Marjorie Bruce (1297-1316)

Relation to me: 21st Great-Grandmother

Marjorie was the eldest daughter of Robert the Bruce who was the King of Scots, and his first wife, Isabella of Mar. She would marry Walter, the High Steward of Scotland, which would give rise to the House of Stewart. Their son would be the first Stewart monarch, King Robert II of Scotland. Her widowed father would later remarry to Elizabeth de Burgh.

robert-the-bruce
 

Robert the Bruce

 

Her Early Life

Isabella, Marjorie’s mother, was a noblewoman from the Clan Mar. Not long after she had

isabella-of-mar
 

Isabella of Mar

 

given birth to Marjorie, at the age of nineteen-years-old, Isabella would pass away. Marjorie’s father, at the time of her birth was the Earl of Carrick. She would be named after her father’s mother, Marjorie, the Countess of Carrick.

According to a legend, Marjorie’s parents had been very much in love. Robert the Bruce wouldn’t remarry until Marjorie was six-years-old. On the 27th of March of 1306, Marjorie’s father was crowned King of Scots at Scone in Perthshire, Scotland. Marjorie, who was then nine-years-old became the Princess of Scotland.

Just three months after her father’s coronation, in June, her father was defeated at the Battle of Methven. He would send his female relatives (his wife, two sisters, and Marjorie) to the North with his supporter Isabella MacDuff, the Countess of Buchan. However, by the end of the month they would be captured by the Earl of Ross, who was a Balliol supporter. He would then hand them over to the English. As a punishment, Edward I of England would then send his hostages to separate places in England. Princess Marjorie would be sent off to the convent at Watton. Her aunt, Christina Bruce, was sent to a different convent. Queen Elizabeth was placed under house arrest at a manor house in Yorkshire. This was because Edward had needed the support of her father, the powerful Earl of Ulster. Her punishment would be lighter than the others. Marjorie’s aunt Mary Bruce and the Countess of Buchan were imprisoned in wooden cages, exposed to public view. Mary’s cage at Roxburgh Castle and Countess Isabella’s was at Berwick Castle.

For the next four years, Marjorie, Elizabeth, Christina, Mary and Isabella endured solitary confinement, with daily public humiliation for the latter two. A cage was also built for Marjorie at the Tower of London, but Edward I had reconsidered and instead sent her to the convent. Christopher Seton, Christina’s husband, would be executed.

Edward I would die on the 7th of July of 1307. He would be succeeded by his son, Edward II, who had subsequently held Marjorie captive in the convent for about seven more years. She would finally be released from captivity around 1314, possibly in exchange for the English noblemen that were captured after the Battle of Bannockburn on the 23rd of June to 24th of June in 1314.

Marjorie Marries Walter Stewart

Walter Stewart was the 6th High Steward of Scotland. He had distinguished himself in battle and was thus rewarded the hand of the adolescent princess. Her dowry would include the Barony of Bathgate in West Lothian. The original site of Bathgate Castle, which was part of her dowry, can be found on the grounds of the Bathgate Golf Club. Today, the site is protected by the Historic Scotland organization and the Club is debarred from carrying out any excavation work on the site without prior permission. On the first Saturday of June every year, the town of Bathgate celebrates the marriage of Marjorie and Walter in their annual historical pageant, just before the town’s procession and Newland festival. The local school children are given the parts of Marjorie and Walter, as well as other members of the court. After the pageant, everyone joins together in a procession along with Robert the Bruce on horseback.

A Tragic Accident

Two years after their marriage, on the 2nd of March of 1316, Marjorie was riding in Gallowhill, Paisley, Renfrewshire while she was very pregnant. Her horse had suddenly been startled and threw her to the ground at a place known as “The Knock”. She would go into premature labor and her child Robert was delivered by c-section at Paisley Abbey. Marjorie would pass away just a few hours later.

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Paisley Abbey

 

At the time of her death, Marjorie was just nineteen-years-old. Her mother had also died at the age of nineteen during childbirth. At the junction of Renfrew Road and Dundonald Road in Paisley, a cairn marks the spot near where Marjorie is reported to have fallen from the horse. The reported place of her death is now referred to as Knockhill Road, with the nearby roads of Bruce Way and Marjorie Drive named in her honor. She is buried at Paisley Abbey.

Her son succeeded his childless uncle David II of Scotland in 1371 as King Robert II. Her descendants include the House of Stuart (or Stewart) and all of their successors on the throne of Scotland, England and the United Kingdom are also related to her.

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4 thoughts on “Marjorie Bruce (1297-1316)”

  1. Christina~Again, I thank you for sharing this story of a mutual ancestor. (She was my my 20th great-grandmother via her son, Robert II Stewart.) Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I relate to her through him too and he’s going to be one of my next posts. Thank you for continuing to follow me and Suzanne thank you for the kind compliment and thank you too for following

    Like

  3. You know more about the history of Scotland than I do, that’s for sure! Fascinating to have such interesting family connections to explore.
    Thanks for another interesting article, Christina.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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