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Royal & Abbey – King Robert the Bruce’s Skull

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Cast of King Robert the Bruce’s Skull. One of several made before his body was re-interred in 1819 

“Home is where the heart is”

Not in the case of King Robert the Bruce!

Robert the Bruce is buried in Dunfermline Abbey. His tomb rests under the pulpit of the Abbey Church. However, there is one piece of the King that is not in Dunfermline…

As Robert the Bruce lay dying in 1329 he asked his friend, Sir James Douglas to take his heart on crusade to the Holy Land.  On his death, Bruce’s heart was cut from his body, embalmed and placed in a silver casket. Sir James Douglas and several other Scots nobles sailed for Spain to fulfil their promise to the King.

However, Douglas and the Scots knights were soon embroiled in a war against the Moorish forces. Vastly outnumbered, most met their death in battle at Teba, including Sir James Douglas, who was found lying beside the silver casket.

The bones and hearts of the Scots were returned to Scotland.

Robert the Bruce’s heart was buried at Melrose Abbey.