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Robert the Bruce A Warrior King

Updated on May 6, 2015

Born in Ayr, Scotland, 11 July 1274 and named after his father, Robert the Bruce was a descendant of Robert de Brus who came to England with William the Conqueror’s army. Crowned King of Scotland at Scone on 25 March 1306, 31-year-old Bruce attained sovereignty by stabbing bitter rivalJohn 'Red' Comyn of Badenochat an altar of a Church in Greyfriars, Dumfries. When news reached Edward I of England, popularly known as ‘The Hammer of the Scots’ he declared Bruce a murderer, urging Pope Clement V to excommunicate him.

In 1307 Edward died leaving his throne to his son, Edward the second who was much younger when he came to the throne and lacked military expertise. Bruce on the other hand was military genius in the battlefield. With determination and cunning Bruce fought against his new adversary, who gradually started winning back lands which were occupied by the English. By 1314, Stirling castle was the only castle in Scotland which was still occupied by the English. The Battle of Bannockburn, 24 June 1314, close to Stirling, Edward’s army had ten thousand men and Bruce had an army of just three thousand men. As the battle began Edward with such a vast army expected to win, however Bruce’s army completed destroyed Edward’s army. Edward was now panicking as even he realised that victory slipping away from him. Bruce was victorious in battle, defeating Edward against such over whelming odds. For another fourteen years the war continued as Scots invaded Northern England and inflicted further defeats on the English Armies.

In 1324 the Pope gave recognition to Bruce as King of Scotland independent to England, the same year the Franco-Scottish alliance came into effect. The alliance stated that if England ever invaded France, Scotland would assist France’s army in defending their nation. 1327 was the year Edward found himself being deposed by the English, his son Edward the third became King of England. The first thing he did was establish peace with Scotland, the treaty of Edinburgh - Northampton in which England gave up all claims that Scotland was under English sovereign. The war had lasted altogether thirty two years, the Scots fighting losing battles most of the time against overwhelming odds. They fought however under one great leader, Bruce, who was inspired by the example of another great leader William Wallace. With whom he fought until Wallace’s capture and death in 1305.

Bruce’s health was steadily declining; he probably became ill with Leprosy. On the 7 June 1329, he died at the age of fifty four in Cardross, Bartonshire; he was buried at Dunfermline, Scotland. His one last request was to have his heart taken to the Holy lands by Sir James Douglas; Douglas was killed fighting the Moors, Spain. Bruce’s heart was retrieved and taken back to Scotland and buried in Melrose Abbey, Roxburghshire.


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