Scotland HolidayNet History Robert the Bruce
Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey and the mystery of Robert the Bruce's heart

The 1996 summer archeological excavations of the Chapter House floor of Melrose Abbey undertaken by Historic Scotland were designed to increase knowledge of this important medieval building.

On Monday the 3rd of September the team from Historic Scotland investigated the lead container said to contain King Robert the Bruce's heart which had been removed from beneath the Chapter House floor the previous week.

Under laboratory conditions a small hole was drilled into the casket and the interior investigated by a fibre-optic cable. This larger casket was then carefully opened: inside was another small conical lead casket, and an engraved copper plaque inscribed;

"The enclosed leaden casket containing a heart was found beneath Chapter House floor, March 1921, by His Majesty's Office of Works"

Casket The smaller conical casket is about 10 inches high and 4 inches in diameter at the base tapering to a flat top about one and a half inches in diameter. Despite being pitted with age it was in remarkably good condition.

Richard Welander, one of the investigating team from Historic Scotland, said that although it was not possible to prove absolutely that it is Bruce's heart, "We can say that it is reasonable to assume that it is". There are no records of anyone else's heart being buried at Melrose.

The casket containing the heart was not opened and was buried again at Melrose Abbey in 1997.

About the life of Robert the Bruce

spider Bruce

Related Pages:
Article on Melrose Abbey
William Wallace's Statue
The Douglases and Threave Castle


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