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  3. The True Story of Robert the Bruce, Scotland’s ‘Outlaw King’
  4. Robert the Bruce: Scotland's Warrior King

The extant chamberlain's accounts for detail a manor house at Cardross with king's and queen's chambers and glazed windows, a chapel, kitchens, bake- and brew-houses, falcon aviary , medicinal garden, gatehouse, protective moat and a hunting park. There was also a jetty and beaching area for the 'king's coble' for fishing alongside the 'king's great ship'. As most of mainland Scotland's major royal castles had remained in their razed state since around —14, Cardross manor was perhaps built as a modest residence sympathetic to Robert's subjects' privations through a long war, repeated famines and livestock pandemics.

Before Cardross became habitable in , Robert's main residence had been Scone Abbey. Robert had been suffering from a serious illness from at least The Lanercost Chronicle and Scalacronica state that the king was said to have contracted and died of leprosy. The earliest mention of this illness is to be found in an original letter written by an eye-witness in Ulster at the time the king made a truce with Sir Henry Mandeville on 12 July The writer of this letter reported that Robert was so feeble and struck down by illness that he would not live, 'for he can scarcely move anything but his tongue'.

Nor is there any evidence of an attempt in his last years to segregate the king in any way from the company of friends, family, courtiers, or foreign diplomats. In October the Pope finally lifted the interdict from Scotland and the excommunication of Robert. With Moray by his side, Robert set off from his manor at Cardross for Tarbert on his 'great ship', thence to the Isle of Arran , where he celebrated Christmas of at the hall of Glenkill near Lamlash. Thence he sailed to the mainland to visit his son and his bride, both mere children, now installed at Turnberry Castle, the head of the earldom of Carrick and once his own main residence.

He fasted four or five days and prayed to the saint, before returning by sea to Cardross. Barbour and other sources relate that Robert summoned his prelates and barons to his bedside for a final council at which he made copious gifts to religious houses, dispensed silver to religious foundations of various orders, so that they might pray for his soul, and repented of his failure to fulfil a vow to undertake a crusade to fight the ' Saracens ' in the Holy Land.

After his death his heart was to be removed from his body and, accompanied by a company of knights led by Sir James Douglas , taken on pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem , before being interred in Melrose Abbey upon its return from the Holy Land : [52] [74] [75]. Robert also arranged for perpetual soul masses to be funded at the chapel of Saint Serf , at Ayr and at the Dominican friary in Berwick , as well as at Dunfermline Abbey.

Robert died on 7 June , at the Manor of Cardross, near Dumbarton.

Apart from failing to fulfill a vow to undertake a crusade he died utterly fulfilled, in that the goal of his lifetime's struggle—untrammelled recognition of the Bruce right to the crown—had been realised, and confident that he was leaving the kingdom of Scotland safely in the hands of his most trusted lieutenant, Moray, until his infant son reached adulthood. It remains unclear just what caused the death of Robert, a month before his fifty-fifth birthday.

Contemporary accusations that Robert suffered from leprosy, the "unclean sickness"—the present-day, treatable Hansen's disease —derived from English and Hainault chroniclers. None of the Scottish accounts of his death hint at leprosy. Penman states that it is very difficult to accept the notion of Robert as a functioning king serving in war, performing face-to-face acts of lordship, holding parliament and court, travelling widely and fathering several children, all while displaying the infectious symptoms of a leper.

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His Milanese physician, Maino De Maineri , did criticise the king's eating of eels as dangerous to his health in advancing years. A team of researchers, headed by Professor Andrew Nelson from University of Western Ontario have determined that Robert the Bruce did not have leprosy. They examined the original casting of the skull belonging to Robert the Bruce's descendant Lord Andrew Douglas Alexander Thomas Bruce, and a foot bone that had not been re-interred. They determined that skull and foot bone showed no signs of leprosy, such as an eroded nasal spine and a pencilling of the foot bone.

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The king's body was embalmed , and his sternum sawn open to allow extraction of the heart, which Sir James Douglas placed in a silver casket to be worn on a chain around his neck, with Sir Simon Locard holding the key. Robert's viscera were interred in the chapel of Saint Serf the ruins of which are located in the present-day Levengrove Park in Dumbarton , his regular place of worship and close to his manor house in the ancient Parish of Cardross. A file of mourners on foot, including Robert Stewart and a number of knights dressed in black gowns, accompanied the funeral party into Dunfermline Abbey.

