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Re: The Heart of Bruce

At 22:23 30/07/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Dear Niven,
>     I trust that your trip to Rosslyn went well.  What did you learn about
>our little "colored" fellow?
>     I was reading the poem entitled "The Heart of Bruce" at pages 53 and 54
>of Andrew Sinclair's book, "The Sword and the Grail." He identifies the
>author as "Aytoun," but there were two Scottish poets by the name of Aytoun,
>Sir Robert and William Edmondstoune.  Do you happen to know which of these
>two is the proper author of "The Heart of Bruce?"  Also at page 56, there is
>the "White deer" ballad in which Sir William Sinclair wagers his head in a
>bet with Robert the Bruce that his hounds would do the deer in before it
>crossed the stream.  Is the author of this ballad known?
>     I have mailed you an enlargement of the angel carving.
>Respectfully yours, Ward Ginn

    The Aytouns were originally of the de Vesci family who came over from 

    They settled near the River Eye (hence Eye Town or in Lowland Scots 

    They were related to the Sinclairs and Sir William Edmondstone Aytoun's 
     Sinclair" was a semi-biographical novel.

    Ayton (notice change in spelling) Castle is a splendid building but no 
longer in the
    hands of the family.

    Aytoun was responsible for "The Heart of Bruce" but the story about the 
two dogs
    (Help and Hold) is somewhat apocryphal - no more than a lovely legend 
about a
    master and his love of his hounds (something which I may have inherited 
    dogs have always played an important part in my life).  The story of 
the hounds was
    written by W.G. Whyte-Melville and, like the story of the Apprentice 
who built the
    magnificent pillar within Rosslyn Chapel, has to be taken with a pinch 
of salt.

    William Sinclair with his brother, John, gave their lives life whilst 
carrying the heart
    of Robert the Bruce to the Holy Land.   They were killed at Theba 
whilst trying to
    help King Alonzo of Castille in his fight against the Moors.  Sir James 
Douglas was
    also with the party although the actual task had actually been 
entrusted to. Sir William
    Sinclair (the father of William Sinclair) as he was a contemporary of 
Bruce.  However,
    by the time of the Bruce's death, he was too old to carry out the task 
which he
    delegated to his sons, William and John, and to Sir James Douglas and 

    The Moors had been so impressed with the bravery of the Scottish 
knights that they
     allowed their bodies to be returned to Scotland with the heart of 
Bruce which is now
    in Melrose Abbey.  The tombstone of Sir William Sinclair is now in 
Rosslyn Chapel.
    The whereabouts of the body of his brother, John Sinclair, is 
unknown.  Sir James
    Douglas lies in the Douglas Chapel.

    Those were the days of chivalry when one's enemy respected courage as 
did Saladin
    (Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi) who, when he saw Richard the Lionheart's horse 
being killed,
    sent him a replacement horse with his compliments.


    Niven Sinclair

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