 4.1 Rogers, Charles; The Book of Wallace; (Edinburgh, Printed for the Grampian Club, 1889); Vol I, pg. 20
  5. 5.0 5.1 Balfour Paul, James; The Scots Peerage; (Douglas, D; Edinburgh, 1904-1914); Vol v, Pg. 490; citing: Margaret, married Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie and had issue: William Wallace, Scottish Patriot.
  6. Robertson, George; A genealogical account of the principle families of Ayrshire; (1823); Pg. 167
  7. The Society of William Wallace; website; Biography
  8. The life and acts of Sir William Wallace ~Henry the Minstrel (Blind Harry); (Translated and critqued by John Jamieson; Published by Maurice Ogle; Glasgow; 1869); Pg 375-6
  9. Rogers, Charles; The Book of Wallace; (Edinburgh, Printed for the Grampian Club, 1889); Vol I, Pg 21
  10. Henderson, Ebenezer; The annals of Dunfermline; (Tweed, J; Glasgow, 1879); Pg. 105
  11. Fordun, John; Annals of the Scottish Nation; (Edmonston and Douglas; Edinburgh, 1871); Pg 321
  12. Letter in French - PoMS Record; Letter
  13. Balfour Paul, James; The Scots Peerage; (Douglas, D; Edinburgh, 1904-1914); Vol iii, Pg 140
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Fordun, John; Annals of the Scottish Nation; (Edmonston and Douglas; Edinburgh, 1871); Pg 322-323.
  15. Balfour Paul, James; The Scots Peerage; (Douglas, D; Edinburgh, 1904-1914); Vol iii, Pg 304
  16. PoMS Record - Brieve
  17. Balfour Paul, James; The Scots Peerage; (Douglas, D; Edinburgh, 1904-1914); Vol iii, Pg 140
  18. Fordun, John; Annals of the Scottish Nation; (Edmonston and Douglas; Edinburgh, 1871); Pg 324-325
  19. Letter written by King Phillip IV of France; National Records of Scotland
  20. Henderson, Ebenezer; The annals of Dunfermline; (Tweed, J; Glasgow, 1879); pg 107-8
  21. Balfour Paul, James; The Scots Peerage; (Douglas, D; Edinburgh, 1904-1914); Vol i, Pg 509
  22. 22.0 22.1 Fordun, John; Annals of the Scottish Nation; (Edmonston and Douglas; Edinburgh, 1871); Pg 332-333
  23. Inquest - PoMS Record English inquest
  24. English Royal Administration - PoMS Record; Disbursement of funds

See Also

  • Vol. 2, Page 56: "In the year 1297, the English inhabitants being struck with panic on the approach of Sir William Wallace with his forces, evacuated the place,..."
  • Vol. 2, Page 57: Poem

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Comments: 29

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The source given as Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 397, 530, 531, and needing to be found, is probably this one, which was republished in the late 1800s:

Chalmers, George. Caledonia : Or, a Historical and Topographical Account of North Britain, from the Most Ancient to the Present Times with a Dictionary of Places Chorographical & Philological. Paisley : Gardner, 1887. These volumes were republished, so the volume numbers are very different, and the page numbers don't correlate:

Perhaps an interested researcher would like to go through these volumes?

posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
I have the Wallace line on both sides (both parents) but I found this a few months ago when I was researching my Dad's BAILLIE line from Scotland.

From Burke's Family Records: BAILLIE, Lineage - William de Baliol of Penston, Haddingtonshire, and Carnbrue, Lanarkshire, both in the barony of Bothwell, the youngest son of Sir Alexander Baliol, of Cavers, Great Chamberlain of Scotland, 1292, and Isabel, his wife, dau. of Richard de Chillan. He m. the dau. of Sir William Wallace, by his wife Marion Braidfoot, of Lamington, and thus the family acquired that property. He accompanied Wallace in his expedition to the relief of Scotland, and was fined in consequence four years rent of his estates in 1297, by Edward I. His son, Sir William BAILLIE, of Hoprig, Penston and Carnbrue, was taken prisoner with David II, when that King was defeated at Nevill's Cross near Durham. He was knighted by David II, 27 Jan. 1358, and was granted a charter of confirmation of the lands and barony of Lambiston, Lanark, and in 1359, the lands of Hydnshaw and Watson. This would make William Wallace & Marion Braidfoot my 19th Great Grandparents, their daughter Marion b. 1296 married William de Baliol of Penston b. 1290, their son Sir William Baliol was born 1320. Eventually they changed Baliol to Baillie according to the history of this old Scottish family.

