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An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707)
Chapter II - Scotland and the Normans 1066 - 1286

The Norman Conquest of England could not fail to modify the position of Scotland. Just as the Roman and the Saxon conquests had, in turn, driven the Brythons northwards, so the dispossessed Saxons fled to Scotland from their Norman victors. The result was considerably to alter the ecclesiastical arrangements of the country, and to help its advance towards civilization. The proportion of Anglo-Saxons to the races who are known as Celts must also have been increased; but a complete de-Celticization of Southern Scotland could not, and did not, follow. The failure of William's conquest to include the Northern counties of England left Northumbria an easy prey to the Scottish king, and the marriage of Malcolm III, known as Canmore, to Margaret, the sister of Edgar the AEtheling, gave her husband an excuse for interference in England. We, accordingly, find a long series of raids over the border, of which only five possess any importance. In 1069-70, Malcolm (who had, even in the Confessor's time, been in Northumberland with hostile intent) conducted an invasion in the interests of his brother-in-law. It is probable that this movement was intended to coincide with the arrival of the Danish fleet a few months earlier. But Malcolm was too late; the Danes had gone home, and, in the interval, William had himself superintended the great harrying of the North which made Malcolm's subsequent efforts somewhat unnecessary. The invasion is important only as having provoked the counter-attack of the Conqueror, which led to the renewal of the supremacy controversy. William marched into Scotland and crossed the Forth (the first English king to do so since the unfortunate Egfrith, who fell at Nectansmere in 685). At Abernethy, on the banks of the Tay, Malcolm and William met, and the English Chronicle, as usual, informs us that the King of Scots became the "man" of the English king. But as Malcolm received from William twelve "Villae" in England, it is, at least, doubtful whether Malcolm paid homage for these alone or also for Lothian and Cumbria, or for either of them. There is, at all events, no question about the "villae". Scottish historians have not failed to point out that the value of the homage, for whatever it was given, is sufficiently indicated by Malcolm's dealings with Gospatric of Northumberland, whom William dismissed as a traitor and rebel. Within about six months of the Abernethy meeting, Malcolm gave Gospatric the earldom of Dunbar, and he became the founder of the great house of March. No further invasion took place till 1079, when Malcolm took advantage of William's Norman difficulties to make another harrying expedition, which afforded the occasion for the building of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The accession of Rufus and his difficulties with Robert of Normandy led, in 1091, to a somewhat belated attempt by Malcolm to support the claims of the AEtheling by a third invasion, and, in the following year, peace was made. Rufus confirmed to Malcolm the grant of twelve "villae", and Malcolm in turn gave the English king such homage as he had given to his father. What this vague statement meant, it was reserved for the Bruce to determine, and the Bruces had, as yet, not one foot of Scottish soil. The agreement made in 1092 did not prevent Rufus from completing his father's work by the conquest of Cumberland, to which the Scots had claims. Malcolm's indignation and William's illness led to a famous meeting at Gloucester, whence Malcolm withdrew in great wrath, declining to be treated as a vassal of England. The customary invasion followed, with the result that Malcolm was slain at Alnwick in November, 1093.

But the great effects of the Norman Conquest, as regards Scotland, are not connected with strictly international affairs. They are partially racial, and, in other respects, may be described as personal. It is unquestionable that there was an immigration of the Northumbrian population into Scotland; but the Northumbrian population were Anglo-Danish, and the north of England was not thickly populated. When William the Conqueror ravaged the northern counties with fire and sword, a considerable proportion of the population must have perished. The actual infusion of English blood may thus be exaggerated; but the introduction of English influences cannot be questioned. These influences were mainly due to the personality of Malcolm's second wife, the Saxon princess, Margaret. The queen was a woman of considerable mental power, and possessed a great influence over her strong-headed and hot-tempered husband. She was a devout churchwoman, and she immediately directed her energies to the task of bringing the Scottish church into closer communion with the Roman. The changes were slight in themselves; all that we know of them is an alteration in the beginning of Lent, the proper observance of Easter and of Sunday, and a question, still disputed, about the tonsure. But, slight as they were, they stood for much. They involved the abandonment of the separate position held by the Scottish Church, and its acceptance of a place as an integral portion of Roman Christianity. The result was to make the Papacy, for the first time, an important factor in Scottish affairs, and to bridge the gulf that divided Scotland from Continental Europe. We soon find Scottish churchmen seeking learning in France, and bringing into Scotland those French influences which were destined seriously to affect the civilization of the country. But, above all, these Roman changes were important just because they were Anglican--introduced by an English queen, carried out by English clerics, emanating from a court which was rapidly becoming English. Malcolm's subjects thenceforth began to adopt English customs and the English tongue, which spread from the court of Queen Margaret. The colony of English refugees represented a higher civilization and a more advanced state of commerce than the Scottish Celts, and the English language, from this cause also, made rapid progress. For about twenty-five years Margaret exercised the most potent influence in her husband's kingdom, and, when she died, her reputation as a saint and her subsequent canonization maintained and supported the traditions she had created. Not only did she have on her side the power of a court and the prestige of courtly etiquette, but, as we have said, she represented a higher civilizing force than that which was opposed to her, and hence the greatness of her victory. It must, however, be remembered that the spread of the English language in Scotland does not necessarily imply the predominance of English blood. It means rather the growth of English commerce. We can trace the adoption of English along the seaboard, and in the towns, while Gaelic still remained the language of the countryman. There is no evidence of any English immigration of sufficient proportions to overwhelm the Gaelic population. Like the victory of the conquered English over the conquering Normans, which was even then making fast progress in England, it is a triumph of a kind that subsequent events have revealed as characteristically Anglo-Saxon, and it called into force the powers of adaptation and of colonization which have brought into being so great an English-speaking world.

