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Robert the Bruce statue returned to Bannockburn

Benedict Bruce waves a flag as a restored statue of Robert the Bruce is unveiled in Bannockburn. Picture: PA

Benedict Bruce waves a flag as a restored statue of Robert the Bruce is unveiled in Bannockburn. Picture: PA

The statue of King Robert the Bruce has been spruced up and returned to Bannockburn after refurbishment ahead of the 700th anniversary of the battle next year.

The cast bronze equestrian monument, featuring Bruce on his war horse carrying an axe, was unveiled today for the second time after being cleaned, repaired and subject to conservation work.

Sculptor Charles d’Orville Pilkington Jackson designed the statue in the 1960s and used measurements of Bruce’s skull re-discovered at Dunfermline Abbey in 1818 to model his work on.

It was first unveiled to the public by the Queen in 1964 for the 650th anniversary of Bannockburn but over the years it had corroded and was turning green.

Today’s return of the statue was welcomed by a descendant of King Robert, the Earl of Elgin who is the head of the Bruce family. He said: “We should not forget the message which King Robert gave at his enthronement at Scone 700 years ago. He told his followers to go out and spread friendship over the land.

“Next year, I trust that all who come here to see the monument and encounter the information in the new visitor centre, will will reflect on his magnanimity.

As part of the Battle of Bannockburn project, work to clean, repair and protect the statue was commissioned in 2012.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said: “The Robert the Bruce statue is an iconic part of the Bannockburn site, and a poignant reminder of the battle.

“It is extremely moving to visit the battlefield and see the statue of Bruce who is so synonymous with Scotland’s history. The statue has been painstakingly conserved to return it to its original condition so it can once again be appreciated by both Scots and visitors from around the world.”

The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland are working to transform the site where Robert the Bruce defeated the English army in 1314.

Various conservation projects are being carried out at the site, there will be a new visitor centre and landscaping of some areas is underway.

Sir Kenneth Calman, chairman of the National Trust for Scotland said: “This is a very significant milestone for the project to restore the National Trust for Scotland’s Bannockburn heritage site.

“With the conservation and restoration of the historic monuments nearing completion, the site will once more be a place which reflects its significance in Scottish history.

“Our contemporary works remain consistent with the designs created by the original architects who developed the monuments since the Trust acquired the site in the 1930s. We hope that our new additions to further enhance the site will encourage more people to visit, reflect and remember the Battle of Bannockburn for generations to come.”

 

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