Scotlands History

Isobel of Fife, Countess of Buchan

Isobel of Fife was married to John Comyn, Earl of Buchan. Isobel’s family line had the right to inaugurate the kings of Scots.

When Robert the Bruce killed Red Comyn her husband turned against Bruce. Isobel defied and abandoned her husband. She took some of his men and horses, and rode to Scone. There she performed the rite of enthronement and Robert the Bruce became King of Scots.

King Edward I was furious at her actions. When Isobel of Fife was captured in 1306 along with Bruce’s wife and family at Tain, Edward had her taken to Berwick Castle and locked in an iron cage. She would spend the next four years caged on the castle walls. Edward I ordered:

As she did not strike with the sword, she shall not perish by the sword... let her be closely confined in an abode of stone and iron... let her be hung up out of doors in the open air at Berwick, that both in life and after her death, she may be a spectacle and eternal reproach to travellers.

She was given food and drink by a woman at the castle and was forbidden to speak to anyone else.

Isobel survived her ordeal and was placed in a Carmelite nunnery in Berwick in June 1310. Three years later she was held in custody by relatives of her husband in England. Edward II still regarded Isobel of Fife as a threat.

  • A ruined castle wall against a grey sky

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