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Chookie

Teba

Ah kin jist see ra maist o yese ootrerr scartin yer bonces an sayin whit  ra fuck. Sit on yer arse, shut yer mooth an open yer brain cell....

The village of Teba, situated high on a rocky saddle in the province of Malaga, in what was Al-Andalus, has one of the most extraordinary historical connections of any of Andalucía's towns. In the year 1330 (during the reconquista) a battle was fought there between the forces of King Alfonso XI el Justiciero and the Moorish King Mohamed IV of Granada (commanded by his best general Osmin).

Anyways, before we get there, prior to his death, the Bruce asked that his heart be cut out from his body and taken to the Holy Land. Apparently it was acceptable for a dying man to make this request as it would guarantee him entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven. Bruce, being only recently un-excommunicated (what's the technical term?) was keen on this. Sir James was chosen by his peers to lead this expedition. They sailed from Berwick to Sluys, where they discovered that Christians and Muslims were fighting in Spain – a place they would be sailing past.

Now these were hardened fighting me, having spent years (decades in many cases) beating the crap out of the English at every possible opportunity, but now they have a chance to fight for Christ, it's almost inconceivable they won't take it (they did).

There's a 19th century poem by W. E. Aytoun which contains these lines referring to the Holy Land:-

"'But 'tis not there that Scotland's heart
Shall rest by God's decree,
Till the great angel calls the dead
To rise from earth and sea!

"'Lord James of Douglas, mark my rede!
That heart shall pass once more
In fiery fight against the foe,
As it was wont of yore.

"'And it shall pass beneath the Cross,
And save King Robert's vow,
But other hands shall bear it back,
Not, James of Douglas, thou!'“

So we have the hosts of Spain (well, Castile and Aragon really, with all their foreign allies), a bunch of Scots who are just passing through and umpteen thousands of Moors. While Scots are now justly famed for their partying abilities, they weren't then – not for partying anyway. Going on with the story, the Scots make landfall and drop in to see the local King (well, it's only polite isn't it?). Said King (Alfonso XI), is only too pleased to greet such a famous warrior (these were like today's “Pop Stars”).  He and his retainers, some of whom were English, were astounded to see that Douglas had no visible scars.

On the 25th of August, Douglas was in command of a number of foreign knights who were covering a party of camp followers who were sent to draw water from the nearby river (the Gaudal Teba). At the same time the Moors made an attack on the Spanish camp. Douglas took his detachment across the river and attacked the Moorish camp. Osmin, seeing that the Spanish camp was not unprotected, withdrew his forces to repulse the attack on his own camp.

Somehow Sir James and another nine or ten fellow Scots managed to get separated from the rest of the detachment, even so they managed to cut their way through  the Moorish camp, at which time they noticed that someone was missing. They turned to retrieve the missing man (Sir William Sinclair), unfortunately for the Scots, the Moors got their act together and mobbed the Scots. Four of whom  died, Sir William Sinclair (obviously), Sir James Douglas and the brothers Walter and Robert Logan.

There is an enduring legend that Douglas, seeing that there was little chance of surviving, removed the Bruce's heart from around his neck and threw the casket forward while shouting “Pass thee first, thou dauntless heart,  I follow or die”. Die he did. But he created a legend. Harking back to the poem I mentioned before:-

“Then in his stirrups up he stood,
So lionlike and bold,
And held the precious heart aloft
All in its case of gold.

He flung it from him, far ahead,
And never spake he more,
But--"Pass thee first, thou dauntless heart,
As thou wert wont of yore!"

Douglas had been one of Good King Robert's most loyal allies, and possibly his most effective general. Arguably, he may have been one of the best generals ever produced by Scotland.

This was by no means Teba's only unlikely collision with Scottish history. The Moors repelled Alfonso and the unfortunate Black Douglas that year. A later passing Scottish Crusader army, led by the Earl of Selkirk, also engaged Teba's Moorish rulers, leaving behind a one-ton slab of Dumfriesshire marble (unfortunately, there is no record of why they were hauling an unwieldly chunk of Scotland around with them). Whatever the reason, it's now a commemorative plaque in the town's central Plaza de Douglas in his honour. It carries this inscription on one side:-

Sir James Douglas, most loyal comrade in arms of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, while on his way to present the Heart of Bruce at the Church of the Most Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem, the good Sir James turned aside to support King Alfonso XI capture the strategic Castle of the Stars, Teba, and was slain in battle August 25 1330.
Fey Hag

Chookie yir star shines brighter we every new screive.
Yea hae ra gift.
Neil

After the battle the Bruce's heart and Sir James' body were recovered. The flesh was stripped from Sir James' skeleton and the bones were returned to Scotland for burial, as well as Bruce's heart. The heart was buried at Melrose Abbey. The rest of Bruce's body had been buried at Dunfermline Abbey. Sir James' bones were buried in St. Bride's Church, Douglas, Lanarkshire.

In honour of these events the Douglas family crest depicts a heart wearing a crown.
SengaMcp

It's aye worth waitin fur yer screivins Chookie, the effort o research wit gaes inty thum astounds me and, as ushul, iss is a grand effort. Fascinatin.
Fey Hag

Ah'm jist doin this so ah kin match Alba
Clean sweep of all threads ainly took a munth. Evil or Very Mad

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