The heart of Robert the Bruce

One of the things we promised ourselves we would do when we moved to Spain was drive around the countryside. So when the morning dawned chilly and grey, we decided it was time to drive to Teba, a hill town in the sierra north-east of Ronda. Thanks to its hill-top castle, it is a landmark for travellers for miles around and can be clearly seen from the Easyjet flight as it turns left over the lake at Fuente de Piedra and heads coastwards to Malaga airport.

Memorial to Sir James Douglas [photo: Wikipedia]

Memorial to Sir James Douglas [photo: Wikipedia]

As often happens when we visit these small hill towns, we get completely lost and go around in circles as the road signs always tell you the way to the centro but omit to point the way out. On one such trip to Teba in our early days, I was driving and actually grounded our little Peugeot at the crest of a steep hill. The last thing we expected to see in the middle of town is a statue to a Scot, Sir James Douglas. He was a loyal friend of Robert the Bruce who, on Bruce’s deathbed in 1329, agreed to take his heart on Crusade and fulfil a pledge which Bruce was now unable to do. Sir James, together with said heart in box, travelled south and arrived at Teba during the Reconquista when the Christians recovered al-Andaluz from the Muslim kingdoms. Sir James fought in the Battle of Teba in 1330, holding the stronghold of Teba against siege by the moors. At the tumult of the battle it is said Douglas caused chaos by tossing Robert the Bruce’s heart into the fray.

The castle at Teba [photo: Wikipedia]

The castle at Teba [photo: Wikipedia]


5 to remember
el corazón – heart
el moro – moor
el castillo – castle
la estatua – statue
la batalla – battle

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