THE HOUSE OF CANMORE
Malcolm III (1058-1093) (son of Duncan I)
Malcolm married Ingibiorg, daughter of Finn Amasson, widow of Thorlinn, Jarl of Orkney, When she died, he married St. Margaret. One source I have says she was the daughter of Edward Atheling, two others say she was the sister of Edward Atheling. Most likely she was the sister of Atheling and was the great-niece of Edward the Confessor. Duncan II was Malcolm' s son by first marriage. Other sons were Edgar 1098-1107, Alexander 1107-1124 (married an illegitimate daughter of Henry I) and David I (The Saint) 1124-1153. These were children by the second marriage with Margaret. They had six sons in all.
David I had a son Henry, the Earl of Huntingdon, who was never on the throne. He and his wife, Ada, had Malcolm IV (The Maiden) who ruled from 1153 to 1165 and William I (The Lion) who ruled from 1165 to 1214. William's son Alexander II (1214-1249 married Joan, the daughter of John, King of England. His son Alexander III ruled from 1249-1286 and married Margaret, the daughter of Henry III, King of England. Their child, Margaret married the King of Norway and had Margaret, the Maid of Norway who was crowned from 1286-1290.
The reign of Malcolm III, or Canmore as he was known, began the rule of the house of Canmore. This house continued to preside for over two centuries. Canmore means big head or great chief. After the defeat of his father, Malcolm took refuge with his uncle in Northumbir and acquired Anglo-Sxon attitudes. Margaret, his second wife, had a lot of influence over him and through her he substituted Saxon for Gaelic as the court language. His dream was to expand his kingdom into England but this was not to be as William the Conqueror advanced into Scotland in 1072. He made jeweled bindings for her religious books although he could not read them.
Margaret was a much loved and very devout queen. She had travelled widely in Europe and when she came to Scotland she was determined to change the manner of the court both in fashion and standards of behavior. Nobles were forbidden to fight or get drunk at court and she gave each noble his own drinking cup. Margaret was allowed to use her husband's money to help the poor by giving them food, shelter and clothing. She also encouraged trade with foreign merchants. Under her influence, life became more civilized. She also founded many monasteries and tried to bring her Roman Church close together with the Celtic church. Margaret was canonized in 1251.
Malcolm's son was taken as hostage to the English court. In later years, 1093, he decided to invade England for the 5th time. Magaret was very ill in Edinburgh Castle and begged him not to got but he would not listen. Soon after the fighting commenced, he was killed.
Margaret received the news four days later, and being on her deathbed herself, died almost immediately. Soon after his death, Edinburgh Castle was surrounded by Highlanders employed by Donald Bane, Malcolm III's brother, who planned to capture the castle and thus enable him to become king. His plan was to kill his nephews, Margaret's sons, or to put them in prison. The brothers were trapped. They had to take their mother's body to Dumferline to be buried and didn't know how they were to manage. By good fortune or a freak of nature a heavy white mist descended upon the castle and it was so dense that they were able to sneak past the Highlanders with their mother's body. They then made their escape to France. Malcolm had ruled for 35 years but the stability he had gained for Scotland disappeared after his death. A succession of kings followed.
After Malcolm's death, the frontier between Scotland and England for
the first time
Donald Ban (1093-1094) (1094-1097)
Donald Ban or Bane (Fair) was the younger brother of Malcolm III. Donald claimed the crown on the grounds of tanistry at the age of 60, but was deposed a year later by Malcolm's son, Duncan, who was backed by the English King.
Duncan II (May-November 1094)
Duncan II ruled a very short time. He had spent many years as a hostage in England. His position as a English vassal was unpopular in Scotland. His stepbrother Edmund and Donald Ban combined to defeat him and he was killed. However, he granted the earliest surviving Scottish charter.
