Early Scottish, pp.31-39.

[Scottish National Memorials Contents]

WO-HANDED SWORD which measures 49 inches in the blade, 5 feet 9 inches in entire length, and weighs 7 ½ pounds. This excellent example of a two-handed sword is figured in Wilson’s Prehistoric Annals of Scotland (2d ed. vol. ii. p. 511), where it is stated: ‘The interest which secured the preservation of this venerable relic, is chiefly due to traditions which have long associated it with the memory of Sir Christopher Seton of that Ilk, from whom some of the oldest scions of the Scottish Peerage have been proud to trace their descent. He was married to Christian, sister of Robert the Bruce, whom he bravely defended at the battle of Methven. He was shortly after taken prisoner by Edward I., and basely hanged as a traitor. ‘So dear to King Robert was the memory of this faithful friend and fellow-warrior, that he afterwards erected on the spot where he was executed a little chapel, where mass was said for his soul’ (Tytler’s History, vol. i. p. 229). The little oratory has long since disappeared, but younger generations have fondly perpetuated his name in connection with a memorial of obsolete warfare, in the use of which the Scottish swordsmen of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were peculiarly expert.’ The two-handed sword, however, is not earlier than the fifteenth century, and only came into general use in the century following. (See Fig. 33.) 

(123) Lent by GEORGE SETON. 

   TWO-HANDED SWORD, having a total length of 5 feet 1 inch, the blade being 3 feet 7 ½ inches long. The upper part of the blade has a broad central groove; the quillons, which measure 15 inches from point to point, are round in section, and are marked with indented rings at several points; they are slightly curved forward, and the ends are beaten out to a sharply rounded, hooked form, on the outer edges of which are chased lines. It was formerly preserved at Clackmannan Tower as having belonged to King Robert Bruce, by whose successor, David II., that stronghold, with the manor and other lands, was granted, in 1359, to his kinsman, Robert de Bruys, ancestor of the Bruces, Barons of Clackmannan. According to local tradition, Robert Bruce had actually resided there, and certain vestiges bad long been regarded with veneration as associated with his history; among these was the sword. The descent of the Barons of Clackmannan may be seen in Douglas’s Baronage, p. 239. The line became extinct on the death of Henry Bruce of Clackmannan in 1772. ‘His relict, Catherine Bruce,’ Douglas relates (Peerage of Scotland, vol. i. p. 513), ‘survived till 4th November 1791.’ At her death she bequeathed the sword and a helmet, both said to have been used by Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn, to the Earl of Elgin, considering his Lordship as the chief of the family. They are now preserved at Lord Elgin’s seat, Broomhall, Fifeshire. 

(124) Lent by the EARL OF ELGIN. 

   TWO-HANDED SWORD, WITH SCABBARD, preserved at Drummond Castle, Crieff, as that of the Laird of Lundie, or Lundin, who fought in the Scots army at Bannockburn. Total length of the weapon 5 feet 2 ½ inches; blade plain, tapering throughout, measuring 4 feet ½ inch in length. The grip is covered with leather in ‘spirals,’ the pommel, a globular knob. The quillons, bent towards the point, measure 1 foot 2 ½ inches across, and terminate in an open rose or quatrefoil ornament. 


   BROADSWORD, with early form of Basket-hilt, the upper part of the blade having a shallow central channel, with both of its sides elaborately etched, forming a memorial of Sir John de Graham. One side bears the letters ‘S. J. G.’ with the date 1406 in Arabic numerals, and floriated scrolls; the other has the three scallop shells of the Graham arms on a shield, of a form which is not earlier than the sixteenth century, and the legend – 




                                     COMANDIT NANE TO BEIR IT BOT HIS NAME.’   (See Figs. 34 and 35.) 

   Sir John de Graham, the faithful ally and brother in arms of Sir William Wallace, was the second son of the knight of Dundaff in Stirlingshire by Annabella, daughter of Robert, Earl of Strathern. He was slain at the battle of Falkirk on 22d July 1298, and a monument, supposed to be his, which has been several times renewed, in the churchyard there, bears an inscription, two lines of which are the same as the legend on the sword:  

                                           ‘Here lys 

Sir John the Graeme baith wicht and wise, 

Ane of the chief reskevit Skotland thrys 

Ane better knight not to the world was lent 

Nor was gude Grame of truth and hardiment.’ 

