Monday, 24 November 2008

Robert Bruce, schoolmaster in Clyne

Robert Bruce was born in Wick, Caithness, circa 1822. He became a schoolmaster in Clyne.
On the night of Thursday 21st ult some wanton individuals attcked the parochial school house of Clyne occupied by Mr Robert Bruce, parochial teacher and his sister. The micreants drove two large stones through the window of a room on the ground floor, which after smashing three panes of glass, struck and severely wounded Miss Bruce, to the danger of her life, while she was asleep in her bad. The guilty parties have not been detected. A reward of twenty guineas has been offered to anyone who will give such information to their apprehension and conviction”. (Ross-shire Advertiser 18/12/1844)

This young lady (Miss Bruce) still lies in a very dangerous state of health, in consequence of the injuried then sustained – so much so, that her mdeical attendants cannot yet report her out of danger” (John O’Groat’s Journal following week).

In 1850 Robert married Elizabeth Mackay who was born in Kildonan. They had a family.

In 1853 Robert Bruce, schoolmaster, Clyne, at the age of 31, was subject "to a precognition for the crime of breach of trust and embezzlement in 1853" (NAS AD14/35/10). It should be noted that precognition means this case was considered for prosecution - it may or may not have become a court case.

Soon after this Robert and Elizabeth with their children moved south to Lanarkshire. I have yet to find him in the 1861 census but in 1871 Robert, now 48 years old, was a schoolmaster living at Bellshill Road Schoolhouse, Bothwell, Lanarkshire. Elizabeth may have died as she does not appear in this or the following census. In 1881 Robert was shown at the Established Church School in Bothwell. I cannot find him anywhere in Scotland in 1891.

Their youngest daughter Elizabeth Mackay Bruce, known as Eliza, was born in Bothwell in 1860. She returned to Sutherland where she appears to have lived with her uncle Donald Mackay. She died in 1907 at Greenpark, Kildonan where she was a music teacher. She is buried in Helmsdale.


  1. 1861
    Uddingston and Bellshill Road, Bothwell, Lanarkshire
    Robt Bruce head schoolmaster 38 Wick Caithness {"Nick" in a...y index]
    Alexander Bruce son scholar 9 Clyne, Sutherland
    Robt Bruce son 2 Bothwell
    Helen Hamilton servant 26 Bothwell
    Mary Hamilton visitor 12 Bothwell
    Looks as if Robert is already a widower (no relationships shown on the index). Hope this helps!
    Mary Young

  2. Thanks lots Mary. His wife must have died pre 1861. Probably as soon as her last child was born. He certainly seems to have gotten into some scrapes.