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Unit 8: King Robert I, 1314-1318
By 1313, Robert I had transformed his position from one of hunted fugitive to one of reigning king. He had taken back most of Scotland by force but Stirling Castle remained the most important stronghold left in English hands. Edward II needed to relieve the English garrison at Stirling so sent an army north in the summer of 1314. The two armies met on 24 June at the battle of Bannockburn. Robert I's victory did not bring the war to an end but left him in undisputed control of Scotland. He was able to win back some of his family, who had been in English captivity, in exchange for English knights captured in the battle.
In the years that followed, Robert I set out to improve the administration and life of the country despite the unsettled times. He summoned senior clergy, his tenants-in-chief and officials to attend parliaments to review and create new laws. In November 1314, he held a parliament at Cambuskenneth Abbey in Stirling where an act was passed which forced those with lands in both Scotland and England to choose between loyalty to Robert or to King Edward II. Loyal supporters were rewarded with grants of land taken from the king's enemies.
In 1318, the parliament in Scone recognised Robert Steward, Robert I's grandson, as heir to the throne if the King had no further children.
Among the records that survive from this period of Robert I's life is the Ayr Manuscript which contains copies of various acts that were passed by his parliament at Scone. They provide an insight into his attempts to establish law and order across the country in everyday matters.