Researched and compiled by Thomas B. Bruce, former webmaster for Family of Bruce. Many thanks for his tremendous work on this.
Scottish, English and Irish
Researched and compiled by Thomas B. Bruce, former webmaster for Family of Bruce. Many thanks for his tremendous work on this.
Scottish, English and Irish
He was the only legitimate son of Robert The Bruce. He became king at the age of 5 in 1329 upon the death of his father and was first married to Joan, the daughter of Edward II. Since the king was of a young age, Edward III installed Edward de Balliol as King, who ruled for a short time, causing the Scots to revolt, and to be defeated at he battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, forcing David to flee to France in exile at Chateau Gaillard. During this time his cousin and future King, Robert II, unofficially ruled Scotland as guardian of the kingdom, until David returned in 1341. For five years David reigned as a very competent and fair King, and in 1346 he invaded England, but was defeated at Neville’s Cross. He fought bravely, was wounded, captured and held prisoner for eleven years until 1357 with the signing of the Treaty of Berwick. However, his ransom of 100,000 marks was never really paid in full to his brother-in-law, Edward III, throughout his reign leaving the ransom burden upon Scotland. In 1363 a year after Joan had died, he married Margaret Logie, and failed to produce an heir. He applied for a divorce, to marry another, however it was never settled and he died heirless in 1371 and his cousin Robert (FitzAlan) Steward, (Robert II) was crowned King of Scots. Although he could never fill the shoes of his father, he did well given the circumstances.
The brother of Robert I. Edward was flamboyant, brave, ambitious and irresponsible. He led fearsome raids (1306 – 14) but never understood Robert’s policy of destroying castles; failing to capture Stirling (1313) he agreed a year’s grace with Philip de Mowbray, making Bannockburn inevitable.
Invited to Ireland (1315) by the King of Tyrone with whom he had grown up, he led an army into a yearslong campaign and was crowned King of Ireland. Despite reinforcements led by Robert I, he was killed at Dundalk (1318) along with many supporters. His death was ‘the best for Ireland since the expulsion of the Formorians’, according to an Irish chronicler. (Source Collins Encyclopedia)
Also astronomer, naturalist and linguist, James Bruce (nicknamed ‘The Abyssian’) was born in Kinnaird House of Stirlingshire, the eldest son of a wealthy landowner, was educated at Harrow School and studied law at Edinburgh University. In 1753 he married the daughter of a London wine-merchant and joined her family’s business; but nine months later his pregnant wife died of consumption and Bruce launched himself on his travels.
Six foot four inches tall, red haired and arrogant, but also an excellent horseman and superb shot, he spent several years touring Europe and in 1762 was appointed British Consul in Algiers. In 1768 he set out on his famous journey in search of the source of the Nile, travelling from Cairo across the desert to the Red Sea then striking south from Massawa to Axum and Gondar, the principal city of Abyssinia (Ethopia). After a year at Gondar, during which he was invited to command a troop of the King’s horses and managed to cure the Queen of smallpox, he traveled on to Lake Tana which he mistakenly took to be the Nile’s source and where he drank a toast to King George III before returning to Gondar and becoming embroiled in a civil war. Leaving in December 1771 and heading westwards across the mountains and deserts of Sudan, it took him two years to complete his journey back to Cairo. He finally returned to Scotland in 1774.
So extraordinary were the tales he had to tell about his adventures, and in particular about the habits and customs of the people of Abyssinia, that he was dismissed by many, including Dr. Johnson, as a fraud. His Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile were published in five volumes in 1790 but these were also universally disbelieved, although subsequent travelers have confirmed their authenticity. (Bruce’s reputation was not helped by having a sequel to Baron Munchausen dedicated to him by Rudolph Raspe in 1792, although Bruce was not in fact Raspe’s model). His use of a specially-designed portable camera obscura in North Africa was unique, producing many drawings of Roman antiquities now in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.
