With the defeat of the English at the Battle of Bannockburn, and the adoption of the Declaration of Arbroath, Robert the Bruce led the Scottish people to independence.
Birth and Family
Robert de Brus, Knt., was the son and heir of "Robert de Brus, Knt., Lord of Annandale . . . and, in right of his wife, Earl of Carrick" by his first wife, Marjory (or Margaret) of Carrick. Richardson and Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) state that Robert was born 11 July 1274 in Scotland, "probably at Turnberry Castle" in Carrick, however Complete Peerage and other sources state that he was born at Writtle, Essex on that date.
Robert's father, Robert de Brus, Lord of Annandale, (born July 1243 – died before 4 March 1304), was the son of Robert de Brus "the Competitor" or "the Claimant" and Isabel de Clare, daughter of Magna Carta surety Gilbert de Clare. He married first about 1273 to Marjory of Carrick and second (or perhaps third) to Eleanor _____. Richardson states that he had a second marriage to Maud Fitz Alan, widow of Philip Burnell, Knt., and daughter of John Fitz Alan and Isabel de Mortimer. They had no children and were divorced before 6 May 1299 (note that Complete Peerage does not mention this marriage).
Robert's mother, Marjory (or Margaret), Countess of Carrick (born ca. 1253-1256, died before 9 November 1292), was the daughter of Neil, Earl of Carrick, by his wife, Isabel. She married first to Adam of Kilconquhar (died 1271) and second to Robert de Brus.
Robert had nine siblings, four brothers and five sisters. Three of his brothers were executed by the English in 1306 and 1307. His sister Isabel married Eric II Magnusson, King of Norway and his brother, Edward, became King of Ireland in 1316.
Titles and Alias
Lord of Annandale in Scotland; Baddow, Broomshawbury and Writtle in Essex; Huntingdon Castle, Huntingdonshire; Bruces, Middlesex, etc.
He married second in 1302 to Elizabeth de Burgh, daughter of Sir Richard de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster, lord of Connaught, and his wife, Margaret. They had two sons and two daughters:
David II, Knt., Earl of Carrick in 1328 and King of Scotland 7 June 1329, born 5 March 1323/4, married first to Joan of the Tower, daughter of Edward II and sister of Edward III, kings of England, on 17 July 1328. He married second to Margaret de Drummond and died 22 February 1370/1.
John, died in childhood, buried at the Priory at Restennet in Forfarshire, Scotland.
Maud (aka Matilda), married Thomas Isaac, "a certain squire", and had two daughters; she died 20 July 1353.
Margaret, married William de Moray, 4th Earl of Sutherland, and had two sons. She died in childbirth shortly after 30 March 1346.
Robert had several illegitimate children by an unknown mistress or mistresses, two sons and three daughters:
Robert, Knt., of Liddesdale was slain at the Battle of Dupplin 12 August 1332.
Neil (aka Nigel) of Carrick was killed at the Battle of Durham 17 October 1346.
Robert's wife, Elizabeth, died at Cullen, Aberdeenshire on 26 October 1327 and was buried at Dunfermline, Fife.
Robert the Bruce, Robert I, King of Scots, "died at Cardross, Dumbartonshire 7 June 1329, and was buried in the middle of the choir before the high altar [in] the abbey church of Dunfermline, Fife." He was aged 54 years, 11 months and 27 days. It is said by some that in his later years, Bruce was stricken with leprosy. Analysis of his skull cast has confirmed that theory.
By a letter dated 11 May 1329, Robert directed that his heart be buried in the monastery of Melrose. On his deathbed in June 1329, Robert made his lieutenant and friend, Sir James Douglas, swear that he would carry Robert's heart "against the enemies of the name of Christ". Sir James kept his promise, taking Robert's heart to the Holy Land, but he only reached Granada in Spain, where he was killed in August 1330. The King's heart was returned from Spain by Sir William Keith and was buried at the monastery of Melrose.
He was succeeded by his son, David II. Robert's nephew, Robert II, who succeeded David, was the first king of the Stewart house of English and Scottish royalty.
October/November 1292 - Earl of Carrick. On the death of Robert's mother, his father resigned the Earldom of Carrick to Robert, confirmed in the Scottish Parliament in August 1293.
