‘700-year-old’ Robert the Bruce carving from 1960s

A carving of Robert the Bruce, which was thought to have been centuries-old, was actually made in the late 1960s. Picture: John Devlin
A carving of Robert the Bruce, which was thought to have been centuries-old, was actually made in the late 1960s. Picture: John Devlin
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A CARVING of the Robert the Bruce that was thought to be up to 700 years old has been dated - to the 1960s.

The intricate carving depicting the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath caused a stir when it was uncovered in an abandoned fishing bothy in East Haven, Angus, on Friday.

Found next to an old post road popular with travellers in the 16th and 17th centuries excitement mounted about what people believed could be an ancient artifact.

Previously pilgrims’ brooches and a 12th century coin had been also discovered in the area.

But now residents have been been brought back to earth with a bump after a former art teacher came forward as its creator.

Thomas Walker, who now lives in Spain, said he made the hidden treasure as part of an college art project in Dundee in the 1960s.

“Fashioned by these fair hand of mine,” he declared following days of media attention and appeals for information.

“By my memory o’ awfy cauld hauns when working on it, I can date it to the winter of 1967/68.

“It is made of hard-fired terracotta and any metal therein was added for support and reinforcement.”

He continued: “I gave the panel to someone who asked if they might have it. Who that person was, for the life of me I cannot remember.

“How it got to where it was found - now that is a mystery.”

The Declaration of Arbroath was a letter of Scottish independence believed to have been written in the Arbroath Abbey - just six miles along the coast from East Haven.

The carving showing Robert the Bruce and some monks consulting a document was found by husband and wife, 53-year-old Wendy and 70-year-old Alasdair Murray.

“I have mixed feeling really,” said Wendy on hearing the carving wasn’t hundreds of years old.

“It would have been nice to find something historic and ancient.”

Wendy, who is part of the East Haven Residents’ Association, explained: “We were taking part on the Beautiful Scotland campaign, clearing up areas of the village.

“We were clearing a site we’re going to make into a garden work area for residents. It took six months to clear it - it was used as a rubbish dump.

“There was a tin shed with lots of old rubbish - got to the bottom of the pile and found it.”

She continued: “We took it home in a wheelbarrow and gently brushed all of the soil. When we brushed off a lot of the surface soil we began to see that it looked like an ancient craving.

“We were excited and puzzled as well.

“We put it up on Facebook and people said it was really important.

“It did look very old, Although with hindsight a lot of the detail was well preserved - apart from the crack. It was in two pieces.”

Wendy added: “Tom Walker has been in touch with me. He has gifted it to the people of East Haven.

“We’ve even had emails from as far away as Australia on it. We do want to have it on public display.”


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