Malcolm's reign ended in defeat and failure; his wife died of grief, and the opportunity presented itself of a Celtic reaction against the Anglicization of the reign of Malcolm III. The throne was seized by Malcolm's brother, Donald Bane. Malcolm's eldest son, Duncan, whose mother, Ingibjorg, had been a Dane, received assistance from Rufus, and drove Donald Bane, after a reign of six months, into the distant North. But after about six months he himself was slain in a small fight with the Mormaer or Earl of the Mearns, and Donald Bane continued to reign for about three years, in conjunction with Edmund, a son of Malcolm and Margaret. But in 1097, Edgar, a younger brother of Edmund, again obtained the help of Rufus and secured the throne. The reign of Edgar is important in two respects. It put an end to the Celtic revival, and reproduced the conditions of the time of Malcolm and Margaret.Henceforward Celtic efforts were impossible except in the Highlands, and the Celts of the Lowlands resigned themselves to the process of Anglicization imposed upon them alike by ecclesiastical, political, and commercial circumstances. It saw also the beginning of an influence which was to prove scarcely less fruitful in results than the Anglo-Saxon triumph of which we have spoken. In November, 1100, Edgar's sister, Matilda, was married to the Norman King of England, Henry I, and two years later, another sister, Mary, was married to Eustace, Count of Boulogne, the son of the future King Stephen. These unions, with a son and a grandson respectively of William the Conqueror, prepared the way for the Norman Conquest of Scotland. Edgar died in January, 1106-7, and his brother and successor, Alexander I, espoused an Anglo-Norman, Sybilla, who is generally supposed to have been a natural daughter of Henry I. On the death of Alexander, in 1124, these Norman influences acquired a new importance under his brother David, the youngest son of Malcolm and Margaret. During the troubles which followed his father's death, David had been educated in England, and after the marriage of Henry I and Matilda, had resided at the court of his brother-in-law, till the death of Edgar, when he became ruler of Cumbria and the southern portion of Lothian. He had married, in 1113-14, the daughter and heiress of Walthe of, Earl of Huntingdon, who was also the widow of a Norman baron. In this way the earldom of Huntingdon became attached to the Scottish throne, and afforded an occasion for reviving the old question of homage. Moreover, Waltheof of Huntingdon was the son of Siward of Northumbria, and David regarded himself as, on this account, possessing claims over Northumbria.

David, as we have seen, had been brought up under Norman influences, andit is under the son of the Saxon Margaret that the bloodless Norman conquest of Scotland took place. Edgar had recognized the new English nobility and settlers by addressing charters to all in his kingdom, "both Scots and English"; his brother, David, speaks of "French and English, Scots and Galwegians". The charters are, of course, addressed to barons and land-owners, and their evidence refers to the English and Anglo-Norman nobility. The Norman fascination, which had been turned to such good account in England, in Italy, and in the Holy Land, had completely vanquished such English prepossessions as David might have inherited from his mother. Normans, like the Bruces and the Fitzalans (afterwards the Stewarts), came to David's court and received from him grants of land. The number of Norman signatures that attest his charters show that his _entourage_ was mainly Norman. He was a very devout Church-man (a "sair sanct for the Crown" as James VI called him), and Norman prelate and Norman abbot helped to increase the total of Norman influence. He transformed Scotland into a feudal country, gave grants of land by feudal tenure, summoned a great council on the feudal principle, and attempted to create such a monarchy as that of which Henry I was laying the foundations. There can be little doubt that this strong Norman influence helped to prepare the Scottish people for the French alliance; but its more immediate effect was to bring about the existence of an anti-national nobility. These great Norman names were to become great in Scottish story; but it required a long process to make their bearers, in any sense, Scotsmen. Most of them had come from England, many of them held lands in England, and none of them could be expected to feel any real difference between themselves and their English fellows.

