Clan Bruce

Clan Bruce Crest

Clan Bruce is a Scottish clan from Kincardine in Scotland. It was a Royal House in the 14th century, producing two kings of Scotland.


The name Bruce comes from the French 'de Brus' or 'de Bruis', what is now Brix between Cherbourg and Valognes in Normandy. The first Robert de Brus in Great Britain accompanied William the Conqueror in 1066 and died, it is believed, around 1094.

However, it was his son, also Robert de Brus (known as Robert le Meschin, or 'the Cadet') that first connected the family with Scotland. Now rich with lands in Dorset and Surrey, Robert de Brus marched north as a companion-in-arms to David I of Scotland in his campaign to reclaim his crown in 1124. De Brus was rewarded with the lands of Annandale. In 1138 King David became involved in the civil war in the Kingdom of England between Stephen of Blois and Empress Matilda. De Brus could not support his king and resigned his holdings in Annandale to his second son, Robert, joining the English forces in preparation for the Scottish advance. The Scottish forces were defeated at the Battle of the Standard and de Brus took his own son, now laird of Annandale, prisoner. He was ultimately freed and returned to Scotland, abandoning his father's arms of a red lion on a silver field, assuming the red saltire (the current arms contain both elements). William the Lion confirmed the grant of Annadale made by David

Motto Fuimus (We have been)
Origins Norman - de Brus
Gaelic name(s) {{{gaelic names}}}
Branches {{{branches}}}
  • Airth
  • Bruwes
  • Bruss
  • Bruc
  • Bruys
  • Brues
  • Bruce
  • Bruice
  • Bruis
  • Bruze
  • Broce
  • Brois
  • Broiss
  • Brose
  • Broise
  • Brouss
  • Brus
  • Bruse
  • Carlysle
  • Carruthers
  • Crosbie
  • Randolph
  • Stenhouse

Or, a saltire and chief gules, on a canton argent, a lion rampant azure, armed and langued of the second
Plant badge {{{plant badge}}}
Clan chieftain Andrew Bruce, 11th Earl of Elgin
Clan seat(s) Broomhall House

Foundation of the Royal line

The foundation for the Bruce royal claim came in 1219 when Robert Bruce, 4th Lord of Annandale married Isobel of Huntingdon, daughter of David of Scotland, 8th Earl of Huntingdon and niece of William the Lion. The union brought both great wealth, with the addition of lands in both England and Scotland, and the royal connection that the Bruces sought. Their son, Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale, known as 'the competitor' was sometime Tanist to the throne. On the death of Alexander III of Scotland both Bruce and John Balliol claimed succession. Margaret, Alexander's infant graddaughter was named as heir, however, she died in 1290 travelling to Scotland to claim her throne. Soon after the death of young queen Margaret, fearing civil war between the Bruce and Balliol families and their supporters, the Guardians of Scotland asked the kingdom's southern neighbor, Edward I of England to arbitrate among the claimants in order to avoid civil war. Edward I saw this as the opportunity he had long been waiting for to conquer Scotland as he had conquered Wales and rule over all the British Isles. In 1292 Edward chose Balliol who swore allegiance to the English monarch. It was not long, however, before Balliol rebelled against Edward, eventually leading to John's defeat and forced abdication after the Battle of Dunbar in 1296.

Ascension to the Throne

With the abdication of John Balliol, Scotland was effectively without a monarch. Robert the Bruce swore allegiance to Edward at Berwick-upon-Tweed but breached this oath when he joined the Scottish revolt the following year. In the summer of 1297 he again swore allegiance to Edward in what is known as the capitulation of Irvine. Bruce appears to have sided with the Scots during the Battle of Stirling Bridge but when Edward returned, victorious, to England after the Battle of Falkirk, Bruce's lands of Annandale and Carrick were exempted from the lordships and lands which Edward assigned to his followers. Bruce, it seems, was seen as a man whose allegaince might still be won. Bruce and John Comyn (a rival for the throne) succeeded William Wallace as Guardians of Scotland, but their rivalry threatened the stability of the country. A meeting was arranged at Greyfriars Church in Dumfries, neutral ground. Bruce stabbed Comyn through the heart, and as a result was excommunicated by Pope Clement V. Robert the Bruce was crowned at Scone, Perthshire in 1306.

See:Wars of Scottish Independence

Robert's son, David II of Scotland became king on his father's death in 1329. In 1346 under the terms of the Auld Alliance David marched south into England in the interests of France, but was defeated and imprisoned Battle of Neville's Cross on October 17 of that year, and remained in England for eleven years. He died in Edinburgh Castle in 1371 without issue. The line of succession passing to the House of Stuart.

After Robert the Bruce

Sir Edward Bruce was made commendator of Kinloss Abbey and appointed a judge in 1597. He was appointed a Lord of Parliament with the title of Lord Kinloss in 1602. He accompanied James VI to claim his English throne in 1603 and was subsequently appointed to English judicial office as Master of the Rolls. In 1608 he was granted a barony as Lord Bruce of Kinloss. His younger son, Thomas, 3rd Lord Kinloss, was created first Earl of Elgin in 1633. When the fourth Earl died without issue, the title passed to the descendants of Sir George Bruce of Carnock, who already held the title Earl of Kincardine and in 1747 the Earldoms were united.

Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin was a diplomat and ambassador to the Ottoman Empire between 1799 and 1803. He is famous, or infamous, for the removing marble sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens, now commonly referred to as the Elgin Marbles. His son, Thomas was Governor General of the Province of Canada and Viceroy of India.

The current chief, Andrew Bruce, 11th Earl of Elgin, is prominent in Scottish affairs and is convener of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

Return to Main Index

Creative Commons License This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. Text is available
under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.