De Brus Cenotaph Information Board.

​There is a copy of the Brus Shield in the  stained glass west window that is behind the cenotaph.

​​​​​Prior Pursglove Sixth Form College..

The  de Brus  symposium was held on March 2016 in the college. As part of the symposium the college archives, normally not on display to the public, was visited. These include the Charter and the Elizabeth l seal  which is pictured to the right by kind permission of the College.

For further information on the symposium see the News section of this website.

(Picture courtesy of Dennis Weller)
The existing end piece is seen below.

The south side of the cenotaph.

The north side of the cenotaph.

St. Nicholas Parish Church

St. Nicholas Church is located adjacent to the priory and it houses the de Brus Cenotaph. A church was possibly in existence in 1290 but the present chancel and nave were built in the late 15th century and the church in its present form is a result of a major rebuilding (1903 - 1908) to the design of architect Temple Moore.

In addition to the cenotaph the church contains some medieval painted glass recovered from the east window of the priory.



The de Brus Cenotaph.



 This is a Renaissance gem possibly given as a gesture of reconciliation after the Battle of Flodden by Queen Margaret of Scotland, who was the sister of King Henry VIII of England, and wife of King James IV of Scotland - "The marriage of the Thistle and the Rose". It was originally located in the priory.

It would have originally been brightly coloured. On one side, are carved the knights of the Skelton/English de Brus family, originally in silver and blue and on the other side are the knights of the Annandale/Scottish Bruce family originally in red and gold. The Tudor rose would have been red and white; the Priory seal being decorated with a silver moon and golden sun. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the de Brus memorial (or Cenotaph) was taken into the church for safe keeping, but in the 18th century it was dismantled to be used in mock architectural ruins only to be re-assembled again at the beginning of the 20th century.

It is engraved in fine grained Egglestone marble and is of great historical importance, but presents many unanswered questions. On the north side the five figures represent the de Bruses of Skelton, separated by the four great doctors, Jerome, Ambrose Gregory and Augustine. On the south side the figures represent the Scottish Bruces, separated by the four evangelists, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. The east end shows possibly a prior together with a number of kneeling canons, or possibly the Virgin Mary.

However the other of the end pieces is missing. This is thought to depict a Scottish King - King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, a descendant of the Annandale line of Bruces? There is now a search for this missing end piece - "Guisborough's search for the King".

These intricate, remarkably preserved carvings wait to tell us the full, forgotten story of the de Brus dynasty across both Scotland and England.

Behind the Cenotaph, the window contains stained and painted glass from the 13th, 14th and 16th to 17th centuries, including remnants  of the medieval glass from the east window of the priory. The de Brus coat of arms also forms part of this stained glass window. 

Other Sources of Historical Interest

  • Guisborough Priory Project - Run by a local enthusiastic group this project's aim is to maintain and develop interest in the 12th Century Gisborough Piory. For more information see
  • .Tocketts Mill - A fully restored working water mill. For opening times see
  • Guisborough Museum - Situated off the High Street, behind Sunnyfield House, it contains charming and interesting artefacts from Guisborough's medieval and industrial past.
  • Robert the Bruce Commemoration Trust.based in Dumfries and Galloway.  For more information visit Facebook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Picture courtesy of Dennis Weller)

Guisborough is a market town on the edge of the North York Moors and was once the Ancient Capital of Cleveland. The Augustinian Priory was founded in 1119 by Robert de Brus I as the spiritual home of the de Brus dynasty. Robert de Brus I came north with King Henry I of England to help control what was  a lawless border region and he became one of the most powerful cross-border lords of the medieval era. It was said that he could stand on Roseberry Topping and all the land that he could see was his.


​The Elizabeth 1 seal..

​Stained glass window.

Gisborough Priory.

​Gisborough Priory was founded in 1119 and so 2019 will be the 900th anniversary  of it's foundation. It is anticipated  that there will a significant acknowledgement of this anniversary and the Guisborough de Brus group will be giving extensive support to this historic event.

This was installed May 2019 on church land between St Nicholas Parish Church and the entrance to Gisborough Priory. Its position emphasises the importance of the De Brus link between the two most important historic buildings in Guisborough.

The design incorporates not only the DeBrus cenotaph itself but also other features including illustrations of the rare medieval glass window in the church as well as the display of Priory tiles excavated from the Priory during previous excavations

The information board has been produced by local craftsmen...