MacCorkill's Scottish - Clan Histories - Wm. Wallace & MacGregor


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Clan Wallace and Clan MacGregor

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Featured Clan Histories this quarter: Wallace and MacGregor

HISTORY OF CLAN WALLACE - To all the Wallaces


Clan Wallace is for obvious reasons, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Clan History from Scotland, because of Scotland's Hero, William Wallace, Guardian of Scotland, defender of the freedom of Scotland.

This Clan has no Septs (or family members) just Wallace, this is the current Chief's decison.

Clansmen's Crest: A dexter arm in armour, embowed, in hand a sword, all proper.

Motto: Pro libertate sperandumest (For liberty we hope).

Gaelic Name: Uallas

Origin of Name: from Volcae, a tribe in North Gaul.

In the old Latin documents the term Wallenis, or Walenis, was used to designate the Welsh, but in Scotland it was used more particularly to designate the Britons of Strathclyde who were of the same stock. From this work came the name Wallace.

Richard Wallace, in the 12th century, obtained extensive lands in Aryshire, in the district now known as Riccarton. His son Henry Walays acquired lands in Renfrewshire and his decendant Sir Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie was the father of Scotland's greatest patriot, Sir William Wallace, who was his second son.

In his early years Wallace and his mother had to take refuge near Dunipace from the English, for the Wallaces refused to do homage to Edward I. While still very young, Wallace was the leader of a company of patriots, and his harassing tactics against the English earned for him the support of many nobles. His reprisal against the garrison at Lanark for the murder of his sweetheart, and the burning of the "barns of Ayr" in revenge for the murder of his uncle and other gentlemen who had been invited to a conference, gained him still more supporters. His military genius made him hated and feared by Edward I, and his only defeats were brought about by the jealousies and treachery of nobles froming his own armies. By treachery he was captured at Robroyston, near Glasgow, and delivered to Edward I, by Sir John Menteith. Wallace was brutally exceuted (drawn and quartered), his head impaled on the Tower of London, his body cut to pieces his arms and legs distributed to the four corners of Scotland to show the defiance of Edward I, in1305, but by his (Wallace's) example he kindled a spirit of independence in Scotland that was never extinguished.

The Wallaces of Craigie, of Cessnock, of Kelly, and of Cairnhill were all descended from the original family of Riccarton in Aryshire.

Due to the fact that Wallace's history has been so changed, added to, deleted, changed around, I am asking Skyelander, (Robert) to add to this clan history, the Concise History of Wallace. With permission of Robert Gunn, Medieval Historian, and author I will post his history with my Clan Wallace history, so that the true facts will be here for Wallace people.

Nancy MacCorkill,Lady
Author, Poet, F.S.A.Scot,
Clans Gunn, MacLeod of Lewis, and Keith(Marshall).
Sources: used heavily, MacBain, Innis, Former Lord Lyons
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©He/She who stealeth my written works, stealeth my soul
and my attorney will go soul searching.©



A brief look at the life and battles of Sir William Wallace: Written by Robert Gunn, Historian, MA
A brief history of Wallace, correcting some information conveyed by the movie Braveheart, as fact.

Wallace was born in Ellerslie, near Paisly in Scotland. His father was a Malcolm Wallace and Wallace had two brothers, John and Malcolm and possibly a sister. He was born around 1272. His early life is truthfully mostly unknown and most of what we think we know about his life is based on a oral poem by the minstrel Blind Harry, who told people of Wallace 200 (two hundred) years after Wallace was, much of it is legend.

Wallace did kill the Sheriff of Lanark to avenge the killing of his wife or girlfriend (no one is sure if he was married to her or not) Her name is thought to have been Marion Braidfute. (not Murron MacClannough). After he killed the sheriff (de Hazelrig) Wallace began to attract a following of loyal men who also wanted the English presence out of Scotland. He was a commoner or a minor noble, and never really had the support of the Major nobles, like Robert the Bruce,, Balliol or "Red" John Comyn. (all of Norman descent). Wallace's name suggests his relatives were originally from Wales or from the Strathclyde British area of Scotland.

He did have some other minor nobles that fought with him, in particular a Sir Andrew de Moray (later called Murray), who was his loyal friend and right hand man. De Moray was skilled in warfare and was instrumental and vital to Wallace in his victory at Stirling bridge.

Stirling Bridge:
In (1297) The battle of Stirling Bridge was fought on and by a narrow Bridge, (Stirling Bridge), not in an open field as portrayed, in Braveheart, the movie. It would have been extremely difficult to film the battle on the narrow bridge, thus it was portrayed in an open field in the movie. The English army, under the command of the Earl of Surrey (John de Warrenne) and the High Justicar of Scotland (Hugh de Cressingham).