During the reign of Henry I, Anglo-Norman influences thus worked a great change in Scotland. On Henry's death, David, as the uncle of the Empress Matilda, immediately took up arms on her behalf. Stephen, with the wisdom which characterized the beginning of his reign, came to terms with him at Durham. David did not personally acknowledge the usurper, but his son, Henry, did him homage for Huntingdon and some possessions in the north (1136). In the following year, David claimed Northumberland for Henry as the representative of Siward, and, on Stephen's refusal, again adopted the cause of the empress. The usual invasion of England followed, and after some months of ravaging, a short truce, and a slight Scottish victory gained at Clitheroe on the Ribble,in June, 1138, the final result was David's great defeat in the battle of the Standard, fought near Northallerton on the 22nd August, 1138.

The battle of the Standard possesses no special interest for students of the art of war. The English army, under William of Albemarle and Walter l'Espec, was drawn up in one line of battle, consisting of knights in coats of mail, archers, and spearmen. The Scots were in four divisions; the van was composed of the Picts of Galloway, the right wing was led by Prince Henry, and the men of Lothian were on the left. Behind fought King David, with the men of Moray. The Galwegians made several unsuccessful attempts upon the English centre. Prince Henry led his horse through the English left wing, but the infantry failed to follow, and the prince lost his advantage by a premature attempt to plunder. The Scottish right made a pusillanimous attempt on the English left, and the reserve began to desert King David, who collected the remnants of his army and retired in safety to a height above Cowton Moor, the scene of the fight. Prince Henry was left surrounded by the enemy, but saved the position by a clever stratagem, and rejoined his father. Mr. Oman remarks that the battle was "of a very abnormal type for the twelfth century, since the side which had the advantage in cavalry made no attempt to use it, while that which was weak in the all-important arm made a creditable attempt to turn it to account by breaking into the hostile flank.... Wild rushes of unmailed clansmen against a steady front of spears and bows never succeeded; in this respect Northallerton is the forerunner of Dupplin, Halidon Hill, Flodden, and Pinkie."[34] The chief interest, for our purpose, attaching to the battle of the Standard, is connected with the light it throws upon the racial complexion of the country seventy years after the Norman Conquest. Our chief authorities are the Hexham chroniclers and Ailred of Rivaulx[35], English writers of the twelfth century. They speak of David's host as composed of Angli, Picti, and Scoti. The Angli alone contained mailed knights in their ranks, and David's first intention was to send these mail-clad warriors against the English, while the Picts and Scots were to follow with sword and targe. The Galwegians and the Scots from beyond Forth strongly opposed this arrangement, and assured the king that his unarmed Highlanders would fight better than "these Frenchmen". The king gave the place of honour to the Galwegians, and altered his whole plan of battle. The whole context, and the Earl of Strathern's sneer at "these Frenchmen", would seem to show that the "Angli" are, at all events, clearly distinguished from the Picts of Galloway and the Scots who, like Malise of Strathern, came from beyond the Forth. It is probable that the "Angli" were the men of Lothian; but it must also be recollected both that the term included the Anglo-Norman nobility ("these Frenchman") and the English settlers who had followed Queen Margaret, and that David was fighting in an English quarrel and in the interests of an English queen. The knights who wore coats of mail were entirely Anglo-Norman, and it is against them that the claim of the Highlanders is particularly directed. When Richard of Hexham tells us that Angles, Scots, and Picts fell out by the way, as they returned home, he means to contrast the men of Lothian and the new Anglo-Norman nobility with the Picts of Galloway and the Highlanders from north of the Forth, and this unusual application of the term "Angli", to a portion of the Scottish army, is an indication, not that the Lowlanders were entirely English, but that there was a strong jealousy between the Scots and the new English nobility. The "Angli" are, above all others, the knights in mail.[36]

