The Bruce

When we left Edinburgh city centre for our current location, I was veeeeerrrryyy pregnant with my second child and we were simply looking for more space at a reasonable price.  What we have found since our move is that Dunfermline ROCKS!!!  For instance, look who is buried practically in my backyard – Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots from 1306-1329.
Burial Site of Robert the Bruce

For anyone who has seen the movie Braveheart ( and you all should even though Mel Gibson is yuck), Robert the Bruce was this guy, played by Angus MacFayden.

Actor Angus MacFadyen - Braveheart

 Anyway, he is buried here at Dunfermline Abbey right up the toon from where I stay.  This Abbey was founded in 1128 and but was built upon on earlier monastic establishment dating back to 1053-93 during the reign of Malcolm Canmore (which literally means Big Head). It was one of the wealthiest Benedictine monasteries, but alas was sacked in 1560 – hey ho.

Dunfermline Abbey

During the 19th century the abbey was renovated and the zippy stonework added to herald the great King’s location.

Victorian Addition to Abbey "Bruce" "King"

 Although his body is local to me, his heart is not.  Upon his death he requested that his heart be removed and taken into battle on a crusade.  This was partly to make up for not going on a crusade himself (rather like being a draft dodger in his day, but he was very busy to be fair) and also to atone for that wee murder of his rival for the throne of John Comyn – oops.

Burial Site of The Bruce's Heart

Quick confession – without knowing what this was at the time, my then 15 month old daughter thought this was a fab resting place for her tired sight-seeing bum.  There are no markings to identify its importance so I plead ignorance to such a faux pas!

His heart did make it into battle at the Moorish Kingdom of Granada, where both its guardian James Douglas and the heart casket were found on the battlefield. 

Melrose Abbey
The heart is now buried at the beautiful Melrose Abbey in the Borders, confirmed by Archaeologists that inspected the small lead casket to find it did indeed contain a human heart and reburied it in 1998.
Statue of Robert the Bruce with the Wallace Monument in the Distance – Stirling

In a nutshell, there is an incredible amount of super cool  history and artifacts that are everywhere in Scotland.  This is just one of the many bits that are a stones throw from where I reside.

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  1. Candace says:

    Jean Marie,
    Imagine my surprise when I read ‘The Bruce’. My paternal grandmother was Margaret Bruce – supposedly related to ‘The Bruce’. I did not see Braveheart. I have a weak one.

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