The Tracy Family History
William Wallace, Second Thoughts
This map is titled "Land of the Wallaces." This is the
ancestral homeland of William Wallace.
All photos are courtesy of The Highlander Magazine, except when noted.
“...the name Elderslie (or Ellerslie, as it is often spelled)
which belonged to the old Wallace homestead
in Renfrewshire, Scotland, seven centuries
ago, is still revered and claimed
Not so long ago there was a television documentary on the life of William Wallace, Scotland’s greatest hero. It told, authoritatively, that he was never married. Not only was he not married but he also had no illegitimate children.
Thus, goes the conclusion, all the Scots who claim to descend from William Wallace are wrong. He had two brothers, Malcolm and John. In 1307, Malcolm would suffer the same fate of his more famous brother. It is presumed that those who claim to descend from William actually descend from his brother Malcolm. (This is a possibility as I have one historical reference that we do descend from Malcolm.)
Through my research of family history/genealogy, which entailed reading thousand of pages by eminent scholars, I am struck by the tradition that is so strong that we do indeed descend from the great Scottish patriot.
This tradition shows up in different lines, some of whom do not know that the other lines even exist. It has come down through the many generations. Again, it is a tradition that is strongly spoken of by our ancestors.
Now we go back to the documentary, it is accepted as valid because who ever heard of Public Television being wrong? I wonder, how can one noted scholar, or group of researchers, be so positive about what happened 700 years ago?
I am not so sure that I am ready to throw in the towel about all of us not descending from William Wallace. I ended the previous chapter with all intentions of leaving the story there. But, I have had second thoughts.
I am including the following photos to add to my dubious ancestor story.
Stirling Bridge today. The original wooden bridge of the 1297 battle was about 50 yards up river. If you look closely, dead center at the top of the hill, you can see the Wallace Monument.
Monument to William Wallace at his birthplace in Elderslie.
“They (the Wallaces) have fierce Highland blood with its quick anger, its generous impulses; in some it was retained in resentments and narrow prejudice to my day. They are generally tall and lean, angular, with ruddy, clean-shaven faces, blue eyes, and reddish or warm chestnut hair, inclining to curl.”
–From an old letter in Mrs. Sampson’s “Kith and Kin.”
(Photo by Marc Sexton, not a relative, but a Good Samaritan.)
This is the actual sword of William Wallace on display in the Wallace Monument. You can get a good idea as to the enormous size of the sword compared to Mark standing next to the case.
The sword is 66 inches (5 and a half feet). It is a two-handed broadsword. The experts have used modern technology to come up with the estimate that William Wallace must have been at least 6 feet 6 inches in height to wield such a sword.
This is confirmed by historians who tells that he was indeed a very tall man. Why? After his death, William Wallace fell into obscurity until revived by a minstrel-poet who went by the strange pen name of "Blind Harry." This writer of history is believed to have lived between the years of 1440 and 1495. His name is not so strange when you consider he was blind from birth.
Blind Harry writes a story of William Wallace and brings him back into history. He makes Wallace seven feet tall. Many historians consider this to be true not realizing that Blind Harry was a writer of fiction.
Yet, those historians in the know say authoritatively, “He was not a tall man.” He had a unique build and was immensely powerful.
The following legend will give you an idea as to the enormous strength of this man: A little girl who knew both William Wallace and Scotland's second greatest hero, Robert Bruce, says, “Rob could overthrow two men, but William could overthrow two Roberts.”
My family history web site has 79 chapters. If you would like to know more about the other chapters then go to my Home Page www.thetracyfamilyhistory.net