For some years, I have had the pleasure of owning Stirling 1314’s Robert Burns Chess set and have now taken delivery of their stunning Battle of Bannockburn Chess set.
We have both these sets on display in our home and very proud to be the owners of two magnificent works of art, for that is what they are. Make no mistake, chess is a wonderful game but how much better when you’re playing with pieces that represent real characters, steeped in Scottish history and holding so much significance.
Our Robert Burns set was one of the first in the edition and came with a wooden chessboard. I am delighted to say that Stirling 1314 has made it possible for me to replace it with the new metal board: inlaid with quotations from the Bard’s work in his own handwriting, it is simply stunning.
Whenever I play or hold the pieces, I am always taken by the crafted representations from the wonderful mind and life of Robert Burns. And now, I have the Battle of Bannockurn set. Having been brought up on Scottish history, enhanced by reading as many Nigel Tranter books as I could find, just looking at the pieces is like having those volumes reinforced and reinvigorated in my mind.
When friends and business associates visit our home, the Burns set is always admired. We have played with the set many times. Although none of us of us are chess masters, it’s the artwork and artistry of the set that I love. Now, with our Bannockburn set, there is an additional decision to be made –Burns – or Bruce?.
Many thanks to John Morgan for putting together two such wonderful concepts and I can only hold the service of Stirling 1314 in the highest regard.
My two all-time heroes are Robert Burns and Robert the Bruce. When I discovered the amazing Stirling 1314 Battle of Bannockburn and Robert Burns Chess sets, I couldn’t choose between them, so I had to get both in the end!
I’d love to show photographs but, unfortunately, both sets are now in storage awaiting my home refurbishment to complete. The chess sets are going to have pride of place in my new bar area, and photographs will follow in 2023. Such unique and beautiful products, it was my great pleasure to unpack, enjoy and, sadly, pack up again!
Well done to John and the team for the care and attention to the superb detail apparent in these chess sets. And thanks to John also for introducing me to the books of Nigel Tranter – I really enjoyed his Bruce trilogy. I am really happy with both sets and can’t wait to put them on display - and let the games begin!
I have always been interested in medieval history and I love my Battle of Bannockburn Chess Set! The chess-piece characters are beautifully designed and the pewter chessboard is magnificent. It is very different from a chessboard made of wood. In fact, we like the beautiful images of the Scottish Thistle and the Tudor Rose of England so much, that my wife went looking for the same images on the internet. As you can see from the photograph she found two glasses with the same seals.
To be honest, I am not a good chess player myself, but this wonderful set is a great asset to our home. In a way, it is adding to the history of our house which was built in 1513 - only two hundred years after Bannockburn, and is now a cultural heritage. I am grateful to you, Stirling 1314, for such an excellent transaction. It would not have been possible without you.
I hope you like the pictures, taken by my daughter Aletha Buitink @alethabuitinkfotografie.
“More than 25 years ago I took my wife and three children to Disneyworld to visit the newly built Epcot Center, an educational and cultural center for so many nations of the world. And it was there, in the British Pavilion, I first saw the" Battle of Bannockburn " Chess set.
“As a young man I was never passionate about the game of chess, although I do remember playing with an onyx chess set from Mexico. And so it was, that I fell in love with the Bannockburn Chess set - as a stunning piece of Art, not necessarily for the game of Chess!
“Since then, this imposing set has been on display in our home as a piece of Art and has led me to a much greater interest in the game. I used to play with my son Harrison, but these days he keeps winning so I have decided to dedicate my attention to my grandson, Corbin, who recently turned 8. Corbin has shown great interest in the set and the story of Bannockburn. It turned out he had already learned to play chess, and this set suddenly kindled his interest.
“I suspect our Bannockburn chess set will realise a great deal of use in the next generation. Maybe more…”
As a professional photographer, it is important to have equal professional objectivity on any commission, but I was then asked by John Morgan to photograph his Bannockburn chess set. I was immediately attracted to its beauty and artistry - and fascinated by the origin of the idea: namely the Robert the Bruce Trilogy by Scottish historic novelist, Nigel Tranter.
Three outcomes resulted from the photo shoot. Firstly, within days I found and began reading the Bruce Trilogy, without doubt one of the most incredible adventure stories ever written. I have now read it twice!
Secondly and thirdly, John got the photographs he wanted, and I was delighted to go home that night with my own Battle of Bannockburn Chess Set!
Ever since then, throughout our many nomadic moves, Robert the Bruce and company have been on display in the Horne family home. But in all that time, I have always wanted the set to have its own space. So, I am delighted, that this year, having settled in Monsempron-Libos, France, I have made a special simple table and our Bannockburn set has pride of place in our new home.
Apart from being a delight to play, the set is truly beautiful - a creative work of art - and has been a constant topic of conversation with our visitors throughout our travels.
How fortuitous to think that I was able to trade a lifetime of pleasure for a good days’ work!
So much so that the word has become a decisive term to describe a turning-point in any dire situation. And Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, whose all but personal triumph it was, enshrined his name in the history of Scotland, England and the lands beyond. When even the most determined and courageous would have given up on the struggle long before, Bruce fought on. His victory, against overwhelming odds, was one of the greatest achievements in military history and became part of the folklore of Scotland's perpetual struggle for self-direction.