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Death of Robert the Bruce

During the truce between England and Scotland, it happened that King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, who had been a very valiant knight, waxed old and was
attacked with so severe an illness (the leprosy) that he saw his end approaching; he therefore summoned together all the chiefs and barons in whom he most
confided, and after having told them he would never get the better of this sickness, he commanded them, upon their honour and loyalty, to keep and preserve faithfully and entire the kingdom for his son David, to obey him, and crown him king when he was of a proper age, and
to marry him to a lady suitable to his station.

He, after that, called to him the gallant Lord James Douglas, and said to him, in the presence of the others:

“My dear friend Douglas, you know that I have had much to do, and have suffered many troubles during the time I have lived to support the rights of my crown; at the time I was most occupied, I made a solemn vow, the non —accomplishment of which gives me much uneasiness ; I
vowed that I could finish my wars in such a manner that I might have quiet to govern peaceably, I would go and
make war against the enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the adversaries of the Christian faith; to this point my heart has always leaned ; but our Lord was not willing, and gave me so much to do in my life, time, and this expedition has lasted so long, followed by this heavy sickness, that since my body cannot accomplish what my heart wishes, I will send my heart instead of my body
to fulfil my vow. As I do not know any one knight so gallant or enterprising, or better formed to complete my intentions than yourself, I beg and entreat of you, clear and special friend, as earnestly as I can, that you would have the goodness to undertake this expedition for the Love of me, and to acquit my soul to our Lord and Saviour; for I have that opinion of your nobleness and loyalty, that if you undertake it, it cannot fail of success, and I shall die more contented; but it must be executed as follows:

”I will that as soon as I shall be dead you take my heart from my body, and have it well embalmed; you will also take as much money from my treasury as will appear to you sufficient to perform your journey, as well as for all those whom you may choose to take with you in your train; you will then deposit your charge at the holy sepulchre of our Lord, where he was buried, since my body cannot go there. You will not be sparing of expense, and provide yourself with such company and
such things as may he suitable to your rank, and wherever you pass you will let it be known that you bear the heart of King Robert of Scotland, which you are carrying beyond seas, by his command, since his body cannot go thither.”

All present began bewailing bitterly; and when Lord James could speak, he said:

”Gallant and noble King, I return you a hundred thousand thanks for the high honour you do me, and for the valuable and dear treasure with which you entrust me, and I will most willingly do all that you command me, with the utmost loyalty in my power; never doubt it, however I may feel myself unworthy of such a high distinction.”

The king replied, ‘‘Gallant knight, I thank you; you promise it me then?”

‘‘Certainly, sir, most willingly,” answered the knight.He then gave the promise upon the honour of his knight-
hood.

The King said, “ Thanks be to God, for I shall now die in peace, since I know that the most valiant and the most accomplished knight of my kingdom will perform that duty for me, which I am unable to do for myself.”

Soon afterwards, the valiant Robert the Bruce. king of Scotland, departed this life, on the 7th of November 1327. His heart was embalmed, and his body buried in the monastery at Dunfermline. Sir James Douglas, two knights of the name of Logan, and other brave men, set out on the expedition, and died ned ly in fighting the enemies of
the Christian faith in Spain. King Robert’s heart afer this was brought back, and deposited at Melrose.

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