He married again in 1776 but his wife, 24 years his junior, died in 1788 at the age of 34. Bruce himself died after falling down the stairs at Kinnaird when he was 64. (Source Collins Encyclopedia)
Sir William Bruce of Kinross, Bart. architect to Charles II, was born around 1630 and died early in the year 1710. He was the second son of Robert Bruce of Blairhall, in Fife, an ancestor of the present Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, and was a strong Episcopalian and a loyal subject.(Source Hubert Fenwick)
Apart from his career as an architect, Bruce was something of a political figure, having been a confidential messenger between the Scottish Lords and Charles II before the restoration. He was knighted for his services and made ‘Surveyor General and Overseer of the King’s works in Scotland’. This post was specifically created for remodeling of Holyroodhouse (1671-9), in which Bruce was assisted by Robert Mylne. Bruce gave the palace its symmetrical front and created a complex thoroughly French in character. As a gentleman architect, more often than designing houses himself he would give advice on appropriate designs and architects to his friends and acquaintances of the Scottish nobility.
The houses he did design were unfortified houses for Scottish lords who had abandoned the medieval tower house. ‘The Kit (Christopher) Wren of North Britain’ according to Defoe, Bruce can be described as the effective founder of classical architecture in Scotland, the knowledge of which derived from his many travels abroad. He put great emphasis on the formal setting of a house, on the relationship between the garden and the landscape and the house itself (Kinross house, 1685-93; Hopetoun House 1699-1702). After the death of Charles II his political position became uneasy and in trying to build up his estate in Kinross, he ended up in financial difficulties. (Source Collins Encyclopedia)
George Bruce of Carnock, Fife is best known as the pioneer who established the first submarine coal mines using machinery in Scotland under the Firth of Forth, a few miles southwest of Dunfermline. Through his knowledge and accumulated wealth not only as a merchant, but also as a salt manufacturer, he is credited with building Culross into a major burgh (Town) which rose to become a Royal Burgh in 1588. With his fortune he built Culross Palace in 1597 for his wife and eight children which still stands today available for tours under Histtoric Environment Scotland. He was knighted by James VI and married Margaret Primrose of Burnbrae about 1579; he died May 6, 1625. He and his wife are interred in a beautiful tomb at Culross Abbey. From George Bruce came the Earls of Kincardine through his grandson, Edward Bruce.
Michael Bruce was the first Bruce minister who established a Presbyterian ministry in Ireland. In 1662 the Presbyterian minister was ordered to exile himself to Killinchy in county Down. He was born in Scotland from the Bruce line of Patrick Bruce of Newton. In 1659 he married Jean Bruce daughter of Robert Bruce of Kinnaird, Scotland. Michael’s son Rev James Bruce who became the minister of Killeleagh would lead the Bruces for 5 more generations. From this line, created in 1804, came Rev. Sir Henry Hervey Ashton Bruce, 1st Baronet of Downhill.
Robert Bruce, Lord Ailesbury and 2nd Earl of Elgin was the only son of Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin. He was a member of the House of Lords, a respected member of of the Privy Council and gentlemen of the King’s Bedchamber (King Charles), Majesty’s Lieutenant for the shires of Huntington, Cambridge, and Bedford, one of the commissioners of the office Earl Marshal, and Lord Chamberlain of the household. In 1663 he was created Baron Bruce of Skelton, County York; Viscount Bruce of Ampthill, County Bedford; and Earl of Ailesbury in Buckinghamshire, in the peerage of England. (Source: The Life and Loyalties of Thomas Bruce by Lord Cardigan and Berke’s peerage records)
Thomas Bruce, was one of three male heirs, who inherited the titles Earl of Ailesbury and Earl of Elgin. He was a member of Parliament, captain in the army, member in the House of Lords, and gentlemen of the King’s Bedchamber of King Charles II and King James II of England.
