Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Letter from Robert Bruce to Edward II

New research has revealed a letter written in 1310 by Robert Bruce to King Edward II, presenting historians with fresh information about a pivotal time in the Wars of Scottish Independence. The letter was sent less than four years before Robert Bruce won a famous victory at the Battle of Bannockburn against the English king which paved the way for Scottish independence.

The document, which was discovered in The British Library by chance by a senior academic from the University of Glasgow, gives a snapshot of Bruce in 1310 as a king facing one of his sternest tests yet. This letter reveals how, when faced with an English army marching into the heart of Scotland, Robert Bruce made an eloquent appeal for peace, on the understanding that Edward would recognise Scottish independence.

Around this time the two men were experiencing very different fortunes; King Edward was growing increasingly unpopular with the nobles in his own court, whilst Robert was slowly reclaiming power north of the border by winning the hearts and minds of the Scottish people. By the time of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Bruce had taken all the strongholds except Stirling and those near the English border.

Dauvit Broun, Professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow, who made the discovery, comments, “The letter reveals a couple of things: firstly, Bruce’s tone is extremely conciliatory; he seems to be offering to do anything possible to establish peace. However, he is nonetheless plainly addressing Edward as one king to another. There is no doubt that the bottom line here is that Edward should recognise Robert as king of the Scots and the Scots as separate from the English. (Read entire post.)

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