Robert II de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale
|Also Known As:||"Seigneur de Brix (50) - Lord d'Annandale 2"|
|Birthplace:||Skelton, Yorkshire, England|
|Death:||Died in Yorkshire, England|
|Place of Burial:||Priory, Guborough, Yorkshire, England|
Son of Unknown Father of Robert de Brus and Unknown Mother of Robert de Brus
|Occupation:||Served William the Conquerer., 1st Baron Skelton, 1st Lord of Annandale, 1st Lord of Cleveland, founder of Gisborough Priory in Yorkshire, in present day Redcar and Cleveland, in 1119, Seigneur de Brix (50)|
|Managed by:||Private User|
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About Robert I de Bruce, seigneur de Brix
Robert I de Brus (died 1142) was an early 12th century Norman baron and knight, the first of the Bruce dynasty of Scotland. A monastic patron, he is remembered as the founder of Gisborough Priory in Yorkshire in 1119.
Nothing is known of Robert's father, except that he was a landowner in Normandy. An early modern historiographical tradition that he was the son of a Norman noble named Robert de Brus who came to England with William the Conqueror has been found to be without basis.
Modern historians contend that Robert may have come from Brix, Manche, near Cherbourg in the Cotentin Peninsula, and came to Britain after King Henry I of England's conquest of Normandy (i.e: at the same time as Alan fitzFlaad, ancestor of the Stewart Royal Family). David fitz Malcolm (after 1124 King David I of Scotland), was present in France with King Henry and was granted much of the Cotentin Peninsula. It is suggested that Robert de Brus's presences and absences at Henry's court coincide with David's.
Whatever his immediate ancestry, what is known beyond doubt is that he went to Scotland, where the new King, David, made Robert Lord of Annandale in 1124,. although there is scant evidence that this Robert took up residence on his Scottish estates.
Battle of The Standard
After the death of King Henry, David turned against Henry's successor, King Stephen. As a result Robert de Brus and King David parted company, with Robert bitterly renouncing his homage to David before taking the English side at the Battle of the Standard.
Robert is said to have married twice: (1) Agnes, daughter of Geoffrey Bainard, sheriff of York and (2) Agnes, daughter and heiress of Fulk de Pagnall, Lord of Carleton, Yorkshire
There were two sons, but it is unclear by which spouse:
Robert de Brus, 2nd Lord of Annandale, who inherited the Lordship of Annandale.
Adam de Brus, whose descendants continued to hold lands in England as Lords of Skelton. When Peter de Brus III, last Bruce Lord of Skelton, died in 1272, his sisters were co-heiresses. One of them, Laderia, carried Carleton to her marriage with John de Bellew, whose daughter, Sybil married Sir Miles de Stapleton (k. 1314, at the Battle of Bannockburn), whose family were subsequently designated "of Carleton". This appears to confirm the de Brus and de Pagnall of Carleton connection. Sir Miles Stapleton's son and heir, Sir Gilbert (d. 1321) married Agnes, daughter of Bryan FitzAlan, Lord FitzAlan, and a granddaughter of Devorguilla of Galloway (d. 1290) wife of John de Balliol, Lord of Barnard Castle, whose son was King John of Scotland.
^ Sherlock, Stephen. "Gisborough Priory: Information for Teachers" English Heritage. 2001. 1 Oct 2008.
^ a b Duncan, ODNB
^ Donaldson, Gordon, Scottish Historical Documents, Edinburgh, 1970, ISBN 7011-1604-8 :19, "David by the grace of God King of Scots, to all his barons, men, and friends, French and English, greeting. Know ye that I have given and granted to Robert de Brus Estrahanent (i.e: Annandale) and all the land from the boundary of Randolph Meschin; and I will and grant that he should hold and have that land and its castle well and honourably with all its customs," &c. This is a new charter and not a reconfirmation.
^ Burton, John Hill, The History of Scotland, New revised edition, Edinburgh, 1876, vol.1, p.437
^ Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 1904 (online version available Duncan, ODNB
^ Burke (1883) p.80
^ Burke (1883) p.504
^ Foster, Joseph, The Dictionary of Heraldry - Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees, London, 1989 (reprint of 1902 original), p.180-1
^ Richardson, Douglas, Plantagenet Ancestry, Baltimore, Md., 2004, p.682, ISBN 0-8063-1750-7
^ Norcliffe, Charles Best, of Langton, MA., editor, The Visitation of Yorkshire in the years 1563-64 by William Flower, Esq., Norroy King of Arms, London, 1881, p.295.
Duncan, A.A.M., 'de Brus, Robert (I), Lord of Annandale (d. 1142)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3748. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
Oram, Richard, David: The King Who Made Scotland, (Gloucestershire, 2004)
1st Lord of Annandale
See the extensive discussion of Robert de Brus and his role in the history of England and Scotland in Ruth Margaret Blakeley's book, "The Brus Family in England and Scotland, 1100-1295." Much of this book is available on line through Googlebooks at http://books.google.com/books?id=_c95jpY_joAC&printsec=frontcover.
