Holding Out for a Hero

We’ve all heard the stories of Sir William Wallace (or at least seen Braveheart) and know of the epic accomplishments he achieved. But what about other Scottish heroes? In the wild North of Scotland, some of the world’s most important figures grew to change the world. Without further ado, here are Panrimo’s 7 favorite Scottish heroes, in no particular order.

7.) Robert the Bruce

One of Scotland’s most famous heroes, Robert the Bruce was King of Scots from 1306-1329 and led the Scots during the Wars of Scottish Independence. While he commanded several major successful battles, his most famous may be the Battle of Bannockburn, where he defeated the much larger English army under Edward II, thus confirming the establishment of a Scottish monarchy.

6.) Agnes ‘Black Agnes’ Randolph 

An example of Scotland’s strong female characters, Agnes Randolph, Countess of Dunbar, was besieged at Dunbar while her husband was off fighting English forces due to Edward Balliol’s attempt to seize the Scottish crown from David II. English forces began besieging her castle, but Agnes held strong for over five months with only servants and a few guards, forcing the English to finally concede their defeat. During the besiegement, Agnes was rumored to have ordered her female servants to dress in their nicest clothes, parade along the castle walls, and lightly dust the damage the English had done, taunting them further.

5.) Bonnie Prince Charlie

Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart (that’s a mouthful), also known as “The Young Pretender” and now Bonnie Prince Charlie, is an interesting Scottish hero. Techically not Scottish, and actually born in Italy, Charlie is best known for instigating the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising in 1745, attempting to claim the throne through right of succession through James II of England. While the Jacobites fought a bitter war, they were eventually destroyed, and Charlie fled from Scotland. Remembered as a highly romantic figure of heroic failure, he is still respected for his ambitions for the Crown.

4.) Flora MacDonald

A major heroine of the Jacobite Uprising, Flora MacDonald aided Bonnie Prince Charlie by helping him escape Benbecula, the island upon which she lived and where he was taking shelter after defeat in the Battle of Culloden. Flora gathered a crew and literally helped row Charlie to the Isle of Skye, where he escaped. Although she was later captured and tried, she was released and eventually moved to North Carolina, where her husband served the British Empire (whoops).

3.) Greyfriars Bobby

Skye Terrier Bobby is famous in Scotland for illustrating the devotion of canines to their friends and owners. After his owner, John, passed away, Bobby spent every day over the course of 14 years guarding his grave until Bobby himself passed away on January 14, 1872. Bobby was buried just inside the Greyfriars Kirkyard, not far from his owner.

2.) Rob Roy

Known as the Scottish Robin Hood, Robert Rob MacGregor, known as Rob Roy, fought alongside the Jacobites during the uprising. Although the Jacobites were eventually defeated, Rob became a successful cattleman. After being conned by an associate and his accomplice, Rob’s own chief herder, into losing all of his cattle, he was branded an outlaw, evicted from his home, and forced to watch it burn. In retaliation, he waged a private war against the Duke of Montrose, another culprit in the scheme, over the course of seven months, resulting in his legendary status.

1.)  Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots, is one of Scotland’s most tragic heroines. What began as a life filled with privilege and prosperity soon became filled with deception, paranoia, and finally, death. Mary received the Scottish throne at 6 days old, although she was sent to be raised in France. She married the Dauphin of France, Francis, and when he became King Francis II, she was briefly the queen consort of France until Francis II passed away, rather suddenly. She returned to Scotland, married and had a child, and after the suspicious death of her husband, soon married again. Immediately after, she was forced to abdicate the throne so her own child could have it, as her political enemies manipulated his lineage. She fled to her cousin, Queen Elizabeth in England, who didn’t appreciate that Mary had tried to claim the English throne as her own in the past. As a result, Elizabeth imprisoned Mary, had her tried, and summarily executed. Romantic, tragic, and unfortunate: a recurring theme in Scottish heroes!