He was attached to the cause of James II, refused to take the oaths after the Revolution, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1696. Afterward he was allowed to quit the kingdom. He moved to Brussels and lived there for many years until his death in 1741 at the age of 85. (Source: The Life and Loyalties of Thomas Bruce by Lord Cardigan and Berke’s peerage records)
Educated in England and France, Thomas Bruce succeeded to the Earldoms of Elgin and Kincardine in 1771, entered the army in 1785, and was successively envoy to the Holy Roman Empire, to Brussels, to Berlin and to the Ottoman Empire. In the last position (1799-1803) he developed an interest in the antiquities of Athens and arranged for the Parthenon Frieze and other sculptures to be transported to England. Controversy over the ethics of this action led to a government inquiry in which Bruce’s argument that he was saving them from decay and destruction was accepted, although the controversy continues. The sculptures, known then and since as the ‘Elgin Marbles’, were bought by the government for the nation in 1816 and housed in the British Museum. (Source Collins Encyclopedia)
British statesman, son of the 7th Earl. He served as Governor of Jamaica (1842–46) and in 1847 was appointed Governor-General of Canada. There he put into operation the proposals for responsible government outlined by his father-in-law, the Earl of Durham. Elgin improved education and helped the Canadian economy, which was depressed by the new British policy of free trade. After personally negotiating the reciprocity treaty of 1854 with the United States, he returned to England. He later negotiated (1857–60) British trade agreements with China and Japan. Shortly before his death he was appointed Governor-General of India.
(Photo Source Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division; Print Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia)
The younger brother of James Bruce 8th Earl of Elgin, became the first Minister in Beijing in 1861 to the Imperial Chinese Court. At the close of the United States Civil War, he was the British Representative in Washington, D.C. from March 1, 1865 until his death in Boston on September 19, 1867. (Picture by Civil War Photographer Matthew Brady)
Viceroy of India (1894–99) during an extremely troubled period in that country’s history and served as colonial secretary from 1905 to 1908.
(Source The Columbia Encyclopedia)
Lord Bruce of Kinloss and Lord Bruce of Torry, in Scotland, and Baron Elgin, of Elgin, in the United Kingdom, KT (1981), CD (1985), DL. (1955), JP (1951) Fifeshire, educated Eton, and Balliol Coll Oxford (BA. 1949, MA. 1959), late Lieut. Scots Guards, served in World War II (wounded), Lt-Col Fife Bn Army Cadet Force, hon. Lt-Col County Cmdt Army Cadet Force, Fife 1951-65 (Source Burke’s Peerage and Gentry LLC.)
He first went to the Antarctic as ship’s surgeon in 1892 and later did survey work in Franz Josef Land and oceanographic work in the Arctic Ocean. He led (1902-4) the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition in the Scotia, performing much valuable scientific research in the Weddell Sea and discovering Coats Land. Bruce established a meteorological station on Laurie Island (in the South Orkney group). He edited the reports of the expedition (6 vol.) and wrote Polar Exploration (1911). Bruce made a number of voyages to Spitsbergen and became an authority on the islands. (Source The Columbia Encyclopedia)
He was born in 1902 near Glasgow, and educated at Edinburgh University where he finished with First Class Honours in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. Later, in 1952, he sent his papers on his work on electrical discharges and was awarded a Doctorate of Science.
This article appeared in The Telegraph of London, January 23, 2003.
Major Hugh Bruce spent three years as a prisoner-of-war in Colditz Castle, becoming involved in many attempts to escape from Germany’s most notorious POW camp; he later served with distinction in Cyprus, and was commanding officer of the Special Boat Service.
At 21, Bruce was part of Captain Darby Courtice’s company of 85 Royal Marines when it landed at Calais shortly after midnight on May 25 1940. With one other officer, Lt David Hunter, they were charged with helping French marines to defend the ancient citadel at the centre of the town.
There they were attacked by the full might of XIX Panzer Corps and, by early evening, found themselves surrounded and out of ammunition. They had fought with such vigour that the official German record read, “The enemy gives the impression of being fresh, and seems to have received reinforcements after two days of heavy fighting.”