It is not possible to credit David with any real affection for the cause of the empress or with any higher motive than selfish greed, and it can scarcely be claimed that he kept faith with Stephen. Such, however, were the difficulties of the English king, that, in spite of his crushing defeat, David reaped the advantages of victory. Peace was made in April, 1139, by the Treaty of Durham, which secured to Prince Henry the earldom of Northumberland, as an English fief. The Scottish border line, which had successively enclosed Strathclyde and part of Cumberland, and the Lothians, now extended to the Tees. David gave Stephen some assistance in 1139, but on the victory of the Empress Maud[37] at Lincoln, in 1141, David deserted the captive king, and was present, on the empress's side, at her defeat at Winchester, in 1141.Eight years later he entered into an agreement with the claimant, Henry Fitz-Empress, afterwards Henry II, by which the eldest son of the Scottish king was to retain his English fiefs, and David was to aid Henry against Stephen. An unsuccessful attempt on England followed--the last of David's numerous invasions. When he died, in 1153, he left Scotland in a position of power with regard to England such as she wasnever again to occupy. The religious devotion which secured for him a popular canonization (he was never actually canonized) can scarcely justify his conduct to Stephen. But it must be recollected that throughout his reign, there is comparatively little racial antagonism between the two countries. David interfered in an English civil war, andtook part, now on one side, and now on the other. But the whole effect of his life was to bring the nations more closely together through the Norman influences which he encouraged in Scotland. His son and heir held great fiefs in England,[38] and he granted tracts of land to Anglo-Norman nobles. A Bruce and a Balliol, who each held possessions both in Scotland and in England, tried to prevent the battle of the Standard. Their well-meant efforts proved fruitless; but the fact is notable and significant.

David's eldest son, the gallant Prince Henry, who had led the wild charge at Northallerton, predeceased his father in 1152. He left three sons, of whom the two elder, Malcolm and William, became successively kings of Scotland, while from the youngest, David, Earl of Huntingdon, were descended the claimants at the first Inter-regnum. It was the fate of Scotland, as so often again, to be governed by a child; and a strong king, Henry II, was now on the throne of England. As David I had taken advantage of the weakness of Stephen, so now did Henry II benefit by the youth of Malcolm IV. In spite of the agreement into which Henry had entered with David in 1149, he, in 1157, obtained from Malcolm, then fourteen years of age, the resignation of his claims upon Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland. In return for this, Malcolm received a confirmation of the earldom of Huntingdon (cf. p. 18). The abandonment of the northern claims seems to have led to a quarrel, for Henry refused to knight the Scots king; but, in the following year, Malcolm accompanied Henry in his expedition to Toulouse, and received his knighthood at Henry's hands. Malcolm's subsequent troubles were connected with rebellions in Moray and in Galloway against the new _regime_, and with the ambition of Somerled, the ruler of Argyll, and of the still independent western islands. The only occasion on which he again entered into relations with England was in 1163, when he met Henry at Woodstock and did homage to his eldest son, who became known as Henry III, although he never actually reigned. As usual, there is no statement precisely defining the homage; it must not be forgotten that the King of Scots was also Earl of Huntingdon.

Malcolm died in 1165, and was succeeded by his brother, William the Lion, who reigned for nearly fifty years. Henry was now in the midst of his great struggle with the Church, but William made no attempt to use the opportunity. He accepted the earldom of Huntingdon from Henry, and in 1170, when the younger Henry was crowned in Becket's despite, William took the oath of fealty to him as Earl of Huntingdon. But in 1173-74, when the English king's ungrateful son organized a baronial revolt, William decided that his chance had come. His grandfather, David, had made him Earl of Northumberland, and the resignation which Henry had extorted from the weakness of Malcolm IV could scarcely be held as binding upon William. So William marched into England to aid the rebel prince, and, after some skirmishes and the usual ravaging, was surprised while tilting near Alnwick, and made a captive. He was conveyed to the castle of Falaise in Normandy, and there, on December 8th, 1174, as a condition of his release, he signed the Treaty of Falaise, which rendered the kingdom of Scotland, for fifteen years, unquestionably the vassal of England.[39] The treaty acknowledged Henry II as overlord of Scotland, and expressly stated the dependence of the Scottish Church upon that of England. The relations of the churches had been an additional cause of difficulty since the time of St. Margaret, and the present arrangement was in no sense final. A papal legate held a council in Edinburgh in 1177, and ten years afterwards Pope Clement III took the Scottish Church directly under his own protection.

