TWO local history buffs are on the hunt for a famous Port Glasgow relic after discovering a fascinating link between William Wallace and Inverclyde.

Friends Cha Halliday, 50, from Greenock, and Sean Donnelly, 45, from Inverkip, have visited over 100 sites the length and breadth of Scotland researching the famous Scottish patriot.

But they were stunned when, after travelling hundreds of miles to see historical sites relating to Wallace, they found a link right on their doorstep in Port Glasgow.

Local legend has it that after Wallace was captured by the English and taken to Dumbarton Castle in August 1305 to await transfer to London to stand trial for treason, he was taken to the Port and chained to a tree.

That tree is believed to have been where Holy Family Church now stands and it was there until 1995, when it blew down during heavy storms.

A chain, thought to be the one used to restrain Wallace, remained at the scene for many years and each time it rotted away it was replaced, with the latest one understood to have dated back to Victorian times.

It was also painted red each year by local children to symbolise the blood shed by Wallace and the area was a popular spot for wedding photos of couples getting hitched at Holy Family.

But the chain is no longer there and friends Cha and Sean, who are now on the hunt for the relic, have appealed to Tele readers for their help.

Sean said: “We have been to many sites so far but the local story has captured our attention. Even more interesting is that a priest from 1995, a Father Tosh, removed the chain and we believe he still has this.

“Fr Tosh we understand has left the priesthood and is believed now to be married and in nursing, and we are trying to track him down.

“If only we could source this chain it would be a great find.” The duo are also on the hunt for another vital piece of their puzzle.

Sean said: “Sadly the tree blew down in 1995. But legend has it that after it blew down one of the priests — Father Quinn — who tried to save the tree, had a local carpenter make a statue of Padre Pio from the oak. We understand he has passed away but if we could find that statue it would be a fantastic find.” Sean and Cha are documenting their journey on Facebook at Anyone with information about the statue or the chain can call Sean on 07939 898359 or Cha on 07903 252149 or email