A canopy chapel or 'hearse' of imported Baltic wood was erected over the grave. Robert I's body, in a wooden coffin, was then interred within a stone vault beneath the floor, underneath a box tomb of white Italian marble purchased in Paris by Thomas of Chartres after June When a projected international crusade failed to materialise, Sir James Douglas and his company, escorting the casket containing Bruce's heart, sailed to Spain where Alfonso XI of Castile was mounting a campaign against the Moorish kingdom of Granada. In August the Scots contingent formed part of the Castilian army besieging the frontier castle of Teba.

Under circumstances which are still disputed, Sir James and most of his companions were killed. The sources all agree that, outnumbered and separated from the main Christian army, a group of Scots knights led by Douglas was overwhelmed and wiped out. The surviving members including Sir Simon Locard of the company recovered Douglas' body together with the casket containing Bruce's heart.

The heart, together with Douglas' bones were brought back to Scotland. In accordance with Bruce's written request, the heart was buried at Melrose Abbey in Roxburghshire. It was reburied in Melrose Abbey in , pursuant to the dying wishes of the King. On 17 February , workmen breaking ground on the new parish church to be built on the site of the eastern choir of Dunfermline Abbey uncovered a vault before the site of the former abbey high altar.

Over the head of the body the lead was formed into the shape of a crown. The Barons of Exchequer ordered that the vault was to be secured from all further inspection with new stones and iron bars and guarded by the town constables, and that once the walls of the new church were built up around the site, an investigation of the vault and the remains could take place.

The cloth of gold shroud and the lead covering were found to be in a rapid state of decay since the vault had first been opened 21 months earlier. The sternum was found to have been sawn open from top to bottom, permitting removal of the king's heart after death.

The skeleton, lying on the wooden coffin board, was then placed upon the top of a lead coffin and the large crowd of curious people who had assembled outside the church were allowed to file past the vault to view the king's remains. The published accounts of eyewitnesses such as Henry Jardine and James Gregory confirm the removal of small objects at this time. Bruce's descendants include all later Scottish monarchs and all British monarchs since the Union of the Crowns in A large number of families definitely are descended from him.

His tomb, imported from Paris , was extremely elaborate, carved from gilded alabaster. It was destroyed at the Reformation , but some fragments were discovered in the 19th century now in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The site of the tomb in Dunfermline Abbey was marked by large carved stone letters spelling out "King Robert the Bruce" around the top of the bell tower , when the eastern half of the abbey church was rebuilt in the first half of the 19th century.

In the Bruce Memorial Window was installed in the north transept , commemorating the th anniversary of the year of his birth. It depicts stained glass images of the Bruce flanked by his chief men, Christ , and saints associated with Scotland. A statue of Robert the Bruce is set in the wall of Edinburgh Castle at the entrance, along with one of William Wallace. The building also contains several frescos depicting scenes from Scots history by William Brassey Hole in the entrance foyer, including a large example of Bruce marshalling his men at Bannockburn.

A statue of Robert Bruce stands in the High Street in Lochmaben and another in Annan erected in front of the town's Victorian hall. An annual commemorative dinner has been held in his honour in Stirling since According to a legend, at some point while he was on the run after the Battle of Methven, Bruce hid in a cave where he observed a spider spinning a web, trying to make a connection from one area of the cave's roof to another. It tried and failed twice, but began again and succeeded on the third attempt.

Inspired by this, Bruce returned to inflict a series of defeats on the English, thus winning him more supporters and eventual victory. The story serves to illustrate the maxim: "if at first you don't succeed, try try try again. The entire account may in fact be a version of a literary trope used in royal biographical writing. A similar story is told, for example, in Jewish sources about King David , and in Persian folklore about the Mongolian warlord Tamerlane and an ant.

Riding with the heavy cavalry, de Bohun caught sight of Bruce, who was armed only with his battle-axe. De Bohun lowered his lance and charged, and Bruce stood his ground. At the last moment, Bruce swiftly dodged the lance, raised in his saddle, and with one mighty swing of his axe, struck Bohun so hard that he split his iron helmet, and his head in two, a blow so powerful that it shattered the very weapon into pieces.

