Weir Family History

Bruce Ancestry

The ancestry of the Bruce family is contentious, in that some claim that it can only be traced to pre-Conquest Normandy, with those who became known as Bruce taking their name from the district in which they built their castle. This view, however, does not take into account the very close relation between them and the ducal family of Normandy, who were of Scandinavian lineage; this closeness only being made possible through a shared ancestry. Tenurial relationships at this time only existed were there was a familial one, for who better to trust than a family within your own kinship group? By this reason, this account of the ancestry of the Bruce family recounts the descendants of an Earl of Orkney:

Thorfin I., Einarsson, Skullsplitter, Earl of Orkney, obit. 963, a nephew of Duke Rollo of Normandy, married Grelod Duncansdottir, daughter of Duncan, Earl of Caithness, and Groa Thorsteinsdottir, whose father was Thorstein 'The Red' Olafsson, and whose mother was Thurid Ewinsdottir. She was a maternal descendant, through her mother, Rafertach MacCearbhall, of Irish kings: Colam Mor, 1st Prince of Ossory, obit. 575; Conal Cremthoinn, the first King of Meath, obit. 481; and of Duach, King of Connaught, obit. 502.

Hlodver, Earl of Orkney, obit. 980, married Audna Kiervalsdottir, daughter of Kierval, King of Ireland, 872-887. He is buried at Hofu in Caithness.

Sigurd II., Earl of Orkney, obit.1014, in the Battle of Clortarf in Dublin, Ireland, married Alice [Anleta], daughter of Malcolm II mac Kenneth, King of Scotland. See below.


Brusi Sigurdsson, Earl of Caithness and Sunderland, obit. 1031, in the Orkney Islands, married Ostrida de Gothland.



Rognvald Brusseson, Commander in the Army of King Olaf of Norway, obit.1046, married [2] Felicia de Normandy, daughter of Robert I, Duke of Normandy. Felicia was the half-sister of William the Conqueror.

Robert de Brusse married Emma of Brittany, Emma was the daughter of Alan, Count of Brittany and Bertha de Chartres. He was a close friend and councillor of Duke Robert. For his descent from Turf-Einar Ragnvaldsson, father of the above mentioned Thorfin Einarsson, see The Patrician, eds. John and Bernard Burke, p. 141, 1846. Also note, the name Brus was conspicuous in Scottish annals before it was known in England: the sagas of Orkney tell of the feuds between the Earls Ragnvald, father of Turf-Einar, and Brus. This supports the view that the Brus family of Normandy shared the same Scandinavian ancestry as the Dukes of Normandy, which accounts for the later close family connections confirmed by marriages, and reinforced by grants of land.

Robert de Brusse I., obit 1094, came with William the Conqueror in 1066. He married Agnes de Saint Clare, obit. 1080, daughter of Waldren de Saint Clare and Helena Le Bon. He was possessed of 43 manors in the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire, and of 51 in the North Riding, where his principal seat was Skelton. The Abbey of Gysburn in Cleveland was the burial place of his family. [See Dugdale, Baron., I., 447.]

Robert de Brus II., 1078-1141, married Agnes de Pagnell of Annandale, a distant cousin, daughter of Fulk de Pagnell. He was a companion in arms of Prince David of Scotland, later King David I, from whom Robert received a grant of the lordship of Annandale. The English estates of Robert de Bruce II were inherited by his eldest son, whose line ended in Peter Bruce, obit. 1271, Constable of Scarborough

Annandale passed to the second son, Robert de Bruce III., obit 1189. Robert de Bruce III is considered the founder of the Scottish branch of the family. He had two sons Robert de Bruce IV and William de Bruce, whose son was Robert de Bruce V.

