[DE BRUS FAMILY IN NORTH EAST ENGLAND - Before 1350
Stained glass window.
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 to be held in March 2016 will be held in the college. As part of the symposium the college archives, normally not on display to the public, will be 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.
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.
Normal opening hours for the church are May - September / Tuesdays to Saturdays 10:30 am - 11:30 am and 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
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 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.