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Robert the Bruce

Bruce and the North East of Scotland

Robert the Bruce was crowned in 1306 on the 26th of June, however his struggle over the enemy from the south continued for many years after. Kildrummy Castle lies some 30 miles west of Aberdeen and it was here that Bruce sent the Queen, and his brother Nigel for safety. Unfortunately the Queen was taken prisoner by the English.

Bruce defeated his sworn enemies, the Comyns, at Old Meldrum, north west of Aberdeen on Christmas eve in 1307. After this, the whole of the north east swore fealty to him, and legend has it attacked the garrison in the castle at Aberdeen who supported Edward I, and put them to the sword. The Aberdeen motto 'Bon-Accord' on the city Coat of Arms, was said to have been given to the town by Bruce in thanks for their defeat of the English garrison. However, the historic accuracy of this is open to speculation.

Keeping peace in the north of Scotland depended on Aberdeenshire (now Grampian). To this end, many strong fortifications were built such as Kildrummy, Kindrochit in Mar (Braemar - 70 miles west of Aberdeen and 15 miles from Balmoral, the summer home of the present Queen) and later Hallforest (a hunting lodge built by Bruce) outside Kintore. Bruce spent much time in Aberdeen especially as it was the first area of Scotland to offer its support to him. To show his thanks to the Aberdonians once his authority become the dominant force in Scotland, heconferred a Royal Charter to the city in 1314. The Royal Forest of Stocket also became the property of the city and the Brig (bridge) of Balgownie was probably built by funds from Bruce. Bruce also shaped the future of the area by giving lands, some from the Comyns, to various families who became the main dynasties of the area. The names that dominated the area, such as Gordon (Gordon of Khartoum), Keith, Lesley, Fraser, Irvine, Burnett, Hay and Johnstone, are still in evidence today and much of the local history is in the context of these names and families.

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