This month we will take a look at the relatively modern brass of the legendary Scottish King Robert the Bruce, 1274-1329. One of Tudor Guild's earliest acquired replicas, Robert the Bruce represents an excellent example of a Victorian Era monumental brass.
Statue of Robert the Bruce at the Bannockburn battle site.
In 1329, King Robert de Bruce of Scotland was buried beside his Queen at Dunfermline Abbey, Fife.
In 1560, English Reformers ruined much of the Abby and the king’s tomb was lost until 1818 when workmen discovered a vaulted tomb containing Bruce’s skeleton. He was reinterred and a new monumental brass was made at that time. The new brass fashioned was in the style of the time utilizing the dress and symbolism of the 14th century. The king is shown in chain mail, cape and crown. The spurs, shield and sword are reminiscent of the 14th century as is the depiction of the lion at his feet.
Brass rubbing of Robert the Bruce (framed rubbing available in the Tudor Guild's gift shop).
Robert the Bruce spent most of his life trying to free Scotland from English rule and to establish himself as king. Early in his career, Bruce, then Earl of Garrick, swore allegiance to Edward I, King of England. His involvement in the death of “Red Cowyn,” who had claimed the throne of Scotland, led him to war with England.
Battle of Bannockburn as depicted in Scotichronicon (earliest known image).
England finally recognized Bruce’s right to the crown and Scotland’s independence in 1328. Bruce died one year later. He was grandfather to the fist Stuart King.
Bruce crowned King of Scots; modern tableau at Edinburgh Castle.