Robert the Bruce 1274 – 1329
Robert the Bruce, as every school-child knows, was inspired by a spider!
Bruce had paid homage to Edward I of England and it is not known why he changed his allegiance later. Maybe it was ambition or a genuine desire to see Scotland independent.
In 1306 in the Greyfriars Church at Dumfries he murdered his only possible rival for the throne, John Comyn, and was excommunicated for this sacrilege. Nevertheless he was crowned King of Scotland a few months later.
Robert the Bruce was defeated in his first two battles against the English, and became a fugitive, hunted by both Comyn’s friends and the English. Whilst hiding, despondent, in a room he is said to have watched a spider swing from one rafter to another, time after time, in an attempt to anchor it’s web. It failed six times, but at the seventh attempt, succeeded. Bruce took this to be an omen and resolved to struggle on.
His decisive victory over Edward II’s army at Bannockburn in 1314 finally won the freedom he had struggled for. Bruce was King of Scotland from 1306 – 1329.
Robert the Bruce is buried in Dumferline Abbey and a cast taken of his skull can be seen in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
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