Category Archives: Scotland

Norman Queen: Matilda of England

Queen Matilda of Scotland
Edith of Scotland who would become Queen Matilda of England

Edith of Scotland was born at Dumferline in 1080.  Her father was Malcolm III King of the Scots, her mother Margaret Atheling, daughter of Edward Atheling of the ancient Saxon House of Wessex.  At the christening of Edith, Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror was her godfather, and Queen Matilda of Flanders, William’s wife, her godmother.

Edith was educated at Romsey and Wilton Abbey, where she was trained in English, French and Latin, languages to help her in later life.

In 1068, Edgar Atheling joined forces with Earls Edwin and Morcat against William’s rule… This proved a bad move in the long term, as they were forced to flee their lands, for fear of their lives.

Storms drove their ships towards the Scottish coast, and they were welcomed by the court of King Malcolm of Canmore.  This Saxon princess, that graced his court, and the prospect of an alliance with an Ancient Anglo-Saxon royal house was a tempting thought.  By the end of 1070, they were married.

Edith had been betrothed to Alan Rufus, Lord of Richmond in 1093.  A row erupted between her father and William Rufus, and the then King of England on Cumbria and Lothian boundaries.

William Rufus, drove the Scots to the north of Solway, then invited the Scottish King for talks at Gloucester.

Malcolm III King of the Scots was insulted by the English King who refused to receive him.  This insult led to Malcolm III riding with his Scottish Army on the lands of Northumbria.

On the 13th November 1093, Malcolm III was struck in the eye by a lance, while accepting the keys in surrender of Castle Alnwick.  He died as did his son Edward.

Donald Base Malcolm’s brother seized the throne of Scotland.

Within three day’s Queen Margaret had died and Edith was now an orphan.

In August of 1100, William Rufus died, and the English throne was seized by brother Henry: King Henry I.

Henry made no secret of it, he wished to marry Edith, for he had been attracted to her from a distance.  Henry needed a bride with an ancient Saxon blood line, which would increase his popularity.

This Scottish princess had grown up in a convent, and questions were asked whether she had taken her vows as a Nun.  Edith testified she had been at the Abbey for educational purposes, and the Archbishop of Anselm confirmed she was not a Nun and approved the marriage of Edith and Henry.

On the 11th November 1100 Edith and Henry were married at Westminster Abbey by Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury Cathedral.  She was given a Norman name; Queen Matilda of England.

Their marriage proved a success, as relations with Scotland improved, and she became his Regent during his periods of absence.

Was it what she learnt at the Abbey or the saintly attitude she gleamed from her mother, she devoted herself to doing good causes, even washing the feet of the poor … as Jesus did.

Her husband Henry I was an active adulterer and believed to have fathered twenty children from a string of mistresses.

Queen Matilda died on the 1st May 1118 at Westminster Palace and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

Wikipedia Image

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Scotland’s Four Kingdoms

Picts
The Picts

With the departure of the Roman’s from Scotland, four kingdoms emerged.

The Picts covered northern Scotland from the River Forth to the Shetlands, and are also remembered for their carved symbol stones.

The Britons wrote poetry in Old Welsh, and held Dumbarton Rock and the South.

The Gaelic speaking people of Dal Riato famed for their metalwork, like the Hunterston Brooch which dates from around AD 700, showing the Gaels, to be a highly artistic culture.

The Angles, Germanic invaders who held the Kingdom of Bernicia, who brought with them the Anglo-Saxon tongue, which became the Scots language.

In the early years of the 7th century, the Angles captured Edinburgh from the Britons, then pushed west to Galloway.  In AD685, they struck north into Pictland, reaching a climax at Dunnichen.  In the Battle of Dunnichen, King Bridei of the Picts, massacred the King of the Angles.

In AD793 the ferocious raids began on monasteries; Iona and Lindisfarne among others, creating fear and confusion across the kingdoms.  Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles fell to these Norsemen.

In AD839 the Vikings wiped out the Pictish royal family.  Competitors emerged for the kingship, and Kenneth MacAlpine, King of the Gaels of Dal Riata, became the undisputed King of the Picts in AD849.  He brought with him the relics of St.Columba from the island of Iona to Dunkeld – the saint and his preaching’s were a powerful symbol of authority to accompany a Gaelic king to his new kingdom.  Pictland hadn’t been fully conquered, but rather the foundations had been set for a new Gaelic Kingdom which included the Picts.

It wasn’t long before the Vikings were back, this time to conquer Britain.  In AD867 they seized the Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria, followed up three years later, by storming Dunbarton Fortress, and went on to conquer much of Britain.  The Picts and Gaels found themselves encircled by Viking forces.

