Wallace’s Wife Marion Braidfute Was Invented?

Marion Braidfute, wife of William Wallace, was a fictional character concocted by medieval biographers, a leading historian has claimed. Braidfute, who was supposedly murdered by the Sheriff of Lanark, triggering Wallace’s rebellion against the English, was created more than 200 years after his death to heighten the political standing of a noble family, according to new research.

In Mel Gibson’s 1995 film Braveheart, the brutal murder of Wallace’s wife (whose name was changed to Murron MacClannough, and was played by the actress Catherine McCormack) is portrayed as a pivotal moment in his transformation into a revolutionary hero. However, Ed Archer, an authority on Wallace, has found no mention of her in the earliest accounts of his life Blind Harry’s “The Wallace,” an epic poem written in about 1508, refers to a woman called Innes, who is credited with helping Wallace escape from the clutches of English troops. There is no suggestion that she was his lover or his wife. Braidfute does not appear until 1570, in a revised edition of Blind Harry’s poem, possibly commissioned by the Baillies of Lamington, a wealthy family from Lanark who hoped to ingratiate themselves with Mary, Queen of Scots by claiming to be Wallace’s descendants. In the revised text, Braidfute, from Lamington, Lanarkshire, is described as Wallace’s lover and the mother of his daughter, from whom the Baillies of Lamington claim to be descended.

However, a study by Archer of contemporary historical records found no mention of any Braidfutes living in the area at the end of the 13th century. “Dispelling the myth of Marion is important because we should try to get at the truth beyond the romance that surrounds Wallace,” said Archer. “What lies at the heart of this is the political aspiration of a local, minor aristocratic family who wanted to gain favour at the court of Mary Queen of Scots by claiming to be descended from William Wallace. “There is still mileage in Wallace and there are still things to be discovered about him. People have avoided Blind Harry’s 1508 version of the Wallace story because it is not an easy read.”

Ian Scott, Chairman of The Saltire Society, said he was surprised by Archer’s discovery. “The story of Wallace’s wife and what happened to her is thought of as a trigger event in his life and is key to the story of the man himself,” he said. “New discoveries will continue to be made about Wallace’s life because so little of the hard historical fact is known.” John Murtagh, who played the turncoat nobleman Lochlan in Braveheart, said he had always believed that Wallace’s wife was a symbolic figure. “To me his wife has always been a metaphor for Scotland itself,” he said. “And so when the English try to rape, and then murder her, it is symbolic of the way Scotland was treated.”

Little is known about Wallace’s life before 1297, when he killed Sir William Heselrig, the English-appointed Sheriff of Lanark, and then led a popular uprising. His greatest victory took place at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, at which he routed the English army and was later proclaimed Guardian of Scotland. Archer presented his findings last year, at a conference on Wallace’s life hosted by the Lanark Archaeological Trust, part of a series of events commemorating the 700th anniversary of Wallace’s death.

As originally published in the Guardian, Spring 2006

The Lost Loudoun Sword

the loudoun swordWilliam Wallace’s “Other” Sword: The Lost Loudoun Sword

Mr. John G. McGill, FSAScot, resident of Riccarton, Scotland, has located a priceless piece of Scotland’s heritage: a long missing sword that belonged to Sir William Wallace.

“It is the Loudoun Wallace Sword which was a gift from the Hanseatic League in Lubeck to Wallace, as a symbol of his authority. After Sir William Wallace’s execution 701 years ago, tradition has it that his sword passed to Wallace’s mother, Lady Margaret Crauford Wallace. From her, the sword passed down through many generations and into the 20th century, being kept all this time at Loudoun Castle, near Galston.

In 1930 the Loudoun Wallace Sword was sold to J.H. Watson of Grangehill, Beith. Although the family no longer live in Ayrshire, the sword is still in Scotland in the ownership of the buyer’s family. It is believed that the family are considering the best future for the sword. Says Mr. McGill: The importance of this item to Scotland as a nation cannot be over stressed. It has no blood on it. It was never a weapon of war. It was a symbol of Scotland’s independence and of the authority of Scotland’s leaders and their faith in electing Sir William Wallace as Guardian of Scotland.”

John explained the origins of the sword; “When he was appointed as Guardian of Scotland, Sir William Wallace went to Europe to reacquaint the Hanseatic League, the equivalent of the EEC in it’s day, with Scotland as a trading nation, free again to do business. He carried with him a letter which he preappearances.” The first was in 1822 during the only visit to Scotland by King George IV. The second appearance was in 1930 when it was put up for sale. The third was in 1972 after someone stole the better-known Wallace sword from the monument in Stirling.

