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Re: Bruce and companions' bodies.
You scared me! I thought I had made up that date but here it is again in
the same place. More details this time for you:
The Christmas of 1328 he was at Cardross then began to feel better and went
on a pilgrimage to near Wigtownshire where the shrine of St. Ninian was.
This sait was the first Christian missionary in Scotland (5th century). The
shrine was near the battlefield of Bannockburn. Finally in Oct 1328 the
Pope lifted the interdict from Scotland excommunication for Robert. He now
feld his death approaching and the need to make peace with God. I think
this is saying that he carried in a stretcher on a last visit again to St.
Ninan. They got as far as Castle Kennedy by Stranraer when he had a
relapse. He recovered enough after a month to go on to the shrine by April
1. He fasted four or five days and prayed to the saint. Then by slow
stages they took him northwards through Galloway and Carrick and then he
back to Cardross by the end of April.
Now he was really feeling weakness increasing daily. He sent letters to
all the leading men of the kingdom to come to him. (so for sure our old
Henry St. Clair -d. 1331-and perhaps his sons, William and John, were
there). They pledged their support to his son and to obey him when he came
of age to be their King.
"Sirs", he said,"my day is far gone and there remains but one thing, to
meet Death without fear, as every man must do. I thank God he has given me
the space to repent in this life, for through me and my wars there has been
a great spilling of blood and many an innocent man has been slain.
Therefore I take this sickness and this pain as a penance for my sins"
He said that he had hoped to be agle to go in person to fight against
the heathen but now he wouldn't be able. He asked them to choose one among
them to carry his heart against the enemies of Christ. (this does not say
that he particularly wanted his heart to go to Jerusalem. So in the battle
of Teba they did carry out his wish after all)
So these men could hardly hold back the tears but he told them to get on
with it. This book says they chose James Douglas. Bruce said that Douglas
was the one he had hoped would carry out the mission and he was glad that
all agreed. Douglas knelt at the bedside. He could not speak for weeping.
He thanks the King for all he had received from him and for the honor of
taking his master's heart on this voyage. Bruce thanked him and everyone
wept for pity.
A few days later, Robert died on 7 June 1329 not quite 55 years old.
So his heart was placed in the little silver and enameled casket which
Douglas placed around his neck. Early in the spring of 1330, he set sail
from Berwick in a ship fitted out in royally so that all would know that it
bore the King of Scotland's heart. Their plan was to place it in the Holy
Sepulchre in Jersalem. (I wonder whether that would have been
allowed--maybe with enough money--??) On board were those 6 knights
mentioned before, linked in friendship and neighboring landowners.
They stopped first at Sluys in Flanders where they stayed 12 days,
entertaining lavishly on gold and silver plate and inviting all who wished
to fight in the Holy Land to come along. There were rough seas between them
and the Mediterranian.. (It sounds like they were planning to go to Seville
without any previous invitation to fight the Moors)
When they arrived Alfonso XI, King of Castile and numerous other foreign
and English knights who were already there came to welcome them. So they
rested there awhile. Then in March the Moorish King of Granada threatened
the city. Alfonso brought out the troops asking Douglas to lead
On March 25th, at Zebas de Ardales, the armies came face to face.
It is possible that the Moors laid siege for a couple of months before
Douglas' last crazy charge in Aug. 25th.
Maybe the news got back to Scotland on Sept. 8th or
Douglas' charge was in March, then it took time for wounded people to
heal, boil the bones, bury the flesh, load the ships sail slowly, stopping
at ports to let people grieve, and got back to Scotland on Aug. 25th. Then
Buried Douglas' bones or Robert's casket on Sept. 8th.
I am suspicious of my timetable though, when it says they left in early
Spring. The earliest in Spring one can leave is March 22nd or stretching
it, March 1st. (did people ever think that Feb. was in the Spring,
especially in Scotland?) Then 12 ot the remaining 25 days were spent in
Sluys that leaves 13 days to beat against the storms down a long coast of
France and Portugal. The Guadalquivir River is not far around the corner
and west of Gibralter. Then it looks like about 25 miles up the River. Was
that river navigatable by these ships to Seville? I suppose it was or else
Seville wouldn't have prospered so much. Then it sounds like they were
there at least a day before they began fighting. Does that sound
reasonable to any of you? Perhaps they had a tail wind southward and it is
OK. But August seems like a long time to make the journey if it did begin
even at the end of March.
From: John S. Quarterman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, August 09, 1999 8:48 PM
Subject: Re: Bruce and companions' bodies.
>Thus far we have the Battle of Teba occuring in three different months:
>25 March 1330 (Laurel quoting Ronald McNair Scott)
>8th September, 1330 (Niven)
>25 August 1330 (Pete Cummings)
>At least we all agree on the year....
>>>Mediterranian and then up the coast to Scotland, it is obvious that in
>>>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
>>>(in vinegar-from a Cadfael story) so that the flesh fell off. It was
>>>the bones of the dead that went back to Scotland. The flesh was buried
>>>holy ground in Spain. I wonder whether anyone has gone there to look for
>>>monument to them?
>Teba (not Theba; there is no th in Spanish) has its own web pages:
>They mention a memorial plaque. That battle was the biggest thing
>that ever happened in Teba. :-)
>As for Saladin,
>yes, he was exceptional, but Muslims in general considered Christian
>Europeans to be barely better than barbarians with no manners, and with
>quite a bit of justification, given the behavior of the crusaders.
>The Byzantines held a similar opinion, for similar reasons.
>In any case, Laurel and Niven's writeups are now in
>John S. Quarterman <email@example.com>
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