Battle of Bannockburn poem for 700th anniversary

Preparations to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn have taken a step forward with the inscription of a specially-commissioned poem on a monument at the heritage site.

Robert the Bruce's statue has been restored. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Scottish writer Kathleen Jamie composed the commemorative poem that appears on a new timber ring crowning the Rotunda monument at the ancient battleground near Stirling.

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

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Expert carver Richard Douglas from Andrew Miller Architectural Joinery, based in Stirling, began the inscription works back in June.

A weather-beaten statue of Robert the Bruce has already been restored and a new visitor centre is planned ahead of the 700th Bannockburn anniversary next year.

Ms Jamie, a professor of creative writing at Stirling University, said: “From the start I wanted this piece of work to make a nod to the Scottish literary tradition and the Scottish landscape, to evoke the deep love of a country that makes one community out of many people.

“As Bannockburn is so important in Scottish history, it seemed proper to acknowledge our cultural traditions, especially poetry and song about landscape.”

David McAllister, director of the Battle of Bannockburn project, said: “The designer behind the original Rotunda monument, architect Sir Robert Matthew, planned for it to bear an inscription, and half a century later we have fulfilled this intention.

“The Rotunda is the central place for commemoration of the Battle of Bannockburn and our intent is to continue that tradition of memorial and contemplation.

“Kathleen’s poem encapsulates the essence of the Battle of Bannockburn project - introducing a contemporary take on the battle and the landscape while paying respect to the memory of this important moment in Scottish history.”

The poem:

Here lies our land: every airt

Beneath swift clouds, glad glints of sun,

Belonging to none but itself.

We are mere transients, who sing

Its westlin’ winds and fernie braes,

Northern lights and siller tides,

Small folk playing our part.

‘Come all ye’, the country says

You win me, who take me most to heart.