Donald Ban and Edmund (1094-1097)
Again Donald Ban became King. After being deposed he had joined forces with his cousin Edmund (note: in looking at the relationships, Donald would be an uncle of Edmund) who was a son of Malcolm and Margaret. They managed to kill Duncan II and together ruled Scotland (Donald in Scotia and Edmund in Lothian). They were opposed by Edmund's brother Edgar who declared himself a vassal of the King of England and with the help of an English army overthrew the pair. Edmund was pardoned and became a monk. Donald Ban was blinded and sentenced to life imprisonment. As a reprisal, Donald strangled his nephew David's eldest son.
Edgar (the Peaceable) (1097-1107)
Edgar was the fourth son of Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret. He was very submissive to England, gifted the Western Isles to King Magnus Barelegs of Norway and encouraged Anglo-Norman immigrants to Scotland. This all earned him the name of the Peaceable but it was a derrogatory term towards him. Edgar did not marry and bequeathed his kingdom to his brothers, Alexander to be monarch and David as king's lieutenant.ALEXANDER I (the Fierce) (1107-1124)
Alexander was married to Sybilla, an illegitimate daughter of Henry I. At that time it was called a natural child. Henry I in turn was married to Alexander's sister Maud. Everything was so interrelational by marriage. Henry and Maud had no legitimate children. He was called the Fierce after dealing with an uprising in Moray. Although he was technically an English vassal, he dissuaded Scottish bishops from accepting the authority of York and appointed his mother's biographer Rugot to the see of St. Andrews. He was described as a lettered and godly man but was nicknamed "the Fierce" after dealing ruthlessly with an uprising. He died leaving no issue.
DAVID I (the Saint) (1124-53)
David was the youngest son of Margaret and Malcolm III. No one expected him to become king but his reign proved to be an outstanding one for Scotland. He married a granddaughter of Earl Siward of Northumbria and through that alliance had a legitimate claim to a large part of northern England. He had been a prisoner of his uncle Donald Bane but escaped and was brought up at the court of Henry I. He became familiar with English and Norman ways. He was treated well by Henry who arranged a marriage for him to the heiress of vast Northumberland estates. Henry appointed him the ruler of Cumbria, thereby increasing his power. When Henry died he took advantage of the confusion and inaction to press into England taking Carlisle and Newcastle before he was defeated at the battle of the Standard. King Stephen (of England) at the time was not in a position to alienate the Scottish king and by the Treaty of Durham David gained control of Northumbria. As Earl of Huntingdon, David had to swear an oath of loyalty to the English king. Having been brought up in England when he returned to Scotland to succeed Alexander, he took with him powerful Anglo-Norman influences which would eventually transform Scottish society. David's Norman friends soon held most of the important positions within the Church and State. He issued the first Scottish coinage and honored his mother's piety by establishing monastic center. David gave the Normans lands which meant they the Normans gained landowner privileges and authority over the lives of those living on their land. In the lowlands the Celtic ways of tribe and kinship were replaced by the new feudal system of laws and regulations. David influenced language development so that while Gaelic was spoken by highlanders, Inglis, a Scottish variant of English, was adopted in the south. His reign enhanced the prestige of the monarchy. He maintained order, and overcame his enemies partly with the support from the Normans by establishing royal burghs and shires and a system of control over the people. He was deeply religious as was his mother and he founded many abbeys. The king assigned lands to the abbey and in return gained protection and spiritual support from the abbots, monks and clergy. His only son Earl Henry died in 1152. He was married to the daughter of the Earl of Surrey and they had three children, Malcolm IV, Will the Lion and David. He appointed his grandson Malcolm as his successor.
Eulogy on David's death: O desolate Scotia, who shall console thee now? He is no more who made an untilled and barren land a land that is pleasant and plenteous.
David I and his grandson Malcolm IV
MALCOLM IV (the Maiden) (1153-65)
Malcolm was known as the Maiden because he never married and maintained a vow of chastity. Malcolm was only 11 years old when he came to the throne. There were several rebellions during his reign because his succession was disputed. However it was during his reign that the first references were made in written charters to the "Kingdom of Scotland." He was forced to renounce his rights to Northumbria when Henry II became king of England. Although this improved Scotland's relationship with England, the Scottish nobles were not pleased.
