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Robert Bruce and the Spider

Retold by Rohini Chowdhury


Tales from History


The Offering

Robert Bruce and the Spider






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Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, was descended from a Norman knight, Robert de Bruce, who came to England with William the Conqueror. His grandfather had been one of the 13 claimants to the Scottish throne in 1291, during the reign of the English king Edward I. Edward had chosen John de Balliol, an English baron, declaring him rightful king of Scotland in 1292. Later, Balliol refused to acknowledge the superiority of the English, and in 1296, was defeated by Edward at Dunbar. Edward then took over Scotland, receiving the oath of fealty from over 2000 Scots. At the same time a nationalistic movement demanding freedom from England slowly began gaining strength among the Scots. Leaders such as William Wallace fought the English but were defeated and executed.

After Wallace's death, Robert Bruce revived his grandfather's claim to the throne, and declared himself king of Scotland in 1306.

Edward I sent a large army north, defeated Bruce at the Battle of Methven, and forced him to become an outlaw. But Bruce did not give up, and came out of hiding a year later to win an important victory against the English. Clans from all over Scotland now came to his aid, and Bruce's growing army fought bravely and successfully against the English. Meanwhile Edward I died, to be succeeded by his son Edward II. The new king was no match for Robert Bruce - in 1314, at the Battle of Bannockburn, Bruce's army of 5,000 defeated Edward II's much larger army of 20,000, driving the English finally and firmly out of Scotland.

Robert Bruce was known as 'Good King Robert' and was undoubtedly one of Scotland's greatest rulers, bringing peace and freedom to his country.


Now read the story of how a tiny little spider influenced the history of Scotland...

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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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