Broomhall, ancestral home: Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Chief of Bruce.
On Sunday 2nd of September our Convenor was invited to a civil awards ceremony at Broomhall, ancestral home of the Earl of Elgin. The invitation came from Lord Charles Bruce, heir apparent and Mr Ronnie Watt OBE, ORS. After the ceremony, the tour of the house and the indepth history, were given by Charles Bruce himself whose expert knowledge of his family history covered their involvement over the centuries and around the globe. Accepting the close links between the families, this was an exciting day. The host could not have been more welcoming and friendly, and his knowledge of his family history is second to none.
The tour included many interesting artefacts set around the history of the family of Bruce The Bruce family, represented by their clan society; the Family of Bruce International, played major roles in the American Colonies, Canada, India and the far east as well as through local and national political changes, in support of the working man.
There is also in existence a 5 foot Bruce “sword of state”, which legend has it was owned by the 14th century Scottish King Robert the Bruce and was originally passed to the family Bruce in 1791. Currently it is only used in State and Bruce family ceremonies. It was also used by Katherine Bruce to ‘knight’ poet Robert Burns at Clackmannan tower in 1787.
Lord Bruce went on to say “the sword was a gift from David II, the son of King Robert, whose marriages did not produce an heir. He added: “Realising that the Bruce dynasty would come to an end, he presented his father’s sword to his first cousin Thomas Bruce of Clackmannan”. “This sword is in extraordinarily good condition and doesn’t appear to carry much evidence of being used in battle, but it could easily have been.”
Lord Charles Bruce, son of the Earl of Elgin Andrew Bruce, describing their origins in Scotland said: “The family came to Scotland in the 11th century, with our most illustrious member being King Robert the Bruce”, it was however quickly apparent obviously that other members of the family have set out their place in Scottish and world history – the items chosen for the display connect the family to that.
Among the items on show were a suit in the Bruce Tartan from around 1760 which was commissioned and worn by James Bruce of Kinnaird, items from the collection of 17th century inventor Alexander Bruce and a portrait by the famous painter Allan Ramsay, of Charles Bruce.
A ledger book drawn from the state archives showing an unpaid debt of £34.10 owed by the family of Scottish businessman Andrew Carnegie will also be on display. Lord Charles Bruce said: “This entry in the ledger documents a beginning of a really important sequence of events that leads to Carnegie amassing his large fortune; most of which he gave away in his lifetime, “It is another item from our collection that has a really interesting global resonance.”
After the ceremony, photographs were taken outside Broomhall with banners flown, a photograph with the armigers present was taken. From left to right: Dr Olga Runcie, (services to the medical and psychological Sciences, Mr Ronald Watt, OBE, ORS, (host) Dr Tom Tait (for services to people with learning disabilities, Dr George Carruthers (for services to health care and Carruthers history and heritage, Lord Charles Bruce (host) and Mr Albert Thomson (for services to policing). The banners are the flags of the armigers themselves, with the Red Carruthers in trews proudly worn by the Society Convenor.
To name a few also receiving an award: Prof. Alan Spence ORS; for services to the arts and education, Mr Scott Baxter; for services to Scotland, the third sector and the community, Paul O’Conner OBE; for services to Scotland and the Community, Provost Ronald Proctor MBE; for services to Scotland and the Black Watch Regiment, Mr Ian Hepburn; for services to Japan and Scotland, Mr Don Owen (Canada) and Mr John Mullin (USA); for services to the martial arts world-wide.
Broomhall house is open for corporate and tourism events, the displays are based around the fact that the family Bruce has been here for so long and their story is so inextricably woven with the history and fabric of Scotland”. For anyone interested in Scottish history in general or Bruce in particular, this is a must to visit.