Robert the Bruce and the Spider: Scottish Legends and Folklore

August 24, 2019  - by 

The Trojan horse, Loch Ness monster, Rumplestiltskin, King Arthur—chances are you’re familiar with their stories. These tales, and many others, have been passed on for generations and have played an important role in shaping European cultures.

What about Robert the Bruce and the spider? How well do you know his story and how it impacted Scotland’s history?

Robert the Bruce and the Spider

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce is a fitting name for the king that fought for Scotland’s independence, even if it’s a coincidence that stems from his family name “a Briuis” or “de Brus.”

Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots in 1306 and led Scotland to victory in the First War of Scottish Independence against the English. The king who won Scotland’s independence—it’s no wonder he lives on in legend as a national hero. 

Things weren’t always so sunny for King Robert, and that’s where the spider comes into the story. After the English repeatedly defeated his armies, the famed King of Scots was forced into hiding. Legend has it that when Robert’s spirits were broken, he took refuge in a cave. Sitting in the cave, he noticed a small spider attempting to weave a web. 

The spider tried and failed over and over. Each time the spider fell, it climbed back up to try again. Finally, the spider’s silk took hold, and the spider managed to spin a web.

Robert the Bruce saw himself reflected in the spider’s struggle. After watching the spider finally succeed, Robert found the inspiration to return and fight the English despite overwhelming odds.

He was victorious against the King of England in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. This triumph ultimately turned the tides towards later winning the independence of Scotland in 1328. 

Legends in the Making

Legends like these are woven into the fabric of our unique cultures and histories, and they’re often based on real people like you and me (and Robert the Bruce). As they’re told and retold, the stories of everyday people can inspire generations to come. 

What stories has your family passed down over the years? Perhaps your parents have the best love story or your grandpa shared incredible tales from WWII. The Memories app is the perfect place to record these family memories. Write down your favorite stories, or record yourself telling them to save them and share them with your family.

A family sharing stories.

Learn More About Your Story

If you want to know more about your family’s stories and history, there are many ways you can learn. FamilySearch allows you to see everything your relatives have found and the stories they’ve shared.

This year, you also have the opportunity to learn from experts in genealogy at the first ever RootsTech London. With over 150 informative classes, over 100 vendors and discovery experiences, and inspirational keynote speakers such as Donny Osmond, there’s no better place to learn about your family.

Register for RootsTech London

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Comments

  1. Hay una historia de la familia materna, mi abuela Fresia contaba que su abuelo fui castigado por sus esclavos o trabajadores, por ser una persona muy mala, el era hacendado en Putaendo Chile.

    Translation:
    There is a story of the maternal family, my grandmother Fresia said that her grandfather was punished by his slaves or workers, for being a very bad person, he was a landowner in Putaendo Chile

  2. The story about Robert the Bruce and the spider is supposed to have taken place on Rathlin Island, just off the coast of County Antrim. You can still see the cave, if you’re brave enough!

  3. has any one else4 used ordinance ready to find out when the names were scanned they had been done previously?
    It was a great experience to perform the ordinances but with less than 1% completed work doing it twice is counter productive

  4. The Harrison Legend, I’ve been told, dates back to the emigration of the family of Duke of Hapsburg to Great Britain circa the 8th century AD. The troubled times in the Holy Roman reign in Austria led to persecutions that caused families to leave and settle elsewhere. As a child I too was thrilled to learn the story of Robert of Bruce,
    Our Scotish ancestry is also prominent in that tree. My father emigrated to Canada about 1908.