Plate LV., Broomhall, pp.109-110.

[Scotland Illustrated Contents]


BROOMHALL, the elegant mansion of the Right Honourable the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, is situated on an elevated lawn overlooking the village of Limekilns on the north side of the firth of Forth, in the parish of Dunfermline, Fifeshire. It is surrounded by extensive grounds richly wooded. The late noble Earl will be long remembered for his taste and knowledge in the Fine Arts, and for the benefit he conferred on Art by bringing to this country those admirable specimens of Greek sculpture now in the British museum, known as the Elgin Marbles.* He was descended from Robert de Bruys, who obtained various charters of land from David II., and is styled by that monarch his cousin. There is still preserved at Broomhall a helmet and sword – long preserved in an elder branch of the family now extinct, the Bruces of Clackmannan – which, there seems no doubt, were those worn by Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn. These interesting relics of that great monarch were carried in the procession at the laying of the foundation-stone of the new church of Dunfermline, erected over the last resting-place of the patriot king. Robert de Bruys, above-mentioned, is said to have been descended from John de Bruys, a younger son of Robert, fifth Lord of Annandale, who was uncle to King Robert Bruce. Among other grants he, in 1359, received a grant of the estate and manor of Clackmannan, by which his descendants were afterwards designated. This elder branch of the family became extinct on the death of Henry Bruce, Esq. of Clackmannan, in 1772, without issue, when the representation devolved upon the Earl of Elgin. Edward Bruce, second son of Sir David Bruce of Clackmannan, the fifth in descent from Robert de Bruys, obtained a charter of the lands of Blairhall, and was father of Edward Bruce, commendator of the Cistercian abbey of Kinloss, who, in 1608, was created a peer by the title of Lord Bruce of Kinloss, and had the whole lands and baronies belonging to the abbey erected into a temporal lordship in his favour. His eldest son, Edward, second Lord Bruce of Kinloss, was one of the gentlemen of the bed-chamber to James VI.: he was killed in a duel, in 1613, by Sir Edward Sackville, afterwards Earl of Dorset, who was himself severely wounded. He was succeeded by his brother, Thomas, third Lord Bruce of Kinloss, who was created Earl of Elgin by Charles I. in 1633, and afterwards a peer of England by the title of Lord Bruce of Whorlton. His son, Robert, second Earl of Elgin, was created Earl of Ailesbury in England, and carried St. Edward’s staff at the coronation of James VII. Charles, fourth Earl of Elgin, and third Earl of Ailesbury, having dies without issue, was succeeded by his heir male, Charles, ninth Earl of Kincardine, in the title of Earl of Elgin. He was descended from Sir George Bruce of Carnock, third son of Sir Edward Bruce of Blairhall, and brother of the first Lord Bruce of Kinloss. Sir George settled at Culross, where he established extensive coal-works, manufactured salt to a great extent, was much engaged in foreign commerce, and, by his ability and sagacity, attained to great wealth. An amusing anecdote is told of the manner in which James VI. was frightened when visiting his works:- The coal was wrought to a considerable distance under the sea, and was shipped at a moat, within sea-mark, where there was a shaft connected with the workings below, by which the coal was brought to the surface. King James being on a visit to that part of the country, expressed a desire to see the works, and was accordingly conducted through them to the moat, where he was both astonished and terrified at finding himself surrounded by the sea. He called out ‘Treason!’ but his fears were quickly dispelled by the appearance of a handsome pinnace, in which he was conducted ashore; after which he was sumptuously entertained by Sir George at the abbey of Culross.** Sir George’s grandson, Sir Edward Bruce, was created Earl of Kincardine by Charles I. in 1647. Alexander, third Earl of Kincardine, having died without issue, was succeeded in the title by Sir Alexander Bruce of Broomhall, son of Robert Bruce of Broomhall, third son of Sir George Bruce of Carnock. Robert Bruce of Broomhall was appointed a Lord of session in June 1649. He was a member of the committee of war for the shire of Fife, 1648; a commissioner for revising the laws and acts of Parliament, 1649; a member of the committee of estates appointed by Parliament on the 6th of June, 1651; and died in June 1652. The present Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, who succeeded his father in 1841, is of the fourteenth generation in descent from the first Robert de Bruys of Clackmannan; and is, from the failing of the elder branches, the representative, in the male line, of the ancient and royal name of Bruce.

*  A somewhat contentious addition to the British Museum. I am a firm believer in repatriation of everything of worth back to the countries they belong to. Museums claim these items for educational purposes but I can’t believe it’s any more educational to see the real thing as opposed to a replica item. Institutional hoarding of items is partly why I started this site. The number of books and items libraries and museums have in storage, never to be seen by more than a select few, all over this country would have you in disbelief. I believe all information is important and should be made freely available to everyone with an interest.
** This story is related in Chambers’ ‘Domestic Annals’ (1885), in the Reign of James the Sixth (1603-1625).

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