William Wallace

William Wallace (1272 - 1305)

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Sir William Wallace
Born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in London, Smithfield, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 22 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 22,665 times.

Categories: Battle of Falkirk | Battle of Stirling Bridge | Battle of Earnside | Battle of Elcho Park | Battle of Lanark | Battle of Loudoun Hill | Guardian of Scotland | Prisoners of the Tower of London | Elderslie, Renfrewshire | Significant and Famous Scots | This Day In History August 23 | Profile of the Week Winners | Clan Wallace | Profiles Lacking Inline Citations.

This profile won Profile of the Week the Fourth week of October 2013.

Clan Wallace tartan.
William Wallace is a member of Clan Wallace.
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This profile includes a list of sources but they remain unclear because it has insufficient footnoted references. Please help to improve this profile by introducing more precise citations.


William Wallace

William Wallace was born in around 1270, probably near Ellerslie (now Elderslie), in Ayrshire, Scotland. His father was Sir Malcolm Wallace, Laird of Elderslie and Auchinbothie, a small landowner and little-known Scottish knight. [Note: in 1999 the seal of Sir Wallace was translated from the archaic latin. On his seal it says he is the son of 'Alan'.] His mother is believed to have been the daughter of Sir Hugh Crawford, Sheriff of Ayr, and he is thought to have had an elder brother, also called Malcolm. Because he was the second son, William did not inherit his father's title or lands.
While Wallace was still young he became the leader of a company of patriots who used harassing tactics against the English and won support of many Scottish nobles. Wallace's military genius made him "hated and feared" by King Edward I of England.
During the Wars of Scottish Independence William Wallace and Andrew de Moray won a great and stunning victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Wallace was also in command at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, but there he was defeated. Unfortunately for the Scots, Wallace was eventually captured at Robroyston near Glasgow and delivered to Edward Longshanks of England by a senior Scottish law officer - Sir John Mentieth. Wallace was subjected to a show trial, in which he was found guilty of treason and hung, drawn, and quartered at Smithfield, London in 1305.
Wallace had two brothers: Malcolm (elder) and John (younger), and a sister whose name has not come down. She married into the Bailies of Lamington.
The earliest surviving comprehensive portrayal of William Wallace’s life is the epic poem by Blind Harry known today simply as “The Wallace.” Blind Harry lived and wrote in the last half of the 1400s, about 150 years after Wallace’s death. He wrote down many of the popular stories about Wallace’s life and legend, performing at the court of James IV to great appreciation. The poem was written down in about 1477. It was one of the first books published in Scotland around 1508, under the title: The Acts and Deides of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campion Schir William Wallace. Current historians tend to challenge the veracity of much of this epic, but the work continues to provide the framework for William Wallace’s life and draws its credibility as the narrative closest to the time that William Wallace actually lived (abt. 1270-1305).
Marrion Braidfute of Lamington was, according to Blind Harry, a maiden whom William Wallace courted and married. She was killed by Sir William Heselrig, the English Sheriff of Lanark. Wallace avenged her death by killing Heselrig and then dismembering his corpse.
There is no historical evidence to corroborate her existence.
As one might expect, William Wallace did not sign the 1296 Ragman Roll of fealty and submission to Edward I, although two Ayrshire Wallaces did : Adam and Nicol. In original documents extracted in Bain's "Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland Preserved in Her Majesty’s Public Record Office", William's family name was written Waleys. William's relationship to Adam and Nicol, if any, is unknown.
An adaptation by William Hamilton of Gilbertfield was published in 1722 as The Life and Heroick Actions of the Renoun’d Sir William Wallace, General and Governor of Scotland. Hamilton’s version of the poem has been widely circulated over the last several hundred years -- as popular in Scottish homes as the Bible. This work is also the source of most of what is known of Wallace’s Crawford connections. Wallace’s mother Margaret Crawford and his uncle Reginald (or Ranald, according to Blind Harry) Crawford, 4th Sheriff of Ayr and Lord of Loudoun appear prominently.



  • William Wallace & His Crawford Relations. C. Joanne Crawford, PhD and Kevan Crawford, PhD
  • 1. History and Genealogy of the Family of Baillie of Dunain; Joseph Gaston Baillie Bulloch (1898). pp. 11.
  • 2. Genealogy of the Wallace Family; John H Wallace {1902}
  • Gray, D. J., William Wallace: the king's enemy, London: R. Hale, 1991.
  • Barrow, Kingdom of the Scots, pp. 324–325
  • Stevenson, Joseph, ed., Documents Illustrative of Sir William Wallace, Maitland Club (1841), p.189, 192
  • [1] : Bain, Joseph, F.S.A. Scot. : "Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland Preserved in Her Majesty’s Public Record Office", Vol. II, London (1884), p. 205
  • 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


Thanks to M Hammond and Billy Wallace for the excellent bio on Sir William Wallace and Nae X for additional suggestions.

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No known carriers of William's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 16
William Wallace
William Wallace

Ancient Wallace Tartan
Ancient Wallace Tartan

Hunting Wallace tartan
Hunting Wallace  tartan

Modern Wallace tartan
Modern Wallace tartan

Wallace Monument at the site of his Capture
Wallace Monument at the site of his Capture

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On 22 May 2017 at 02:31 GMT Al Scott wrote:

I Share a Common Ancestor with William Further back in time, i am in the Wallace YDNA Project at FTDNA

On 27 Apr 2017 at 23:04 GMT Drew McClenaghan wrote:

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.

On 4 Jun 2015 at 16:59 GMT Philip Smith wrote:

Warning – categories are not set up

Please review categories.

See: G2G_Question

On 3 Jun 2015 at 19:25 GMT J. (Pearson) Salsbery wrote:

William Wallace is notable.
Join: Notables Project
Discuss: notables

On 7 Dec 2014 at 15:37 GMT Paula J wrote:

Image:Profile_Photo_s-268.jpg December 7, 2014

On 26 Oct 2014 at 20:02 GMT Matt Pryber wrote:

Find out more at the Global Family Reunion project

On 25 Oct 2013 at 12:30 GMT Nae (Lockhart) X wrote:

Congratulations everyone on Profile of the Week. Great example of collaboration and what makes Wiki Tree great! Nae

William is 30 degrees from Rosa Parks, 28 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 20 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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