Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/435

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
1332 A.D.]
363
Death of Douglas.

without armorial bearing[1] and much broken. The general style of the figure is rather rude, with the exception of the folds of the drapery of the surcoat which, in many parts, are simple and well arranged. The armour is destitute of the slightest indication of chain-work; and it is therefore probable that a different material was intended to be represented, or that the chain-work was represented by colours now obliterated. The feet rest against the mutilated remains of an animal, probably a lion . . . The arch, under which the effigy is placed, appears to be of rather more modern workmanship . . . The shield under the canopy of the arch contains the heart, in addition to the armorial bearings of the family, granted in consequence of his mission to the Holy Land, but the three mullets are now completely obliterated."[2]

Cromwell and his soldiers have been popularly credited with the defacement of this and other monuments in St. Bride's Chapel of Douglas, while they were besieging the castle in 1651. But in truth the ecclesiastical monuments of Scotland passed into such sorry plight during and after the Reformation, that it would be difficult, especially in this, the heart of the Covenanting district, to assign to any persons in particular the discredit of wrecking this historic shrine. The present Earl of Home, upon whom, through the female line, have descended the honours and possessions of the House of Douglas, has reverently repaired the chancel of St. Bride's Chapel, and this tomb and the other relics of a great race preserved there are safe, let it be hoped, from further desecration.

Enclosed in stone and glass on the altar steps may be seen two heart-shaped leaden caskets, one of which is reputed to contain the heart of the Black Douglas. But it is more probable that they hold the

  1. The arms were probably painted on it when new.
  2. Blore's Monumental Remains.