Friday, August 24, 2012

He was hunted as a fugitive, sheltered by the MacDonalds to become Scotland's most famous King

A longer blog post than usual. People are interested in the story of the most famous King of Scots, Robert the Bruce. His family title was Robert V111 de Bruce. He hid out on with the West coast as a fugitive guarded by his friend Angus Og, the MacDonald Chief. He had a sad family life. We think he looked like this.

In 1307 the King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce was in hiding, in the West Coast of Scotland the world's most glorious playground. He had a close band of followers, including the High Steward of Scotland and was being looked after by his friend Angus Og, chief of the MacDonalds.. A terrible fate awaited him if he was caught. He would have been taken to London to be hanged, drawn and quartered. He would have had a show trial, would have been scorned and abused by the London crowds. His sadistic rival Edward 1st of England would have him found guilty. This dreadful punishment was reserved only for the men most hated by Edward and Bruce was his leading opponent. He had already done this to David, Prince of Wales, for his so-called treason, and to the rebel Scots Knight, William Wallace, again for treason.

As they scrambled in MacDonald boats from island to island, from Rathlin to Islay, to Mull then probably to Tioram Castle on Ardnamurchan, hiding from Edward's fleet often in the open or in caves, the followers of the King formed a close bond of friendship. Bruce spoke Gaelic, which was a great asset in the Highlands. No one there spoke either English nor French.

Their triumph was to come in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn where the Scots army faced overwhelming odds, yet emerged victorious. One year later, Robert the Bruce's daughter, Marjorie, married his friend Walter, the High Steward of Scotland. In triumph, Bruce gave Angus Og the lands of Duror and Glencoe, he gave the Campbells the castle of Inverlochy and the Oban area, and into Appin he put the Stewarts. The Appin land lay strategically between both of the clans probably in case of trouble between them.

Little did any of them know that the marriage would be the foundation of the magnificent line of Stewart Kings and Queens for 400 years. Their son became Robert 11, and their successors included Mary Queen of Scots, the executed Charles 1st, and the final Stewart monarch, Queen Anne. Their homelands in Appin were very important to the Stewarts. James IV often visited his cousin in Stalker Castle, Appin in the 15th century for hunting and fishing.

Bruce's family story was extremely sad. His wife died in childbirth at 19. While he was in revolt his 2nd wife, two sisters and his daughter were turned over to the English King. His brother was executed brutally. The women were imprisoned for years, two of them were put in cages for 4 years hung in public view. They were released after Bannockburn in exchange for hostages.

When she was released Marjorie married The High Steward. She had a child, David, who later became King. Then 2 years after Bannockburn she fell off a horse near Paisley and died. She was just 19, the same age as her mother.

The picture shows a forensic reconstruction of Robert the Bruce's features, as he might have looked just before his death at the age of 55 It was created by a forensic scientist using a cast made of a skull, unearthed during excavations at Dunfermline Abbey in 1818 and believed to have been that of the Scottish king.
It shows Bruce with a deep scar across his face and eye and ravaged by leprosy. It is known that Bruce suffered from dysentery and a skin illness, which may have been leprosy, though someauthorities dispute this.

HISTORY LINKS Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area

1 comment:

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Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
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