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Divided Loyalties - Bruce Takes The Throne

3 July 2009

Also see and hear the remarkable story of John Knox

The year is 1306 and news reaches St Andrews Castle that Robert the Bruce has been declared king.

Visitors to the castle on Sunday, 19 July can watch events unfold as a group of Scots discuss the issue and find their loyalties are divided.

Some think the new King Robert I will allow them to throw off the yoke of English rule.

Others argue that Robert should not be trusted or supported – not only has he kept changing sides, but he is also guilty of murdering John III Comyn, head of the most powerful noble family in the land.

If this wasn’t bad enough, the deed was done on holy ground before the high altar of a church.

As the argument heats up it looks as if a clash of arms may be inevitable.

Nick Finnigan, Historic Scotland filming and events manager, said: “These days King Robert I is regarded as a great Scottish hero and we sometimes forget that many Scots at the time felt differently and fought against him.

“This event will take visitors back to a time when matters looked a let less certain and Scots found themselves with divided loyalties – so much so that there were many years of bloody warfare before the Bruce cause was finally won.”

Visitors will also be able to jump from the 14th to the 16th century and meet one of the most famous Scots of all time – the Protestant reformer John Knox.

His life was intimately linked to St Andrews, which was the place where his mentor George Wishart was burned at the stake in 1546.

A costumed performer taking on the role of John Knox will tell the tale of his incredible life – including the time he spent as a galley slave.

Notes for editors:

Programme for the day

12.00 Medieval Camp Opens

12.15 Opening Gambit As news filters through to St. Andrews of Robert Bruce’s seizure of the crown of Scotland, a group of nobles meets to discuss the situation. Discover the risks to those who support Bruce and the factors that influence their decisions.

12.45 The Way Ahead Meet John Knox the Protestant Reformer and hear about the religious situation in Scotland in the early 16th Century. What led to the Scots embracing the protestant faith?

1.15 Bishop’s Move A look at the role of St. Andrews in the Wars of Independence. Find out about William Lamberton and his relationships with William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Edward I and II of England.

2.00 Transformation John Knox speaks of his own life and his upbringing in the Roman Catholic faith. Find out why he became a priest but did not follow that path and the catalyst that drove him into the arms of Protestantism.

2.30 Endgame With decisions taken, the nobles prepare to leave St. Andrews when an argument breaks out. The supporters of Robert the Bruce take on the Balliol/English contingent in a clash of arms.

3.15 The Road to Slavery Listen as John Knox tells how he found his true calling after the burning of George Wishart and hear how his actions resulted in him serving time as a slave on a French Galley ship.

4.00 Camp Closes

  • The event is included in the normal admission price to the castle which is £5.20 for adults, £4.20 concessions and £2.60 children. It takes place between noon and 4pm.

  • Historic Scotland has 345 historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/properties

  • Historic Scotland’s Mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.


For further information


Rebecca Hamilton
Marketing and Media Manager
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8685 / 07788 923871
rebecca.hamilton@scotland.gsi.gov.uk