Sunday, June 22, 2008

Of Acre and Annandale

One legend has Robert Bruce (father of the King), participating in the 9th crusade to Acre.


He and his companion-in arms Adam de Kilconquhar, apparently travelled to the Holy land for the 9th Crusade, but Adam died or was killed in 1270, and Robert returned to Scotland with the sad duty of informing his widow. One of the leaders of the crusade was Prince Edward of England, (Later Edward I who featured prominently in earlier posts), so it may be that Robert was part of his following. It should be noted that, Scottish –English relations of this time were relatively cordial, and that the Bruces, like many of those who would be participants in the War of Independence, were powerful Anglo-Scottish nobles, who owed allegiances to both Kings.

Robert returned to Scotland and in one romantic account, meets the widow (Lady Marjorie of Carrick) out riding with her ladies, who on seeing the handsome young knight, surrounded him and took him captive to her castle, where she kept him until he agreed to marry her. Robert obviously succumbed to the charms of the Lady, and there may have been some thoughts of the Earldom that would come with any marriage. (As seen in earlier post the Bruces were not shy in pursuing their dynastic advancement).
But let us not spoil the mood – they were married 1271, and the union would produce Scotland’s Hero King.

However there is a problem with the chronology, the 9th crusade did not effectively start until mid 1271, and by then Robert must have been back in Scotland, thinking of marriage, so it seems unlikely that he an Adam were involved in any of the fighting.
It is known that the couple married without Royal consent, which resulted in temporary dispossession, and the payment of a fine to resolve the issue, so maybe the above story is a distraction to take attention away from the issue of permission.

But what the heck !!! – You know the motto of this blog “Print the Legend”

Meanwhile Prince Edward was busy campaigning and forming alliances, in the Holy land, but when news of the death of his father, Henry III, reached him in 1272, he returned to England to assume the throne. Acre would hold out for another twenty years, but by the opening years of the 14th century the last crusaders were ejected from the Holy land and Scotland was on the verge of final subjugation.

Siege of Acre 1291
So the stage was set and all that remain was for the Hero King to fulfill his destiny

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