Can you help solve riddle of time capsule unearthed at Bannockburn?

David Anderson holds a new wind vane styled on Robert the Bruce's battleaxe. Picture: PA

David Anderson holds a new wind vane styled on Robert the Bruce's battleaxe. Picture: PA


CONSERVATIONISTS want the public’s help in identifying a time capsule uncovered during restoration work on a historic flagpole.

A newspaper, coins and a few mystery items were found inside the Bannockburn flagpole in Stirlingshire.

The 1870s flagstaff is being repaired in time for the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn next year. The battle went down in history when Robert the Bruce defeated the English army at the site in 1314.

The top section of the flagpole was replaced following storm damage in 1937 when King George VI was crowned.

The time capsule contains a rolled-up copy of the Stirling Observer from 6 April that year, a thimble, a metal token stamped with the number 72, a 1911 Falkirk coronation medal, a 1924 farthing, a half-crown from 1928 and fragments of a brown glass vessel.

National Trust for Scotland curator Alastair Smith, who examined the find, said: “The 1937 Bannockburn capsule commemorates the coronation year, although many of the objects may have been added on the spur of the moment as the flagpole was being assembled.

“The glass bottle might even have been smashed in the same way as ships have been launched for centuries.”

The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland are behind the Battle of Bannockburn project, which will see a new visitor centre and the restoration of historic monuments including a statue of Robert the Bruce.

The top section of the 120ft flagpole, removed late last year, has been replaced. A stainless steel weathervane has been created, with a long life coating, a replica of the one installed in 1937 styled on Robert the Bruce’s battleaxe.

David McAllister, project director at National Trust for Scotland, said: “This unexpected find has been very exciting for the Battle of Bannockburn project team. There are some pieces, such as the numbered token and glass bottle, that remain a bit of mystery.

“If anyone can shed any light on their meaning, we’d be delighted to hear from you.”

Rory MacLeod, from Fife, contacted the National Trust to say his grandfather was involved in the time capsule.

The 51-year-old said: “When I was a boy, I remember my grandfather, Alexander Aikman, took me to the Bannockburn site and said, ‘There’s a time capsule up there’. He was managing director of the Grangemouth Dockyard Co that worked on the repairs to the top section of the flagpole in the 1930s and decided to include a time capsule.

“As Bannockburn is such an important place in Scottish history, he wanted to leave objects that he felt were representative of that time.”

Anyone with further information about the time capsule can e-mail




Back to the top of the page