Matilda (Maud) Bruce

Who is Matilda?

Matilda was a younger daughter of Robert the Bruce (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329)  – King of Scotland.  Born in 1303,Scotland, she marries Thomas Mac Isaac and together they have five children. Although she enjoys a wealthy position, daughter of and then sister to Kings of Scotland, the struggle for independence from England  make for an unpredictable life.

Robert the Bruce  (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329). Robert the Bruce was a medieval Scottish King who successfully established independence from English rule. ‘If at first you don’t succeed try, try again’ is  a saying attributed to Robert. Whilst being hunted, and so hiding in a cave, he was inspired by a spider that  repeatedly fell and climbed back up again to build its web. After spending many years fighting for his cause he was recognised by the Pope as the official king of Scotland. As a result of his work, by the time he died, Scotland was securely independent of English rule. As shown by the  succession passed peacefully along the Bruce line, even though his son was very young when he inherited the Scottish crown.

Matilda’s Visit

Meet her as she takes a break in her journey and tells you about her father and his struggles to secure his right to the Scottish throne.  Learn about life in Medieval Scotland; with a father battling hard for his right to be king. If there is time she might show you a medieval meal. Or, teach you a game to entertain your evening hours with. Be careful what you ask her though as some of her tales are dark and forbidding; like the cruel punishments handed out by the English King.

There is no set script for the presentation, it depends on what artefacts or subjects the audience become interested. However, the material can be steered in the direction desired by the class teacher. For example teachers can opt to focus on the early or later struggles with England. Or take a broad sweep across the whole period. ‘Matilda’ can talk about aspects of Mediaeval life to do with medicine, health, food, leisure time, clothing, beliefs, family roles, houses, religion, occupations, towns, entertainments, and laws.


If desired, Matilda (or her historian alter-ego) can run workshops with the children in conjunction with the teachers. Or, teachers can opt to run these themselves whilst the character works with another group/class. Workshop themes can include: Drop-Spinning, Food, Quill writing, Dance, Artefact Analysis, Clothes, Hygiene, Medicine, Shopping, Money, Tapestry weaving, Tisane making, Costume and Toys.

Examples of ‘Experience Workshop’ options:

  • Textile felting or wool making – create a small felt ball or pocket
  • Looking over the Traders offerings – exploring the Trader’s goods and trying your hand at bartering for the goods.
  • Games – try your hand at games that Mediaeval folk  would recognise.
  • Quill writing – create your own book mark. Decorate with your name with illuminated letters
  • Tisane making – try your hand at creating Mediaeval style drinks. Discover if Nettles sting when you drink them!
  • Food tasting – try 1-3 foods any self respecting ‘vassal could recognise (costs 30p extra per child).

More details about a character visit can be found here.

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