Very little is
known about Harry's life. He probably came from central Scotland, of a noble family, and it is traditionally assumed that he was blind from birth. There are references to five payments made to him (under the name "Blind Harry") by James VI between April 1490 and
January 1492. At the instigation
of Sir William
Wallace of Craigie and Sir James Liddale of
Creich he wrote "Wallace" (c1477), the long poem in 12 books for which he is famous, and a main source (though now known to be somewhat inaccurate) of information about William Wallace's life. The Wallace of the film "Braveheart" is loosely drawn from Harry's idealised hero. It has been suggested that Harry may also have written the
anonymous "Ballet of the Nine Nobles", "Rauf
Coilzear" and "Golagros and Gawane".
Harry's Wallace, ed. M. P. McDiarmid (STS 1968-69).