Foundation for Medieval Genealogy:
ROBERT de Brus, son of --- (-11 May 1141, bur Gysburn). The manuscript history of the founders of Gysburn Priory records that “Robertus de Bruse…miles de Normannia” became “domini Castri de Skelton, Merkes, Uplythum, S. Westyby et Brudone, dominus de Danby, Levyngton et Parum, dominus de Kendall, et dominus Vallis Anandiæ”.
The manuscript history of the Bruce family of Carleton records that “primus Brus de Carleton…Robertus de Brus” came to England with William “the Conqueror”, although this is not possible chronologically assuming that this refers to the Robert who died in 1141.
He succeeded his brother as Lord of Skelton.
"…Roberto de Brus…" witnessed the charter dated to  under which "David comes filius Malcolmi Regis Scottorum" founded the abbey of Selkirk, listed first witness after the members of the royal family. “Robertus de Brus” confirmed donations to the canons of Bridlington by charter dated to [1120/35], witnessed by “…Ernaldus de Perceio…Petrus de Brus…”. "Militum meorum Roberti de Brus…" witnessed the charter dated to  under which "David comes" made grants to the church of Glasgow with the consent of "Matildis uxoris mea". "David…Rex Scottorum" granted Annandale to "Roberto de Brus" by charter dated to . “Robertus de Brus” donated property to St Mary´s, York by charter dated to [1125/35], witnessed by “Ada filio meo, Petro de Brus…”. “Robertus de Brus…Agnes uxor mea, filiusque noster Adam de Brus” donated property to Middlesburgh priory by undated charter.
“Robertus de Brus…et Agnes uxor mea et Adam filius noster” founded Gysburn Priory, Yorkshire by undated charter.
The manuscript history of the founders of Gysburn Priory records that “Robertus de Brus pater” died “1141 V Id Mai” and was buried “apud Gysburghe in Cleveland”.
m AGNES, daughter of FULK de Payanell & his wife ---. The manuscript history of the Bruce family of Carleton records that “primus Brus de Carleton…Robertus de Brus” married “Agnetam filiam Fulconis Paynell” and received “manerium de Carleton” from his father-in-law. “Robertus de Brus…Agnes uxor mea, filiusque noster Adam de Brus” donated property to Middlesburgh priory by undated charter. “Robertus de Brus…et Agnes uxor mea et Adam filius noster” founded Gysburn Priory, Yorkshire by undated charter. The 1155 Pipe Roll records "Agnes de Bruis…p filio suo". A charter of King Henry II, dated to [1176/86], confirmed donations to the canons of Gysburn, among which a donation by “Agnetis uxoris Roberti de Brus”.
GEN-MEDIEVAL-L From: "John P. Ravilious" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Brus of Skelton ancestry of Fairfax
Wednesday, 19 November, 2008
1 Robert de Brus
Burial:priory church of Guisborough, co. Yorks.
Occ:Lord of Cleveland and Annandale
Father:Robert de Brus
of Skelton and Danby in Cleveland, co. York
had grant of Skelton from King Henry I, 11063
exchanged other lands for Danby in Cleveland, co. Yorks.
attested a charter of William of Mortain before 1107, and charter of Henry I at a council in Nottingham, confirming gifts to the church of Durham, 11092
'Robertus de Brus', made gift of 20 carucates and 2 bovates of land, and the town of Guisborough, to the canons of Guisborough (confirmed by grandson Adam de Brus, before 11902), 1124 or before [VCH Yorkshire III:208-2134]
'Roberti de Brus ', witness [together with Robert de Brus, Robert fitz Nigel, Hugh de Morville, Hugh 'bret' and Robert Corbet, Walter de Lindsay and Walter fitz Winemer] to charter of Earl David granting 100s. from Hardingestrona for the use of the church of Glasgow, with the concession of his wife Matilda; dated ca. 1123 [Lawrie, early Scottish Charters, pp. 41-2, no. XLVI5]
'Robert de Brus', had charter from King David I of Scots for ' Estrahanent [i.e., Annandale] and all the land from the boundary of Dunegal of Stranit [Nithsdale] to the boundary of Randolph Meschin....
Witnesses: Eustace Fitzjohn, Hugh de Morville, Alan de Perci, William de Somerville, Berengar Engaine, Randolph de Sules, William de Morville, Hervi son of Warin and Edmund the chamberlain', dated Scone, ca. 1124 [Donaldson, p. 196]
' Robert de Brus ', witness to charter of King David dated 1126: ' Charter of David I addressed to all throughout his kingdom in Scotia and Lothian granting to St Cuthbert and his monks, in alms, the
following lands in Lothian:- Coldingham, Old Cambus, Lumsdaine, Reston, "Remintun", Swinewood, Prenderguest, Ayton, the other Ayton, "Crammesmuthe", Lamberton, the other Lamberton, Paxton, Fishwick and Swinton with all rights, customs, appurtenances, etc for the good of his soul and the souls of his son Henry, his parents, his brothers and sisters.
