​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. 

JULY 2016

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

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. 

​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.)

​​Teachers Resource Packs

​After receiving some enquiries from local Primary Schools and being anxious to help them fulfil the National Curriculum in a meaningful way, we feel that a pack of information is the best way forward. This will enable teachers to hopefully use local resources in a number of ways, (perhaps even outside the obviously historical), and with a variety of age groups.

​We have some excellent photographs and other items that we will be making available, but suggestions are always welcome, especially at this early stage.

​The pack is now available in the form of a CD to any interested schools. Thanks to Elizabeth Hobkirk for all her work in producing it.

Other bits of news.​​

  • Recent figures for number of visitors to the Priory over the last 18 months show that over 7,500 people have visited. This means that all these people have been to the spiritual home of the de Brus dynasty. The comments in the visitors book suggests that they were mightily impressed..
  • In Guisborough and North Yorkshire​ we were very interested to see on television about the digitally reconstructed image of the face of Robert de Bruce. We have been in touch with Glasgow University to point out the close connection between King Robert the Bruce and Guisborough - his grandfather, Robert de Brus ( the Competitor) being buried in Gisborough Priory. It is just possible that DNA could provide verification of the skull found in Dunfermline.
  • We have been contacted 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 http://www.pickeringsofyorkshire.com/overseas/france/brix. ​Similarly her family history research can be seen on http://www.pickeringsofyorkshire.com/origins. ​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 ?  

Development of the Project

The de Brus project in Guisborough continues to grow. Financially the project is now much stronger as a result of further sponsorship and holding coffee mornings.

We have a new Treasurer and we continue to develop links with other groups in the Guisborough area and we are delighted with the number of hits that we are getting on our website and we would be delighted to get some feedback from those that visit it.

We also attended  Hartlepool Headland Heritage Day in July. It gave us many contacts and added support for our symposium with contact with the Headland History Society, the U3A and Teesside Archives.

​What we are thinking of doing in the Future.


  • Producing a booklet for children and young adults who follow the de Brus Trail, containing puzzles, quizzes  and drawings designed to encourage interest. Thanks to Pat Robertson for her additional work on medieval plants and background history of the Priory.
  • The production of a loop added to the "de Brus Trail", based on the "Battle of Old Byland" covering Old Byland and Sutton Bank in the North York  Moors area has been delayed but should start by mid 2017.
  • Adding information on "The Battle of the Standard" one of the most important battles on English soil, with the de Brus dynasty heavily involved on both sides. This is particularly relevant as there are celebrations of this battle to take place in 2018.
  • ​Designing and installing a de Brus interpretation board outside St Nicholas Church, Guisborough.
  • ​Discrete information board to mark the possible remains of Robert the Bruce's grandfather in the woods of Gisborough Priory. 


As of August 2018.

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.

Symposiumin March 2016.

The March 2016 symposium was held on 5th March 2016 at Prior Pursglove 6th Form College and was very well received by those attending and the speakers themselves. The event was well supported and there was a waiting list for tickets on the day. A more detailed report on the event can now be viewed on this website under the heading "Symposium 2016".