King of Scots, Independent Scotland, and Robert The Bruce (1306.03.25)

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Robert the Bruce was one of the most respected warriors of his generation. He was crowned “King Of Scots” on the 25th of March 1305.  Often called ‘Good King Robert’, he is best known for his conquest of the English army under Edward II at Bannockburn in 1314.

ROBERT THE BRUCE ON KRNN, 3/25:  A medieval Caledonia hero securing Scotland’s independence from England, Robert The Bruce was crowned King Of The Scots on this date in 1306.  An all-Scottish playlist awaits you, with no need for an epic battle, and simply by tuning your radio to Crosscurrents, 3/25 at 8 am.

Historians from the Historic Environment Scotland have looked at the lesser known bits of information about the Outlaw King.  (Nicki Scott, cultural resources advisor at HES)

Family Affair

Bruce’s triumph at Bannockburn in 1314 allowed him to demand the return from English captivity of his wife Elizabeth, his daughter Marjorie, his sister Christina, and Robert Wishart, bishop of Glasgow.

King was an Earl as the Prince

Robert the Bruce was Earl of Carrick from 1292 to 1313. This title is now carried by Charles, the Prince of Wales.

Which Side Are You On

Both Robert and his father were faithful to the English king when war broke out in 1296. They even paid deference to Edward I at Berwick. However, eight months later Bruce abandoned his oath and joined the Scottish revolt against Edward, recognising John Balliol as king.

From 1302 to 1304 Robert was again back in English loyalty. His marriage to Elizabeth de Burgh, daughter of the earl of Ulster (part of English-held Ireland) predisposed this change. From 1304 he abandoned Balliol, and intended to take the throne for himself.

A Rebel Landlord

As well as the earldom of Carrick and the lordship of Annandale, Bruce had title to land in the Carse of Gowrie, Dundee, and the Garioch in Aberdeenshire.

Before the Wars it was fairly common for Scots to hold English lands. Records show that Bruce held lands in Durham and other large English estates. In 1306, Edward I seized the honour of Huntingdon from Bruce.

Hoping For A Celtic Kingdom

In 1315, Robert’s younger brother Edward led an excursion to Ireland. His aim was to takeover the Dublin-based English government and become the High King of Ireland.

Robert joined his brother with a considerable force in 1317. However, bad weather, famine, and disease forced the Scots to retreat when they reached Limerick. Edward held on in the north until he was defeated and killed in 1318.

A Peace Treaty, Young Marriage, Payment, Independence

As per the terms of the 1328 Treaty of Edinburgh, making peace between Scotland and England, Robert’s son David (aged 4) was wedded to Edward III’s sister Joan (aged 7).

Other terms of the treaty saw Scotland agree to pay England £20,000 to end the war and England recognise Scotland’s independence with Robert I as king.

 Land For Support

More than 600 written acts by Bruce have endured, including charters, brieves, letters and treaties.

Most of these documents are grants or confirmations of property. This was a key way that Bruce satisfied individuals and families who had supported him.

A Wee Bit Of Representation

During Robert’s reign, parliament grew into a slightly more representative of the community of the kingdom. Bruce beckoned a small number of burgesses from each royal burgh to attend sessions in 1312 and 1326, after which it became normal exercise.

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