 Robert de Bruce IV., obit. 1191, married, in 1183, the daughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland.Robert De Bruce V., obit.1245, married a niece of William the Lion, Isobel de Huntingdon, obit. 1252, daughter of David, Earl de Huntingdon and Maud de Keveliock of Chester, laying the foundation for the claim of the house of Bruce to the Scottish throne

Robert de Bruce VI., 1210-31/3/95, was called The Competitor. He vied unsuccessfully for the throne with John de Baliol. In May 1240, he married Isabella de Clare, 2/11/1226-1264 daughter of Sir Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Lady Isabella Marshall.

Robert de Bruce VII, Earl of Carrick, 1253-1304. In 1271, he married Marjorie Carrick, Countess of Carrick, daughter of Nigel, Earl of Carrick and Margaret Stewart., the daughter of Walter Fitz Alan, High Steward of Scotland, and Beatrix de Angus.

Robert de Bruce VIII., known as Robert Bruce, 1274-7/6/1329, became King Robert I. of Scotland. The Bruce was born in Writtle, Chelmsford, Essex, England. He died in Cardoss Castle, Dunbarton, Scotland.He married, first, in 1296, Isabel de Mar, obit. 1297, of Castle Kildrummy, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, daughter of Lord Donald Mac Gylocher, 6th Earl of Mar and Helen ap Llewellyn, Princess of North Wales. Isabel was a direct descendant of Alpin, King of Scotland. Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine were her great-grandparents. Their son, King John, had an illegitimate daughter, by Clementina, called Joan, who bore Llywelyn The Great, Prince of North Wales, an illigitimate daughter, the above mentioned Helen ap Llewellyn.

Eleanor of Aquitaine


Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Robert de Bruce VIII. reigned from 1306 to 1329. As Earl of Carrick, he paid homage to King Edward I.. of England, who, in 1296, defeated John de Baliol. He later abandoned Edward's cause to join Scottish nobles fighting for independence. In 1299, the year after William Wallace was defeated by Edward, Bruce was made one of the four regents who ruled the kingdom of Baliol, and was later consulted in making Scotland a province of England. In 1306, he met an old enemy, Scottish patriot Cromyn, and stabbed him in a quarrel, and, on March 27 he was crowned King at Scone.

In 1307 Bruce was deposed by Edward's army, and he had to flee to the highlands and then to the isle of Rathlin on the coast of Antrim - now northern Ireland - while his estates were confiscated. Isabel of Mar was taken prisoner by the English along with Bruce's sister Mary. They were confined in timber and iron cages and hung from the walls of Berwick and Roxburgh castles, respectively. For months they were forbidden to communicate with anyone except the English who brought them food and water, exposed to the weather and open mockery and allowed only the convenience of a privy.

The Bruce recruited followers and in less then two years had taken back nearly all of Scotland from the English. He defeated the English again in 1327, at the battle of Bannockburn, and twice invaded England. In 1314 he made a truce with Edward II of England for the independence of Scotland and right to the throne. In later years he was stricken with leprosy and lived in seclusion at Cardross Castle, where he died. 

He was suceeded by his son David II., whose mother was Elizabeth de Burgh.

Bruce's nephew, Robert II, who secceeded David, was the first king of the Stuart house of English and Scottish royalty.

Lady Marjorie Bruce, Princess of Scotland was the only child of the marriage of King Robert I.. and Isabel de Mar. She was probably born in December,1296. She died 2/31316, in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, having married, in 1315, Walter Stewart, 6th Lord High Steward, her second cousin once removed.

Princess Marjorie went out riding near Paisley while heavily pregnant with her first child. Her horse, taking fright at something, reared up, and Marjorie was thrown violently to the ground and immediately went into premature labour. Her only child, the future Robert II, was delivered at the roadside by Caesarean section [the first authentic record of such an operation being performed since the birth of the eponymous Julius Caesar.] The beautiful Marjorie died within a few hours, aged only about 19 years and 3 months, on 2/3/1316. Her last words are reported to have been 'He's a laddie; I ken he's a laddie; he will be king'. Her improbable dying prophecy eventually came true, but not for another fifty-five years.

Lady Marjorie Bruce.