When Calais fell, there was a sudden quiet; it was a warm summer’s evening. The Royal Marines put down their arms and filed out through a tunnel, but Bruce remained behind on the ramparts amongst the dead.
Although there was no ship in sight and the quays were deserted, he knew that, behind the high mound of fortifications, the Germans were marshalling their prisoners. He wondered about hiding, then considered trying to swim the strip of water which separated him from the eastern arm of the breakwater. But the route was too exposed to the eyes of Germans already on the bastions of the harbour; so he returned to his machine gun post and dismantled the firing mechanism.
As Bruce pulled the film out of his camera to destroy the gruesome record of the battle, he saw a German soldier coming into the citadel towards him. The German was alone, and about the same age as Bruce, and, though they had no common language, they exchanged greetings.
Handing the German his binoculars and miniature camera, Bruce asked, somewhat hopefully, that they be sent back after the war, and hurriedly scribbled his address. Then he took off his steel helmet and webbing equipment, picked up a small haversack containing his toothbrush and razor and two tins of meat and vegetables for his next meal, and walked out of the citadel into imprisonment.
Bruce was marched across northern France to the German frontier, and then on to Laufen camp in Bavaria. In the spring of 1941 he was moved to Posen, a punishment camp set up in response to the supposed ill-treatment of German prisoners in Canada. Here, Bruce and his comrades were kept underground in deplorable conditions, which resulted in Bruce contracting cairo pompholyx, brought on by poor nutrition and lack of sunlight.
Then, after a short spell at the Biberach camp on the Swiss border, he was moved to the naval camp, or Marlag, at Sandborstal, from which he made a number of escapes. The first, with Flight Lieutenant Peter Wild, resulted in only 40 minutes of freedom after they had attached themselves to a working party, then run off whilst on a wood collecting trip in the forest. Hunter, Bruce’s fellow Marine officer, was imprisoned with him and, over the winter of 1941-42, the two men became firm friends.
With a number of colleagues they conceived, designed and built by hand a masterpiece of British engineering – a 251-yard-long tunnel, complete with rest bay, electric lighting and air flow system, as well as a signalling device to warn of the approach of sentries. On April 7 1942 Bruce, Hunter and 10 other officers made their escape.
After 12 days on the run Bruce and Hunter were captured near Flensburg, within a few hundred yards of the Danish border. After a brief spell back at Sandborstal, the pair escaped once again, this time by jumping aboard a prison lorry, but were recaptured in Hamburg by the German police.
In August 1942 they were imprisoned in Colditz Castle, where Bruce’s skills were immediately put to good use. (He was a talented lock-picker: at a reunion at Colditz 40 years later, he managed to pick the lock of his cell before a disgruntled East German guard was able to find the correct key.)
The three Royal Marine officers (Capt Courtice, their company commander at Calais, was also at Colditz) had a reputation for bravery and good humour, and Bruce was always a willing volunteer for whatever was being planned. He was involved in a number of escape attempts, including a particularly bold one in which one of his comrades impersonated a senior German NCO. But all these attempts failed, and Bruce remained in Colditz until his release in April 1945.
Hugh Glenrinnes Bruce was born on January 26 1919 at Mhow, India, where his father was serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps on attachment to the Indian Army. Hugh was educated at Blundells, and joined the Royal Marines in 1937. He was commissioned a year later, and served briefly in the battleship Rodney before being selected for the Calais force.
After the war Bruce continued in the Royal Marines, serving in British Columbia, Malta and Suez. He was second-in-command of 40 Commando, and joined the Special Boat Service in 1950, becoming its commanding officer in 1952. Bruce engaged in a number of clandestine operations, and supervised training in Italy, Cyprus and the United States. During one exercise, he was “captured” by the RAF regiment and marched in to an office for interrogation; when ordered to halt, he continued straight through a first floor glass window. On being sent up to inspect Kyrenia Castle, from which some Eoka men had escaped, he signalled the Governor that any Colditz man could have got away from it in 20 minutes.
