Robert II (1371-1390)

Robert II

Robert II

Robert II ruled Scotland from 1371 until his death. Robert II, King of Scots, called “the Steward”, a title that gave the name to the House of Stewart (later spelled “Stuart”). He was the first monarch from The House of Stewart and the beginning of a long line of Stewart Kings and Queens and these even spread to rule England, which they still do this day.

Robert the Bruces brother Edward Bruce was named heir to the throne but died without legitimate children on 3 December 1318 in a battle near Dundalk in Ireland. Marjorie by this time had also died in a riding accident. Scottish parliament decreed that if King Robert died without sons the crown should pass to Marjorie’s son; but the birth of a son afterwards, King David II, to Bruce in 1324 postponed the accession of Robert for nearly forty-two years.

Edward Balliol, son of King John Balliol, assisted by the English and Scottish nobles disinherited by Robert I, invaded Scotland inflicting heavy defeats on the Bruce party on 11 August 1332 at Dupplin Moor and Halidon Hill on 10 July 1333. Robert fought at Halidon, where his uncle and former guardian, Sir James Stewart, was killed. Following this battle, Robert’s lands in the west were given by Balliol to his supporter David Strathbogie, the titular Earl of Atholl. Robert took refuge in the fortress of Dumbarton Castle in the Clyde estuary to join his uncle, King David. In May 1334 David escaped to France leaving Robert and John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray as joint Guardians of the kingdom. Robert succeeded in regaining his lands but following Randolph’s capture by the English in July 1335, his possessions were once again targeted by the forces of Balliol and King Edward III of England. This may have persuaded Robert to submit to Balliol and the English king and may explain his removal as Guardian by September 1335. The Guardianship transferred to Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell but following his death in 1338 Robert was re-appointed and retained the office until King David returned from France in June 1341. Robert accompanied David into battle at Neville’s Cross on 17 October 1346 but he and Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March escaped or fled the field and David was taken prisoner. In October 1357, the king was ransomed for 100,000 marks to be paid in installments over ten years.

Robert married Elizabeth Mure around 1348, legitimising his four sons and five daughters. His subsequent marriage to Euphemia de Ross in 1355 produced two sons and two surviving daughters and provided the basis of a future dispute regarding the line of succession. Robert joined a rebellion against David in 1363, but submitted to him following a threat to his right of succession.In 1329 King Robert I died and the six year-old David succeeded to the throne with Sir Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray appointed Guardian of Scotland.

In 1364 David presented a proposal to Parliament that would cancel the remaining ransom debt if it was agreed that a Plantagenet heir would inherit the Scottish throne should he die without issue. This was rejected and Robert succeeded to the throne at the age of 55 following David’s unexpected death in 1371. This reinstatement of his status was accompanied by the gift of lands in Argyll, Roxburghshire and the Lothians

 

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