WILLIAM THE LION (1165-1214)
William succeeded his unmarried brother, Malcolm IV. He got his name because of the emblem he adopted for his armor. Armor encased a knight from head to toe and made him unrecognizable. Therefore, each knight adopted an emblem to be recognized by one another. William's was a "roaring, clawing beast of blood in red on a yellow background" - the Lion Rampant. This became the emblem of Scotland. William ruled for 49 years which made him the longest reigning monarch in Scotland up to that time. His brother had made peace with King Henry of England but William led an army to Northumberland to take Alnwick Castle. He was defeated, captured and imprisoned in Normandy. The price of his release was his kingdom. He was released after he accepted Henry II as overlord of Scotland. Henry died 15 years later and Richard Coeur-de-Lion came to the English throne. Richard's ambition in life was to go on a crusade. He needed money for such an undertaking and William the Lion was able to buy back the sovereignty in 1189 by giving 10,000 merks to Richard I's third crusade, thereby being released from being a vassal of the English king. William produced a son (and several daughters), Alexander II. He paid a dowry of 15,000 merks to secure the marriage of his two daughters to King John's sons but this bargain was broken by the English king.
ALEXANDER II (1214 - 1249) The Great Seal of Alexander II
Alexander succeeded William when William died in 1214. When Alexander came to the throne, King John (England) declared he would hunt the red fox cub from his den. Alexander backed the barons who made John seal the Magna Carta in 1215. By marrying John's daughter, Joan, Alexander became the brother in law of the new English King Henry III. He demanded the return of William the Lion's dowry, as well as the return of Northumbria. A treaty of York in 1236 fixed the Border on the Tweed-Solway line. Alexander's relationship with England was diplomatic rather than warlike. Alexander's second marriage was to Marie de Coucy. This offended the English because they feared a French-Scottish alliance (the auld Alliance). Alexander II made Scotland stronger than it had ever been. He attended to parts of the country that were causing trouble. For instance, he determined to subdue the disturbances in the lands of Argyll. He prepared a fleet to sail up the Clyde in 1221. Unfortunately, he failed to take the stormy September weather and tides into account and was forced to return to Glasgow. The next year he took his army across country to Argyll and reestablished order. To make sure that peace would continue, he transferred the titles of disloyal nobles' lands to more amenable and reliable subjects. In that same year he had trouble with a different kind of rebellion. Bishop Adam of Caithness had been charging the people double the amount that was usual for the support of the church. The people had complained many times but the Bishop ignored their complaints until 300 angry people stormed their way towards the Bishop's palace. His servants ran to the Earl of Caithness to ask for help. The Earl said that if the Bishop was afraid, he should come to the Earl's castle. In the meantime the crowd had seized the bishop, stripped and beaten him and then carried him to his kitchen fire and roasted him alive. Alexander was just preparing to attack England when this news reached him. He went to Caithness and the people paid dearly. He also confiscated half the lands belonging to the Earl of Caithness to punish him for his lack of assistance to Bishop Adam. Like David I, Alexander granted lands for the construction of cathedrals and abbeys. He awarded the Bishop of Moray the seat at the Elgin Cathedral and gave permission for the building of three new abbeys, Pluscarden Abbey, Beauly Abbey and Ardchatten Abbey. These abbeys were peopled by Benedictine monks called Valliscaulians who operated under a very strict code. Before Alexander died he tried to regain the Western Isles (Hebrides) from King Haakon IV of Norway. Before he could reach them he became ill and died on the island of Kerrera, off Oban on July 8, 1249.