The English attempted to cross the narrow bridge two horsemen at a time and as they began to gather on the Scottish side of the bridge, Wallace and de Moray also charged, trapping the English mounted knights in a closed pincer movement. The English at the other end of the Bridge could only watch, helplessly, as the Scots pulled the English knights from their horses and slaughtered them. It was a complete victory for Wallace. Unfortunately, his right hand man and good friend, Sir Andrew de Moray (not Mornay as in the movie, - that Mornay was fictional), was mortally wounded and died days later. Wallace now had to continue the fight without his best friend and best general.

Wallace never had a love affair with the princess of France, Isabella. She was only 7-9 years old at the time. This was fictional, poetic license, for the movie. Edward I, "Longshanks" was even more vicious than portrayed in the movie. His son, Edward II was indeed Gay, had a male lover, he was killed by his own men for being homosexual. One must remember that in those days, homosexuality was considered worse than murder, and we are talking about the history of those days.

After Wallace won the battle at Stirling, he was knighted and was given the title of "Guardian of Scotland", many say it was Robert the Bruce himself, who knighted Wallace, the facts on that are unclear.

In 1298, Edward I, returned to England and led an army north again to Scotland, to find and destroy Wallace's army. During the ride north, Edward's new Welsh archers, got into a killing fight with the English soldiers, and nearly destroyed the whole invasion force, but Edward I managed to restore calm, and went forth to Falkirk to meet Wallace.

Wallace had just adopted a new tactic for fighting heavy cavalry attack. The Scots had lighthorsemen , but not as many as the English heavy mounted knights, Wallace was outnumbered nearly 6 to 1.

Wallace's new tactic was long (12 foot) speared units of massed infantry, formed into box or oval shapes. They fought by using the reach of the spears to impale the charging English knights (they're horses actually). It was devastatingly effective. They were called "Schiltrons" pronounced Skil-trons.

By a twist of fate of fate, Edward I also came to Falkirk with a new battle tactic. He decided from his experience in Wales, to employ the Welsh archers in mass units to shower the enemy with arrows.

When the battle was met, Wallace looked out over the thousands of English knights and archers and saw his peril. He said to his men " I haif brocht ye to th' ring, hop gif ye can!" (meaning, in essence, good luck and fight well) He fought in the front ranks with his men swinging a large two-handed sword. He was apparently a very large man. At first, the battle went poorly for the English, Edwards I's younger knights, anxious to prove themselves, galloped full force into Wallace's Schiltron units, the speared units held and Edward lost many, many young knights that day. Wisely, though, Edward I, saw the danger and called back his mounted knights, and brought up the massed units of Welsh archers. They fired shower upon shower of longbow arrows on Wallace's tightly packed schiltron units and eventually, the schiltrons were weakened effectively enough for Edward's Knights to charge the enemy. About this time, some 10,000 of the Scots (mostly the mounted warriors) led by "Red" John Comyn, a rival of Robert the Bruce, quit the field and led his contingent of 10,000 horsemen and infantry off the field. Wallace had been betrayed! However the movie chose to make it appear that Robert the Bruce had betrayed him and this was not so. Eventually the combination of Welsh longbows and charging English cavalry were too much for the Scots and they were slaughtered on the field. Wallace managed to escape, and went into hiding for years. He resigned as "Guardian of Scotland" some say he went into a deep depression. Others state he went to France for help. He was generally unseen and unknown by the rest of Britain for the next 6 years, there was a great reward offered for him, and in 1305, he was betrayed by a minor noble named Sir John Menteith, who knew Wallace, and arranged for Wallace's capture while he was sleeping. Menteith captured Wallace, and took him to England to be executed.

Wallace told the Chief Royal Judge that he had "never pledged loyalty to Edward I, so how could he be guilty of treason?" Very question, but the English didn't see it that way and sentenced Wallace to be "Hung, drawn and quartered". The execution was carried out 23 August 1305.

Wallace was hung by the neck, cut down while still alive, then he was "drawn" which means his abdomen was cut open and he was disembowled, his intestines burnt before his eyes. Then, finally, he was beheaded and cut into four sections referred to as "quarters". His head was piked on London Bridge to rot. His four body sections were sent to the four major corners of southern Scotland.

I've given this brief description , it is just a quick outline of Wallace and his major battles, not an in-depth look at Wallace the man.

To read more about Wallace see my history web page shown on this web site as a link.

I belive the movie "Braveheart" was a great accomplishment, with realistically shown villagers and battles. It was the best movie about our Scottish Hero, that I had ever seen even from Scottish and English movie studios. For this reason, I believe the movie was nearly close to the actual history, with some fiction (mentioned above) thrown in for the story. Actually, the story of William Wallace needed no proping up, it was a great story of a great Scottish hero.

Robert M. Gunn, M.A.
Author, Editor, Medieval Historian.

©Skyelander, 10/96 RMG
©All Rights Reserved 1996-97 RMG©
This material may not be reproduced in any media, due to ©copyright.