Witnesses: John, Bishop [of Glasgow] , Robert de Brus , Herbert
the Chancellor , Ascelin the Archdeacon , Pagan de Braose , Hugh
Brett , Berengar Engain , Gospatric the sheriff , Aimar . ' [Confirmed
in the third year of his reign, at Peebles . 1126
Language: Latin Parchment.
Seal: David I. Broken. Natural wax varnished. Attached to strip cut
from foot of document. To strengthen the seal tag someone has stitched
it for 1" to the foot of the charter. Misc.Ch. 568 ; Cart. Vet. f.
101v [x] ; Misc.Ch. 6805 ; Raine ND App. XV ; Lawrie LXV ; Carr, App
no. 2 p 323 ] [Durham University Library Archives & Special
Collections, Misc.Ch. 5687]
'Robertus de Brus', made grant of the manor of Appleton Wieske ['vocatur Appletona'] and the land between it and Kirk Levington to St. Mary's, York, ca. 1125-35; witnessed by son Adam de Brus [EYC II: 1-2, no. 648, citing Chartulary of St. Mary's]2
renounced allegiance to Scotland and resigned lands to younger son Robert before Battle of the Standard, 1138
1. I. J. Sanders, "English Baronies: A Study of Their Origin and
Descent, 1086-1327," Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960.
2. William Farrer, Hon.D.Litt., Editor, "Early Yorkshire Charters,"
Edinburgh: Ballantyne, Hanson & Co., 1915-1916, Vol. I (1914), Vol. II
(1915) Vol. III (1916), Vol. XII [the family of Constable of
Flamborough], courtesy Rosie Bevan, Vol. V [Manfield fee, pp. 53-58 ],
courtesy Rosie Bevan, Vol. IX [Stuteville fee], <Re: Avice de
Tanfield, wife of Robert Marmion>, SGM, 26 Feb 2002.
3. Richard Borthwick, "Re: Researching DE BRUS and descendants,"
August 21, 1999, cites sources for the ancestry of Laderine de Brus,
wife of Sir John de Bellew (or 'de Bella Acqua'), souces include
Sanders, English Baronies; EYC - C T Clay *Early Yorkshire Charters*;
HKF - W Farrer *Honors and Knights' Fees*;, and ES - D Schwennicke
(ed) *Europaeische Stammtafeln*.
4. "A History of the County of York," 1974, Volume 3: 'Houses of
Austin canons: Priory of Guisborough', URL:
5. Sir Archibald C. Lawrie, "Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D.
1153," Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons, 1905.
6. Gordon Donaldson, "Scottish Historical Documents," Edinburgh:
Scottish Academic Press, 1970.
7. "Durham Cathedral Muniments: Miscellaneous Charters," Durham
University Library Archives & Special Collections,
cf. Richard Borthwick, 'Researching de Brus and Descendants' (cites Sanders, I J *English Baronies: a study of their origin and descent 1086-1327* (Oxford, 1963 ) 77; DNB III:114;
K S B Keats-Rohan *Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons occurring in English
Documents, 1066-1166* (The Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 1999) I:414-415)
The Lord of Annandale was a sub-comital lordship in southern Scotland (Annandale) established by David I of Scotland by 1124 for his follower Robert de Brus. The following were holders of the officers:
* Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale, 1113 x 1124-1138
* Robert de Brus, 2nd Lord of Annandale, 1138x-1194
* William de Brus, 3rd Lord of Annandale, 1194-1211 x 1212
* Robert de Brus, 4th Lord of Annandale, 1211 x 1212-1226 x 1233
* Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, 1226 x 1233-1295
* Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale, 1295-1304
* Robert de Brus, 7th Lord of Annandale (King Robert), 1304-1312
* Thomas Randolph, 8th Lord of Annandale, 1312-32
* Thomas Randolph, 9th Lord of Annandale, 1332
* John Randolph, 10th Lord of Annandale, 1332-46
* Agnes Randolph, 11th Lady of Annandale, 1346-1369
o m. Patrick Dunbar, 9th Earl of Dunbar
* George de Dunbar, 12th Lord of Annandale, 1369-1401/9 (although under part English control until 1384; conquered by Douglas in 1401 after Dunbar went over to the English; Douglas possession confirmed in 1409)
* Archibald Douglas, 13th Lord of Annandale, 1401/9-24
* Archibald Douglas, 14th Lord of Annandale, 1424-1439
* William Douglas, 15th Lord of Annandale, 1439-40
* Annexed to Crown
* Alexander Stewart, 16th Lord of Annandale, 1455-1485
* John Stewart, 17th Lord of Annandale ?, 1485-1536
* Barrow, G.W.S., ‘Robert I (1274-1329)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 Nov 2006
* Duncan, A.A.M., ‘Brus , Robert (I) de, lord of Annandale (d. 1142)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 Nov 2006
