A great history lesson on Robert the Bruce can be found at www.scotshistory.org . You can read an eight
part series on King
Robert I (the Bruce) 1306-29
(See Photos below)
Robert the Bruce, 2nd Earl of Carrick and grandson of the old Competitor had supported
Edward I against Balliol but, when Wallace renounced the guardianship of Scotland Bruce
and Balliol's nephew, John "Red" Comyn replaced him as joint guardians. After a
quarrel with Comyn he returned to Edward's camp and obtained a pardon. Bruce, seeking a
reconciliation with Comyn, impulsively stabbed him at Dumfries in a church. He was again
outlawed by Edward and excommunicated. Bruce claimed the Scottish throne as
great-great-grandson of David I and was crowned at Scone in 1306. He went into hiding in a
cave on an island off Ireland after he killed Red Comyn. This is where we get the legend
of Bruce and the spider. We do not know if this is a true story but it makes a good
legend. He watched the spider spinning its web and attempting to fix the web to the
ceiling. At last the spider succeeded. According to the legend, this inspired Bruce to
overcome his many hardships and persevere until he had won back Scotland. He made plans to
take back his original home, Turnberry Castle. As they made their way to the castle, the
plan was that if all was well, a light would be showing at the castle wall. They did see
the light but upon nearing the castle, discovered that it was an enemy fire. Nonetheless,
Bruce attacked and by this surprise attack gained food, armour and horses. He
learned that three of his brothers and his wife, daughter and two sisters had been
imprisoned by the English. Although he was now King, he was not well supported by the
nobles and so Scottish lands and castles remained in the hands of the English. He knew
that he would have to fight castle by castle in order to regain Scotland and drive the
English out. Through his perseverance, by 1324 all castles in Scotland except
Stirling were in Scottish hands. By this time Edward II was on the throne of England
and was much more ineffectual than his father.
Bruce's much smaller force spectacularly defeated Edward II's 20,000 strong army at
The Declaration of Arbroath, an affirmation of Scottish independence, was sent to the Pope
but the Pope did not recognize Bruce for four years as the rightful king of Scotland.
After Edward III ascended to the throne, Bruce's army harassed the English so much that
Edward III was forced to acknowledge his sovereignty and Scotland's freedom.
Not long after the peace Bruce died. He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey. He had always
wanted to go on a crusade. When he died his heart was placed in a silver casket and kept
by Sir James Douglas who planned to take it on a crusade to the Holy Lands. Douglas
joined the army of the King of Spain and while fighting a battle was killed. But before he
died, he threw the casket in the midst of the battle crying, "Now go before, brave
heart, as you always did, and I shall follow you or die." The casket was recovered
and returned to Scotland.
At the end of Bruce's life, he had achieved what he had fought for years to accomplish.
Scotland was once again an independent kingdom. Scotland remembers him as "Good King
Robert" and his triumph at Bannockburn is a rallying cry to Scots everywhere.
Scotland would never again be conquered. Bruce's final legacy was to confirm
"Scotland as separate and distinct, not just as a kingdom but as a community, a
people and ultimately a nation."
Robert The Bruce
Robert The Bruce
Bruce and Wallace
Bruce and Wife Edward
Next, David II