A Douglas Valentine's Day

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The heart has always been important in Scottish history, but nowhere is it more important than in Douglas history.

Here are a few thoughts for St Valentine's Day.

In 1298 when Lord John Balliol died, his grieving widow, Dervorguilla of Galloway, had his preserved heart placed in an ivory casket which she then carried everywhere with her. When she died, she was laid to rest at Sweetheart Abbey clutching her husband's heart. That's not the only heart-wrenching tale though, Melrose Abbey was so beloved by Robert the Bruce that it was chosen as the final resting place for his heart!

Thirty years later, in the early summer of 1329, Robert Bruce, King of Scots, lay dying. He had been ill for some time and not even a pilgrimage in the spring to the shrine of Saint Ninian at Whithorn had eased his pain. Robert had long hoped to go on crusade against the enemies of Christ. He summoned the most powerful men of his kingdom and reminded them of his desire to go, like his grandfather, on crusade.

He asked that, after his death, his heart should be taken from his body, embalmed and carried on crusade by some worthy knight. Among those at Bruce's bedside was James Douglas, his closest companion. It was to this remarkable man that the task of carrying out Bruce's wish was given.

For more tales of romantic options, as well as some fun for all the family, have a look at our Valentine's Day page.


The Douglas heart leads the parade. Now is the time to make plans for attending games and reunions with your loved one.


Where better to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a romantic short break on this beautiful heart-shaped island in Coatia?


A romantic meal eaten off heart-shaped plates may be on the menu, but surely you should be opting for something like this 18th century Chinese plate?

darnley jewel

Probably made for Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, the Darnley, or Lennox, Jewel was acquired by Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and is now one of the most important early jewels in the Royal Collection. But perhaps you have something a little more affordable in mind?

heart bench

Maybe sitting on the Heart Bench would not be a good idea on this rainy day, but it is nice to see the happy couple have their heart in the right place.

signet ring

I have been wondering whose signet ring this might have been - and what family he came from.  It has the Douglas hearts, but what else?

kilt pin

Wondering what to give the love of your life this Valentine's Day?  Look no further than a Douglas kilt pin or brooch!


There is nothing better to celebrate with than a wee dram in your own clan glass. Slàinte Mhaith!

Mary Queen of Scots pendant

This little trinket once belonged to Mary Queen of Scots.  It would look nice round a neck near you too!

Bruce's heart

If you are looking for somewhere to go to celebrate your Douglas heritage, then Melrose Abbey might be the place.  It is here that Robert the Bruce's heart was finally laid to rest.

James and Bruce's heart

Maybe carrying your loved one's heart in a casket around your neck is not very romantic these days, but this is a statue of the Good Sir James with Bruce's heart who clearly thought it the thing to do.

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Last modified: Monday, 06 July 2020