* Duncan, A.A.M., ‘Brus , Robert (II) de, lord of Annandale (d. 1194?)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 Nov 2006
* Duncan, A.A.M., ‘Brus , Robert (V) de , lord of Annandale (c.1220-1295)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2005 accessed 16 Nov 2006
* Duncan, A.A.M., ‘Brus , Robert (VI) de, earl of Carrick and lord of Annandale (1243-1304)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 Nov 2006
Robert DE_BRUSSE. Married Agnes ST._CLAIR, died 1080. Died
1094. !GENEALOGY: Royal Ancestors of Magna Charta Barons; Page; 226; G929.72; C6943ra; Denver Public Library; Genealogy Children of Robert DE_BRUSSE and Agnes ST._CLAIR: 32 i Adam DE_BRUSE, d. 1080
Sir Robert de Brusse, followed the standard of William, Duke of Normandy into England in 1066, married Agnes, daughter of Walderne, Earl of St. Clair. He was a man of distinguished character and stood high in the favor of the Conqueror. He possessed many manors in the several ridings of Yorkshire and died about 1094.
SOURCES: 1) GENEALOGY: Royal Ancestors of Magna Charta Barons; Page 226; G929.72; C6943ra; Denver Public Library; Genealogy
2) GENEALOGY: The Scots Peerage; Vol II; Page 428; G929.72; P291sc; Denver Public Library; Genealogy
Robert DE_BRUSSE_3RD. Born 1078. Married Agnes (Agnes
Paynell) BRUCE, born of Annandale, daughter of Foulk DE_PAGANELL. Died MAY 1141. !GENEALOGY: Royal Ancestors of Magna Charta Barons; Page 226; G929.72; C6943ra; Denver Public Library; Genealogy !GENEALOGY: The Scots Peerage; Vol II; Page 428; G929.72; P291sc; Denver Public Library; Genealogy Children of Robert DE_BRUSSE_3RD and Agnes (Agnes Paynell) BRUCE: 36 i Robert_I BRUCE_OF_ANNANDA
Robert de Brusse was probably not of Norse origin or related to the Earls of Orkney. The most likely father/ancestor is the Count of Louvain, not Bruse Orkneyjarl.
See extensive article + ancestor chart:
Robert de Bruges, couold be a younger son of the powerful Count of Louvain, and could have accepted the post of Castellan from the Count of Flanders.
Why is this here? (janet palo-jackson 3/13/11)
The first Earls of Carrick
The ancient province of Galloway was in the southwestern corner of Scotland and included what were to be known later as Wigtownshire, the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and much of Ayrshire. Carrick, its northern portion, was peopled most probably by descendants of the Picts.
Fergus, Prince of Galloway, d 1161 leaving two sons:
.. A1 Uchtred
.. .. B1 Roland
.. A2 Gilbert, an unpleasant villain who shared Galloway with his brother, as was then the custom, and during the disturbances that followed the capture of King William the Lion (by the English in 1174) slew Uchtred and offered his loyalty to the English king, Henry II. This was refused, on account of his fratricide, but when William was freed in 1175 and marched into Galloway, Gilbert escaped with a fine. He rewarded this leniency with war against Scotland, rejecting offers to buy peace, and in 1184 is recorded as being under the protection of the English. He died 1st January 1185 and was succeeded by his son and heir:
Duncan, who was faced immediately with civil war. Roland, Uchtred's son, won a great victory 5th July 1185 and the following year negotiated a peace that, with the approval of King William, awarded Carrick to Duncan on his renunciation of all claims to the southern portion of Galloway. Duncan is reported as being created Earl of Carrick by Alexander II between 1225 and 1230 following further confirmation of his resignation of all claim to the Lordship of Galloway. He m Avelina, dtr of Alan Fitz Walter, 2nd High Steward, and d 13th June 1250 leaving issue:
.. A1 Neil, his heir [see below]
.. A2 John de Carrick, knight, held the lands of Straiton and was probably the father of:
.. .. B1 Roland de Carrick, granted a charter by his uncle Neil appointing him and his heirs the chiefship of the whole clan and the leadership of its men in war. He m 2ndly Matilda, a co-heiress of Helwisa Levington, wife of Eustace Baliol, and d ante 30th April 1275 leaving issue (the eldest from an earlier marriage):
.. .. .. C1 Gilbert Fitz Roland de Carrick, knight, whose seal bore the arms illustrated at the head of this article, left issue:
.. .. .. .. D1 Gilbert de Carrick, knight, captured at Durham 1346.
