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Bruce and companions' bodies.
Taken from pg 228 Robert the Bruce by Ronald McNair Scott
The men who accompanied the heart of Bruce were: Sir William Sinclair of
Roslyn, Sir Robert and Sir Walter Logan, Sir William Keith, Sir Alan
Cathcart and Sir Seymour Loccard of Lee, and one other knight unnamed. 26
squires and gentlemen were there to serve them.
The battle was fought on 25 Mar.1330.
(so Niven is saying that the unnamed knight was William's brother John
Sinclair. Is that written in one of our Sinclair books that Ronald Scott
didn't have access to???? I would bet that every clan is claiming that
their ancestor was the unnamed knight- Do we have some proof??)
It seems that the Saracens pretended to ride away. Douglas gave the
order to follow and his group of 10 were drawn away from the rest of the
army. Suddenly the enemy turned their horses and encircled them but Douglas
was able to evade them. When he looked back he saw that Sir William
Sinclair had been captured along with two other knights, Sir Robert and SIr
Walter Logan. Douglas came back to rescue them but was surrounded by the
Moors and cut down.
The casket containing Bruce's heart was still chained around Douglas'
neck when Sir Alan Cathcart took it from him. (Cathcart family tradition-but
I think it makes more sense than the Saracens returning it-Saladin was a
very exceptional person. His chivalry and nobility were unusual among his
people and among the Europeans. The days of chivalry were formed in his
image. His actions sharply illuminated the debauchery of the Crusaders)
From this story we are not able to determine whether John Sinclair was
in the group with his brother. It doesn't sound like it. But perhaps
killed elsewhere on the battle field that day.
As you visualize the bringing of the bodies from Spain, here is another
aspect to consider. :
Douglas' body was brought to his cousin, Sir William Keith who didn't
participate in the battle because he had a broken arm. He was now in charge
it seems. Maybe he and Cathcart were the only ones to survive???/
Since it would take some weeks to embark, sail south to the
Mediterranian and then up the coast to Scotland, it is obvious that in that
warm climate these bodies couldn't be taken home as they were. So Sir
William Keith had the bodies prepared for the journey by having them boiled
(in vinegar-from a Cadfael story) so that the flesh fell off. It was only
the bones of the dead that went back to Scotland. The flesh was buried in
holy ground in Spain. I wonder whether anyone has gone there to look for a
monument to them?
The heart of Bruce was carried in the little casket and buried at
Melrose Abbey. The bones of Doublas were buried in the Kirk of Douglas.