Bruce, Robert (1253-1304) (DNB00)

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BRUCE, ROBERT de VII, Earl of Carrick (1253–1304), son of the Competitor, Robert de Bruce VI, is said to have accompanied Edward, afterwards Edward I, in the crusade of 1269. On his return he married Marjory, countess of Carrick, and became by the courtesy of Scotland Earl of Carrick.

A romantic story handed down by the Scottish historians, that Bruce was carried off by the heiress when hunting near her castle of Turnberry, is probably an invention to excuse his marriage with a royal ward without the king’s consent. In 1278 he did homage to Edward on behalf of Alexander III for his English fiefs. In 1281 he borrowed 40l. from his old comrade Edward I, a debt which played apart in the fortunes of his son. He was present at Seone in 1284, when the right of succession of the Maid of Norway was recognised, but took part with his father and the other nobles in the league of Turnberry, on 20 Sept. 1286, intended to defeat it. Like his father, however, he joined in the treaty of Brigham (14 March 1290), rendered abortive by Margaret’s death. The agreement between Florence, count of Holland, and his father on 14 June 1292, to which the earl was a party, shows that Bruce anticipated an adverse decision. About this time he went to Norway with his eldest daughter Isabel, possibly on account of her marriage to King Eirik, the widower of Margaret, the daughter of Alexander III, which took place on 15 Nov. 1293, but also perhaps to avoid attendance at Baliol's parliament, to which he was summoned. It may have been with the same motive that after the death of his wife in 1292 he resigned the earldom of Carrick to his son, afterwards king (A. P. Scot. i. 449 a b). On the death nf his father he did homage to Edward for his English fiefs on 4 June 1295. On 6 Oct. following he was given the custody of the castle of Carlisle during the king's pleasure, and three days after he took before the bishop of Durham and barons of the exchequer an oath to hold it faithfully and render it to no one but the king. When Baliol attempted to assert his independence, as was natural, his rivals the Bruces sided with Edward, and in 1296, after that monarch had taken Dunbar, Bruce the elder, according to the Scotch chroniclers, claimed the fulfilment of a promise, by which he was to be made king of Scotland. The answer, in Norman-French, of Edward, as given by Wyntoun (B. viii. 1927) and Fordun, though it has been doubted, suits his character:—

 Ne avons ren autres chos a fere
 Que a vous reamgs (i.e. reaulmes) ganere
  . . . . . .
 Hawe I nought ellys to do nowe
 But wyn a kynryk to gyve yhowe?

Baliol, in revenge for Bruce's aid to Edward, seized Annandale, and gave it, with the castle of Lochmaben, to John Comyn; but his possession was brief, for Clifford, the English warden, retook it in the same year. The elder Bruce retired from Scotland and lived on his English estates till his death in 1304, when he was buried at Holmecultram in Cumberland. Besides his eldest son Robert the king, he left Edward, lord of Galloway [see Bruce, Edward], killed at Dundalk in 1318; Thomas and Alexander, taken in Galloway, and executed at Carlisle by Edward's order in 1307; and Nigel, who suffered the same fate at Berwick in 1306. His daughters, Isabel, Mary, Christian, Matilda, and Margaret, all married Scotch nobles or landed men in the life of their brother, whose hands were strengthened by these alliances in his contest for the crown. A sixth daughter Elizabeth, and a seventh whose name is unknown, are of doubtful authenticity. [Rymer's Fœdera, ii. 266, 471, 558, 605, 612; Stevenson's Documents illustrative of History of Scotland. See Index under Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, but the references after 1295 are to his son Robert, afterwards king; Acts Parl. Scot. i. 424a, 441 a, 447 b, 448 a. There are many errors in the early Scottish writers as to the Bruce genealogy, and the repetition of the same name led to frequent confusion of different persons; but these are now corrected by the more accurate examination of the records due to Chalmers's Caledonia, Lord Hailes, and Kerr in his History of the Reign of Robert the Bruce.]

Æ. M.