Robert II Keith, Marischal of Scotland
|Sir Robert Keith|
|Died||12 August 1332
Dupplin Moor, Scotland
|Allegiance||Kingdom of Scotland|
|Commands held||Scottish cavalry at Bannockburn|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Inverurie
Battle of Bannockburn
Battle of Dupplin Moor
|Other work||Diplomat, again soldier|
Service before Bannockburn
Under Malcolm IV, the title Marischal of Scotland had been bestowed on Keith's ancestors, a title which became hereditary and was passed on from one Keith to the next. Robert Keith was the great-grandson of Philip de Keith (d. c. 1225), and the son of William de Keith (d. c. 1293), both his predecessors as Marischals. He took up a military career as a young man, but was also considered by other Scottish barons to be something of a leader, being appointed justiciary of the lands beyond the River Forth.
Keith served as a relatively senior general with Bruce's army throughout the war, and, prior to the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, was appointed co-leader of a reconnoitering force sent out to gather information about the army of King Edward II of England. During the battle itself, he commanded about 500 Scottish cavalry, although, like other Scottish knights, he may have fought dismounted.
Keith's force was drawn into combat with the English archers, who had in the past and would in later battles inflict heavy losses among the Scottish infantry. Keith and his men, however, flanked the archers and routed them.
Keith was among the Scottish magnates who in 1320 signed a letter to the Pope vindicating Scottish independence. Afterward, he was given several diplomatic assignments, serving as a peace commissioner to England in 1323. He was also among the dignitaries who ratified the Treaty of Corbeil (1326) with the King of France.
Ancestors and descendants
Sir Robert Keith was the great-grandson of Philip Keith, the first Earl Marischal.
Keith's grandson and successor as Marischal, also named Robert Keith, was killed during the Battle of Durham in 1346. Keith's indirect descendants, eventually known as the Earls Marischal, held that title for several centuries to come. During the English Civil War, one of his descendants fought as a Royalist officer, and was imprisoned under Oliver Cromwell's regime.
|Marischal of Scotland||Succeeded by
John Comyn, Earl of Buchan
|Justiciar of Scotia
with Reginald Cheyne (c. 1305–1306)
John de Vaux (c. 1305–1306)
Uncertain, next known was Robert Lauder of Quarrelwood
Freedom's Sword, Peter Traquair
- Extract from The Great Historic Families of Scotland, By James Taylor, M.A., D.D., F.S.A and published in 1887; Burke's Peerage & Gentry and The Origins Network.
- Armstrong, Pete-Bannockburn 1314, Osprey Publishing 2002
- http://www.burkespeerage.com/articles/scotland/esnews/es0502a.aspx%7CTHE KEITHS
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