   Blind Harry in his metrical romance thus makes Wallace lament the death of his companion in arms: 

‘My dearest brother that I ever had, 

My only friend when I was hard bestead, 

My hope, my health! O man of honour great, 

My faithful aid and strength in every strait; 

Thy matchless wisdom cannot here be told, 

Thy noble manhood, truth and courage bold; 

Wisely thou knew to rule and to govern, 

Yea, virtue was thy chief and great concern; 

A bounteous hand, a heart as true as steel, 

A steady mind, most courteous and genteel.’ 

(139) Lent by the DUKE OF MONTROSE. 

   THE ‘DOUGLAS SWORD.’ The blade is double-edged, 33 ½ inches in length excluding the tang, which is 6 ¼ inches. The blade is double-fluted on each side for a length of 10 ½ inches. In the flutings on both sides are an elaborate series of maker’s marks, and between these and the tang there are later inscriptions which have been etched with acid. These consist on one side of the engraving of a heart, to which two hands point. Over the one hand are the letters ‘K. R. B.,’ and over the other the letters ‘I. D.’ On the other side are shown the Royal shield of Scotland, with the date 1320 in Arabic numerals. The following legend is on the two sides:- 









   The Sword was nearly lost to the family on the occasion of the Rebellion of 1745, as in their retreat from Preston the followers of Prince Charles Edward took up their quarters for a time in Douglas Castle, and carried the weapon away with them when they left. It was only after some troublesome negotiations with the rebel leaders that the sword was recovered, and replaced in the Castle by the Duke of Douglas. See Sir William Fraser’s Book of Douglas, vol. i. p. 184, where there is a coloured plate of the Sword. (See Figs. 36 and 37.) 

(125) Lent by the EARL OF HOME. 

   THE BROOCH OF LORNE. This brooch (see Fig. 38) consists of a disc of silver 4 ½ inches in diameter enriched with filigree work, having a circle of eight jewelled obelisks rising around a central capsule crowned with a large rock-crystal. The capsule is removable, and discloses a cavity designed doubtless for a reliquary. The Brooch belongs to the class designated reliquary brooches, and is of the same typical form as the Lochbuy Brooch now in the British Museum, which is classed as sixteenth-century work, and the Lossit Brooch, a facsimile of which is in the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh. The Lochbuy Brooch is described and figured in the Catalogue of the Bernal Collection (Bohn’s Illustrated Library, 1857), p. 348. 

  The traditions which relate to the Brooch of Lorne are numerous, and in several details they are mutually irreconcilable. The brooch is said to have been borne by Robert the Bruce, and to have fastened his plaid at the battle of Dal-Righ (the King’s Field) with the Lord of Lorne, Allaster or Alexander McDougall, on the borders of Argyllshire, August 1306; and it was reported that he had to leave the brooch along with his plaid in the dying grasp of the McKeochs. According to current tradition the brooch was long preserved at Dunollie Castle, the seat of the Lords of Lorne, but disappeared in the seventeenth century, when the castle was burned by the McNeils, assisted by the Campbells of Bar-Gleann. It was believed in the country to have been carried off by the latter, while the former was either seeking or ransacking the charter-chest. The Bar-Gleann family, however, overawed by the neighbourhood of their powerful enemies, never displayed the brooch or boasted of its possession: but having lately fallen into decay, they are reported to have sold it no longer ago than the year 1822. Soon after it is said to have been observed by General Campbell, of Lochnell, in the window of a jeweller in London. The General, a near neighbour of McDougall, recognising, if not the Brooch of Lorne, which he never saw, a very curious and ancient Highland relic, entered the shop and inquired its history, when he was told it was the lost Brooch of Lorne, and, with very generous feeling, immediately purchased the valuable relic and presented it to its hereditary owner. Another account says this relic continued in the McDougall family till the year 1647, when the castle of Gylen, in the island of Kerrera, having been taken, sacked, and burnt by General Leslie’s troops, Campbell of Inverawe possessed himself of the Brooch of Lorne; in that family it remained until it passed into the hands of a cadet of that house who appointed it by testament to be sold, and the proceeds to be divided among his younger children. It was accordingly sent to Messrs. Rundell and Bridge, London, to be exposed for sale. Ultimately, in 1825, General Campbell of Lochnell, being anxious to bestow some mark of grateful regard on his esteemed friend and neighbour, McDougall, purchased the brooch, and presented it to him through his chief, the Duke of Argyll, at a social meeting of the landholders of the county. 