Bruce was mentioned in dispatches three times: for his part in the defence of Calais in 1940; for the organisation of the Sandborstal tunnel; and for anti-terrorist operations in Cyprus whilst serving with 40 Commando.
After retiring from the Royal Marines in 1957 he set up Sea Services Shipping, which surveyed the proposed route of the Channel Tunnel, and provided supply ships to the oil industry. Later he established Bruce Maritime, which specialised in deepwater buoys in the North Sea.
In addition to his interest in wildlife, shooting and fishing, Bruce was a keen yachtsman. While in Colditz, he had taken part in a competition organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club for prisoners of war to design an offshore racing yacht, and had come third, winning a prize of £20 – the £100 first prize went to another Colditz prisoner, Flight Lieutenant Welch.
Bruce competed in 10 Fastnet races (coming first of class in Uomie in 1953) and numerous Admiral’s Cup regattas. A meticulous planner in every aspect of his life, Bruce became a much sought after navigator and tactician; in his sixties he was engaged by the Swiss Admiral’s Cup team as tactician on their 1981 challenge. He also wrote extensively on race tactics and navigation.
Bruce also founded the Royal Marines’ Canoe Club, coming second in the Devizes Race in 1950 and 1951. In 1952, with his Royal Marine colleague David Mitchell, he broke the world record for crossing the English Channel in a two-man canoe; it was a record which stood for eight years.
He was a keen student of languages into old age, and published a book on family history, The Bruces of Kildrummy, in 1992. He was chairman of the Colditz Association until 1997. His favourite party trick was fire-breathing.
Hugh Bruce, who died on January 9, 2003 married Jean Rowland Farrant, then the head model at the house of Worth, in 1951. She survives him with their son and three daughters.
Educated at Cambridge, he was called to the bar (1906) in England. After service in World War I, he entered the Australian Commonwealth legislature in 1918, was treasurer (1921-23) in the cabinet of W. M. Hughes, and served (1923-29) as prime minister. He was notable for promoting the closest relations of Australia with the empire compatible with Australian self-government, and he also advocated international cooperation. Bruce served as Australian delegate to the League of Nations and in 1936 was president of the council. From 1933 to 1945 he was high commissioner for Australia in London. In 1947 he was made Viscount Bruce of Melbourne. (Source The Columbia Encyclopedia)
Eli Metcalfe Bruce, born near Flemingsburg, Ky., February 22, 1828, was not a soldier of the Confederacy, but was with the army on many battlefields and spent a fortune for the relief of the sick and disabled. He was reared upon a Kentucky farm, and after successful business experience at Cincinnati and Terre Haute, founded a pork packing establishment at St. Louis in 1859. When the war cry was raised throughout the country he closed his house at St. Louis, shipped everything south, and re-established his business at Chattanooga, Augusta, and other points. He came greatly dependent on army supplies, and when the ports were blockaded and internal resources were insufficient he purchased ships, sending them abroad loaded with cotton, and thus procured the needed supplies. In addition to the great responsibilities of business he served both in the first and second Confederate congresses as the representative of the Ninth Kentucky district (1862-65), and was an important member of the committee on Ways and Means.