“An enterprising national newspaper tracked down the owner of the Loudoun Wallace Sword for a publicity feature in the hope that the stolen one would turn up. “Although hidden all these years there is a tremendous interest in this sword and of course in Wallace.” “I have no influence on any decision by the present owners, but if it is to be put on display, even on a ‘temporary loan’ I can think of only one place where such an important relic should go on display. After all, it is a symbol of authority and of our nationhood.’”

Mr. McGill, who is also published under the nom de plume “Craufuird C. Loudoun,” assures that the Wallace Loudoun Sword is still in Scotland and while he cannot reveal its exact location, he hopes that the current owners will put it on public display. When questioned about the number of Wallace swords in existence and he believes there are possibly four. The one in the archives at the Wallace Monument, the replica on display at the Wallace Monument which was created after the original was stolen in 1972, the current Loudoun Sword, and a possible fourth in the Wallace Collection in London.

As originally published in the Guardian, Winter 2006


UPDATES:

It should be noted there were several recent articles regarding the Loudoun Sword in the Scottish Daily Mail and the Herald on October 2, 2017.  Both stated the sword was sold to a person name Moffat and not a man named Watson.  Sean Donnelly, of the Society of William Wallace, said “The Loudoun sword is a 13th century type claymore, so it even looks more true than the Wallace sword everyone knows.  The trail of the sword has gone cold after the passing of Mr Moffat.  Our biggest concern is it is no longer in the country.

Where the sword truly is is a mystery that may never be solved.

It should also be noted that the Loudoun Castle Theme Park which hosted the huge replica of the sword pictured above permanently closed in 2010.

“The Tribute” : A poem by Garry T. Garland

“The Tribute” : A poem by Garry T. Garland

Of all the men in Scotland’s past
The memory of one will forever last
He so loved by kin and kind
A more loyal man one couldn’t find

A man of pride and great height
There is no doubt he put many to flight
Northumberland Percy was shown no mercy
In the midst of the fray at Bell “o“ the Brae

At Stirling Bridge he won the fight
Perhaps he deemed it a Scotsman’s right
Face to face with Plantagenet
Edward trembled even to imagine it

Along the path of destiny he did stride
His dear friend Kerlie by his side
Sadly betrayed by one of his own
This once Guardian of our throne

In his enemy’s captivity he died
His death in no way dignified
Leal Scots would pray he found solace
These words a tribute to William Wallace

As originally published in The Guardian, Autumn 2005

William Ross Wallace 1819-1891

Though his works are largely forgotten today, William Ross Wallace’s poetry and verse were popular and well-respected in the middle of the nineteenth century. He was a close friend of Edgar Allan Poe, and Poe praised Wallace’s poetry. The well-known poet William Cullen Bryant also thought highly of Wallace’s work.

Wallace was born in Paris, Kentucky, in 1819. Between 1833 and 1835, he attended Hanover College (Indiana), and after graduation returned to his native Kentucky, settling in Lexington. While at law school and until 1839, he was the editor of ‘The Louisville Literary Register’. In 1841, he passed the bar, and established his practice in New York City, where he seems to have been more occupied with literature than with legal affairs. His poems were intensely patriotic, and he had an almost mythical reverence for the American Revolution and for George Washington. Numerous catalogs of American literature describe Wallace as a very popular poet, which suggests that his thoughts on the Revolution were in tune with the beliefs of many contemporary Americans.

In Wallace’s poetry of the 1850’s, he treated the Revolution in symbolic and grandiose terms. In ‘The Liberty Bell’ he
describes the ringing of the Liberty Bell, which had been rung on 04 July 1776, as a reverberation of a unanimous belief
among Americans that their time for freedom had arrived. He even goes so far as to say that the revolution was an ‘era sublime’. He clearly idealizes the Revolution in his work; he almost never mentions the bloody, distasteful aspects of war. In fact, he barely sees the Revolution as a war at all; he seems to think of it as a pure, blessed period in America’s history. In the ‘Last Words of Washington’, Wallace explicitly calls Washington a ‘savior’ of his country. Even though the scene Wallace
describes in this poem is Washington’s death, Wallace does not seem to describe him as an ordinary man bowing to death. Washington appears in this poem as a transcendent being that is being welcomed into an elite legion of timeless, scarcely mortal ‘heroes’. Wallace’s poems portray the American Revolution as an unblemished age when true greatness graced American soil.

