William Wallace - Background

Background

William Wallace was not a member of nobility and little is known for certain of his 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. William Wallace is possibly descended from a Richard Wallace who came to Scotland in the 1130s in the service of Walter fitz Alan, who had been appointed Steward by King David I.

Some sources give the name of William Wallace's father as Malcolm Wallace, however 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, but there have been recent claims 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..

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