.. .. .. C2 Roland de Carrick, heir to his mother Matilda 30 March 1308, b ca 1275, probably the father of:
.. .. .. .. D1 Malcolm, whose seal bore a two-headed eagle displayed.
.. .. .. c1. A dtr who m Arthur, Castellan of Lochdoon (who surrendered that castle to the English ca October 1306, an action that led to the hanging, drawing and quartering of Sir Christopher Seton, brother-in-law to Robert the Bruce, and to unfounded accusations of complicity against his wife's brother Sir Gilbert Fitz Roland de Carrick [C1 above].
.. A3 Alexander
.. A4 Alan of Straiton.
Neil (sometimes also Nicol or Nicolaus), 2nd Earl of Carrick, a Regent of Scotland and Guardian to Alexander III and Margaret, dtr of Henry III, 20th September 1255, having no heir male of his body, granted to his nephew, as reported above, the chiefship of the whole clan. He m Margaret (sometimes Isabel), dtr of Walter, 3rd High Steward and had issue four daughters of whom only the eldest is known:
Margaret (or Marjorie), Countess of Carrick, m Adam de Kilconcath, 3rd Earl of Carrick in her right, who d on Crusade at Acre in 1270 without issue. What followed belongs to legend and has been much embroidered by novelists, but the probability appears to be that Robert de Brus, the son of Robert de Brus, Lord of Annandale and of Cleveland (known to history as "Robert Bruce the Competitor"), newly returned from the Crusade, visited the Countess to bring her the news of her widowhood. He encountered her while she was hunting, she judged him a worthy trophy, and the consequence was his capture and enforced sojourn in her castle until he married her a few days later. Cynics and historians insist that this was a ruse to allow Alexander III to take a lenient view of their having married without his consent, and when he seized her castle and lands she regained them with payment of a fine (perhaps the same fine she would have paid for licence to marry anyway). Countess Marjorie d 1292 having brought into this world five sons and five daughers, of whom the most famous son was to become King Robert I, 4th Earl of Carrick. Her husband, Earl of Carrick in her right, resigned the earldom to his eldest son when the Countess died, and he died (some say on Crusade) before 4 April 1304 (Cal. Docs. Scot., ii. No 1493) ~ which credulous fans of Mel Gibson who watched the pretence of him betraying Sir William Wallace a year later may find surprising. (That's showbiz, folks.)
In the next instalment we shall look at the origins of the Bruce family in Normandy and, in the one after that, as recent research suggests, at their origins in Flanders.
Map of Southwest Scotland
Argent a chevron Gules
Galloway was a principality of substantial size before its northern portion was separated from it to create the Earldom of Carrick.
The later arms of the Earldom of Carrick, without the nine cross crosslets fitchée, suggest that the arms shown at the head of this article (copied from the seal) may have been argent and gules.
The Ancestry of Robert the Bruce
III ~ The Mysterious Blue Lion
The first article in this series discussed the descent of King Robert the Bruce, from his mother's line of the ancient Earls of Carrick, and the second looked at the traditional line of his father's descent in the male line from Normans and Vikings. The Norman link is unquestionable, for the Bruces were a powerful family in the Cotentin and continued to have a strong presence there after several of the name crossed to England in or after 1066. The Viking connection, however, has little to support it other than the presumption that because parts of Normandy had been granted to Rollo and his pirates near the beginning of the 10th century, the families that held land a century later must be Norsemen.
The Cotentin, known to the British usually as the Cherbourg peninsular, is 150 miles west of the area first ceded to the Norsemen, and several families from Flanders settled there, most of them, Beryl Platts* has proposed, having arrived in the train of Matilda of Flanders when she married Duke William at Eu circa 1051.
Let us look again at the lower half of the second tree in the previous article.
Descent of the Bruces of Skelton
Robert de Brusee is said to have built the castle there (Bruise, Brix, Brux) and to have married Emma, daughter of Alan, Count of Brittany. His son Alan succeeded him as Lord of Brix, while another son, Robert, married Agnes, daughter of Waldo, Count of St Clair, and crossed to England in the company of several of the family. (A contemporary roll mentions li sires de Brius et due sens des Homez but it is unclear whether these crossed in 1066 or later, and the way in which the family estates in Yorkshire are entered in Domesday in 1086 suggests the Bruces there may have been late arrivals.)
Adam and William de Brusee, Robert's sons, received the lands of Skelton and Bramber respectively. William's arms may have been Azure a lion rampant Or, for his son Philip, who died on crusade, bore the arms shown here on the right, the cross crosslets having been added in the fashion of the time to state that he had taken the cross. Adam is said to have borne Argent a lion rampant Azure.
