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Clan Bruce is a Scottish chiefly family. It was a Royal House in the 14th century, producing two kings of Scotland.

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While inextricably linked to King Robert the Bruce, this name is significantly older. It has a Norman origin. The first recorded member of the family is Adam De Brus who constructed a castle at Brix, between Cherboug and Valognes in Normandy in the eleventh century. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia (Glasgow, Harper Collins, 1994) </ref> Dorward contends that the place of origin may instead be Le Bus in Calvados. <ref>David Dorward, Collins Dictionary of Scottish Surnames (Glasgow, Harper Collins, 1995, 2000) 29</ref>Robert de Brus followed William the Conqueror to England in 1066 and is thought to have died soon after. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Enclycopedia, 83</ref>

Middle Ages

His sons acquired lands in Surrey and Dorset.<ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref> Another Robert de Brus became a companion of Prince David, who went north to regain his kingdom in 1124. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref>In 1138 David I led a force into England to take advantage of the chaos caused by the conflict between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda, who both claimed to be heirs of Henry I. Robert resigned his lands in Annanndale to his son and joined the English forces who were resisting the Scots. At the Battle of the Standard in 1139 de Brus took his own son prisoner, now the Lord of Annandale. This son returned to Scotland and demonstrated his desire to abandon England by adopting new arms which incorporated a saltire. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref> The family lands were confirmed by William the Lion and de Brus married Isobel, the king's niece, establishing a connection to royalty. Their son was named heir to the Scottish crown but was challenged by the birth of a son to the daughter of his wife's elder sister, who was married to John Balliol. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref> When Alexander III died with no suriviving heirs in 1286 the Houses of Bruce and Balliol contested the throne. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref>

Wars of Independence

Edward I of England favoured John Balliol and asserted over lordship of Scotland.<ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref> Balliol however, rebelled against Edward and was defeated at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296, leaving the leadership of Scotland between the Bruce family or their rivals, the Comyns. Robert the Bruce personally stabbed John Comyn to death while his supporters massacred others. This cleared the way for Robert to be crowned king and to begin a struggle to assert this in reality, culminating in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref>

Bruce Kings

Robert the Bruce's son, David II of Scotland became king on his father's death in 1329. In 1346 under the terms of the Auld Alliance David marched south into England in the interests of France, but was defeated at the Battle of Neville's Cross and imprisoned on 17 October of that year, and remained in England for eleven years. David returned to Scotland after negotiation of a treaty and ruled there until he died in Edinburgh Castle unexpectedly in 1371 without issue. In 1370 the first Stewart monarch succeeded to the throne by right of descent from Marjory, Robert Bruce's daughter. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref>

Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Sir Edward Bruce was made commendator of Kinloss Abbey and appointed a judge in 1597. In 1601 he was appointed a Lord of Parliament was the title Lord Kinloss. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref> As a result he was subsequently appointed to English judicial office as Master of the Rolls.<ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref> He was granted a barony as Lord Bruce of Kinloss in 1608. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref> In 1633 his son, Thomas, was created first Earl of Elgin.<ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref>

Later History

When the fourth Earl died without issue, the title passed to the descendants of Sir George Bruce of Carnock, who already held the title Earl of Kincardine and in 1747 the Earldoms were united. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 83</ref> The seventh Earl of Elgin was the famous diplomat and ambassador to the Ottoman Empire between 1799 and 1803. He spent much of his fortune rescuing marble sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens, which were falling into ruin, and they are still controversially in the British Museum. His son became Governor General of Canada and later Viceroy of India. The eleventh Earl of Elgin, Andrew Bruce (b.1924) was a convenor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.