1296 - Beginning of the Scots First War of Independence. Robert and his father supported King of England Edward I, who defeated Scottish King John de Balliol in 1296, however they were unhappy that Edward I took the Scottish throne for himself. Although Robert supported William Wallace, aka "Braveheart", and the cause for Scottish independence, Robert was absent at the Scots victory at Stirling Bridge, and he was not present at the Battle of Falkirk, where Wallace was defeated.
19 August 1299 - Robert was chosen as one of the guardians of the Kingdom of Scotland at a Council of Magnates assembled at Peebles, along with Sir John "the Red" Comyn of Badenoch, the nephew of King John de Balliol. At this same council, Robert was assaulted by Comyn, who would be his rival for the Scottish crown.
1304 - Robert's father died, putting Robert in line to claim the Scottish throne. At this same time, Robert may have become Lord Bruce. Robert succeeded his father as Lord of Annandale, inheriting lands in Scotland and Durham as well as the Huntingdon estates. Robert did homage and had livery of his father's lands in England on 14 June 1304.
February 1305/6 - Robert stabbed Sir John Comyn at the church of the convent of the Minorite Friars in Dumfries, John was "immediately afterwards dispatched by Brus's companions". The stabbing was done "possibly in self-defence, probably without premeditation" but this did not prevent Scotland from falling into civil war or the renewed campaigns in the war with England. Robert was attainted, his English estates being confiscated by Edward I. He was also excommunicated, as authorized by Pope Clement V and pronounced by the Archbishop of Canterbury 5 June 1306.
27 March 1306 - Robert I was crowned King of Scotland having received absolution from Bishop Wishart for his part in the killing of John Comyn (Richardson states that he was absolved in 1310). He was crowned by the Countess of Buchan at Scone Abbey and was aged 31 years, 8 months and 17 days.
June - September 1306 - Robert's forces were defeated by the Earl of Pembroke at the Battle of Methven on 19 June 1306 and on 11 August 1306, they were defeated at the Battle of Dalry by Alexander of Argyll. On/before 13 September 1306, the Scots, under Robert's brother Neil, were again defeated at Kildrummie Castle in Aberdeen, the English taking the castle.
November 1306 - Robert's wife, Elizabeth, his daughter Marjory, and two of his sisters had gone into hiding at the sanctuary of St. Duthac in Tain, but they were turned over to the English by the Earl of Ross and imprisoned on 7 November 1306. Isabella, Countess of Buchan, who had crowned Robert as king, was also imprisoned that same day. It is thought that Isabella and perhaps Robert's sisters were imprisoned in cages.
1306-1307 - Robert's brothers were executed by the English, Neil/Nigel at Berwick in September 1306 and Thomas and Alexander at Carlisle on 17 February 1306/7.
10 May 1307 - The Scots defeated the English at the Battle of Loudon Hill in Ayrshire.
7 July 1307 - King Edward I died at Burgh in the Sands, near Carlisle. Edward was succeeded by his son, Edward II.
1307 - 1308 - Robert defeated the English at the Rout at Slaines 25 December 1307; at the Battle of Inverurie on 22 May 1308 and at Argyll on 22 August 1308.
24 February 1309/10 - the clergy of Scotland met in a council and swore fealty to Robert I.
January 1315 - Robert's wife, Elizabeth was released in exchange for prisoners taken at the Battle of Bannockburn.
1315 -1316 - Robert's brother Edward invaded Ireland on 25 May 1315 and was crowned king on 2 May 1316.
March 1317 - Robert, "Earl of Carrick", and his brother Edward were excommunicated by Pope John.
1318 - The Scots took Berwick on 28 March 1318 and invaded England in May 1318.
14 October 1318 - Robert's brother, Edward, King of Ireland, was slain at the Tagher, near Dundalk in Ireland.
3 December 1318 - Robert (later King Robert II), son of Robert's sister, Marjory, was declared heir to the crown by Parliament at Scone.
6 April 1320 - The Scottish barons acknowledged Robert I as their king in a letter to Pope John XXII known as the Declaration of Arbroath. In this set of documents, the Scots declared their independence. However, at that time, the Pope did not recognize Scotland's independence. That year, a truce with Edward II of England was called and lasted for 13 years.
1326 - In the Treaty of Corbeil, the Franco-Scottish alliance was renewed. Also that year, Robert's son, David, who was born 5 March 1323/4, was recognized by the clergy, nobility and the people of Scotland as the heir to the throne.
1327 - Edward II is deposed and killed and Edward III takes the English throne. Robert invaded northern England, threatening to annex it to Scotland.
