Robert the Bruce throne unveiled for Bannockburn commemorations
A spectacular reconstruction of Robert the Bruce's throne has been created using wood from a 700-year-old tree the king is said to have planted.
The throne, created by Strathleven Artizans, is due to be displayed for the first time at a private ceremony hosted by the Earl of Elgin of the Name of Bruce in Dunfermline Abbey, before being moved to the Bannockburn Visitor Centre where it will form part of the Bannockburn Live celebrations this weekend (28 and 29 June 2014).
The project, which has taken eight years to reach fruition, began as an idea hatched by local history collective Strathleven Artizans when a 700 year old tree, reputed to have been planted by King Robert the Bruce fell at Strathleven House in the winter of 2005. Inspired by the rich history of the tree the group set out to salvage it in this landmark endeavour.
They enlisted the help of some of Scotland’s finest craftsmen including world-renowned wood carver and sculptor John Donaldson, architectural patternmakers Pollock Davies, Bridge of Weir Leather and embroidery from automotive interior specialists Transcal. Historic Scotland assisted with the traditional skills elements of the project.
Bringing history to life
Duncan Thomson, Chairman of Strathleven Artizans said: 'Strathleven Artizans have worked since 2006 to promote Robert the Bruce, his family and the period in which he lived in our area. Robert the Bruce is one of Scotland’s best-known monarchs, and his story has captivated people for generations.
'We hope that in tirelessly reconstructing his throne to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn we once again bring the great monarch’s story to life, not only to those who are familiar with it already but to a whole new audience and for future generations, still to learn.
'This project has been both a celebration of traditional skills and a tool for education for both young and old.'
David Mitchell, Director of Conservation at Historic Scotland said: 'We were pleased to be able to assist Strahleven Artizans with this project.
'While minimal evidence made it difficult to recreate a wholly authentic throne, the process of re-creating it and highlighting aspects of Bruce’s life are just as important in this case, and it will certainly be a talking point. Incorporating wood from sites across the country and further afield, the throne is a celebration of traditional skills and helps to tell Bruce’s story.'
The Throne has been a 'grass roots initiative' which has received the backing of Lord Elgin and his family, who are living descendants of Robert the Bruce. The Throne has been paid for public and private donations from around Scotland and overseas. To make a donation, visit the Strathleven Artizans website.
Philip Barlow, Artizans’ Fundraiser and Strategist said: 'The project had captured the imagination of a range of people, from craftsmen to aristocrats, politicians and historians. The Throne project has been funded by the people for the people as a fitting commemoration to Robert the Bruce, King of Scots.'
For more on Robert the Bruce and the Bannockburn 700 celebrations, see the May/June 2014 issue of History Scotland, a Bannockburn special with expert insight from historians and archaeologists.
(Images copyright Philip Barlow/ Strathleven Artizans)