Celebrating the Declaration of Arbroath’s 701st anniversary

With the Declaration of Arbroath’s 700th anniversary celebrations called off in April 2020, we’ve decided mark the 701st anniversary by putting together a list of all the best resources, including books, films and radio programmes, to help you learn more about this fascinating part of Scotland’s history from home.

Here are 6 great ways to find out more about the Declaration of Arbroath:

1. ‘The Illustrated Declaration of Arbroath’ by Andrew Redmond Barr

For 700 years the Declaration of Arbroath has been one of Scotland’s most powerful national symbols. In this book, Scots Curator founder Andrew Redmond Barr celebrates the Declaration as one of the earliest foundation stones of Scottish identity, and explores its profound impact on modern ideas of freedom and democracy. Order your copy of The Illustrated Declaration of Arbroath.

2. ‘Declaration: The Letter of Liberty by Lesley Riddoch & Charlie Stuart

In this film released for the 700th anniversary, broadcaster and journalist Lesley Riddoch joins forces with filmmaker Charlie Stuart to bring us a 30-minute film on the history and legacy of the Declaration. There’s atmospheric filming around Arbroath, in Edinburgh and in Bannockburn House with glimpses of the surviving medieval document at the National Library of Scotland. Watch on Youtube.

3. ‘The Declaration of Arbroath’ by Billy Kay

Writer and broadcaster Billy Kay presents a major series on one of the most iconic moments in Scottish and world history. In 3 episodes, first broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland, Billy examines the Declaration’s international associations, as well as its relevance to the rise of 20th century Scottish nationalism. Listen to Episode One, Episode Two, and Episode Three.

4. Quick 3-minute explainer by Alistair Heather

In a hurry? Writer and presenter Alistair Heather gives us a brilliant 3-minute Declaration explainer, made in collaboration with Pict Digital.

5. Language and the Declaration o Arbroath’ by Ashley Douglas & Thomas Clark

Ashley Douglas and Thomas Clark translated the Declaration from its original Latin into Scots for the National Library of Scotland’s Wee Windaes project. As they explain in the piece, Latin was the language of international diplomacy, the church, education and record keeping in the 1300s, but Scots would have been the spoken language for most. Find out more.

6. ‘Declaration of Arbroath’ activity booklet by Andrew Redmond Barr

Aimed at primary ages, this pack from Historic Environment Scotland and the National Records of Scotland covers various parts of the curriculum including history, literary and the arts. Learners can find out about the Declaration and use their imaginations to draw, design and create. The illustrated pack is now free to download here.

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