After the outbreak of the Civil War, Wallace continued to write patriotic poetry in support of the Union. Some of these works were well-known and well-liked by
Union soldiers. As the war intensified, his melodious verses enjoyed an extraordinary popularity. They were sung by many regiments that marched out from
New York, for they were not only rhythmical and adaptable to musical setting, but were filled with a sentiment of patriotism, especially in those uncertain times, had a tremendous popular appeal in the North. Among these songs was the well known “Keep Step to the Music of the Union.” His “God of the Free” was intended to be a national anthem, but was not met with popular acceptance. Wallace also attempted fiction, but his one story “Albin, the Pirate” did not sell well, and has long been out of print. He was a popular lecturer and possessed extraordinary oratorical gifts. For nearly twenty years he was a regular contributor to the “New York Ledger,” “Godey’s Lady’s Book,” “Harpers’ Magazine” and “Harpers’ Weekly,” the “Celtic Monthly,” and other publications.

According to Edgar Allen Poe biographer Kenneth Silverman, in June 1842 Poe visited New York City and while there drank himself into an alcoholic amnesia. Poe explained that others had induced or forced him to drink. He said that William Ross Wallace would ‘insist upon the juleps, and I knew not what I was either doing or saying’. In the autumn of 1844 Poe completed his poem ‘The Raven’ and recited it to William at Stryker’s Bay Tavern, located on the Hudson River near where 96th Street now ends. William’s expressions of appreciation, it appears, were not thought by the poet to be adequate to the occasion. Poe, on his part, assured his listener that he had just heard the greatest poem in the language.

Though largely forgotten today, William Ross Wallace was a literary giant of his time. After all, it was William Ross Wallace who wrote:

‘But a mightier power and stronger, Man from his throne has hurled, For the hand that rocks the cradle, Is the hand that rules the world

 

Originally published in the Guardian, Vol 37 No. 1

“Braveheart” vs. William Wallace

Every member of the CWS should be able to speak on each of the following sixteen points. This is a nice little refresher on where film “Braveheart” and facts disagree:

1. Wallace was the son of a Knight; not a poor cottar (farmer) as depicted.
2. Wallace was not a highlander; he did not wear a kilt.
3. His father, Sir Malcolm, was executed when Wallace was an adult.
4. There is no record of Edward re instituting “First Night”.
5. Wallace’s wife “Murren” (Marion Broadfoot) was executed because she helped Wallace evade capture.
6. Scots did not paint themselves blue in the thirteenth century AD. The blue emulsion is called “woad” and was reportedly used by ancient Celts in Roman times.
7. The wooden “castle” of Lanark was pure fantasy.
8. The battle at Stirlinq took place at a bridge, not in open ground; the bridge was the key to success.
9. Wallace never met Princess Isabella; he was dead before she came to England from France.
10. Edward II (who really did prefer the company of men) married Isabella after his father’s death. (1308).
11. Robert the Bruce did not ‘rescue’ Wallace after Falkirk.
12. Robert the Bruce’s father did not have leprosy.
13. Wallace was betrayed by Sir John Menteith of Dumbarton; Robert the Bruce was not present.
14. Wallace was dragged behind a horse to his execution. (1305)
15. Wallace was executed in the city of London; it is highly unlikely that any of his friends or followers could have been present.
16. Bruce never intended to ‘parlay’ at Bannockburn; he knew from the start that this battle was the keystone to Scotland’s

Originally published in “The Guardian” Vol 36 No 1

24th Annual Rural Hill Loch Norman Scottish Festival

Clan President Russ Harper and Amy Jenkins

The Rural Hill Loch Norman Scottish Festival (NC) was held on April 8-9, 2017.  Spring has sprung, pollen fills the air, cold mornings and clear skies greeted the sixty two clan tents participating and Clan Wallace was among them.  Other participants included the SAMS (Scottish American Military Society), Council of Scottish Clans and Societies, Scottish Culture and St. Andrews Society of North Carolina, and the Scottish Society of Wilmington, North Carolina.  Russ and Marcia Harper hosted the Clan Wallace tent.  Frank Randall, Jean and Jeffrey Reece joined us for the Saturday.  Sunday we were joined by Craig and Therese Wallace.   Council member Amy Jenkins competed all weekend in the Women’s athletics. Amy will be competing in the Masters in Iceland this year.

These games are held at Rural Hill Farms in Huntersville, North Carolina.  Rural Hill, the homestead of Revolutionary War patriots Major John and Violet Wilson Davidson is located in the Catawba River Valley in northwest Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The Davidson family is representative of the thousands of Scots and Scots-Irish who contributed to the growth of the Carolinas and put a unique cultural stamp on the American South.

The entertainment included, Ed Miller, SYR, Scooter Muse, Father Son and Friends, and John Taylor.   Eleven pipe bands took the field in piping completion.  The Games included heavy athletics, Border Collies, Highland Wrestling, Historical Folk Life Encampment, Scottish Dancing and Children events.