   The Brooch of Lorne was borne by Captain McDougall, R.N., of Lorne, when he, in full Highland garb, commanded and steered the royal barge in which the Queen and Prince Albert sailed up Loch Tay during the time they were the guests of the Marquis of Breadalbane at Taymouth Castle, on their visit to Scotland in 1842. Lord Breadalbane presented the wearer to the Queen, mentioning his profession, and that he bore the celebrated Brooch of Lorne which was said to have belonged to Robert the Bruce. The Queen took the brooch in her hand, and examined it minutely, asking about the centre stone, etc. 

   The following description of the brooch, along with part of the foregoing, is from Sir Thomas Dick Lauder’s Royal Progress in Scotland in 1842, p. 359:- 

   ‘It is of silver, of very curious form and ancient workmanship, and consists of a circular plate about four inches in diameter, with a tongue like that of a common buckle on the under side. The margin of the upper side has a rim rising from it, with hollows cut in the edge at certain distances, like the embrasures in an embattled wall. From the circle within this rim eight very delicately-wrought tapering cones start up at regular intervals to the height of an inch and a quarter, each having a large pearl in its apex. Concentric with these there is an inner circle, also ornamented with carved work, within which there is a raised circular case occupying the whole disc of the brooch, and slightly overtopping the cones. The circle exterior to this case projects into eight semi-cylinders, relieving it from all appearance of heaviness. The upper part is also very elegantly carved, and the centre is filled by a very large unpolished gem. Nobody has yet been able to determine the nature of this central stone. The present proprietor had it examined by Messrs. Rundell and Bridge of London, but they could form no judgment regarding it without its being polished, which, of course, he had too much antiquarian feeling to allow.’ 

   Miss Campbell of Bragleen (Bar-Gleann) supplies a note to Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll, p. 513, to the following effect:- ‘From the taking of Gylen Castle in 1647, the brooch remained in the Bragleen family of Campbells for nearly two hundred years. After the death of the late Major Campbell of Bragleen, General Campbell of Lochnell, one of his trustees, acquired the brooch by an agreement with the family, and presented it to MacDougall of Dunollie, at a county gathering in 1825.’ 

   The brooch has been frequently figured, and there is an excellent steel engraving of it in Archæologia Scotica, vol. iv. p. 419, pl. xxx. See also Wilson’s Prehistoric Annals of Scotland, 2d ed. vol. i. pl. iv. p. 339. 

(129) Lent by COLONEL C. A. McDOUGALL. 

   PAIR OF STIRRUPS, of brass, the rings in the form of large horse shoes, inches high by 6 ¼ inches wide at the top, narrowing to 5 ⅜ inches wide at the foot-rest, which is elliptical in shape, and 3 ½ inches wide, and of open work. 

(134) Lent by A. J. H. CAMPBELL. 

   PRICK SPUR, of iron, the collar 5 ½ inches deep, the spur-neck, one inch long, and the prick 4 ⅞ inches in length. At the junction of the prick and the spur-neck is a disc 2 ½ inches in diameter, and ⅛ inch thick. This form of spur is North African, and is in common use to the present day. 

(135) Lent by A. J. H. CAMPBELL. 

   WAR SCYTHE. The shaft is of lacquered wood, 5 feet 7 ½ inches in length, with a band of silver round the top ornamented with scroll work. The blade is 21 ¼ inches in length, curved back from the edge, and fastened to the shaft in the same manner as the Japanese swords. The weapon is a Japanese war scythe, such as was in common use down almost to the present day. 

(136) Lent by A. J. H. CAMPBELL. 

   These three articles from Dunstaffnage were, according to tradition, left by the Bruce when he handed over the castle to the Campbells. One of them is among the objects alluded to in Camden’s Britannia (Additions) by Gough, vol. iv. p. 129, where he quotes the following from Knox’s Tour (1787): ‘Some parts of an ancient regalia were preserved till the eighteenth century, when the keeper’s servants, during his infirm years, embezzled them for the silver ornaments, and left only a battle-axe, nine feet long, of beautiful workmanship, and ornamented with silver.’ They are mentioned occasionally in family papers, and they are figured in Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll, p. 96. 

