Full Text of the Declaration of Arbroath, 1320
Translation from the Latin as published
in The Scotsman, 4 February 2005
King Robert I: 'But from these countless evils
we have been set free... by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord,
the Lord Robert'.
To the most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, the
Lord John, by divine providence Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman
and Universal Church, his humble and devout sons Duncan, Earl of
Fife, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, Lord of Man and of Annandale,
Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March, Malise, Earl of Strathearn, Malcolm,
Earl of Lennox, William, Earl of Ross, Magnus, Earl of Caithness
and Orkney, and William, Earl of Sutherland; Walter, Steward of
Scotland, William Soules, Butler of Scotland, James, Lord of Douglas,
Roger Mowbray, David, Lord of Brechin, David Graham, Ingram Umfraville,
John Menteith, guardian of the earldom of Menteith, Alexander
Fraser, Gilbert Hay, Constable of Scotland, Robert Keith, Marischal
of Scotland, Henry St Clair, John Graham, David Lindsay, William
Oliphant, Patrick Graham, John Fenton, William Abernethy, David
Wemyss, William Mushet, Fergus of Ardrossan, Eustace Maxwell,
William Ramsay, William Mowat, Alan Murray, Donald Campbell, John
Cameron, Reginald Cheyne, Alexander Seton, Andrew Leslie, and
Alexander Straiton, and the other barons and freeholders and the
whole community of the realm of Scotland send all manner of filial
reverence, with devout kisses of his blessed feet.
Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the
chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other
famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with
They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the
Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long
course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere
could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous.
Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the
people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west
where they still live today.
The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they
utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the
Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that
home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians
of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever
Robert the Bruce
Hunt for Edward's Fort Begins
RULERS OF BRITAIN:
English House of Plantagenet
Scottish House of Bruce
The Declaration of Arbroath.net
The Declaration of Arbroath
In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and
thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single
The high qualities and deserts of these people, were
they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the
King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His
Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the
uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy
Nor would He have them confirmed in that faith by
merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles - by calling, though
second or third in rank - the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed
Peter's brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection
as their patron forever.
The Most Holy Fathers your predecessors gave careful
heed to these things and bestowed many favours and numerous privileges
on this same kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the
Blessed Peter's brother.
'It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor
honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which
no honest man gives up but with life itself.'
Thus our nation under their protection did indeed
live in freedom and peace up to the time when that mighty prince the
King of the English, Edward, the father of the one who reigns today,
when our kingdom had no head and our people harboured no malice or
treachery and were then unused to wars or invasions, came in the
guise of a friend and ally to harass them as an enemy.
The deeds of cruelty, massacre, violence, pillage,
arson, imprisoning prelates, burning down monasteries, robbing and
killing monks and nuns, and yet other outrages without number which
he committed against our people, sparing neither age nor sex, religion
nor rank, no one could describe nor fully imagine unless he had seen
them with his own eyes.
But from these countless evils we have been set free, by
the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores,
by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert
The Declaration of Arbroath
But from these countless evils we have been set
free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and
restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord
He, that his people and his heritage might be
delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue,
hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and bore them
Him, too, divine providence, his right of succession
according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death,
and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and
To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been
wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits
that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may,
we mean to stand.
Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and
agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or
the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as
our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some
other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as
but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions
be brought under English rule.
It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor
honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone,
which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
Therefore it is, Reverend Father and Lord, that we
beseech your Holiness with our most earnest prayers and suppliant hearts,
inasmuch as you will in your sincerity and goodness consider all
this, that, since with Him Whose Vice-Regent on earth you are there
is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or
Englishman, you will look with the eyes of a father on the troubles
and privation brought by the English upon us and upon the Church of
God.May it please you to admonish and exhort the King of the
English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs to him since
England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave us
Scots in peace, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which
there is no dwelling-place at all, and covet nothing but our own.
We are sincerely willing to do anything for him,
having regard to our condition, that we can, to win peace for
This truly concerns you, Holy Father, since you see
the savagery of the heathen raging against the Christians, as the sins
of Christians have indeed deserved, and the frontiers of Christendom
being pressed inward every day; and how much it will tarnish your
Holiness's memory if (which God forbid) the Church suffers eclipse
or scandal in any branch of it during your time, you must perceive.
Then rouse the Christian princes who for false
reasons pretend that they cannot go to help of the Holy Land because
of wars they have on hand with their neighbours.
The real reason that prevents them is that in making
war on their smaller neighbours they find quicker profit and weaker
But how cheerfully our Lord the King and we too would
go there if the King of the English would leave us in peace, He from
Whom nothing is hidden well knows; and we profess and declare it to you
as the Vicar of Christ and to all Christendom.
But if your Holiness puts too much faith in the tales
the English tell and will not give sincere belief to all this, nor
refrain from favouring them to our prejudice, then the slaughter of
bodies, the perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that
will follow, inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we
believe, be surely laid by the Most High to your charge.
To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty
calls us, ready to do your will in all things, as obedient sons to you
as His Vicar; and to Him as the Supreme King and Judge we commit the
maintenance of our cause, casting our cares upon Him and firmly
trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring our enemies
May the Most High preserve you to his Holy Church in
holiness and health and grant you length of days.
Given at the monastery of Arbroath in Scotland on the
sixth day of the month of April in the year of grace thirteen hundred
and twenty and the fifteenth year of the reign of our King aforesaid.
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