Adam's son Robert (wrote Nisbet in 1722) ~ having married Agnes de Annandia, heiress of that country, laid aside his paternal arms, viz. argent, a lion rampant azure, and carried those of Annan, Lords of Annandale, argent, a saltier and chief gules; as the custom was of old upon marrying of heiresses, before the use of marshalling many coats in one shield .......
Robert de Brusee, Lord of Skelton, of Cleveland and of Annandale, was a notable character of his time, and was especially famous for his rôle at the Battle of the Standard in 1138, when he sought to persuade David I, King of Scots, partly on the basis of their long friendship, not to fight in support of the Empress against Stephen. Robert then had to renounce his fealty and lose Annandale when he failed, but had arranged for his son Robert to fight on David's side to protect the inheritance. He founded the Abbey of Gisburn in 1128, and this bore his arms with a bend Gules over the lion.
Having lost Annandale to his younger son, Robert resumed his original arms, the blue lion, and these were inherited by his elder son Adam and subsequently borne by all the Lords of Skelton. Across the English Channel the lion rampant continued in the family in various colours, the descendants of the crusader Philip bearing his arms at the end of the 14th century, and others such as the Baron de Brieuze, Jacques de Brezé, Grand Marshal of Normandy, using these shown here ~ Or a lion rampant Azure. The last Lord of Skelton is noted with the blue lion in a roll of Henry III.
Arms of the Barons de Brieuze
However, in the middle of the 12th century Jocelyn de Louvain, brother of Queen Adeliza (second wife of King Henry I) and son of Godfrey, Duke of Brabant, Count of Louvain, came to England and married Agnes, one of the two co-heiresses of the huge Percy possessions. It was for a long time believed that he was given the choice of taking either the Percy name or the Percy arms, and that he took the name and retained the blue lion of Louvain, but there is charter evidence that he retained the Louvain name, and the belief that he bore a blue lion, although possible, is unproven. The arms of his heir general today, the Duke of Northumberland, feature Or a lion rampant Azure in the pronominal quarter, and the family insists that these are the arms Jocelyn brought from Louvain. As we have seen, they were the arms also of the senior Bruce, Jacques de Brezé, in Normandy, while with a silver field they were the arms of the senior Bruce in England.
Perhaps we are getting closer to the origin of the blue lion and to the origin of the Bruces. The next article, the last of this series, will propose a solution to both puzzles.
- Scottish Hazard (Volume 1), Beryl Platts, The Procter Press 1985, page 141
IV ~ The Blue Lion in Flanders
In Part III we noted that Robert de Brusee, Lord of Cleveland and of Annandale, Baron of Skelton, a man famous for his rôle at the Battle of the Standard in 1138, arranged for his son Robert to take over the Annandale fief David I, King of Scots, had granted him. The elder Robert thereafter bore the rampant blue lion on a silver field as his father had done (his cousins, the Lords of Bramber, bearing a golden lion on a blue field).
We saw also that Alexander Nisbet (1722) claimed the elder Robert had married the heiress of Annandale and had borne her father's arms, the Or a saltire and chief Gules which would now be his son's.
The elder Robert had married Agnes, daughter of Fulk de Paganell, but there is no evidence of a subsequent marriage to Agnes de Annand, the legendary heiress. There is no evidence either of Bruce predecessors as the Lords of Annandale bearing arms, certainly not these depicted here on the left. Their connection with Annandale can be traced only as far back as the Bruces, and in 1124, when David granted Annandale to Robert, few native Scots, if any, bore arms. Only the Flemish incomers brought in by David are believed to have done so.
Arms of Jocelyn de Louvain
We can return to the origin of these arms later. For the present we can note that at the time of the elder Robert's death in 1141, the Skelton Bruces bore the blue lion and the Scottish Bruces the red saltire and chief. We have noted also that Jocelyn de Louvain, half-brother of Queen Adeliza (second wife of King Henry I) and son of Godfrey I, Duke of Brabant, Count of Louvain, came to England shortly afterwards and in 1154 married Agnes, one of the two co-heiresses of the huge Percy territories. His descendants also bore the blue lion rampant, but on a gold field, as his representer, the Duke of Northumberland, still does today.
Jocelyn's father, Godfrey, bore as Duke of Brabant Sable a lion rampant Or, and as Count of Louvain Gules a fess Argent. There is no surviving documentary evidence to explain why Jocelyn, a younger son, bore, as his descendants have always attested, Or a lion rampant Azure. Beryl Platts has suggested that these were arms originally used by the Louvain family in the branch of Otto, senior grandson of Count Lambert I of Louvain, and that when Otto's line died out the arms moved sideways to a cadet branch, one that bore the surname Brus. Mrs Platts has proposed that this branch descends from a first cousin of Otto, which would place the later generations relatively close in blood to Maud, the Queen of David I, and could account for the especial favours David showered on the Bruce family in Scotland.
heraldry - Arms of the Castellan of Bruges We can now return to the "Annandale" arms. In the 12th century the Castle of Bruges was held by the de Praete family, whose arms were Or a saltire Gules. Among the previous holders of the castle, certainly in 1046, was a Robert de Bruges. He disappears from the history of Bruges a few years later, about the time Matilda of Flanders went to Normandy to marry Duke William and took many of her countrymen with her, about the time that Robert de Brusee is said to have built a castle there (named Bruise or Brix or Brux).
