The COTR Podcast

Fortnightly series with leading historians discussing the sources for the reign of Robert Bruce, king of Scots (1306-29). From the Declaration of Arbroath to letters absolving the king of murder, this podcast explains why Robert has the reputation he does, and why it matters. Image (c) The National Museum of Scotland, of Bute Mazer, on loan from the Bute Collection at Mount Stuart. Follow us on twitter @cotr2020

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Tuesday Jun 30, 2020

Matthew Hammond explains the oft-forgotten story of Edward Balliol, erstwhile king of Scots, whose successful assertion of his kingship prompted the 'second war of independence'. For more, see 

Sunday Jun 21, 2020

Matthew Hammond tells us about Arbroath, the place associated with the 'Declaration'. Why was Arbroath important to Robert I and how did the 1320 letter come to be dated there? For more on the Arbroath historical pageant, see 

Monday Jan 20, 2020

John Reuben Davies takes us through the document containing the absolution of Robert Bruce, issued in 1310, following Robert's murder of John Comyn in 1306. For John's translation of the earliest surviving copy (in Dublin, Trinity College, MS 498) click here.

Tuesday Jan 07, 2020

Dauvit Broun takes us through the Schøyen Chronicle, a sixteenth-century manuscript containing a year-by-year chronicle covering 1297 and 1327, preserving new information about William Wallace and the appointment of seven (yes, you read that right) Guardians of the kingdom. You can find MS 679 here

Sunday Nov 10, 2019

Matthew Hammond introduces the corpus of Robert I's charters, explaining what they can (and can't) tell us about his reign.  NLS, Charter no. 242 (Robert confirms a quitclaim of land in Angus, saving his service, issued in 1322) Image (c) National Library of Scotland and reproduced with permission

Monday Oct 28, 2019

Alice Taylor takes us through the earliest piece of legislation to have survived from the parliament of Scone, issued at Scone in December 1318. For a translation of the 1318 legislation, visit: Image (NLS, MS 34.4.2: Registrum Vetus of Arbroath Abbey) 

Monday Oct 14, 2019

Steve Boardman takes us through the fascinating Irish Remonstrance, supposedly written by the king of Ulster in support of Edward Bruce's short-lived kingship of Ireland (and in defence of his campaigns in Ireland), and preserved within two histories of the Scots.  

Monday Oct 07, 2019

Dauvit Broun introduces the fascinating 'Book of Pluscarden', completed in 1461, whose unknown author included TWO copies of the Declaration of Arbroath and rewrote them in different ways. What did he change and why might he have done so?  For the 'teaser' of the project's dynamic edition, which will show how the Declaration has been rewritten over time, see

Monday Sep 30, 2019

Alice Taylor introduces us to the mysterious 'Regiam Maiestatem', the book of (supposedly) Scottish law (probably) compiled in Robert's reign which, by 1426, had become one of the main books of 'ancient law' in the kingdom. Join us to find out more about the mystery! Episode artwork: Initial 'R' from the Regiam Maiestatem in the Bute manuscript, National Library of Scotland, MS 21246, fo. 27r.

Monday Sep 16, 2019

Steve Boardman takes us through Barbour's Bruce, the epic poem written generations after Bruce's death, and starting point for all later discussion of who Bruce and why he did what he did. The image is from a 14th-century MS from a treatise of the Seven Vices from Genoa, now British Library, Additional MS 28841, f. 6r. Because of the spider!

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