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The Power, the Beauty, and the Majesty,
THE NOBLEST HOUSE IN SCOTLAND. The question, Which is the reddest blood in Scotland ? has been thus determined by the greatest of our Scotish, perhaps of all European genealogists, Mr Riddell : “ The ancient House of Winton, of whom the Earl of Eglinton, in every appearance, is the chief, may be now held the noblest in North Britain. It is almost enough here to add, that the ducal families of Gordon and Sutherland (in the person of the late Duchess), and the Earl of Aboyne (now Marquis of Huntly), are their cadets in the male line."
NAMING A MEMBER. The learned Hatsell has somewhat disturbed the
Coleridge's Translation of The Piccolomini, act ii. sc. iv. 2 Remarks upon Scotch Peerage Law, as connected with certain points in the late case of the Earldom of Devon ; to which are added, Desultory Observations upon the nature and descent of Scotch Peerages. By John Riddell, Esq. Advocate, p. 120. Edinb. 1833.
gravity of his profound work on Parliament by a story that he
says used to be told of Mr Speaker Onslow, and which those who ridiculed his strict observance of forms were fond of repeating,—that as he often, upon a member's not attending to him, but persisting in any disorder, threatened to name him,— Sir, sir, I must name you,'-on being asked what would be the consequence of putting that threat into execution and naming a member, he answered, “ The Lord in heaven knows !'”1
ORIGIN OF THE FAMILY OF BRUCE.
Our genealogists rarely seek to stretch their pedigrees beyond the Norman invasion : they seem content if they can say with Christophero Sly, Slies are no rogues; look in the chronicles; we came in with Richard Conqueror.” M. de Gerville, a learned Norman, not long ago turned his attention to this neglected field, and by his laborious investigations has brought to light much interesting matter regarding our Anglo-Norman families.
He justly regards as among the most curious of
? Hatsell's Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons, vol. ii. p. 237, edit. Lond. 1818.
Recherche sur les Anciens Chateaux du Département de la Manche. Caen, 1825.
his discoveries that which relates to the family of Bruce. Scotish antiquaries have suggested that this illustrious name is of Norwegian origin ;' but M. de Gerville shows that it is derived from a domain in the arrondissement de Valognes, on the road from Cherbourg to Paris. The place is now called Brix, but was named Bruce or Bruis long before the conquest of England, or even before the cession of Neustria to Rollo the Ganger. The chronicle of the abbey of Fontenelle under the year 727 speaks of a parish termed Brucius, which is certainly known to be the modern Brix. Some remains of the ancient castle of the Bruces still exist on the eastern extremity of the ridge which is crowned by the church of Brix. They are situated a short distance to the eastward of that building on a rising ground which has been artificially scarped on two sides. On the other quarters the fortress was strengthened by intrenchments and a deep and wide ditch. Though little now remains but the foundations, detached masses of masonry, and a few half-buried vaults, it is evident that the hold was one of the largest in the province, and suitable to the high dignity of its lords, who ranked with the first barons of Normandy. It was dismantled in the thirteenth century, but its ruins were remarkable for their extent even in the
1 Dr Jamieson's Wallace and Bruce, vol. i. p. 11.
sixteenth, and since that time they have served as a quarry for the building of the modern church of Brix. Little is known of its history. M. de Gerville conjectures that it was built about the middle of the twelfth century by an Adam de Bruis, from whom it derived its name of Chateau d'Adam. In May 1194 Richard Cour-de-Lion passed a night at Bruis. In the beginning of the thirteenth century the Norman possessions of the Bruces were forfeited to the French crown, on the same grounds, it would appear, with those of the greater portion of the Anglo-Norman nobles ; who, holding much larger domains in England, took part with that country against the French king. Besides the barony of Brix, the Bruces held in the same parish the barony of Luthumière, which after their forfeiture was conferred on the illustrious family of Du Hommet, the hereditary constables of Normandy, and the kinsmen of its duke. This house had intermarried with that of Bruce, and appears to have had a hereditary claim to its possessions in right of Luce, the heiress of Adam de Bruis. M. de Gerville adds, that Richard de Bruis was Bishop of Coutances from 1124 to 1131, and that the family were liberal benefactors to the neighbouring monasteries of Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte and De Cessay. Most of these pious donations seem to have been made by that Adam de Bruis who died in 1162, and whose name was given to the castle, and to a paved road or causeway in the forest of Brix.
The history of the English branch of the Bruces has been illustrated by Dugdale. Robert de Bruis, who accompanied William the Conqueror, obtained from him many lands, of which the barony of Skelton in Yorkshire was the chief. His son Robert inherited his father's ample possessions, and added to them the wide domain of Annandale in Scotland. The charter which David I. about the year 1124 granted in his favour still exists in the British Museum, and a literal translation of it may perhaps be not unacceptable.
“ David by the grace of God king of the Scots, to all his barons, lieges, and friends, Norman and English, wishes greeting :
“ Know me to have given and granted to Robert de Brus, Estrahanent [Strath-Annan, Annandale], and all the land from the boundary of Dunegal de Stranit [Strath-Nith, Nithsdale] to the boundary of Randulf Meschine. And I will and yield him to have, and hold that land and his castle, well and honourably, with all its rights; namely, with all the rights which Randulf Meschine ever had in Cardville in his land of Cumberland, on the day in which he had them best and freest.
“ Witnesses,-Eustace Fitz-John, and Hugo de Morville, and Alan de Perci, and William de