Bruce, a noble family of Scotland, three members of which obtained royal dignity. It was descended from Robert de Bruis, a Norman knight, who came to England with William the Conqueror, and whose grandson Robert received the lordship of Annandale from David I. of Scotland. I. Robert, fifth lord of Annan-dale, born in 1210, died at Lochmaben castle in 1295. He was one of the 15 regents of Scotland during the minority of Alexander III. When in 1291, by the death of Margaret, the "maiden of Norway," the succession reverted to the posterity of David, earl of Huntingdon, and youngest brother of King William the Lion, Bruce disputed the succession with John Balliol, the great-grandson of David by his eldest daughter, Margaret, he being the grandson of David by his second daughter, Isobel. The contest was referred to Edward I. of England, who decided "that in all indivisible heritages the more remote in degree of the first line of descent is preferable to the nearest in degree of the second," and thus gave the kingdom to Balliol, from whom he required homage and fealty. Bruce, in order to avoid swearing fealty to Balliol, resigned the lordship of Annandale to his son.
II. Robert, son of the preceding, lord of Annandale and earl of Car-rick, died in 1304. In 1270 he accompanied Edward I. of England to Palestine, and on his return to Scotland married the countess of Carrick, in whose right he became in 1292 earl of Carrick. Following the example of his father, in order to avoid doing homage to Balliol, he resigned the lordship of Annandale to his eldest son Robert, then a minor. Retiring to England, he was in 1295 appointed constable of the castle of Carlisle, and in the following year, when Balliol broke his allegiance to Edward, and, aided by Comyn, took up arms, Bruce fought on the side of the English. After the battle of Dunbar, April 27, 1296, when the Scotch were defeated, and Balliol renounced the sovereignty, Bruce, who was a favorite of Edward, applied to him for the crown of Scotland, but was refused. III. Robert, son of the preceding, earl of Carrick, afterward king of Scotland, born March 21, 1274, died June 7, 1329. He acted at first as Edward's liegeman, but vacillated between the two parties, taking no very active part in the struggle between Wallace and England. He was associated in 1299 with John Comyn, nephew of Balliol and a pretender to the crown, and with the bishop of St. Andrews, as guardians of Scotland. With these he laid a plan for recovering the crown, though apparently still faithful to Edward. This plan was revealed by Comyn, and Bruce, meeting him by appointment at the church of the Minorite friars in Dumfries in 1306, stabbed him in a fit of rage.
He then assumed the title of king, summoned the Scots to his standard, and was crowned at Scone in March. Edward made Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, guardian of Scotland, and sent him to chastise the rebels. The force of Bruce was almost immediately destroyed in the wood of Methven; six of his best knights were made prisoners, and he himself was rescued only by the devotion of Seaton. For two months, with his brothers and the ladies of his household, he wandered to and fro in the wilds of the Grampian hills, until, his party being discovered and forced to separate, he crossed over to the island of Rathlin, on the north of Ireland. His three brothers, wife, and sister were captured; the brothers were soon after hanged at Carlisle, and the ladies were imprisoned in various parts of England. His estates were confiscated, and he and his adherents were excommunicated by the papal legate. In the spring of 1307 Bruce returned, surprised his own castle of Carrick, defeated small parties of English in many skirmishes, and maintained himself among the hills and forests until Edward marched toward the border. The latter died on his way, leaving to his son a charge not to bury his bones till he had borne them in triumph from Berwick bounds to the utmost highlands.
For three years Edward II. paid no attention to the Scottish war, and Bruce in the mean time established his power over nearly all Scotland, and in the spring of 1310 was acknowledged king. In September of the same year Edward marched into Scotland as far as the Forth without encountering an enemy. In the next year he sent Gaveston to renew the war, who penetrated beyond the Forth, but still gained no material advantages. The following years were passed by Edward in contentions with his parliament, and by Bruce in gradually recovering all that he had lost in Scotland, until in 1314 the fortress of Stirling alone held out for the English, and even that the governor, Mowbray, had agreed to surrender if it was not relieved before the feast of St. John the Baptist. This at length aroused Edward, who at the head of a large army encamped in the neighborhood of the beleaguered fortress, and was there met by Bruce with 30,000 picked men, on the eve of the festival fixed for its surrender. The battle of Bannockburn followed, June 24, 1314, and resulted in the utter defeat of the English. Bruce now exchanged his prisoners against his wife, his sister, and his other relatives, who had been so long in captivity.
After this success the Scotch assumed the offensive and invaded Ireland, of which Edward Bruce, brother of Robert; was crowned king in 1316. While the dissensions lasted between Edward and his barons, Robert Bruce repeatedly devastated the borders and all the north of Yorkshire. In 1323 a truce was concluded between the kingdoms for thirteen years. Four years after this Edward II. was compelled to abdicate in favor of his son, Edward III., and Bruce renewed the war, with the avowed intention of forcing Edward to renounce his claim of sovereignty over the crown of Scotland. This renunciation was made by a treaty ratified at Northampton in 1328, by which Scotland was declared sovereign and independent. Bruce's title to the throne was recognized, and Jane of England, the sister of Edward, married to David, prince of Scotland. After his death Bruce's heart was embalmed in accordance with his desire that it should be carried to Palestine and buried in Jerusalem; but James Douglas, who undertook to execute this commission, was killed by the Moors in Spain, and the relic was returned and buried in Melrose abbey. The rest of the body was buried in the abbey church of Dunfermline, where the bones were found in 1818, when the new church was built.
In 1872 a statue of Bruce was erected in Stirling castle. Bruce married first Isabella, daughter of Donald, 10th earl of Mar, and had by her a daughter, Marjory, the mother of Robert II.; and second, Elizabeth, daughter of Aymer de Burgh, earl of Ulster, who became the mother of David II., his immediate successor. IV. David II *, son of the preceding, king of Scotland, born about 1324, died in Edinburgh castle, Feb. 22, 1370. He was crowned at Scone Nov. 23, 1331, and in the next year was dispossessed by Edward Balliol, son of John Balliol, and forced to take refuge in France, where he resided till 1341, when, Murray, Douglas, and Stuart having expelled Balliol from Scotland, he ventured to return. In 1346, while Edward III. was absent in France, David suddenly invaded England, but was totally defeated by a small army at Neville's Cross in Durham, and taken prisoner. From this time till 1357 David was detained in the tower of London, whence he was liberated after the battle of Poitiers, on the agreement to pay 100,000 marks in 20 half-yearly instalments, a truce being sworn to and hostages interchanged between the two countries.
This truce was afterward extended to 25 years further, under the name of the great truce, which was faithfully observed by David's nephew and successor, Robert, the first of the Stuart kings of Scotland. David's wife Jane died in 1362, and he married Margaret Logie, from whom he was divorced in 1369. V. Edward, brother of King Robert Bruce, and king of Ireland, was actively engaged in the struggle for the independence of Scotland. In 1308 he defeated the English, and made himself master of Galloway. In 1315 the chieftains of Ulster offered him the crown of Ireland, on condition that he would aid them in expelling the English. He embarked at Ayr with a force of 6,000 men, soon had possession of the whole province of Ulster, and was crowned king May 2, 1316, but was killed at the battle of Dundalk, Oct. 5, 1318.