A carved oak chair that was once thought to belong to King Robert the Bruce is currently on display in Girvan’s McKechnie Institute.
It is hoped that the chair will help boost local interest in Scotland’s first King and promote the work of many heritage trails on going in the area currently.
A project led by the Association of South Ayrshire Community Councils plans to further bring the story of Robert the Bruce to life by showcasing his links cultural impact in Carrick and South Ayrshire.
Three picturesque trails will offer an extensive and joined up network of paths that all link to the life and times of the King of Scots.
The areas are as follows:-
· Central – Maybole, Turnberry, Kirkoswald, Crossraguel Abbey, Maidens
· North – Ayr, Prestwick, Dundonald, Loans, Barnweil Tower, Tarbolton
· South – Girvan, Barr and Hadyard Hill, Ballantrae and Loch Ryan.
Supporting the trail, a number of road signs, plaques, information boards, cairns, marker stones and colour booklets are also planned, helping to set the scene and tell the tale of Bruce’s life and legacy in the area.
The ‘Bruce chair’ was unveiled at the McKechnie by Provost Helen Moonie and was originally found near Dunfermline Abbey in 1654.
It bears two brass plaques stating ‘Carved Oak Arm Chair’ and ‘Believed to have been the property of King Robert the Bruce’. Prominently within the carvings are the initials ‘RB’ although a carving of a coat of arms would have been more likely for a knight or a king at that time.
The design and build of the chair strongly hint that it’s Elizabethan in origin – some 300 years after Bruce’s time, although it may have been re-worked to preserve it after it was found at the Abbey.
However, the linkage to Robert the Bruce is intriguing because he was interred at Dunfermline Abbey’s high altar, so the discovery of a chair with his initials carved on it at this particular site is significant.
Provost Moonie said: “South Ayrshire and Carrick enjoy clear links to Robert the Bruce and I am passionate about the need to preserve and develop such an important heritage.
“The Bruce Chair is an intriguing exhibit and I hope it will help boost the profile of Robert the Bruce locally, inspiring people to come and learn more about our King and maybe follow in his footsteps.
ASACC chairman Peter Mason said: “The Bruce Trail offers an ideal opportunity for our rich Bruce heritage to be formally recognised and marketed to those interested in history, both local and national.
“The paths make their way through many of the scenic areas, villages and towns that Bruce would have known, giving us the opportunity to develop additional hospitality, food and entertainment packages.
“We know many have strong and proud links to Bruce and his importance to the tourism potential of South Carrick cannot be underestimated. His time here is equally as important as Bannockburn and we’re keen to exploit that potential to maximum benefit.”
For further information on the Bruce Trail, contact Julia Whitaker at Ailsa Horizons on 01465 710628 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.