Declaration of Arbroath, 6 April 1320

Declaration of Arbroath, 6 April 1320

Signed by 39 Scottish barons, what is often referred to as the ‘declaration‘ of Arbroath is in fact a letter from these men to the then current Pope.
The letter opens with a list of their names, it spells out the detail of what they want the Pope to do and not to do, which concerns matters which might impede or help Scottish independence. It also expresses nicely phrased threats against Robert the Bruce (‘if he should give up what he has begun’) to ensure him and his likely successor staying true to the cause of independence. And it is concluded with the date it was written or rather signed on. Its full text in modern English can be accessed here. This document is remarkable in a number of ways. It has survived for more than 700 years. The seals and the names of its signatories are all intact. It provides extraordinary detail about political positions and intentions of the time. It speaks to a political debate that still rumbles. And it is a full and detailed letter that survives from a distant past.

Last updated: 7/October 2022


ESRC_50th-ANNIVERSARY-LOGO-RGB-blue-white-gold