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


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.

A Heroine for Scotland

The National Wallace Monument reveals the result of Scotland’s Heroine project

Mary Slessor and Maggie Keswick Jencks were unveiled on April 19th, 2017 as the first women who will be commemorated in The Hall of Heroes at The National Wallace Monument in Stirling, following a campaign that has captured the hearts and minds of the public across the globe.

The historic announcement marks the start of the most significant development in The Hall of Heroes since the first busts of Robert Burns and King Robert the Bruce were installed in 1886, and is the culmination of a four-month project that began with a shortlist of 14 remarkable Scottish women followed by a public vote to choose the one woman to be inaugurated into the Hall of Heroes.

From the thousands of votes which were cast online and by visitors to the Monument, the two women emerged clearly as the frontrunners, and following scrutiny of all votes the Selection Panel took the momentous decision that both Mary Slessor and Maggie Keswick Jencks should be welcomed into the Hall of Heroes.

Zillah Jamieson, Chair of Stirling District Tourism, explained: “This has been an incredible campaign, one which has ignited passions and has stimulated an amazing response. The level of enthusiasm for women to be given recognition has been truly inspirational – and the challenge for us as a self-funding charity has been to raise the funds required to embark on this project, and to now introduce these women into The Hall of Heroes. We are proud that we have been able to do this – with the help and the support of the visitors who come to the Monument”.

Missionary Mary Slessor, and co-founder of the Maggie’s Centres, Maggie Keswick Jencks, will join the gallery alongside the existing sixteen busts of famous men from Scotland’s history.

Both women exhibited selflessness and personal commitment to social improvement, and through their efforts to help others they achieved worldwide recognition.

Mary Slessor (1848-1915) has been described as the most celebrated Scottish missionary since David Livingstone, who inspired her to a life of service. Determined to overcome the challenges of her early years, and largely self-taught, she combined her missionary zeal with a practical approach to helping those in need, and she worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for the people of Calabar, in Nigeria – against a background of prejudice and opposition.

Described as “selfless” and “exceptionally unique”, the opportunity to see Mary Slessor recognised as a heroine prompted many voters to share their own stories of how she inspired them, with one writing how “I became a full time missionary at the age of 21, after reading her biography.”

Rev Ian Alexander, Secretary of the World Mission Council of the Church of Scotland, said: “We are thrilled and delighted that Mary Slessor has been chosen as one of the first women to be immortalised in the Hall of Heroes. She is an iconic figure in Scotland and her pioneering work in Calabar, Nigeria, remains an inspiration to this day.  Today, the Church of Scotland, internationally, nationally and locally, continues her legacy in its commitment to work with partners around the world in addressing justice, health issues, and opportunities for all people to live full and productive lives, whether male or female, whether young or old.”

A writer, gardener and designer from Dumfries, Maggie Keswick Jencks (1941-1995), with her husband Charles founded the Maggie’s Centres, which offer practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer, their family and friends. She designed the blueprint for the centres, the first of which opened in Edinburgh in 1996, while she herself was facing cancer.

Voters in their hundreds chose to show their support for the “amazing” Maggie Keswick Jencks, with many highlighting how the Maggie’s Centres positively impacted their lives. Emphasising just how much the services they provide are appreciated, and how much their founder is admired, one comment read – “Maggie’s Centre has been so vital to our family, an inspirational lady who made so many people’s lives a little easier at a terrible time.”

Maggie’s Chief Executive Laura Lee said: “It is quite incredible to think that Maggie has been chosen, by the public, to be the first Scottish woman alongside Mary Slessor to join the Hall of Heroes. All the women on the shortlisted would have been worthy of a place amongst the likes of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, but perhaps the result reflects how many people are affected by cancer. Maggie deserves to be honoured for her vision of a different type of cancer care, but I think she would be surprised to find herself in such illustrious company.”

Abby Richards, from Stirling District Tourism, unveils the winners – Mary Slessor and Maggie Keswick Jencks as the first women to be commemorated in the Hall of Heroes gallery at the iconic tourist attraction in Scotland



Courtesy of Katie Goodfellow at Represent and the Wallace National Monument