Bruce

Robert the BruceThe "divine power" reflects the belief of the two greatest leaders in Scottish history, William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce, that God was on the side of the Scots, as they faced greatly superior odds at Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn.

After the death of Wallace in 1305, King Robert the Bruce continued the war. Bruce agreed to concede defeat if the English could lift the siege of Stirling Castle by the eve of St John the Baptist, midsummer's day, 1314. As ever, to take Stirling was to hold Scotland.

King Robert intercepted the army of King Edward 11 on the field of Bannockburn, having prepared the ground carefully and worked out his plan of attack in advance.

His great victory on 24 June 1314 has been well celebrated in song and poetry, not least because he captured Edward 11's poet, Robert Baston, and held him prisoner for 10 years, making him write a long poem on the event. Baston's composition is one of the most profound anti-war songs of the middle ages.

Stirling is indeed "the brooch which clasps the Highlands and the Lowlands together".  It has been at the heart of many of the most momentous events in the history of Scotland - it is impossible to write about the country's past without frequent reference to Stirling. No other place of its size can make that claim

Elspeth King,
Smith Art Gallery and Museum