Moonday’s Heroic Hunk: The Hero of Scotland

     Robert the Bruce, “The Hero King” of Scotland and this week’s Heroic Hunk, was Scotland’s George Washington. He was born in 1274 and died in 1329. He reigned as King Robert I from 1306 until his death – probably from leprosy. His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey (after it was returned from an unsuccessful crusade to free the Holy Land).   

Robert the Bruce


Angus McFadyen in "Braveheart"


His claim to the throne of Scotland was based on his paternal ancestors of Scoto-Norman heritage. His mother, the Countess of Carrick in her own right, was a formidable woman of Franco-Gaelic descent who kept Robert Bruce’s father captive until he agreed to marry her.
Unlike William Wallace who, once he joined with men of like mind (don’t you love the phrase), pursued the cause for Scottish independence with absolute dedication, Robert the Bruce had wavering loyalties in his early life. After Wallace’s cruel execution in 1306, Bruce murdered John Comyn (the other claimant to the throne of Scotland) and assumed the crown of Scotland and the leadership of the Scots.
     In 1307, when Edward I marched north to battle, he granted the Scottish estates of Bruce and his adherents to his own followers and published a papal bill excommunicating Bruce. Bruce’s queen, Elizabeth, his daughter Marjorie, his sisters Christina and Mary, and Isabella MacDuff were captured in a sanctuary and sent to harsh imprisonment. Mary and Isabella were hung in a cage at Roxburgh and Berwick castles for about four years. Bruce’s brother Nigel was hanged, drawn and quartered. But, on 7 July, King Edward I died, leaving Bruce opposed by his son, Edward II.

Bruce & Queen Isabella


In 1314 Edward II’s army marched toward Stirling Castle which was still in English hands, though under siege. The English and British forces met at the Battle of Bannockburn in June of 1314. Thousands died as the Scots defeated Edward’s army. The river was choked with the dead as Edward II fled the field and returned to England. In spite of this terrible blow Edward II never gave up his claim to the Scottish crown, even after his imprisonment and horrific murder by his wife, Queen Isabel (who, I repeat, NEVER met William Wallace). But his son Edward III, in 1328, recognized Scotland’s independence and acknowledged Bruce as her king. Robert died the following year.   

Cast of Bruce's Skull at Rosslyn


    Robert I was succeeded by his surviving son Robert II. After Robert II’s death, Robert I’s only child by his first marriage, Marjorie Bruce, married Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland (1293–1326). She died in 1316, after being thrown from her horse while heavily pregnant, but the child survived. He was Robert II, who succeeded David II and founded the Stewart dynasty. Next Moonday, the Angevins. RitaVF


7 Responses

  1. This is wonderful, Rita. Bet I’d stay busy with parnormal investigations in Scotland! So many deaths while experiencing high emotions. Fighting for freedom must be THE universal battle cry.

    Worth waiting for! My Moonday is off to a good start! Thank you.

  2. I guess locking up a guy til he marries you was a good plan, huh? She’d never get away with it today- she’d be arrested for stalking or kidnapping. Probably get to spend a long time in prison where she’d try to seduce the guards.

    Another great post, Rita. Thanks for keeping us educated.

  3. Okay, so I’m going to have to manipulate this kidnapping until you’re married to me idea in some way. Not for myself, I promise. Gerard Butler is safe. (If you’re reading this Gerard, I swear I would never kidnap you to marry you…I’d just handcuff you to my bed and have my wicked way with you. Honest.)

    Back to the point, it’s amazing the little stories that are never told to students when they’re learning history. If these little tidbits were flung out during a lecture, I think more kids would be interested in history rather than see it as one of the rings of Hell.

    • Danica- Amen on the historical facts – teachers can really make it come alive if they want.

      And I know your nefarious plan DOES involve you and Gerard! LOL!

    • Y’all are so right about education. I served twice on State Course of Study committees and textbook adoption committees. Everything you saw going on in Texas is repeated in every state. Teachers who truly know history are too busy teaching state-mandated inclusive, PC versions of history to provide color and context that would make history come alive for students. Imagine the impression women confined in cages suspended over castle walls in the fight for freedom and independence would give children and the teachable moment it would create. I truly worry about the education the public schools are offering to our children today. Coming down off my soapbox, Rita VF

      • Truth is never a sopabox, Rita. You are truly amazing with your context, as I’ve already told you. Maybe now you’ll believe me! LOL

  4. Love the article they’re always so full of great information, and Gerald.. love the way he talks, and the way he smiles..

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