In AD900 Constantine mac Aed became King of the Picts.  In less than four years had defeated the Vikings at Strathcarron, not a battle of the sword but one out of diplomacy.  He married off his daughters to the Vikings, creating an alliance along Gaelic lines and renaming it Alba.  Alba was the creation of the Scottish nation, and the founding father was Constantine II, grandson of Kenneth MacAlpine.

In AD934 Ethelstan, the Anglo-Saxon King of England set about subduing the north of Britain to his will.  He attacked Constantine at Dunnottar, but failed in his quest.  Constantine invaded Britain but was defeated at the Battle of Brunanburh.  Even though Constantine lost the battle he achieved in joining the Picts and Gaels into a single Gaelic speaking nation.

Scotland’s Birth…

Early Human Warriors

10,000 BC: The earliest known occupation of Scotland by man, started in the Palaeolithic era, also known as the Stone Age.  Man lived off the land and waters, hunting for fish and wild animals, gathering fruit, plants, roots, nuts and shells.

3,000 BC: Early prehistoric tools discovered in Scotland, date back to the Neolithic age, and the nomadic hunter-gatherers.  It was a time when farmers built permanent dwellings.

120 AD: Much of Scotland’s history, started when the Roman’s arrived in Britain.  As hard as they tried, Roman forces could not defeat the Caledonians and Picts.  Fortifications were built by the Romans, to defend themselves against these warriors, in the shape of Hadrian’s and Antonine Wall.

800 AD: Viking accomplished warriors and seamen migrated from Norway and Denmark, settling in Scotland.  The Viking’s settled in the west as the Picts forged a new kingdom; the Kingdom of Alba.

1040 AD: Macbeth ruled Scotland, and a fictious tale by William Shakespeare written in Tudor Times, kept the tale alive for centuries.  Macbeth, the King of Alba ruled from 1040-1057.

1100 AD: In the 12th century, the Kingdom of Alba grew, becoming a feudal society. Peace was achieved through the “Treaty of Falaise,” signed by William I.  During the reigns of Alexander II & III much land was turned over to agriculture, trade on the continent grew, monasteries and abbeys flourished.

1297 AD: Succession crisis brought unrest across Scotland, following the death of Alexander III.  England’s monarch, Edward I believed he should be recognised as overlord of Scotland, as his troops marched north. Edward planned to cross the River forth at Stirling Bridge, but were pushed back by William Wallace.

1306 AD: Robert the Bruce was crowned King, amidst times of unrest.  In 1314, Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II at the “Battle of Bannockburn.”

1320 AD: The “Declaration of Arbroath” proclaimed Scotland’s status as an independent state, which was sent to the Pope John XXII, who gave his seal of approval.

1450 AD: The cultural intellectual and artistic movement took hold across Europe which brought changes to Scotland.  Education, intellectual life, literature, art, music, architecture, and politics advanced in the late 15th century.

1542 AD: In 1542 Mary is crowned Queen of the Scots at the tender age of nine months.  Her reign was marked by civil unrest during the Rough Wooing and conflict between the Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation.  Worried Mary would try to launch a Catholic plot against her, Elizabeth I imprisoned Mary in England until her execution in 1597.

1603 AD: James VI succeeded to the throne at just 13 months after Mary was forced to abdicate.  When Elizabeth I died with no heir, James VI succeeded to the English throne and became King James VI & James I, a historic move that’s now known as the “Union of the Crowns.”

1707 AD: The Act of Union brought Scotland even closer to Britain by creating a single Parliament of the United Kingdom at the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament).

1746AD: The “Battle of Culloden” in 1746 was the final Jacobite rising and the last battle fought on British soil.  The Jacobites were no match for the Hanoverian army – the battle lasted barely an hour and the army had been crushed.

1746 AD: Shortly after the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden, a period known as the Highland Clearances began.  A number of laws were introduced in an attempt to assimilate the Highlanders; speaking Gaelic and wearing traditional attire was banned, and clan chiefs had their rights of jurisdiction removed.

1750 AD: The Age of Enlightment shaped the modern world.  The intellectual movement sought to understand the natural world and the human mind and ranged across philosophy, chemistry, geology, engineering, technology, poetry, medicine, economics and history.

1800 AD: Industrial advances and wealth accumulated from the trade of tobacco, sugar and cotton which brought about the dawn of urban Scotland at the turn of the 19th century.  The country shifted from rural to urban, and huge towns, large factories and heavy industry took hold.  Mining, shipbuilding and textiles became an important part of Scotland’s development.