The Scottish Civil War

Robert Bruce concentrated on strengthening his control over the Scottish nobles. Many of them still supported John Comyn's claim to the throne.

In the winter of 1307-08 Bruce marched north east towards the northern Comyn lands. He fought and captured castles in the Great Glen, gaining control of Inverlochy, Urquhart then Inverness. This resulted in the surrender of the Earl of Ross.

In spring 1308 Bruce went eastwards into Buchan, capturing the Comyn castles of Banff, Balvenie and Duffus before besieging the Black Isle.

Despite Bruce being dangerously ill, in May 1308 his forces defeated John Comyn, the Earl of Buchan at the Battle of Inverurie.

In what is known as the Herschip of Buchan (or the Harrying of Buchan), Bruce ordered the lands of Buchan to be destroyed – farms were burned, livestock slain and Comyn supporters murdered. Most northern castles were ruined.

(Autumn, 1308) – Bruce then turned against the MacDougalls, the Comyn’s supporters in the south-west. In late 1308 Bruce was victorious. The MacDougall army was wiped out in the Battle of the Pass of Brander in Argyll.

By March 1309, Bruce controlled all of Scotland north of the Tay. At that time, he held his first parliament at St Andrews.

At this parliament, he was confirmed king with support from the nobles and a letter from the French king. The Scottish bishops formally recognised this in a document known as the Declaration of the Clergy, and they absolved him of his past sins.

By 1310, he could concentrate on defeating the English, who were still in control of the south.

Neil Oliver describes Bruce's victories and illness in the video below.