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

1 thought on “The heart of Robert the Bruce

  1. amcclench

    In fact, Sir James died as part of a Castilian army _besieging_ Teba castle. He probably died in a fight for access to water on the banks of the Rio Guadalteba.
    “E sobre aquel rio hubieron un dia muy gran contienda, y de la hueste del rey fue muerto un conde estraño que saliera de su tierra por hacer a dios servicio e probar su cuerpo contra los enemigos de la Cruz….” QDP
    The castle surrendered not long after. We owe the story of the ‘thrown heart’ to Sir Walter Scott.

    Vaya usted con dios.



Leave a comment here

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.