Isabella Macduff, Countess of Buchan, earned the hatred of the English king by assisting in the coronation ritual of Robert the Bruce in March 1306. However, when Bruce was on the run after defeat at the Battle of Methven in June 1306, he sent Isabella and his female relatives north to safety. But they were betrayed to the English and King Edward ordered her sent to Berwick upon Tweed with these instructions:
"Let her be closely confined in an abode of stone and iron made in the shape of a cross, and let her be hung up out of doors in the open air at Berwick, that both in life and after her death, she may be a spectacle and eternal reproach to travellers."
She was imprisoned in this cage for four years, night and day, rain and snow. The other Bruce women captured with her suffered similar fates at various locations throughout England. Later, when Bruce was gaining support, Isabella was moved to the Carmelite friary at Berwick. Bruce’s female relatives were potentially valuable hostages, and the English did not want them to die of ill-treatment. The last clear mention of her is being transferred again in 1313 but her eventual fate is uncertain. Most of Bruce's female relatives returned to Scotland when they were exchanged for English noblemen captured after the Battle of Bannockburn, but there is no mention of her in the records, so she had probably died in captivity by then. This image was commissioned as a book cover for David R Ross’ book “Women of Scotland”. The publisher wanted to portray Isabella’s poise and dignity and preferred a romanticised view of her imprisonment. I would far rather have shown how this despicable form of imprisonment broke her and depicted the sheer misery and torment of her existence under Edward’s form of justice.