Clandsmen's Crest: A lion's head, erased, crowned with an antique crown, proper.

Motto: 'S Roegmal mo dhream (My race is royal).

Gaelic name: MacGrioghair.

Origin of Name: Son of Gregory (flocksman).

Badge: Pine

War Cry: Ard-choille.

Pipe Music: Ruaig Ghlinne Freoine (Chase of Glen Fruin).

Septs or family names(original in ancient history) in Clan MacGregor:

Arrowsmith, Black, Bower, Bowmaker, Caird, Comrie, Denison, Dennison, Denson, Dochart, Docherty, Dowie, Fletcher, Gair, Garison, Garrison, Gregor, Gregorson, Gregory, Greig, Grewar, Greyson, Grier, Grierson, Grigor, Gruer, King, Latkie, Leckie, Lecky, Macadam, Macainsh, Macaldowie, Macalester, Macangus, Macalistir, Macalister, Macaldowie, Macanish, Macara, Macaree, Maccanish, Maccance,Maccansh, Macconachie, Maccondach, Maccondochie, Maccrouther, Macgregor, Macgrewar, Macgrigor, Macgrouther, Macgruder, Macgruer, Macgruther, MacIldowie, MacIlduff, MacIlduy, Macinnes,Macinstalker, Macleister, Macliver, Macnay, Macnea, Macnee, Macneice, Macneish, Macness, Macney, Macnie, Macniesh, Macnish, Macnocaird, Macnucator Macooachie, Macpeter, Macpetrie, Malloch, Neish, Nice, Nish, Nucator, Orr, Pattullo, Peat, Peter,Peters, Peterson, Petrie, Skinner, Stalker, Stringer, Walker, White, Whyte.(MANY NAMES ARE ALIAS', DUE TO THE PROSCRIPTION.)

"'S Roigmal mo dhream" (Royal is my race) is the claim of this, one of the most famous of Highland clans, and the principal branch of the Clan Alpine. The Clan trace their history to Griogar, son of King Alpin, in the 8th century.

The home of the clan was the eastern border of Argyll and the western border of Perthshire, including Glenorchy, Glenstrae, Glenyou and Glengyle.

The earliesat possession of the clan, Glenorchy, previously owned by the Campbells, was bestowed on the MacGregors for services rendered to Alexander II in his conquest of Argyll.

In the tradition of Gregor of Girig of the ancient Clan Alpin dynasty, the MacGregors held doggedly to the old Celtic clan rule of defending possession by the "fire and sword", in defiance of the "sheepskin feudal charters" obtained through marriage or more dubious means by powerful neighbours having a closer approach to the government's ear - notably the Campbells, Grahams and Colquhoune. After defeat of these last at Glen Fruin in 1603, there came a long sucession of vindictive ediote, fomenting and taking full excuse from the MacGregor's spirit of untamed resentment. For a long time the MacGregors maintained possession of their lands by right of fire and sword, but the enmity of surrounding clans resulted in attempts to displace the clan, and the inevitable retaliation by the MacGregors, who thus earned the reputation of being a turbulent clan. (One of my clans, Clan Gunn have been referred to many times in written history as "the MacGregors of the North", and I take it as a fine compliment. During these conflicts the Campbells were enabled to obtain grants of the MacGregor lands, the name of MacGregor was proscribed, and severe enactments were passed against the clan, whose unfortunate members were prosecuted and persecuted. Charles II, because of their support, repealed the acts against Clan Gregor, but upon the accession of William of Orange the acts of proscription were renewed, However, there were many loyal Scottish Clans who took in the MacGregors and sheltered and hitd them, at their own peril. That was a great Scot trait, and it makes one proud of those brave clans. It was not until 1775 that the penal statutes against the MacGregors were finally repealed.

They had been forbidden to have their name, tartan, weapons, music, bagpipes, anything Scottish that the MacGregors held dear. They could no longer be a Clan. The name of MacGreagor was not allowed to be spoken.

After the restoration of their rights a meeting of the clan was held and John Murray of Lanrick, (afterwards titled, Sir John MacGregor, Bart.), descended from the family of Glenstrae, was recognized as chief.

Rob Roy (1671-1743) the celebrated freebooter and hero of Sir Walter Scott's romance was son of Lieutenant Col. Donald MacGregor of Glengyle. His true story will be told on these pages soon.

