FP100: No. 73

Robert The Bruce carving
Robert The Bruce carving
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Robert the Bruce

The central tower of Dunfermline Abbey has the words ‘King Robert The Bruce’ carved around the top in tribute to one of Scotland’s most famous kings.

This was built in the early 19th century after the original tower fell during a storm.

It was during restoration work that remains of Bruce were found. These were reburied in the abbey and there is now a commemorative plaque marking his resting place.

Bruce, one of a number of kings and queens buried at Dunfermline Abbey, was crowned at Scone in 1306 and fought to free Scotland of English domination. His most famous victory in battle was at Bannockburn when Edward I’s army, vastly superior in numbers and military might, was defeated.

In 1328, the year before Bruce’s death, Edward III agreed to the Treaty of Edinburgh which recognised Scotland’s independence.

Bruce died at Cardross on July 7, 1329, and his body was interred before the high altar at the abbey. At his request, though, his heart was taken on a crusade by Robert Douglas. In a fight against the Moors in Spain, Douglas was killed and Bruce’s embalmed heart was returned to Scotland and buried in Melrose Abbey.