Arbroath Statement: New photos released ahead of exhibition

The Declaration of Arbroath is a letter written by the barons and the whole community of the Kingdom of Scotland to the Pope in 1320, urging him to recognize Scotland’s independence and to recognize Robert the Bruce as the rightful king of the country.

Now new photos of the famous document have been released by the National Records of Scotland ahead of its release in June.

It was written in Latin and sealed by eight counts and about forty barons. Only 19 seals remain today, and many are in poor condition.

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Various copies and translations have been made over the centuries, including a microscopic edition.

The declaration has not been publicly displayed for 18 years since it was last displayed in the Scottish Parliament.

The iconic and fragile 700-year-old document can only be displayed occasionally to ensure its long-term preservation.

HeraldScotland: Wax seals on declaration shieldsWax seals affixed to the signs of the declaration (Image: Mike Brooks © Queen’s Printer for Scotland, National Records of Scotland)

The never-before-seen photos of the Declaration are being made available to mark its 703rd anniversary.

It will be on display for the first time in 18 years at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh from 3 June to 2 July.

Janet Egdell, Chief Executive of NRS said: “NRS is proud to help present the Arbroath Declaration, one of the most prestigious documents in our collections, a record of a key period in Scottish history.

“The declaration is impressive, but at 703 years old it is fragile and can only be displayed occasionally to ensure its long-term preservation under the care of our conservation experts.

“I hope these new images released today bring this key period in Scottish history to life for people and as many as possible take the opportunity to see the Declaration for themselves from 2 June.”

dr Alice Blackwell, Senior Curator, Medieval Archeology and History at National Museums Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be able to present this rare and fragile part of Scotland’s medieval past in a free exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland this summer.

“Their impressive spirit has given the Arbroath Declaration a special distinction, not just in Scotland but around the world.

“We look forward to inviting visitors to learn more about this fascinating document and seize the rare opportunity to see it firsthand.”

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