Hello Profile Managers!

We are featuring this profile in the Connection Finder this week. Between now and Wednesday is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can.



posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
The profile has been cleaned up, research notes added, and I'd like to propose detaching the current spouse and child due to lack of sources. While there are numerous stories about their supposed relationship and a child, no records or contemporary reliable source exists to confirm it. Discussion?
posted by Amy (Crawford) Gilpin
I support detaching them; the discussion of them in your research note should be sufficient.


posted by Jen (Stevens) Hutton
I think there should be as much proof required to detach. Do you have any sources that state that is not his daughter? Right now there are three known sources and one not yet found (Caledonia) that contain the information. Why do we doubt them in the absence of other data? Are they known to be unreliable in other ways and should be disregarded?

A discussion of the quality of the sources mentioned above would probably be helpful, especially if some are suspect.

posted by Jonathan Crawford
It does seem a bit draconian to detach when a relationship is uncertain. In fact, I was under the impression that that was the purpose of that radio button that has options for 'certain,' 'uncertain,' etc.
posted by Thom Anderson
I'll be working on this profile on behalf of the Scotland Project. If you have information or additional sources to add, please do so in the comment section or contact me directly.
posted by Amy (Crawford) Gilpin
Contrary to the bio, Elderslie was never a part of Ayrshire. It is now in Renfrewshire, but before 1402 the area was known as Strathgryfe Province (or lordship), part of Lanarkshire.
posted by Michael Stafford
Are there any existing records that describe what William Wallace looked like? I have read that he was of great stature at least 6 feet 7 inches in height. His character is portrayed in the movie Braveheart by an actor, Mel Gibson, who is very short in comparison to that. The main adversary of Wallace was King Edward I of England known as Longshanks. This referred to his stature. Were Wallace and Edward about the same height?
posted by John Simmons Jr.
Are we shure of the father of Wallace being Malcolm Alan Wallace? I ask because I'm supposed to be a decendant of Malcolm but I have read other places that the father of Wallace was named Alan according to the seal that was found some time in the 90s https://www.google.com/search?client=ms-android-sprint-us&sxsrf=ALeKk020rDN9yLHkuj-Q6q-JzKAgurDg9A%3A1583701986543&ei=4l9lXu_ZIMG6ggfwyrigBw&q=william+wallace+seal&oq=William+Wallace+seal&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-serp.1.0.0j33i160.1692.1692..2618...0.0..0.297.483.0j1j1......0....1.........0i22i10i30.zcgbWHJ-L9E#imgdii=dsjRvRam-BdIxM:&imgrc=dsjRvRam-BdIxM:
posted by Joseph Putnam
Documentary William Wallace- Archealogy and Research- Tony Robinson of Timeline Documentaries & Time Team Documentaries, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZcfyJOOyOc

William Wallace - Established in 1912, The Society of William Wallace- (Myth, Legend, Bits of Truth?) don't know, but interesting http://www.thesocietyofwilliamwallace.com/wallacesburialplace.htm Video of someone to the gravesite- Williams is shown last on the video near the last 3rd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X49vu7V3tG8 pause time 12:34

posted by Arora (G) Anonymous
edited by Arora (G) Anonymous
Wallace-182 and Wallace-4057 appear to represent the same person because: I believe these are a clear duplication.
I support the merge of Wallace-182 and Wallace-4057 as there are too many exact recounts of their life that are the same.
posted by Curt Keswick OD
Wallace-4057 and Wallace-182 do not represent the same person because: The information that I was provided with regarding Wallace and his family is now suspect. I would like one of the genealogists on here to corroborate my information before I support a merge please?
posted by JIm Walker Sr.
I approved the merge of this William Wallace with Wallace-182 but when the merge goes through be sure to use Sir Malcolm Wallace as his father not Andrew Wallace.
Wallace-4057 and Wallace-182 appear to represent the same person because: The Britannica Source confirms Malcolm is the father
posted by Connie Graham
I Share a Common Ancestor with William Further back in time, i am in the Wallace YDNA Project at FTDNA
posted by [Living Scott]
Just a tiny correction, Margaret Crawford was the Aunt of William Wallace and had some input into his upbringing after his father was killed. Margaret Crawford married Alexander Kneeland, (an early version of Cleland). I am a descendant of Alexander and Margaret Kneeland via the Frew and Cleland family.
posted by [Living McClenaghan]
Warning – categories are not set up

Please review categories.

See: G2G_Question

posted by Philip Smith