Visit to Skelton.

​In late February 2017 Hazel Bargiel (nee Pickering) and her husband, Daniel, travelled over from France and visited Sheila and Geoff Atherton in Guisborough. The four of them had the pleasure of being shown round the Skelton Old Church and taken round the grounds of Skelton Castle by local historian Peter Appleton. The church has medieval origins and contains many interesting features such as family pews, a central three level pulpit and a medieval font. It also has in the floor the Fauconberg Tomb, the Fauconbergs being linked to the de Brus dynasty by marriage.

​The trophy was presented for the third time in July 2018. The winners were Alanah May Prince and Oliver Livingstone.

Alanah has overcome a number of personal challenges throughout her studies. She was nominated by a number of staff for her work in the community and with various local charities, She is active in the local scouting scene and is both a cub scout leader (having started the pack from scratch) and also helps to run the scouts.

Oliver has dedicated much of his time to local charities. He was again nominated by a large number of staff. A credit to his family, he always gives his best and regularly volunteers in college. 

Event to Celebrate the 900th Anniversary of the Foundation of Gisborough Priory in 1119.

Tickets for this event are now on sale.

Date:   Afternoon 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Saturday March 16th 2019. 

Venue: Lecture theatre of Prior Pursglove College, which is situated next to St Nicholas Church and Gisborough Priory.

Cost: £5.00 per ticket to be purchased before the event from Margaret Aitken - 


        A: Peter Appleton : local historian and author. The title of his talk is "Before, During and After" and will cover who Robert the Bruce was and how he came to be involved in this story. What else did he do? What happened to all the stone after the dissolution? 

       B: Alison Dale : local historian whose topic will be "An Augustinian Jewel; St Augustin, the de Brus family and the priory in Guisborough". She will concentrate on the Augustinian Order; why the de Brus family chose to find a priory for this particular order and the consequences of that for the town and also for the Prior and remaining canons at the reformation.

       C:  Alan Young : a historian and author, whose talk "The last Brus burial in Gisborough Priory, 1295: the end of an era - links to King Robert the Bruce and Gisborough Priory at the outbreak of the War of Independence.

       D: Three excellent talks to complement each other and tell this wonderful unique story.

The above is only part of a year long celebration to be organised by the Gisborough Priory project group. There will be pageants, banquets, competitions and much more - watch this space.

​Kind permission was given by the present residents of Skelton Castle, the Wharton family, to explore the outside of the castle. The present building is on the footprint of the medieval fortress, so of great interest to see and study the location chosen by the medieval lords as their base from which to dominate the whole cross border area..

The above photograph shows Eve Lister and Andrew Wilson receiving the trophy from the Principal, Joanna Bailey, Vice Principal, Asma Shaffi and Faculty Head, Michael Mackin.

The de Brus Trophy.

In appreciation of the support received from the students of Prior Pursglove College, the de Brus committee decided to donate a trophy to the college to be presented annually to the students who had contributed most to the community.

​For 2016 the trophy was awarded to Eve Lister and Andrew Wilson for their help and support at the symposium. 

The Trophy recipients with Michael Makin and Margaret Aitken (Treasurer) and Sheila Atherton (Chair) of the de Brus Group..

The Trophy Was presented in July 2017 for the second time.

The de Brus Group are very pleased to announce that the trophy for community involvement has been awarded to two ex Laurence Jackson school pupils, Emily Greenaway and Nathan Booth. Emily volunteers and works at the Teesside Hospice, while Nathan has helped with music events in the Guisborough community.

​At the presentation of the trophy, which was held at Prior Pursglove 6th form College, Emily and Nathan were presented with the trophy as well as certificates recognising their achievements and a cash award.

​We applaud the efforts of the students and welcome the continuing link between the College and the town. Well done to all concerned. Prior Pursglove College and the Laurence Jackson School should be proud.

​(Photographs courtesy of Dennis Weller.)

