Robert the Bruce document linked to independence up at auction

The Letters Patent is in the name of Bruce as the King of Scotland and grants land to independence backer.

Robert the Bruce document linked to independence up at auction PA Media

A document from Robert the Bruce granting land to a supporter in the Scottish Wars of Independence is going up for auction.

The Letters Patent is in the name of Bruce as the King of Scotland and grants land at “Uthirtyre” – now Auchtertyre in Angus – to independence backer Sir William Oliphant, and is estimated to fetch up to £30,000.

The land was granted in return for the feudal service of three archers in the king’s army.

The document, going under the hammer in the Scottish Sale at Bonhams auction house in Edinburgh on October 15, is printed on vellum and dated March 20, 1326.

It records that the granting of the lands was witnessed by William de Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews; Bernard of Kilwinning, Abbot of Arbroath; Duncan, Earl of Fife; Maol Iosa, Earl of Strathearn; Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland (Robert the Bruce’s son-in-law and father of Robert II, the first Stewart monarch) and Sir Gilbert de la Haye, Lord High Constable.

The document bears an indistinct fragment of the Great Seal.

Its existence was well-known to scholars but its whereabouts was unknown for nearly a century and it is now being sold by a UK-based private collector.

Oliphant was a veteran of earlier battles for Scottish independence from England, including the Battle of Dunbar in 1296, when King Edward I attempted to conquer Scotland.

The Scottish noble swore allegiance to Bruce, possibly after the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314, when Bruce defeated King Edward II’s English army.

Oliphant was one of the the 51 Scottish barons and earls who put their seals on the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asked the Pope to recognise Scotland’s independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king, after he was crowned at Scone Palace 14 years earlier.

In 1328 the treaty of Edinburgh was signed, with the government of the young Edward III granting Scotland unqualified recognition as a sovereign nation.

Managing director of Bonhams Scotland, Charles Graham-Campbell, said: “This is something that really does have a lot of resonance just because it links so many people at that time who were supporting Robert the Bruce in his quest to win Scotland back from Edward III and get it back as a sovereign nation again.

“It awards land to Sir William Oliphant who was a major supporter of independence. He was at the Battle of Dunbar, the Battle of Stirling and Bannockburn. So much of Scottish history of that time is part of this document.

“It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t usually come up that often for sale. It’s something that you or I or anyone could bid on and have a chance of acquiring.

“I suspect with what’s going on in Scotland at the moment this will be seen as an amazing document to have.

“People here or in the Scottish diaspora spread around the world might well think this a is a lovely piece of Scottish history to have.”

He said the document has never been on display and is in “remarkably good condition”.

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