Robert I, Robert the Bruce
(1274-1329) The Bruces, like so many Scottish nobles, were of Norman
descent arriving in Scotland in the 12thC. Robert's grandfather had claimed
the Scottish crown in 1290.
In the year of 'Braveheart'
William Wallace's death, 1306, Bruce killed his main rival and rushed to
Scone and was crowned Robert I on 25th March 1306. Scone, ancient coronation
site for Scots monarchs, is about 10km east of Strathearn. Edward II of England
had garrisons throughout Scotland and Bruce was defeated at Methven
in East Strathearn in 1306. After years of campaigning Bruce began to roll
back the occupation forces.
Check out Methven
on this site or on
In 1314 agreement
had been reached between Bruce's brother Edward and Philip de Mowbray, the
Commander of the country's strategically most important fortress - Stirling
Castle - that if it were not relieved by mid-summer's day, it would be
surrendered. A huge English army of almost 20,000 men under the personal
command of Edward II attempted to fight through to Stirling. Robert I with
7000 men chose his defensive positions with care at the Bannockburn making
use of bogs, gorge and sloping terrain. The English could not deploy properly
on the narrow front and Bruce's spearmen held firm. As the day progressed
the English began to loss the struggle. Edward II reached Stirling castle
with a bodyguard of 500 knights. De Mowbray stuck to his oath saying that
the battle was lost, that he was about to surrender and banned Edward's entry.
In contrast to old Edward I's past behaviour, both Robert and Edward Bruce
had adopted a policy of allowing garrisons who surrendered safe passage.
Although many of the Bruce's supporters felt that retribution for past
attrocities was called for, this chivalrous policy payed dividends.
Stirling and Bannockburn lie
15km south of Strathearn.