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Re: THE Bruce

>I, too, wonder since Bruce translates as "from Bruys" according to The 
>Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook. Robert the from Bruys??? Doesn't 
>make sense, does it? I look to our experts to solve this one.

The name "de Bruce" is simply a different spelling of "de Bruys" or "de Bruis",
which is Norman French meaning "of Bruis" or "from Bruis".  Bruis was a town
or castle near Cherbourg in Normandy.

Bruce is the English or Scots name that is equivalent to the French
name de Bruis, just as St. Clair is the English or Scots name that is
equivalent to the French name de St. Clair.

And Robert VIII de Bruis (who became King Robert I) was called the Bruce
because he was the head of his clan, just as Robert VII, Robert VI,
etc. before him had been.  As someone else has pointed out, this custom
of refering to the head of clan X as the X is an ancient Celtic naming

Several other cases occur frequently in that period, the most famous of which
perhaps being the Douglas and the Stewart.

By this convention the Bruce's contemporary Henry St. Clair (1275-1336)
8th Baron of Rosslyn could have been called Henri VIII de St. Clair
and Henry the Sinclair.  Today Malcolm Caithness could be called the Sinclair.
I've never seen a case of this convention being applied to the head of the
Sinclair family, but I haven't been looking for it.  There are authorities
on such subjects on this list.  Perhaps one of them will say.

This convention is very similar to the one by which a king or other reigning
monarch could refer to himself by the name of the country of which he was king.
English kings such as Richard I often referred to themselves as England and
to their French contemporary kings as France.

I wonder if Scottish kings and queens ever referred to themselves as Scotland;
probably not, since there was more of a tradition of the king being the
representative of the community, and the usual convention was King of Scots,
not King of Scotland.  By the clan convention I suppose a King of Scots
could have been called the Scot, although I can't say I ever heard of that.

Does anyone know?

John S. Quarterman <jsq@mids.org>
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