Robert I of Scotland

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Robert I of Scotland
King of the Scots
Robertthebruce.jpg
Reign 1306–1329
Coronation 25 March, 1306
Full name Robert de Brus
Gaelic Roibert a Briuis
Middle English Robert the Bruys
Titles Earl of Carrick (ca 1292—1314), Lord of Annandale (1304—1312)
Born 11 July 1274(1274-07-11)
Birthplace Turnberry, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died 7 June 1329(1329-06-07) (aged 54)
Place of death Cardross
Buried Dunfermline Abbey (Body) -- Melrose Abbey (Heart)
Predecessor John
Successor David II
Consort i) Isabella of Mar
ii) Elizabeth de Burgh
Children Marjorie Bruce with Isabella, David, John, Matilda and Margaret with Elizabeth and several illegitimate children
Father Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale
Mother Marjorie of Carrick

Robert I of Scotland (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329), better known as Robert the Bruce, was King of Scotland from 1306 to 1329. He is famous for beating the English army at the Battle of Bannockburn near Stirling in 1314.

Early Career[change | edit source]

Robert the Bruce was born at Turnberry Castle on 11 July 1274.[1] He was the oldest son of the sixth Robert Bruce and Marjorie, the Countess of Carrick.[1] Robert the Bruce's family originally came from France. They were from a place called Brus in Normandy, which is in the northern part of France.[2] An ancestor also named Robert de Brus came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.[2] Another Robert de Brus came to Scotland with David I of Scotland and his family became powerful lords.[2]

In 1286, King Alexander III of Scotland died.[3] His granddaughter was supposed to become Queen of Scotland, but she died too.[3] In 1292 the Bruce family and another family called the Balliols (BAY-lee-ols) asked King Edward I of England to decide who would become the new king. King Edward chose John Balliol.[4]

In 1292 Robert's family decided that he should be the head of all the Bruces in Scotland.[5]In 1297, King Edward I of England wanted Scotland go to war against France. Many Scottish leaders said no and rebelled against the English king. Robert joined this rebellion. Edward won most of the battles against the Scottish rebels. Finally Robert ended up doing what Edward wanted.[6]

King of Scots[change | edit source]

In 1306, Robert the Bruce met a man called John Comyn (KOHM-in) in a church. John Comyn also wanted to be King of Scotland. They had an argument and Robert killed John.[7] Soon after, Robert went to Scone (skoon), and the Scottish lords brought out the royal clothes that they had hidden from the English. Then Robert was crowned King of Scots.[8]

Robert the Bruce then fought a lot of battles to make Scotland free instead of always doing what the English king wanted. He fought King Edward I, and then his son, King Edward II. In 1314, Robert the Bruce's army defeated Edward II's army at the Battle of Bannockburn.[9]

In 1315, Robert the Bruce sent his army to Ireland.[10] At that time the English were in control of Ireland. Robert fought with them and made his brother, Edward Bruce, High King of Ireland in 1316.[10] The Scottish army did not treat the Irish people well, and they were forced to leave after Edward Bruce was killed in 1318.

Legacy[change | edit source]

On June 7th, 1329, Robert the Bruce died.[11] After a life of fighting he had wanted to redeem himself by joining the Crusades. Realizing he could not accomplish this he sent his trusted friend Sir James Douglas to take his heart in a small silver box on crusade.[12] James Douglas took the heart and with several knights left on their journey to honor Robert's request.[13] But in fighting in Spain Sir James was killed and the heart was returned to Scotland. the Bruce's body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey.[13]

Robert did not want any fighting over his kingdom after he died.[11] He provided for his brother Edward Bruce to follow him as king. But after Edward died in 1318 Robert's heir became his son David who became king as David II of Scotland.[11] Following David, Robert's grandson Robert II Stewart by his daughter Marjorie was heir to the throne king as Robert II of Scotland.[11] He left behind him a well-ordered kingdom.[14]

Family[change | edit source]

In 1295 Robert married Isabella of Mar, daughter of Donald, 6th Earl of Mar.[15] Together they had a daughter:


In 1302 Robert married his second wife Elizabeth de Burgh.[15] She was the daughter of Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster Together they had:

  • Matilda Bruce, she married Thomas Isaac.[15]
  • Margaret Bruce, she married William Earl of Sutherland.[15]
  • David II of Scotland, King of Scotland after his father.[15]
  • John Bruce, died as a child.[15]


Robert also had several illegitimate children.[15]

  • Robert, killed at Dupplin 12 Aug. 1332[15]
  • Nigel of Carrick, killed at Battle of Durham, 17 Oct. 1346[15]
  • Margaret, married to Robert Glen[15]
  • Elizabeth, married to Sir Walter Oliphant of Aberdalgie[15]
  • Christian of Carrick[15]

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Robert McNair Scott, Robert the Bruce; King of Scots (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999), p. 9 ISBN 0-7867-0329-6
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 George Way; Romilly Squires, Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia (Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994), p. 82 ISBN 0-00-470547-5
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland ed: James Balfour Paul, Vol. I (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1904), pp. 7-8
  4. Herbert Maxwell, Robert the Bruce and the Struggle for Scottish Independence (New York; London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1906), pp. 63-4
  5. Robert McNair Scott, Robert the Bruce; King of Scots (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999), p. 33
  6. Robert McNair Scott, Robert the Bruce; King of Scots (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999), p. 42
  7. Herbert Maxwell, Robert the Bruce and the Struggle for Scottish Independence (New York; London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1906), pp. 129-30
  8. John Barbour; John Pinkerton, The Bruce: Or, The History of Robert I. King of Scotland, Vol. 1 (London: Printed by H. Hughs, for G. Nicol, bookseller to His Majesty, 1790), p. 42
  9. Alan Young; Michael J. Stead, In the Footsteps of Robert the Bruce (Stroud: Sutton Publishing Limited, 1999), pp. 6, 124 ISBN 0-7509-1910-8
  10. 10.0 10.1 Robert McNair Scott, Robert the Bruce; King of Scots (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999), pp. 173-74
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 J. D. Mackie, A History of Scotland, Second Edition, ed. Bruce Lenman; Geoffrey Parker (London; New York: Penguin Books Ltd., 1991), p. 78 ISBN 0-7867-0329-6
  12. Michael Brown, The Black Douglases (Scotland: Tuckwell Press, 1998), p. 27
  13. 13.0 13.1 Robert McNair Scott, Robert the Bruce; King of Scots (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999), pp. 226-28
  14. J. D. Mackie, A History of Scotland, Second Edition, ed. Bruce Lenman; Geoffrey Parker (London; New York: Penguin Books Ltd., 1991), p. 79
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland ed: James Balfour Paul, Vol. I (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1904), p. 8