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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Bruce, Mrs Catherine (1696-1791)

During the autumn tour of 1787 which he made with Dr James Adair, Burns called on an old Jacobite lady, Mrs Bruce of Clackmannan. She traced her ancestors back to King Robert the Bruce, but claimed that he was sprung from her family, and not vice versa, a claim, however, founded purely on family legend. She possessed a helmet and two handed sword which she believed had once belonged to the Bruce. With the sword she conferred a knighthood on Burns and remarked as Adair recorded, that she 'had a better right to confer that title than some people'. She conferred a similar honour on Dr Jamieson, Editor of the Scots Dictionary, a few months later. On her death the sword and helmet came to the Earl of Elgin.

She was the daughter of Alexander Bruce of the Newton branch of the family and married Henry Bruce of Clackmannan.

John Ramsay of Ochtertyre recorded that at the age of 80, 'she used to rise at six in the morning to see that everything was in order'.

She lived in the old family tower at the west end of Clackmannan village. It is now a ruin.

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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