Angus was an extremely popular forename, with many variant spellings (Oenghus, Aeneas, Hungus), and this has led to much confusion about the clan's ancestor. The most distinguished contender is a 6th century ruler named Oenghus, who was one of the co-founders of The Ancient Kingdom of Dalriada. There are close links with the McInnes clan, whose name means "Son of Angus"
The historical origins of the family are less certain, perhaps emanating from Normandy and England. The name of Lyon first recorded in Scotland in the 14th century, when Thomas Lyon was a crossbowman, serving in Edward II's garrison at Linlithgow (1311). A few decades later, John Lyon received a charter from David II, confirming his right to lands at Forteviot and Forgundenny in Perthshire (1342). A similar document, dating from 1372, recorded that John Lyon was appointed Thane of Glamis, and that his lands were erected into a free barony. His fortunes were enhanced still further when he married one of the daughter of Robert II (1376) and was made a royal chamberlain, though he came to a sorry end, being murdered in his bed in 1382.
Patrick Lyon was granted a peerage in 1445, but his descendants were temporarily deprived of their ancestral home when the widow of the 6th Lord of Glamis was accused of being a witch. The castle was soon returned, however, and the family went on to acquire the titles of Earl of Kinghorne (1606) and Earl of Strathmore.
"Bowes" was incorporated into the family name, following the 9th Earl's marriage to a wealthy English heiress, Mary Eleanor Bowes (1767). It was in 1923, however, that another marriage brought the family lasting fame. For on this occasion, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the youngest daughter of the 14th Earl, married the second son of George V, he ascended the throne as George VI in 1936.
According to another legend, the hidden room contains a group of enchanted gamblers. At their head is Alexander, Earl of Crawford, a wicked laird who was nicknamed "Earl Beardie." He was playing cards with his cronies and losing so heavily that one of his companions suggested he should stop. At this, the earl went into a terrible rage and swore by the devil that he would play on until the Day of Judgement. No sooner had these words left his lips than the Horned One appeared at the table and joined their game. He will remain there, gambling with the wicked earl, until the last Trump is sounded.
The Bruces' ascent to the throne was launched in the 13th century when the 4th Lord of Annandale married Isabella of Huntingdon, a niece of William the Lion (1142 - 1214), King of the Scots. This gave the family a viable claim to power, when the royal House of Dunkeld became extinct in 1290. Robert Bruce was one of thirteen contenders for this honour and, although on this occasion the successful candidate was John Balliol, his grandson - the celebrated Robert the Bruce - did eventually manage to secure the throne. He was crowned at Scone in 1306 and cemented his position with a famous victory at Bannockburn (1314), although the English did not formally recognise the situation until 1328.
The royal House of Bruce was comparatively short lived, ending with the death of David II (1371), but the clan had many other branches. From Sir Edward Bruce of Easter Kennet came the Bruces of Kinloss. He was granted the benefice of Kinloss Abbey in 1597, gaining the title of Lord Kinloss four years later. Later in the century, his descendants became the Earls of Elgin (1633) and Kincardine (1647). Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (1766 - 1841) courted controversy by bringing the Elgin Marbles from Athens in 1801 to London. Other branches include the Bruces of Airth, Clackmannan, Stenhousmuir and Balcaskie.
The fatal meeting was held at Greyfriars' church in Dumfries in 1306, just a few months after Wallace's execution. With his death, Bruce and Comyn (Balliol's nephew) were now the obvious contenders for the leadership of the resistance movement, pitted against Edward I. The two men may have been hoping to resolve their differences but whatever their intentions, a fight broke out and Comyn was killed.
Bruce's enemies claimed that he had murdered Comyn in cold blood and, in due course, he was excommunicated for killing a man on holy ground. For his part, Bruce hastened to Scone where, with dubious legality, he had himself proclaimed king. The Stone of Destiny had already been removed by the English, so he was obliged to use a makeshift throne and, in the absence of a genuine crown, a plain gold circlet was placed on his brow.
Edward had ample pretext for sending his forces to hunt down the rebel and, following two crushing defeats, Robert was forced into hiding. There is no historical record of his movements over the next few months, and it is to this bleak period that the celebrated fable of the spider is ascribed. According to the tale, the fugitive king was taking refuge in a cave. He was sick and disillusioned, convinced that the struggle for independence had failed. Then, as he languished in despair, he noticed a tiny spider swinging back and forth across the mouth of the cave, trying to anchor its web to the far side. Six times it failed, but on the seventh try it managed to achieve its goal. Bruce was encouraged by this show of determination, believing that it was meant as an object lesson for him. From that time on, he renewed his campaign against the English with added vigor, never looking back until he had achieved his victory at Bannockburn (1314).
In 1328, Robert was eventually reconciled with the Papacy and the excommunication was lifted. In gratitude, the king made it known, on his deathbed, that he wanted his heart to be carried on crusade. This task was entrusted to his faithful companion, Sir James Douglas. Accordingly, the heart was placed in a silver casket, which Douglas hung on a chain around his neck and took it to Spain, where the Castilians were fighting a holy war against the Moors. During the battle, the Scottish forces became isolated from their allies and were about to be overrun. At this point, Douglas hurled the casket at the enemy, shouting: "Go first into the fray, brave heart, as you always did when you were alive." According to this version of events, the heart was eventually recovered and returned to Scotland, where it was buried in Melrose Abbey.