Writtle History

Robert the Bruce 1306-1329

The bruce connection

Of all the characters from history said to be associated with Writtle, there can be few more unlikely than Robert the Bruce, the celebrated 'spider' King of Scotland.Yet claims persist that Montpelliers Farm on Margaretting Road was his birthplace. These claims are neither supported nor denied by the Bannockburn Museum in Stirling. The 'evidence' is based on the fact that the de Bruce family had owned considerable tracts of land in Writtle dating from the Norman Conquest. Successive generations of the family each produced a 'Robert' and the one who became King was believed to be the 13th. Feared and disliked by the English, Robert led his forces into successive battles, eventually being crowned in 1306.

His estates in England, including the farm in Writtle were immediately confiscated. So the legend lives on as yet another of Writtle's intriguing past.

did you know?

Just before he died (the possible cause was leprosy), in 1329, Bruce asked that his heart should be taken out of his body, and that Sir James Douglas should carry it with him to fight against the Saracens in Spain. Douglas obeyed the king, and the heart was enclosed in a silver casket. Sir James died in battle, and the casket was found under his body on the battlefield. The heart was returned to Scotland, where it was buried at Melrose Abbey.