   CALTHROP, from Field of Bannockburn. One of King Robert Bruce’s expedients for harassing the English cavalry was the strewing of calthrops on the battle-field in order to lame the horses of the enemy. This curious relic was found while draining the field of Bannockburn. These four-spiked instruments, which, however scattered, leave one spike erect, were a recognised weapon against cavalry in mediaeval warfare. Among the stores at Dover Castle in the reign of Edward III. was a barrel containing 2900 ‘calketrappes.’ The calthrop is a recognised charge in heraldry, and in the arms of the Drummonds there are six in a compartment supporting the shield. (See Fig. 39.) 


   Portion of a LEATHERN SHROUD, and small portion of Toile d’Or, obtained from the tomb of King Robert the Bruce in the choir of Dunfermline Abbey. The tomb was accidentally come upon on the 17th February 1818, in digging the foundation of a new church, and these articles were presented to the late Mr. Downing Bruce, by the Rev. Peter Chalmers, then Minister of the Abbey Church, Dunfermline. The body called that of Bruce had, however, no leathern shroud. The vault was again closed over, and officially reopened, and the remains examined on 5th November 1819, in presence of the Lord Chief Baron, Mr. Baron Clark Rattray, the Magistrates of Dunfermline, Professor Gregory, Professor Monro, and others. 

(131, 132) Lent by MRS. DOWNING BRUCE. 

   SILVER SPURS said to have been taken by a workman from the tomb of Robert the Bruce in Dunfermline Abbey when it was discovered in 1818, during the digging of the foundation of the new church. These spurs in their form do not bear out the otherwise unlikely allegation that they were taken from the tomb of Bruce. 

(137) Lent by MRS. JAMES KAY BROWN. 

   THE BLACK CHANTER OR FEADAN DUBH OF CLAN CHATTAN. It consists of the chanter of a set of bagpipes, made, as is usual, of lignum vitæ, having attached to it a silver plate with an inscription in Gaelic. Of the many singular traditions regarding the Chanter, one is that its original fell from heaven during the memorable clan battle fought between the Macphersons and the Davidsons in presence of King Robert III., on the North Inch of Perth in 1396, and that, being made of crystal, it was broken by the fall, and the existing one made in facsimile. Another tradition is to the effect that this is the genuine original, and that the cracks were occasioned by its violent contact with the ground. The Chanter is highly prized, and has a peculiar interest for the Cluny family, the prosperity of the house of Cluny being supposed to be dependent on its possession. Vide the article, ‘The Last of the Old Highland Chiefs,’ in Good Words for July 1885. In his notes to The Fair Maid of Perth, Sir Walter Scott says:- ‘The present Cluny Macpherson, Chief of his Clan, is in possession of this ancient trophy of their presence at the North Inch. Another account of it is given by a tradition which says that an aërial minstrel appeared over the heads of the Clan Chattan, and, having played some wild strains, let the instrument drop from his hand. Being made of glass, it was broken by the fall, excepting only the chanter, which as usual was of lignum vitæ. The Macpherson piper secured this enchanted pipe, and possession of it is still considered as ensuring the prosperity of the Clan.’ (See Fig. 40.) 

(138) Lent by CLUNY MACPHERSON. 

   SILVER FINGER-RING, found – with the fingerbone still in it – in ploughing up the Muir ground, on the field of the Battle of Harlaw, Aberdeenshire, fought between Donald Lord of the Isles and the Ear! of Mar in 1411. 

(140) Lent by C. E. DALRYMPLE. 

   SIDE-BOARD, which purports to have belonged to Queen Margaret, Queen of James IV. It is in carved oak Scottish work, in the manner of the period of James IV., with decorations which consist of the Rose, Thistle, Heart, and Crown, with Queen Margaret’s cipher amidst a profusion of rich Tudor carving. This handsome piece of furniture was acquired by the late David Laing at a sale in Edinburgh. The work bears obvious indications of being modern. (See Fig. 41.) 

(149) Lent by MISS LAING. 

