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  • Robert Keith

    Cavalry commander

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Who was he?

A high-ranking nobleman from East Lothian, Keith was the hereditary marshal of Scotland, who guarded the symbols of royalty, such as the crown and sceptre of state.

He was captured by the English in 1300, but by 1308 he was back in Scotland to support Bruce.

At Bannockburn

Keith commanded the small Scottish cavalry force. Along with Douglas, he was given the crucial role of checking out the size and state of the English army as they advanced.

They did not have the strength or numbers to face the English cavalry but on 24 June, in a crucial move, they charged at the enemy archers, scattering them and forcing them backwards.

Keith’s action was one of the few occasions when Scots cavalry played a significant role on the battlefield.

After Bannockburn

Keith was rewarded with land in the north-east of Scotland, where his family subsequently built the mighty Dunottar Castle. Ever-loyal, his seal is on the Declaration of Arbroath and he was killed fighting for Bruce’s infant son David at the battle of Dupplin Moor in 1332.

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