Afterwards the King merely expressed regret that he had broken the shaft of his favourite axe. To this day, the story stands in folklore as a testament of the determination of the Scottish people and their culture. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. King of Scots from until his death in For other uses, see Robert Bruce disambiguation. The face of Robert the Bruce by forensic sculptor Christian Corbet. Isabella of Mar Elizabeth de Burgh. This section needs additional citations for verification.

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The True Story of "Outlaw King" | History | Smithsonian

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Battle of Bannockburn. Main article: Bruce campaign in Ireland. Main article: Dunfermline Abbey. Ancestors of Robert the Bruce 8. Robert Bruce, 4th Lord of Annandale 4. Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale 9. Isobel of Huntingdon 2. Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale Gilbert de Clare, 5th Earl of Hertford 5. Isabella de Clare Isabel Marshal 1. Robert I of Scotland Cailean mac Donnchaidh 6. Niall, Earl of Carrick 3.

The True Story of Robert the Bruce, Scotland’s ‘Outlaw King’

Marjorie Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland 7. Margaret Stewart See also: Cultural depictions of Robert the Bruce. Lochmaben has a claim, as a possession of the Bruce family, but is not supported by a medieval source. Contemporary claims of the Bruce estate at Writtle , Essex, during the coronation of Edward, have been discounted by G. Excavations of —09 identified the likely site of the manor house at 'Pillanflatt', Renton, West Dunbartonshire , beside the River Leven, opposite Dumbarton and some 4 miles east of the modern village of Cardross; however, historic cultivated land, quarry and canal works at Mains of Cardross may also point to a possible location for Robert's manor.

Scottish History: Robert The Bruce. Heinemann Library. King Robert the Bruce. Retrieved 3 November BBC News. Kaeuper Woodbridge, , pp. Edinburgh: Birlinn. Retrieved July 11, National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 10 August University of Glasgow. Retrieved 19 June History of Dentistry Research Newsletter. Archived from the original PDF on 1 February Retrieved 24 September Western News.

Retrieved 2 March Duncan Regesta Regum Scottorum, vol. Retrieved 20 June Historum — History Forums. Retrieved 23 May Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Diffinicione successionis ad regnum Scottorum: royal succession in Scotland in the later middle ages. In: Making and breaking the rules: succession in medieval Europe, c.

Turnhout: Brepols. The Bruce. Canongate Classics. Edinburgh: Canongate Books. LI, no. The Church of Scotland. Retrieved 20 October Retrieved 28 January June Retrieved 9 November Retrieved 27 July Retrieved 9 September Retrieved 5 February Herald Scotland. Retrieved 22 February Brown, Chris , Robert the Bruce.

Dunbar, Archibald H. Douglas, pp. Duncan, A. Fawcett, Richard ed. Grant A, and Stringer, Keith J. The Making of British History Routledge, pp. Loudoun, Darren , Scotlands Brave.

Robert the Bruce: Scotland's Warrior King

Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots. New Haven: Yale University Press. Robert the Bruce: King of Scots. New York: Barnes and Noble. Freedom's Sword. University of Virginia: Roberts Rinehart Publishers. Watson, Fiona, J. Under the Hammer: Edward I and Scotland, — Tuckwell Press, East Linton. House of Bruce. Pictish and Scottish monarchs. Mormaers or earls of Carrick. Adam of Kilconquhar ; 2. Namespaces Article Talk.

Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale. Marjorie, Countess of Carrick. Married Thomas Isaac; [] had two daughters. Succeeded his father as King of Scots. Married 1 in Joan of England ; no issue; married 2 in Margaret Drummond ; no issue.

Younger twin brother of David II. Sir Robert Bruce. Killed at the Battle of Dupplin Moor. May not have been a daughter of Robert. Accorded the names Christina de Cairns and Christina Flemyng. Possibly identical to a certain Christina of Carrick attested in Possibly a son of Robert's brother Neil. Robert Bruce, 4th Lord of Annandale. It failed six times, but at the seventh attempt, succeeded. Bruce took this to be an omen and resolved to struggle on. Bruce was King of Scotland from — There are two men whose names were a clarion call to all Scots. Robert the Bruce — Robert the Bruce, as every school-child knows, was inspired by a spider!

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