17 March 1328 - In the Treaty of Edinburgh, the English government established Robert's title as king, recognizing the independence of Scotland by the English. This treaty was later repudiated by King Edward III in 1332, but Scotland's independence remained recognized by the papacy, the French and other European rulers.
October 1328 - the Pope recognized Scotland's independence and Robert's excommunication was reversed.
In 2016, Robert's image was produced using casts from what is believed to be his skull. See the progression at BBC News - Scotland.
Walter of Odistown on the Clyde, who predeceased his father, may have been an illegitimate son of Robert I (Exchequer Rolls, i, Preface, cxxix, note 8), however, neither Richardson, ODNB or Scots Peerage recognizes him as such.
↑ Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham. Salt Lake City, UT: the author, 2013, vol. I, page 596, BRUS 7.
↑ 3.03.13.23.22.214.171.124.7 Barrow, G. W. S. "Robert I [Robert Bruce] (1274–1329), king of Scots." in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 4 Oct 2008. Oxford University Press. Accessed 4 Mar 2020 at ODNB with subscription.
↑ 4.04.14.24.34.44.5 Cokayne, George Edward and Vicary Gibbs ed. Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Vol. II: Bass - Canning, 2nd edition (London, 1912). Online at Archive.org, page 360.
↑ 5.05.15.25.35.4 Cokayne, George Edward and Vicary Gibbs ed. Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Vol. III: Canonteign - Cutts, 2nd edition. (London, 1913). Online at Archive.org, page 56.
↑ Cowie, Ashley. "Dr Watson Provides Proof That Scotland’s Legendary King Robert The Bruce Was English Born!". (2018). Online at AncientOrigins.net.
↑ Note that any English barony created in 1295 (for his father) would have either been forfeited in 1306, when Robert took the Scottish crown, or after the death of his son David in 1371, as David died without issue, and the barony would have fallen into abeyance between Robert's daughters and sisters (per Complete Peerage, vol. III).
Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. (Salt Lake City, UT: the author, 2011). See also WikiTree's source page for Magna Carta Ancestry.
Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham. (Salt Lake City, UT: the author, 2013). See also WikiTree's source page for Royal Ancestry.
Richardson, Royal Ancestry, (2013): vol. I, pages 78-79; page 588-596 BRUS (his grandmother); vol. I, pages 596-605 (his father); vol. I, pages 605-610 (his main entry); vol. I, pages 610-615 (daughter Margery); vol. II, page 17; vol. V, page 39.
Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, (2011): vol. I, page 446 CLARE; vol. I, pages 446-451 (Richard de Clare); vol. I, pages 451-460 (Gilbert de Clare); vol. III, pages 520-521; vol. III, pages 528-529; vol. IV, page 102.
Mackay, A.J.G. "Bruce, Robert (1274-1329)" in the Dictionary of National Biography. (London, UK: Smith, Elder & Co., 1908), vol. 7. Online at Wikisource.
Our Royal, Titled, Noble, And Commoner Ancestors & Cousins (Over 192,000 Names). - Person Page". 2020. Our-Royal-Titled-Noble-And-Commoner-Ancestors.Com. Accessed May 16 2020.>Sir Robert de Brus & Marjory of Carrick
"The Battle of Bannockburn: Robert Bruce", online at Battlepedia.
Alison Weir. Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy. (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 209.
Bruce, Hugh G. Bruces of Kildrummie. (H.G. Bruce, 1992).
Click the Changes tab to see edits to this profile. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
Robert appears in another trail from the de Clares to Alexander Spotswood. Although Spotswood is not listed as a Gateway Ancestor by Richardson (he arrived in Virginia after 1700), he is documented by Richardson in Royal Ancestry and is a lineal descendant of Robert the Bruce (and therefore included as a Gateway Ancestor by the Magna Carta Project). See the Magna Carta Trail on Isabel MacDougall’s profile to view the profiles in this trail (badged 2015/needs re-review).
In addition, the Magna Carta Trail on Robert Spottiswoode/Spotswood's profile, has an alternate trail from Alexander Spotswood, through Robert the Bruce, to the Clares. This trail has not yet been developed for the project.
This profile was reviewed and approved for the Magna Carta Project by Thiessen-117 18:25, 5 March 2020 (UTC).
See Base Camp for more information about identified Magna Carta trails and their status. See the project's glossary for project-specific terms, such as a "badged trail".