Saturday events included a Flag Retirement Ceremony which SAMS (Scottish American Military Society) performed.

Russ and I would like to thank all that came out and enjoy the weekend with us.  We had a wonderful time and look forward to seeing you at other games.

 

Contributed by Marcia Harper

Inaugural Tartan Day North Carolina

The Inaugural Tartan Day North Carolina celebration was held on April 6, 2017 at the Raleigh Museum of History. North Carolina has a rich history of Scots relocating to the new world. During troubled times, many Highlanders relocated to the Cape Fear River Valley and from the Lowlands, Ulster Scots settled throughout the Piedmont and Southern Appalachians.

Clan Wallace and Clan Donald were invited to the Museum of History to help educated folks on how important Tartan Day is in North Carolina. Along with the two clans where Wake District Pipe and Drum, weaving demonstration, and sword dancing. Dr. Bruce Durie, spoke on finding your Scottish roots.

Russ and Marcia Harper set up a display of things that related to Scotland and North Carolina. Packets were created to hand out to teachers to help their students better understand what it is to be Scottish and how it relates to North Carolina. It was estimated that 600 home school children visited us for Tartan Day.

Thanks to all that came out and enjoyed the day.

Contributed by Marcia Harper

7th Annual Tartan Day South

The 7th annual Tartan Day South (SC) was held on April 1, 2017.  Sunshine and cold temperatures on Saturday greeted the twelve clan tents participating and Clan Wallace was among them.   Russ and Marcia Harper hosted the Clan Wallace tent.

Tartan Day South is held at the Historic Columbia Speedway, where Richard Petty had is first NASCAR race.

Carolina British Classic cars and Hurling where just some of the things you could enjoy.  The festival included athletics both men and women, Scottish dancing and Irish dancing, Children’s games face painting and storytelling, and three pipe bands.

What a great weekend we had.  Thanks to all that came out to enjoy the day with us.

Contributed by Marcia Harper

2nd Annual Myrtle Beach Highland Games

Clan President Russ Harper with wife Marcia

The Inaugural Myrtle Beach Highland Games (SC) was held on March 25, 2017.  These games are held at Market Commons in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.   Overcast day created the twenty three clan tents participating and Clan Wallace was among them.  Russ and Marcia Harper hosted the Clan Wallace tent.

The entertainment included the St. Andrews Pipes and Drum, Myrtle Beach Regional Pipe and Drum, Cross Creek Pipe and Drum, and the Coastal Shields Pipe and Drum, SYR and Tuatha Dea.  The Games included heavy athletics, Children’s Highland games competition, and Border Collie Demonstration.  The vendors at the games included, Near and Far, Timeless Irish Treasures, The Gaelic Shop, Metals & Pieces, Collegiate Tartan, The Celtic Knot, The Heelan Hound.

Thanks to all that came out and enjoyed the day.

Contributed by Marcia Harper

A “Splash of Tartan” at the 2017 Edinburgh Royal Tattoo

Special Message From Our President

We just received notice that Clan Wallace has been invited to actively participate the 2017 Edinburgh Royal Tattoo, A Splash of Tartan , on Monday night August 14th 2017. Come join with other Wallace’s and march in the opening ceremony.

This is a once and a lifetime opportunity to actually be part of the Tattoo at the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. There are only two requirements,

  1. Registration is through March 1st.
  2. participates have to wear tartan. Banners, weapons, pipers and drummers will all be welcome as are children.

What also makes this particular night special is that the BBC will be filming the event. (How often do events you participate in end up on TV?)

Our Clan Chief Andrew will not be able to attend, but has asked Falconer Wallace of Candacraig to stand in for him.

The Wallace Pipes and Drums of Malta will also be participating in the Tattoo, so there will be lots of Wallace Tartan in the event.

Ordering tickets will be through a special website with a password that identifies you as a member of Clan Wallace. Send me an email to obtain the link and password. We are doing this at the request of the Tattoo management to keep the code from getting in the hands of scalpers. We will also use this method to keep a list of all those attending so we know who to contact with more details as they become available.

Checkout the official Tattoo Website for more information about the Tattoo itself.

The Standing Council of Chief’s website has the latest list of Clans and Dates that other Clans will be participating.

I know this is late, but we received the official confirmation on January 24th. If you are interested but don’t have time to finalize a trip. Get your Tattoo tickets now and plan other stops in Scotland after March 1st.

If you don’t have a travel agent, or are intimidated by making reservations on the web, One of our members Lois Wallace, has a travel agency specializing in Celtic travel and tours. Call her at 775-567-0148 or email her

Marcia and I are seriously looking at going, so please come join us.