In those very early years of heraldry, before devices became more strictly hereditary, it would not have been unusual for the successors of Robert de Bruges to maintain the same banner flying above the Castle of Bruges, and Robert de Bruges would perhaps have thought little of it, especially if he was about to take his Louvain cousin's rampant blue lion to the Cotentin.
heraldry - King of Scots from Gelre Armorial
In the middle of the 14th century the Armorial de Gelre included the armorial achievement of (in Flemish) die coninc van scotlant (right). The arms on the shield feature "the ruddy lion tramping in its field of tressured gold", but on the mantling can be seen the "Annandale" arms !!! Why? If another coat was thought by the herald (Claes Heynen) to be desirable, then the Argent a chevron Gules of the Earldom of Carrick, greater in seniority and extent and riches, would be the natural choice, not a mere lordship.
But perhaps the herald recognised that the Bruces had taken their ancient Flemish arms to Annandale, and had added the chief for difference (as was then common for cadets), to announce and to honour their origins.
The first of these linked articles listed the accepted maternal line of King Robert the Bruce, the Carrick inheritance. The second looked at the mythical Viking descent of his paternal line, for which there is no known supporting evidence at all. The third and fourth articles looked at the Flemish connection.
Although seemingly driven by the search for his paternal ancestry, we actually set out to answer three different questions ~
1. Why did the Bruces bear the blue lion rampant when the evidence suggests it was an emblem of the powerful Louvain family?
heraldry - Arms of Annandale Lordship 2. Why did Gelre Herald, writing in Flemish in his armorial, picture King Robert II (the Bruce's grandson) bearing on his mantling the arms of the Lordship of Annandale (left)?
3. Why did King David I grant the strategically important territory of Annandale (the gateway to southwest Scotland and the defensive barrier against the rapacious tribesmen of Galloway) to Robert de Brusee, Lord of Cleveland in England, a man comparatively unknown in Scotland?
There is no surviving evidence of the Louvain family bearing the blue lion in the eleventh century, but its use in the Percy family after Jocelyn de Louvain had married that family's heiress is well attested and the head of that family, the Duke of Northumberland, still bears the blue lion on a gold field in his first quarter today (i.e. with precedence over the Percy arms). The Bruce family, however, is known to have borne the blue lion on various fields, sometimes counterchanged, from the earliest years of heraldry. The precedence among tinctures and the precedence of simplicity demonstrate that the lion on the simple gold field, as borne by Jocelyn de Louvain, is the senior version of the arms.
heraldry - Arms of Jocelyn de Louvain
Gelre Herald's preoccupation with the Annandale Lordship's arms is manifested further on the same page as that on which he paints the arms of the King of Scots, the King of Man (the Isle of Man) and nine earls. Six more earls are on the next page, but on this one, although ranking only as a lordship, are the arms of Annandale, a title then merged in the Crown and thus without a separate existence. Of the twelve achievements on the page, only two, the King's and Annandale, bear arms on the mantling, but whereas the royal mantling alludes to ancestry with the "Annandale" arms, the Annandale manting shows the original undifferenced arms ~ i.e. without the red chief !!!
heraldry - Annandale from Gelre Armorial
heraldry - Arms of Castellan of Bruges
It is impossible to know for certain what was in Gelre Herald's mind when he chose to emphasise the royal link to Annandale and then the link from the differenced arms to the undifferenced arms, but we have a clue in the Flemish connection and in the known importance the Flemish nobility placed on the significance of ancient Flemish lineage.
The pursuit of the answers to the third question brings us to an area of great importance to Scotland's national development. When David inherited the Scottish crown in 1124 he took over a country blighted by internal wars, a country that needed peace to be imposed by a strong ruler. To assist him he imported from England a contingent of Flemish nobles who brought with them the arts of pacification and castle-building.
Among this Flemish contingent was Robert de Brusee (the great-great-great-grandfather of the future king), a man with whom he had formed a friendship long before he succeeded to the throne, while he was living in England as Earl of Huntingdon, after his marriage with Maud (Matilda). Robert, Lord of Cleveland, a rich man who owned 94 manors in Yorkshire alone, was entrusted with the rule of Annandale, and here he introduced the motte and bailey castles which in the following years would spread through the populated areas of Scotland.