*Author's personal note:

This clan suffered a great injustice because they were caught up in the religious conflict of the Catholic north and the Protestant nation of England. England, determined to get rid of the Catholic support for the French descended Kings of Scotland; the Catholic religion and the clans who still supported it. The Auld Alliance with France was still in place. The Highlanders, were set upon by the government of "the soon to be Hanovarians - the type of thing that happened at Glencoe and with the MacGregors was caused by the "reformation that England wanted to see, and that John Knox was in command of in Scotland". Reforms of any type take their toll, but in Scotland, it was a dangerous time, and if the clan had supported the Scottish Catholic Kings (and most did), they were set upon by the English government, with the help of some clans in Scotland who themselves had aligned themselves with King George, a German who married into the position, and the Protestant cause. They were set upon in Scotland itself by John Knox, who was determined to make all Scots protestants, to the point of being a fanatic. This was a time of great emotional strife in Scotland.

*Author's personal opinion: That is why some highlanders to this day will not wear the "diced" balmoral or glengarry caps. The "diced" area meant the wearer, supported the English Hanovarian government, and still means that. Whether, Protestant or Catholic, it was not a popular thing in Scotland to support the country who had beaten it and then oppressed them. From the other point of view, the English felt that they had to destroy the clan system and get rid of Catholicism, and in order to control the "wild" Scots. It is probably true, but I am a Highlander, and it still does not come easy, not to take sides on this issue.

Nancy MacCorkill F.S.A.
Author, Poet,
Historian of the Ancient Clans of Scotland
Clans Gunn, MacLeod of Lewis, Keith and Wallace.
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KILL THE MacGREGORS!©"Written for or by Highland Web, all rights reserved to them"

Many more people outside of the Highlands of Scotland have heard of the name Rob Roy MacGregor because of the recent film made of this famous Highlander's exploits. Rob Roy actually existed, one of history's larger than life characters, a fearless fighter from a far off time.

He belonged to Clan Gregor - a clan which suffered and endured more than most over the centuries,savagely hunted by both king, state officials and neighbours, all seemingly hellbent on nothing less than its complete extermination.

But though often left without lands, and even name, Clan Gregor showed a spirit and tenacity which earned them respect and often admiration from many of their fellow clansmen across the Highlands. Historically, Clan Gregor lands lay widely scattered, in parcels from the western end of Perthshire to the wild mountains and glens of Argyll. With the rise of other, and subsequently more powerful clans, such as the Campbells, members of Clan Gregor were reduced more and more to the role of tenant - even though their natural allegiance was to their own chief, MacGregor of Glenstrae, not their landlord. As well as tenant, paying rent to an alien laird, members of the clan were also obliged to make up the numbers when it came to the inevitable inter-clan disputes, skirmishes and fights so common across the Highlands.

Traditionally, the Clan Gregor chief had a pretty impossible situation on his hands, because although he was responsible by law for the deeds of his clansmen, they were scattered across other clan lands where he effectively had no control over them. The landlords, of course, did and so it was little wonder MacGregors seemed often mixed up in much of the raiding and killing which was almost a way of life in the Highlands of 400 years ago.

The 16th century was a pretty bad time for the MacGregors. Neighbouring chiefs attempted to hunt them down in 1562, for example, and then some two years later they had another unsuccessful crack at it. Two decades on and James VI tried his hand at taming the "wicked and unhappie race of the clan Gregour". Sounds like there was more than a little bit of politics behind the move. No sooner had the king attained the throne than an Act of Council outlawed the clan. The name was also abolished because, according to the king, it led clan members "to presume of thair power, force and strenthe", thus encouraging them in their law breaking. The move certainly produced results, although not immediately. However, a year later, the chief and 11 clansmen were hanged in Edinburgh. A price of 1,000 - an incredible sum in those days - was put on the heads of other leaders of the clan, 100 merks for minor members, and there were pardons on offer for every clansman who brought in the head of another clansman of equal rank.

The hunt continued and the cruelty intensified over the coming decades. There were even attempts to forcibly settle the MacGregor clan women and children in the Lowlands. The MacGregor wives were even branded on the face. The carrying of weapons was prohibited, and only four clansmen were allowed to gather together at any one time. But there were clans, both near and far, who were prepared to risk the wrath of the crown to give MacGregors shelter and protection. The persecution of the clan continued off and on throughout the century and into the next, yet despite this, it somehow survived with its identity remaining intact. And whenever the opportunity arose the clan fought back!

Incredibly, during the various Jacobite rebellions, Clan Gregor always managed to muster some kind of presence. In the rising of 1745, for example, two companies of MacGregors fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Stuart cause.

But it was not until almost 30 years later, in 1774, that the centuries of persecution of the MacGregors ended finally, and officially, with the removal of the outlaw tag first placed on the clan by King James VI.

And as if to prove that all really had been forgiven, in 1822 and in 1953 the clan was given a place of honour in the escort that carried the 'Honours of Scotland' before the Sovereign.

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Copyright 1995/96 Highlands Web Ltd.

[ Author's note: I could have written my own account of this sad episode "the MacGregors", but I was very much pleased with the impact of the article from the above source. I hope you enjoy my Clan Histories and the brief but insiteful articles about them that follow the Clan Histories.........Scone.



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