THE CLAIMANTS and COMPETITORS
After the Maid of Norway died, ending the House of Canmore, the question was, who had the right to the Scottish throne? There were 13 competitors to the vacant throne. Of the 13, 6 claimed by illegitimate descent from the royal house. Comyn claimed upon an uncertain descent from Donald Bane, brother of Malcolm Canmore, and Eric of Norway claimed upon the right of his dead daughter. The remaining claimants proved descent from Earl Henry, son of David I through female heirs. Robert Bruce the elder based his claim on the fact that he was the son of the second daughter Isabella; Balliol was grandson of the oldest daughter and argued that seniority should outweigh proximity. On hearing of the Maid's death, Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale with the Earls of Mar and Atholl gathered a large force of men and John Balliol declared himself heir to Scotland. The fear of civil war led the Guardians to seek Edward's advice in deciding which of the Claimants had the strongest case for the throne. Edward invited all claimants to Norham Castle. The claimants, among whom were John Hastings, John Balliol and Robert Bruce, were shocked by the King's declaration that he had come -as the superior and lord paramount of the kingdom of Scotland.- This was unethical on the part of Edward and put the Scots in a very vulnerable position. All during the meeting, Edward had his army standing by in case of trouble. He gave the claimants 3 weeks to agree to his terms. The Bishop of Glasgow who was also present at the meeting told Edward that he thought Edward's manipulations were outrageous. However, by the middle of summer the claimants acknowledged Edward I's right to govern Scotland. In November Edward met with the claimants again. He rejected John Hastings but Robert Bruce and John Balliol had a stronger case. They were both in line to the throne through female relatives who were sisters and great-granddaughters of David I. Balliol claimed through a senior line and Bruce claimed through nearness of degree.
JOHN BALLIOL 1291-1296
Edward gave the throne to John Balliol since John+s grandmother, Margaret, was the elder sister. Balliol was crowned at Scone on St. Andrew's Day and gave his oath of homage to Edward. Edward took every opportunity to humiliate Balliol. Balliol was not of strong character and was given the name Toom Tabard (empty coat) by the Scots. This came about just before Edward sent him to the Tower of London by stripping the royal arms from his tunic. He was freed in 1299 and died in Normandy in 1315. The reason Edward sent Balliol to the Tower was because he (Edward) had ordered Scotland to fight with him against the French. The nobles of Scotland made a treaty with France, thus beginning the "auld alliance" with France. As Edward took castles in Scotland, he took the Stone of Destiny from Scone, some Scottish records, plate and jewels and St. Margaret's portion of the True Cross. He also collected oaths of fealty entered in the Ragman Rolls. His actions showed that he would not be content with the ways things were and regarded Scotland as his own. He arranged for a government for Scotland which was just an extension of his own. Discontent was rippling through Scotland. Thus, enter William Wallace.
ROBERT THE BRUCE
The other competitor, Scotland's hero king who finally brought freedom to Scotland, continues the story.