Although a town on the Welsh and English border, Oswestry has links to two notable figures who helped shape the independent Kingdom of Scotland, and are now part of Scottish national pride. These two individuals are Walter fitz Alan and Richard Wallace.

Born in circa 1110, fitz Alan was the brother of William FitzAlan, first Lord of Oswestry and head of the infamous FitzAlan family. In 1136, fitz Alan became a servant of King David I of Scotland, eventually receiving promotion to the position of Steward of Scotland in 1150, serving under Kings David I, Malcolm IV and William I. Fitz Alan died in 1177 at Melrose Abbey and is buried in Paisley Priory.

Richard Wallace was a member of the Clan Wallace and, therefore, a relation to William Wallace, affectionately known to many as ‘Braveheart’. A follower of fitz Alan and originally from Oswestry, Richard travelled to Scotland to improve his life and to serve as a vassal to fitz Alan before 1160. Upon arrival, Richard was granted his own estate in Kyle by King David I, which is where the name ‘Riccarton’, a village in Ayreshire originates. The name 'Wallace' is a corruption of the Germanic term 'Walask', 'Walahisk' or 'Walhisk', meaning 'stranger'.

Incidentally, the village of Kirkoswald, in Ayrshire, lies a few miles away from Kyle, and both the village and the kirk [church] are dedicated to King Oswald of Northumbria. Unlike his last battle in Oswestry, King Oswald successfully won a battle in the village in the 7th Century, 634 AD to be precise, and had his army build a chapel to celebrate his victory, which eventually became the kirk. The old kirk houses the baptismal font for King Robert I of Scotland, known to many as ‘Robert the Bruce'.

Next time, we shall be covering the link between Oswestry and Northumbria, including the Lancashire town of Oswaldtwistle and the Cumberland village also named Kirkoswald.


Mr. R. Clarke, Reader

Ms. S. Merson, Reader,_South_Ayrshire,_South_Ayrshire#/media/