ALEXANDER III (1249-86)
Alexander was only 8 when he inherited the kingdom of Scotland from his father. A regent was to be appointed but the nobles could not agree and the country suffered internal turmoil until Alexander came of age. At 10 he married Henry III's daughter, Margaret. During his childhood he established good relations with Edward I, his brother-in-law. At this time Scotland had a population of about 400,000 and was enjoying an age of prosperity. Berwick was growing rich on foreign trade. Wool, fur and fish were exported. The ownership of the Western Isles was the first problem he faced after his coronation. The Earl of Ross had declared war upon King Haakon of Norway to try and regain possession of the Western Isles. This terrified the local people for they could remember the fierce Viking raids which persisted into the 13th century. Haakon sailed from Norway in 1263 with a fleet of over 100 ships. The ships were of solid oak with a golden dragon at the bow and stern, an impressive sight. Astronomers have confirmed that the day after his arrival in the Orkneys there was a total eclipse of the sun. The Norwegian soldiers considered the eclipse to be a bad omen. Haakon, however, continued to advance. Alexander in the meanwhile reinforced all the castles on the shore and gathered a large army at the place where he thought Haakon would come ashore. He waited, knowing that there was a probability of terrible storms during September and October. As it happened a great storm did blow through Haakon's ships. The Norwegians believed that the storm was caused by the magic of Scottish witches. The Scots on the other hand felt that the storm had been sent by St. Margaret to save their country. A battle did take place on land but Haakon's fleet had been so decimated by the storms that he decided to retreat and he returned home. Haakon died shortly after that and Alexander III secured a treaty with his successor, King Magnus. This was the Treaty of Perth whereby Alexander regained the Western Isles by paying 4000 merks to the Norwegians and 100 merks a year for an indefinite period. The yearly payment continued into the 14th century. Orkney and Shetland remained under the control of the Norwegians and it was a long time before they too became a part of Scotland. His wife Margaret, and soon after two of their sons died (one source saying that two sons died and then his wife, Margaret, died). Alexander took a second wife, Yolande in hopes of producing a male heir. He had only been married to Yolande for about 5 months when eager to be with her he rode at night during a storm against advice. His horse stumbled and threw him over a cliff to his death. This left his granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway, as heir apparent. Alexander's only daughter, also named Margaret, had married King Eric II of Norway as part of the Treaty of Perth. The daughter died in childbirth, leaving an infant daughter as heir to the Scottish throne. At the time of Alexander's death, the granddaughter was still in Norway. He had made his lords swear to accept Margaret as Queen and they had agreed that until she came of age, the country would be governed by the "Guardians", the wisest and most important of the bishops and barons. Among the six guardians chosen, Robert Bruce the elder was excluded, although he had been recognized as heir in 1238 when Alexander II had lost his first wife without issue. Bruce the elder was the senior male descendant of David I. Because of the events that followed, it would take nearly half a century for Scotland to regain its own monarch and sovereignty.
MARGARET MAID OF NORWAY (1286-90)
The Maid of Norway was 3 when she became Queen of Scotland. The Guardians sent envoys to Edward I (Alexander III's brother-in-law) seeking his advice. Cunningly, Edward, who wanted to be recognized as the overlord of Scotland, arranged a dispensation from the Pope for a marriage between his son and the young queen. By the Treaty of Birgham-on-Tweed, the Scottish agreed to the marriage. Their terms at first seemed to allow for Scotland's independence but there were qualifications. Edward, the heir, was to receive a personal right to the Scottish inheritance if the Prince of Wales (Edward) and Margaret, or either of them, should have no heir, and Edward remarried. He could then pass the right to Scotland to his heirs by another wife. How this would have turned out, we cannot know because Margaret died on the voyage from Norway, thus bringing into question who had the right to the Scottish throne. It has been argued that if the marriage had succeeded that England and Scotland would have been united and three centuries of bloody warfare would have been avoided. But this argument can be countered with what we know of Edward, that to him 'union' meant 'suzerainty' and his methods to exploit this opportunity were characterized by arrogance and brutality which in effect aroused a native patriotism and hatred of England in the Scots and "made the idea of union intolerable to Scottish hearts." The death of the Maid of Norway ended the House of Canmore.
Next, the Claimants, the Competitors, and the House of Balliol.