In this system of government, each castle was governed by a castellan (a sheriff) responsible to the territorial lord, just as the Bruce family had been responsible to the Count of Mortain in the Cotentin, and just as Robert de Bruges had been responsible to the Count of Flanders eighty years earlier. The similarity between the new Scottish system and the established Flemish system can be readily understood by reference to La Flandre sous les premiers comtes, 3rd edition, by F.L. Ganshof (Brussels 1949) pp. 104-6.
This abbreviated chart offers an answer to the three questions. There may be another generation between Robert de Bruges and the first Robert de Brusee (for with Robert appearing as a name in every generation it is sometimes difficult to allocate lifespans), but it serves to illustrate the relationships which would allow the use of, and the changes in the use of, the two principal Bruce arms ~ the blue lion, and the saltire and chief.
Could Robert de Bruges, as a younger son of the powerful Count of Louvain, have accepted the post of Castellan from the Count of Flanders? Most certainly, yes! The Count of Flanders was then, de facto, probably the most powerful sovereign in northwest Europe. Bruges was strategically of huge importance. It would be a very attractive offer, especially to a landless younger son, and it could be expected to lead on to further opportunities (such as the offer to accompany the Count's daughter to Normandy, when she left to marry Duke William, the eventual Conqueror of England, an offer that would entail a grant of land in the Cotentin).
That is not the end of the story of the blue lion. It lives on today, not only, as we have seen, in the arms of the Chief of the Percy clan, the Representer of Jocelyn de Louvain, the Duke of Northumberland. The Chief of the Bruce family, the Earl of Elgin, bears it on a silver canton in his arms, and the City of Bruges bears today Barry of eight Argent and Gules a lion rampant crowned Azure armed and langued of the Second wearing a collar and cross Or. The picture below right shows an older version of these arms, without the crown, collar and cross.
heraldry - Arms of Earl of Elgin
Earl of Elgin
Chief of the Name of Bruce
heraldry - Arms of City of Bruges
City of Bruges
Footnote ~ Readers who crosscheck the graphic of the arms of Annandale with the picture reproduced by R.R. Stodart in the first volume of his Scottish Arms (published 1881) will find discrepancies. Stodart worked from inaccurate reproductions and was unable to visit Brussels to examine the original. He attributes the Annandale arms to the name of Anderson, and in his picture he has removed the arms from the mantling.
Robert De Brucesi
Birth: 1036 in Normandy, France
Father: Ragnvald II Brusesson
Mother: Felicia Normandy
Spouses & Children
Emma De Brittany (Wife)
William De Braose
Allan De Bruce
Philina De Bruce
Amicia De Bruce
Alice Agatha De Braose
Robert De Bruce
Hortolina De Bruce
Adam De Bruce
IGI Individual Record FamilySearch™ International Genealogical Index v5.0
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Robert de Brus Pedigree
Birth: About 1066 , Normandie Province, France
Spouse: Agnes Pagnel Family
Modern historians contend that Robert may have come from Brix, Manche, near Cherbourg in the Cotentin Peninsula, and came to Britain after King Henry I of England's conquest of Normandy (i.e.: at the same time as Alan fitz Flaad, ancestor of the Stuart Royal Family). David fitz Malcolm (after 1124 King David I of Scotland), was present in France with King Henry and was granted much of the Cotentin Peninsula. It is suggested that Robert de Brus's presences and absences at Henry's court coincide with David's.
Robert de Brus went to Scotland, where the new King, David, made him Lord of Annandale in 1124, although there is scant evidence that this Robert took up residence on his Scottish estates.
After the death of King Henry, David turned against Henry's successor, King Stephen. As a result Robert de Brus and King David parted company, with Robert bitterly renouncing his homage to David before taking the English side at the Battle of the Standard.
 MarriageRobert is said to have married twice: (1) Agnes, daughter of Geoffrey Bainard, Sheriff of York and (2) Agnes, daughter and heiress of Fulk de Pagnall, Lord of Carleton, North Yorkshire
There were two sons, but it is unclear by which spouse:
Robert de Brus, 2nd Lord of Annandale, who inherited the Lordship of Annandale. Adam de Brus, Lord of Skelton, whose descendants held lands in England as Lords of Skelton, until extinction 1271.
Robert I de Brus, Seigneur de Brix was friends with and came over to England and then on to Scotland with William the Conqueror. They settled lands and Robert worked for and was granted the area of Annandale via William the Conqueror!! I am still digging into history to see what traces in Normandy, France would have been records of his parents, etc. There has got to be some kind of documentation that would indicate who his parents were in France and I am out to find it...
Robert I de Bruce, seigneur de Brix's Timeline
disliked the Orkneys, departed for Norway
arrived in England, head of 200 men in train of William the Conqueror
Normandy, , Normandy, France
companion at arms to Prince David of Scotland while at court of King Henry I Bea
Annandale, Dumfries, Scotland
Skelton Castle, Yorkshire, England
Skelton Castle, Yorkshire, England