[MR] Wikipedia: Death of Robert the Bruce
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 7 03:46:43 PDT 2023
Noble Friends, especially fellow Scots,
On this date in 1329 King of Scots Robert the Bruce died at his
manor/hunting lodge in Cardross, Scotland, on the north bank of the Clyde
Robert the Bruce resumed William Wallace's war of Scottish resistance
against the conquest by Edward I in 1306. He was crowned King of Scots that
year. After some early failures, King Robert waged a carefully planned
guerilla war against the English occupiers, and against any Scots who still
sided with the English. He was particularly adept at taking castles, often
by stealth or ruse, and then slighting them so they could no longer be used
as strongholds by the English.
Finally in 1314, King Robert was able to lure the English under King Edward
II into a set-piece battle on a carefully chosen site at Bannockburn. The
result was a humiliating English defeat, which secured Scotland's
independence for the rest of King Robert's reign.
As early as 1327, Robert the Bruce was suffering from a mysterious illness.
Many commentators have suggested he had leprosy, but that is rarely fatal
in itself (and has often been used as a slander, since leapers were
automatically outcast by society). In April 1329, he made a final
pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Ninian at Whithorn on Scotland's southern
coast, possibly in hope of a miracle cure. When he failed to recover, King
Robert retired to his Cardross estate where he passed away just short of 55
The king's entrails were buried in the local church of St. Serf not far
from the estate. His body was buried in Dunfermline Abbey. Although the
tomb was desecrated during the Scottish reformation, his body remained
undisturbed. In the 1818 the tomb was opened during construction at the
Abbey site. In what passed for scientific investigation at that time,
measurements of the skeleton were taken (he was determined to have been
over 6-feet tall) and a cast was made from the skull before the tomb was
again sealed. And there he remains today.
King Robert had vowed to go on crusade against the Sarasans, but had been
unable to fulfill that pledge. Upon his deathbed, he ordered that his heart
was to be cut from his body and taken on crusade in the Holy Land In other
versions he ordered his heart to be taken on pilgrimage to the Church of
the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Sir James Douglas was given this task.
A company of Scottish knights were dispatched on the quest, but only got as
far as Spain where they attached themselves to King Alfonso XI of Castile
who was trying to eject the Moors from Granada. At the Battle of Teba, the
Scottish knights were cut off from the main Spanish force, and most were
massacred. According to legend, Douglas, who carried Robert the Bruce's
heart in a silver casket around his neck, threw the talisman into the midst
of the Moors with the cry, "Now pass thou onward as thou wert wont, and
Douglas will follow thee or die." And die he did.
Sir William Keith, who was on the sidelines at Teba due to a broken arm,
recovered the casket and Douglas's body. The corpse was defleshed and the
bones returned to Scotland. King Robert's heart was also returned and
buried at Melrose Abbey.
In 1921 a human heart was found buried at Melrose Abbey. As there were no
other known heart burials at the abbey, this was assumed to be King
Robert's. The heart was placed in a lead cylinder and reburied. It was
found again in 1996, and after examination was reburied again under a
memorial stone where hopefully it will remain for eternity.
More about Robert the Bruce is at
Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
Keeping the Merry Rose relevant and in business for 16 years.
More information about the Atlantia