Edward Bruce

(d. 1318) soldier and claimant to the Irish throne

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B. c.1276, 2nd s. of Robert de Bruce and Marjorie, titular king of Ireland 1315–18; illeg. issue: Alexander, Thomas(?); d. Faughart, nr. Dundalk, 14 Oct. 1318.

Younger sibling of Robert I, Edward became one of his brother's foremost military commanders, ravaging Galloway in 1308 to reduce English authority there and subsequently created its lord. Further campaigns preceded the siege of Stirling castle (1313), where his impatient agreement with the English commander that it would surrender if not relieved within a year forced the hand of Edward II and precipitated the battle of Bannockburn (1314), where Bruce commanded the leading brigade; a subsequent raid into north-east England caused widespread damage. Having been named as heir presumptive to the Scottish throne in 1315, he embarked on an expedition to Ireland, but despite forcing the Ulster nobles to acknowledge him as king, there was less than expected support, and Robert had briefly to come to his aid in 1317. Arrogance also prompted him to contact the Welsh, suggesting he join them in expelling the English, and become additionally prince of Wales. Described (understatedly) by a chronicler as ‘a little headstrong and impetuous’, Edward Bruce became unable to sustain his position, was killed at the battle of Dundalk by an Anglo-Irish army, and his body quartered and dispersed.

Subjects: British History.

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