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Unit 10: 1321-1329: A true peace which should go on without end, Fordun's Chronicle
It took some years for the Declaration of Arbroath to have an effect. From 1321, peace talks between Scotland and England were held on several occasions but collapsed due to English refusals to recognise Robert I as king and give up claims to power over Scotland. In 1323 a thirteen year truce was agreed. In 1324, Robert’s son, David, was born and became heir to the throne.
Diplomatic missions to strengthen Scotland’s position continued across Europe. In 1324, Pope John XXII finally recognised Robert as king, and in 1326 Scotland and France renewed their alliance in the Treaty of Corbeil.
In 1327, Edward II was deposed and a few months later a Scottish force raided the north of England and almost captured the young Edward III. The truce was broken and English stability was under threat. The intensity of subsequent Scottish raids on Northumberland forced the English into negotiation and talks started in autumn 1327. Peace terms were finally agreed in March 1328. A treaty was drawn up and sealed in Edinburgh and Northampton.
Following the treaty, Robert I sent ambassadors to the Pope to ask his authority for the bishop of St Andrews, as the Pope's representative in Scotland, to have the right to anoint and crown the kings of Scotland. The Pope granted his request but King Robert did not live to see this final recognition of Scotland's nationhood. He died at Cardross on 7 June 1329, aged 55, just six days before the papal bull [order] was issued.
Robert I had been ill since 1327. He had not been able to realise his ambition of fighting in a crusade, but when he was dying, he asked that his heart be taken to the crusades. Sir James Douglas carried out his request and set off for Spain in 1330 with the heart and a letter from Edward III ensuring safe travel.
Douglas had served Robert Bruce and Scotland loyally since 1306 and died carrying out the king's last wish. Douglas was killed in battle against the Moors in Granada in August 1330. His bones and the king's heart were brought back to Scotland for burial. Robert’s body lies in Dunfermline Abbey and his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey.
King Robert I succeeded in establishing peace between Scotland and England at the end of his reign. The Treaty of Edinburgh – Northampton however was not the ‘perpetual peace’ hoped for as years later Edward III of England tried to assert his authority over Scotland and hostilities broke out again.
View the timeline of events in the Scottish Wars of Independence
Source 1: The Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, 1328
Source 2: Letter by King Robert I to Melrose Abbey for payment for the fabric of the church, 1329
© Crown copyright: National Records of Scotland