   FLAG, preserved as that carried by men of Selkirk at the Battle of Flodden. This flag, known as the ‘Skirving Banner,’ has long been in the possession of the Selkirk Weavers’ Incorporation. According to tradition, it was brought from Flodden by a burgess named Skirving, who along with a numerous train of burghers accompanied the king to the field; but there is no name of Skirving on the burgess roll of May 1513. The flag is now in an exceedingly tattered and fragmentary condition, but its remains are framed and cared for with scrupulous attention. It is of green colour, and shows traces of embroidered devices, among which two shuttles can be made out. As it now remains, it measures 4 feet 6 inches in length by a breadth of 3 feet. See The History of Selkirkshire (1886), by T. Craig-Brown, vol. ii. p. 22. 


   SILVER GILT ROSE-WATER DISH AND EWER. The former is 19 inches in diameter, and bears the London hall-mark of the year 1603-4. The design is floral, with panels filled in with sea-monsters: it is executed in repoussé and flat chased work. On the boss in the centre there is engraved ‘A R’ in monogram, surmounted by a crown. This rose-water dish bears a striking resemblance, in almost every feature of its design, to an old baptismal basin, bearing the hall-mark of London 1602-3, now in the possession of the Old Kirk, Edinburgh, and also to a rose-water dish of the same period, at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, London. The Ewer, which is 12 inches high, is of similar design, and bears the same hall-mark. The tradition regarding this rose-water dish and ewer is that they were the gift of Queen Annabella Drummond, who was crowned A.D. 1390, wife of King Robert III., to her brother Sir John Drummond. The hall-mark (1603-4) precludes the possibility of this, but it does not help in any way to discover their history. [A. J. S. B.] 


   SILVER GILT SALT-CELLAR. Measures 15 inches in height over all. The body is supported on three ball-and-claw feet, and measures 7 inches high; and is decorated with twisted wire and stamped borders. It has a (5-inch) cover surmounted by a (3-inch) warrior. There are engraved on the body the initials ‘A R’ in monogram surmounted by a crown. It is alleged to have been the gift of Queen Annabella Drummond, to her brother. Sir John Drummond. There are four hall-marks which are almost illegible. They point, however, to its having been made abroad, although both the date and the place are unknown. [A. J. S. B.] (See Fig. 42.) 


   PAIR OF SILVER GILT CUPS. These measure over all 13 inches in height. They are engraved on the outside and inside of both the bowl and the cover. They both bear the London hall-mark of the year 1604-5, although they also form part of the alleged gift of Queen Annabella Drummond to her brother. [A. J. S. B.] (See Figs. 43 and 44.) 


   CHARTER, by Margaret, the widow of Michael Scott, with consent of Duncan, her heir, to John, her son, of the two Mutthulies and Capeth and third part of Petfurran. (Supposed date, about 1170.)  


   CHARTER, by King Alexander III., in the twenty-eighth year of his reign, 1277. 


    MS. OF GAVIN DUNBAR of Mochrum, Chancellor of Scotland, and (1524-1547) Archbishop of Glasgow: ‘Act and discharge contra the sheriff of Dumfries for intromitting with any bluids commitid within the Toune.’ Dated at ‘Dunfermling,’ 14th May 1509. Signed by Gavin Dunbar as Clerk Register of the Kingdom. 

(147) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OR DUMFRIES. 

   MS. INTERLOCUTOR of the Lords of Council, signed by Gavin Dunbar of Mochrum, regarding ‘Courts upon blude’ within the Burgh of Dumfries. Dated 28th March 1511. These papers are connected with a dispute between Robert, Lord Creichtoun of Sanquhar, Sheriff of Dumfriesshire, and the Magistrates of Dumfries, as to the right of holding ‘Courtis upon blude commitit within the said burgh.’ Lord Creichtoun had by a royal warrant to the Dumfries Magistrates been discharged from holding such courts in the burgh, and that interdict he claims to have removed. He admitted that neither he nor his father was in possession of ‘blude in the said burgh, but allegit that his foirgrauntschyr had possession thairof, and that his grantschyr was ane schleuchfull man and pretermittit it.’ In the Interlocutor both parties are in the meantime suspended ‘fra any halding of courts upon blude within the said burgh.’ Pitcairn notices a memorable affray which occurred in Dumfries on 31st July 1568 in connection with this obscure question of the conflicting rights of jurisdiction of the hereditary Sheriff of the County and the Magistrates of the burgh of Dumfries.