Death of Robert the Bruce
The Death of Robert I of Scotland was on the day he routed the English. The night before, he had slain Henry de Bohun, after the English knight had charged towards him demanding single combat. A morale boost for the Scots.
And on that morning Robert’s hard-won battle know-how was put to good use. The battlefield, chosen for its excellent defensive position, a strong site, within view of Stirling. Knowing Wallace had made critical mistakes at Falkirk, Bruce did not want to do the same. The English archers were not to be underestimated. The small but mobile Scottish cavalry force was dispatched to swiftly remove them.
And so it was that on the slopes above the Bannock Burn, Bruce led the Scots to victory.
It is often forgotten that many years of struggle and misery followed until Scottish independence was finally secured by the Treaties of Edinburgh and Northampton in 1329.
Then at the Manor of Cardross, Dumbarton on the 7th day of June 1329 Robert the Bruce died. After suffering for some years from an "unclean ailment" as his father before him had done,
Following a deathbed decree Sir James Douglas removed and carried Bruce’s heart to be buried in Jerusalem. This decree overrode an earlier written request, dated 13th May 1329 Cardross, that his heart be buried in the monastery at Melrose.
"Taking from his neck the silver casket which contained the heart of Bruce, Sir James Douglas threw it before him among the enemy, saying, "Now pass thou onward before us, as thou wert wont, and I will follow thee or die. Douglas, and almost all of the men who fought by his side, were here slain. His body and the casket containing the embalmed heart of Bruce were found together upon the field."
Sir James Douglas was killed in an ambush whilst carrying out the decree. According to legend (Fordun Annals), the heart was later recovered by Sir William Keith and taken back to Scotland to be buried at Melrose Abbey, in Roxburghshire, per his earlier decree.
His body lies buried in Dunfermline Abbey.
Harpelestane like the Scots before them routed allcomers (including the English) at last years “Battle of the Heart “ and promise to do so again. And unlike the field at Bannockburn the heavily-armoured fighters will not become bogged down in the swampy terrain but Harpelestane will once again prove that they have the upper hand.