It is told of him that he gave away to soldiers money worth more than $400,000 in Federal currency, loaned more than a million dollars to men with whom he had been associated in the Confederacy, and made a practice of welcoming returned prisoners at Richmond and furnishing them the best entertainment available. At the conclusion of hostilities he went directly to Washington, asked for and obtained his restoration to citizenship in the United States, and engaged anew in business at New York City, where he died December, 1866. Original interment at Linden Grove Cemetery, Covington, Ky.; reinterment in 1917 at Highland Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, Ky. (Source Confederate Military History and picture by Civil War Photographer Matthew Brady)
Born in Charlotte County, VA, March 12, 1860. Member of Maryland State Senate, 1894-96; US Senator from Maryland, 1923-29; defeated, 1928. Received a Pulitzer Prize in 1918 for his book Benjamin Franklin, Self-Revealed. Died in Ruxton, Md., May 9, 1946. Interment at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church Cemetery, Garrison, Md. (Source Political Graveyard, Photo from David S. Bruce)
Born in Baltimore, Md., February 12, 1898. Served in the US Army during World War I; member of Maryland state house of delegates, 1924-25; member of Virginia state house of delegates, 1939-40; served in the US Army during World War II; US Ambassador to France, 1949-52; US Ambassador to Germany, 1957-59; US Ambassador to Great Britain, 1961-69. Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976. Interment at Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC (Source Nelson Lankford and Political graveyard, photo Evangeline Bruce)
He was a descendant of the US patriot Patrick Henry, born into a Virginia family in 1881. He took night classes at the Richmond School of Art, before moving to New York where he studied under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. He moved to Paris in 1903, and was a student of Matisse.
As quoted from William C. Agee and Barbara Rose, “The American Cubist painter Patrick Henry Bruce was an intimate of Gertrude and Leo Stein, the student of both William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri, and the organizer of Matisse’s school, as well as the friend of fellow-American Edward Hopper and Man Ray. He once lived above Matisse’s apartment, loaned Picasso money, and was “like family” to Sonia and Robert Delaunay. Yet when he committed suicide in New York City on November 12, 1936, he was virtually unknown. He had not exhibited since 1930, in Paris, where he had lived from 1904 until his return to New York a few months before his death. This direct descendant of the American Revolutionary patriot, a taciturn, self-effacing perfectionist, had become more and more withdrawn from the world, from his family, and from his colleagues.”
Today, his paintings are rare, and are very much sought after. (Source: William C. Agee and Barbara Rose, 1979)
Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1859. Died in Stockholm, Sweden in 1906. William Blair Bruce, who was trained at the Hamilton Mechanics Institute (1877) began working for an architectural firm (1878–1880). In 1881, he left for Paris, where he decided to devote himself to painting. He studied at the Julian Academy with Fleury and Bouguereau (1881–1882). He spent time with a colony of English and American artists in the village of Barbizon and was influenced by impressionism. He met Swedish sculptor Karoline Benedicks and married her in 1888. From that time onward, they spent their summers in Sweden and their winters in France. They founded a small artists colony on Gotland Island to the south-east of Stockholm in the Baltic Sea. After his death, a number of his works were given to the future Art Gallery of Hamilton.
source: Virtual Museum of Canada
Jacob Daniel Bruce (Russian: Yakov Vilimovich Bryus, 1669, Moscow – April 30 1735, manor Glinki near Moscow) was a Russian statesman, military leader and scientist of Scottish descent, one of the associates of Peter the Great. His ancestors had lived in Russia since 1649.
He participated in the Crimean (1687, 1689) and Azov campaigns (1695–1696) of Peter the Great against the Ottoman Empire during the Russo–Turkish War. During the Great Northern War Bruce was involved in the development of Russian artillery. He was commander of artillery in the Battle of Poltava (1709), for which he was awarded the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called. In 1721 he became one of the first Russian counts.
Jacob Bruce was one of the best educated people in Russia at the time, a naturalist and astronomer. In 1702 he founded the first Russian observatory; it was located in Moscow in the upper story of the Sukharev Tower. Bruce’s scientific library of more than 1500 volumes, compiled in the 1730s, became a substantial part of the Russian Academy of Sciences library.
Among Muscovites, Bruce gained fame as an alchemist and magician, due in part to the innovative design of the Sukharev Tower which was very unusual in patriarchal times of 18th-century Moscow. It was rumored that the greatest Black Magic grimoires of his collection had been bricked up into the walls of the Sukharev Tower.
“Jacob Bruce.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2007.