Other bits of news.​​

  • We were contacted in 2017 by Hazel Bargiel (Nee Pickering) who is building a de Brus family tree and is convinced that at least some of the Pickerings are an offshoot of the de Brus family that settled in Yorkshire. She has also visited Brix in France and established very useful contacts there. Her findings on the history of Brix can be viewed by visiting ​Similarly her family history research can be seen on ​She continues to do sterling work re the de Brus dynasty and we expect to have further contact and discussion through the coming year.
  • ​We would like to thank Michael Ellison for his information about all things de Brus. One such piece of information concerned the Robert the Bruce seal from Dunfermline Abbey, which was for sale for £150,000. Does anyone know who bought it and did it leave the country? ​​​​
  • ​Visitors to the de Brus Cenotaph in St Nicholas Church have included a member of the Bruce family (Donald Bruce) from Edinburgh and his wife, Ann, who is originally from Finland. They were pleased to pass on the information that Northern Scandinavia has strong Bruce connections, including an 11th century rune stone in Galve in Sweden. It is a memorial to the brother of a man called Brusi, who was killed in what is now the Hame province of Finland. Ann was brought up in that region and by chance they found a picture and reference to this rune stone on a visit to Hameenlinna Castle. Another Finnish museum in Helsinki has an exhibit about an 18th century Swedish man called Anders de Bruce (1723 - 1778) who took part in the building of castles in southern Finland. The surname Bruce exists today in Sweden.

Donald and Ann wonder if this points to an earlier and Nordic origin to the de Brus family, earlier than the theory of simply coming from the French town of Brix, since de Brus is a Norman family and given that "north-men" were not French in origin, but had been earlier Viking invaders who settled in that part of France. 

Recent Discovery. (Quest for the King).

When  looking for information on church drains in the St. Nicholas Church Archives, they have found one page of a letter from an earlier Lord Gisborough. The letter was sent from 4 Buckingham Place, London S W on 14 May 1907 to Colonel Robertson.

The letter reads "With reference to the other end, my boy tells me that he has been told by one of the Russell family, several of whom he has met and who are direct descendants of the Bruces, that a portion of the tomb is in their possession, but he is not sure whether it is the Essex lot or the Norfolk lot. However Mrs Challenor is applying to them for a subscription towards the cost of restoring the tomb and is at the same time going to find out which branch of the family has the portion of the tomb, if any, and if so, to try to get it returned."


1. The rest of the letter, when found, may give more information.

2. Since the end piece was never restored, perhaps this is a false trail OR they still have it.

​3. The fact that the end piece, which is thought to depict King Robert the Bruce, had been sent down South opens up a whole new area of study! The Russells, Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire and Chatsworth House have all been linked to a greater or lesser degree.

Any further ideas ?  


As of June 2019.

This website was launched in the middle of November 2014. Information is being added and corrected all the time. We appreciate any corrections and/or additions as it develops further. We have had several comments since it was launched and we have attempted to include all suggestions made. We are pleased to see that the number of visitors to our website has settled at around 1,000 per month.



The above picture shows Emily and Nathan with the Trophy along with Vice Principal Asma Shaffi and Faculty head Michael Mackin..

​The inaugural presentation of the de Brus Trophy was made on 7th July ​by the Principal of Prior Pursglove and Stockton Sixth form college, Joanna Bailey and Vice Principal Asma Shaffi to students Eve Lister and Andrew Wilson.

​The students received the de Brus Trophy together with certificates and gifts in appreciation of their hard work in the community. The links between the college and Guisborough are strong, fostered over a period of years by Michael Makin, Head of the Adventure Faculty and the de Brus Group. This year's symposium which was hosted by the college, was a huge success. The trophy helps to recognise the help given by the whole College with particular appreciation being reserved for the students who gave freely of their time to make the day a success.

It is hoped that by endowing the de Brus Trophy then future students will get just reward for their extra curricular efforts to help in community projects such as the de Brus Group.