About the political relationship there could be no such doubt. William stood, theoretically, if not actually, in much the same position to Henry II, as John Baliol afterwards occupied to Edward I. It was not till the accession of Richard I that William recovered his freedom. The castles in the south of Scotland which had been delivered to the English were restored, and the independence of Scotland was admitted, on William's paying Richard the sum of 10,000 marks. This agreement, dated December, 1189, annulled the terms of the Treaty of Falaise, and left the position of William the Lion exactly what it had been at the death of Malcolm IV. He remained liegeman for such lands as the Scottish kings had, in times past, done homage to England. The agreement with Richard I is certainly not incompatible with the Scottish position that the homage, before the Treaty of Falaise, applied only to the earldom of Huntingdon; but the usual vagueness was maintained, and the arrangement in no way determines the question of the homage paid by the earlier Scottish kings. For a hundred years after this date, the two countries were never at war. William had difficulties with John; in 1209, an outbreak of hostilities seemed almost certain, but the two kings came to terms. The long reign of William came to an end in 1214. His son and successor, Alexander II, joined the French party in England which was defeated at Lincoln in 1216. Alexander made peace with the regent, resigned all claims to Northumberland, and did homage for his English possessions--the most important of which was the earldom of Huntingdon, which had, since 1190, been held by his uncle, David, known as David of Huntingdon. In 1221, he married Joanna, sister of Henry III. Another marriage, negotiated at the same time, was probably of more real importance. Margaret, the eldest daughter of William the Lion, became the wife of the Justiciar of England, Hubert de Burgh. Mr. Hume Brown has pointed out that immediately on the fall of Hubert de Burgh, a dispute arose between Henry and Alexander. The English king desired Alexander to acknowledge the Treaty of Falaise, and this Alexander refused to do. The agreement, which averted an appeal to the sword, was, on the whole, favourable to Scotland. Nothing was said about homage for this kingdom. David of Huntingdon had died in 1119, and Alexander gave up the southern earldom, but received a fief in the northern counties, always coveted of the kings of Scotland. This arrangement is known as the Treaty of York (1236). Some trifling incidents and the second marriage of Alexander, which brought Scotland into closer touch with France (he married Marie, daughter of Enguerand de Coucy), nearly provoked a rupture in 1242, but the domestic troubles of Henry and Alexander alike prevented any breach of the long peace which had subsisted since the capture of William the Lion. In 1249, the Scottish king died, and his son and successor,[40] Alexander III, was knighted by Henry of England, and, in 1251, married Margaret, Henry's eldest daughter. The relations of Alexander to Henry III and to Edward I will be narrated in the following chapter. Not once throughout his reign was any blood spilt in an English quarrel, and the story of his reign forms no part of our subject. Its most interesting event is the battle of Largs. The Scottish kings had, for some time, been attempting to annex the islands, and, in 1263, Hakon of Norway invaded Scotland as a retributive measure. He was defeated at the battle of Largs, and, in 1266, the Isles were annexed to the Scottish crown. The fact that this forcible annexation took place, after a struggle, only twenty years before the death of Alexander III, must be borne in mind in connection with the part played by the Islanders in the War of Independence.


[Footnote 34: _Art of War in the Middle Ages_, p. 391.]

[Footnote 35: Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 36: In the final order of battle, David seems to have attempted to bring all classes of his subjects together, and the divisions have a political as well as a military purpose. The right wing contained Anglo-Norman knights and men from Strathclyde and Teviotdale, the left wing men from Lothian and Highlanders from Argyll and the islands, and King David's reserve was composed of more knights along with men from Moray and the region north of the Forth.]

[Footnote 37: The Empress Maud, daughter of Henry I, and niece of David, must be carefully distinguished from Queen Maud, wife of Stephen, and cousin of David, who negotiated the Treaty of Durham.]

[Footnote 38: Ailred credits Bruce with a long speech, in which he tries to convince David that his real friends are not his Scottish subjects, but his Anglo-Norman favourites, and that, accordingly, he should keep on good terms with the English.]

[Footnote 39: William's English earldom of Huntingdon, which had been forfeited, was restored, in 1185, and was conferred by William upon his brother, David, the ancestor of the claimants of 1290.]

[Footnote 40: As Alexander III was the last king of Scotland who ruled before the War of Independence, it is interesting to note that he was crowned at Scone with the ancient ceremonies, and as the representative of the Celtic kings of Scotland. Fordun tells us that the coronation took place on the sacred stone at Scone, on which all Scottish kings had sat, and that a Highlander appeared and read Alexander's Celtic genealogy (Annals XLVIII. Cf. App. A). There is no indication that Alexander's subjects, from the Forth to the Moray Firth, were "stout Northumbrian Englishmen", who had, for no good reason, drifted away from their English countrymen, to unite them with whom Edward I waged his Scottish wars.]


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