The Braveheart movie was released at the cinemas just before we were in Scotland last time. Yes, it was that long ago. Anyways, I was fascinated by the story of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. I liked to think that Robert the Bruce was as hot in real life as he was in the movie. Yes, that came out loud.
So, I read a lot of history. An awful lot of it- from both sides: the English and Scottish versions. I remained fascinated, but also a little disheartened. After all, I liked the Hollywood version and the reality was so much more brutal and cruel. I treated it the way I usually do when I watch a movie version of a book I’ve loved- as two separate pieces of art.
My point? Robert the Bruce’s heart, or what they think could be Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried here at Melrose Abbey. The rest of him is at Dunfermline Abbey. Sarah thought that made him a little like Pharlap- in pieces across the land…heart in Canberra, hide in Melbourne and skeleton in Wellington. I tried to explain the difference, but, well, she didn’t seem interested.
It took Bob the Bruce, if indeed it really is him, a long time to find his way back to Melrose- he died in 1329 and the casket containing what they think was his heart was dug up in 1998- or thereabouts- and buried with a reasonable amount of ceremony here in what used to be the Chapter House. In the meantime, he was taken on crusade by his friend Sir James Douglas, but only got as far as Granada before he was killed too. I like to think that it really is his heart, and that it’s found its’ way back.
To the Abbey itself. It’s been here since 1136, although an earlier building was here from the 600’s. When you’re talking about those sorts of years, what’s another 500 or so?
Over the years, the Abbey has been attacked by a number of marauding parties. In 1322 Edward II came through and had a shot at destroying it. Richard II had another go in 1385.
In 1544, English armies came through again, and then in the 1600’s it came under cannon fire during the Civil War.
Ok, history lesson over, here are the pics… Oh, and for those of you into apps and photography, most of these were taken on my iPhone, using the proHDR app. No filter required.