On 7th of June 1329, Robert the Bruce, King of Scots died. He was 54.
Robert the Bruce is the most famous of Scottish Kings and his successfully led campaign in the Scottish Wars of Independence culminated in the defeat of the English army led by Edward II, King of England at the Battle of Bannockburn.
Like all heroes he was a flawed character which makes him all the more interesting and in recent years has been the subject of two films: Outlaw King and Robert The Bruce.
The films cover different periods of The Bruce’s life during the long and brutal campaign to reassert the independence of the nation of Scotland.
The Declaration of Arbroath which would have been commemorating its 700th anniversary this year was published in his reign. A truly wonderful legacy to leave to the People of Scotland. Download: Declaration of Arbroath
On his deathbed, Robert had asked that his heart be removed and taken to the Holy Land by Sir James Douglas, The Black Douglas. Douglas died in battle and the heart was returned to Scotland and buried at Melrose Abbey. In 1996, excavations at the abbey found a lead container, housing a further small container and a plaque recording that it had been discovered in 1921 to contain a heart. The casket was reburied in 1998.
The rest of the King’s body was buried within Dunfermline Abbey, the resting place of Scottish rulers since the early 12th century. An elaborate gilded marble tomb carved in France marked his resting place in the abbey’s choir. This tomb was destroyed during the Reformation, though fragments of alabaster found at Dunfermline may have once belonged to it.
During alterations to the church in 1818 a burial was unearthed – the skeleton was encased in lead and buried in a decayed wooden coffin with remains of gold cloth. The skeleton bore indications that the chest had been opened to remove the heart, suggesting it may indeed have been the remains of Robert I. After a cast of the skull was made, the remains were reburied in the church.
You can view objects associated with Robert the Bruce online at the National Museum of Scotland.