Not royal but impressive none-the-less standing at 6ft tall. Thomas Lord Dacre fought at Bosworth. Fortunately for him he backed Henry Tudor. Three years later he eloped with the heiress Elizabeth Greystoke. Think I might want to do a bit more research about that – one person’s elopement is another person’s kidnap and abduction of an heiress. Anyway, Henry VII didn’t seem bothered about the abrupt nature of the union and in 1503 Thomas was knighted. Henry VIII made him a knight of the garter after the Battle of Flodden.
Dacre died in 1525 and the Dacre beasts were used for his funeral. All four of the animals were carved from a single piece of oak and its speculated that they were created before 1525 for a tournament of some description. They avoided disaster in 1844 when Naworth Castle went up in flames.
The creatures are the so-called Dolphin of Greystoke; a ram which is probably the Multon lamb; the red bull of Dacre and the de Faux griffon.
In 1497, Henry VII, a man who avoided war when possible, sought to end the ongoing conflict between England and Scotland by the Treaty of Ayton which reinforced march law and sought to prevent cross-border feuding and cattle theft erupting into full scale conflict. The treaty was ratified in London on 24 January 1502 and sealed by a diplomatic marriage between Tudor’s daughter Margaret and King James IV of Scotland. The following year the Pope also ratified the treaty.
Margaret travelled to Edinburgh to marry in August 1503. She was not yet fourteen but had not left England any sooner because her grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was insistent that she was of an age to be married. She was not yet six when she was betrothed to James IV who was twenty-two-years old in 1497. Inevitably he already had a mistress and children by the time Margaret arrived in Scotland but as things turned out James was a kindly husband who treated his new bride with consideration.
It wasn’t a particularly popular match with the English who did not take kindly to the Scots after two hundred years of intermittent warfare not to mention James IV’s involvement with Perkin Warbeck which had resurrected the Wars of the Roses for a short time.
Unfortunately for all concerned, James IV was tied by the Auld Alliance to France which meant that when Tudor’s son Henry VIII resumed the centuries old habit of going to war against the French that James was obliged to open up a northern front breaking the perpetual treaty and getting himself killed at the Battle of Flodden on 9 September 1513.
Sir Andrew Murray’s father, also named Andrew, fought with William Wallace. Our Sir Andrew was married to Christina Bruce the sister of King Robert I although his two sons were the issue of a previous marriage. He came to prominence during the Second Scottish War of Independence which started when Edward Balliol, one of the so-called ‘Disinherited’ made his claim to the kingdom of Scotland during the minority of King David II. Having won the battle of Dupplin Moor near Perth, Edward was crowned king.
However, supporters of David continued to fight on. Amongst them was Sir Andrew. In December 1332 he won the Battle of Annan which sent Edward packing to Carlisle, dressed it was reported only in his underclothes – where he presumably spent a miserable Christmas trying to drum up local support as well as some new togs. Having promised Edward III all of Lothian the king marched north with an army and besieged Berwick – not quite breaking the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton as I don’t think he crossed the Tweed.
Rather than taking Edward and his army on and lifting the siege, the Scots tried to draw the king away by raiding England. Sir Andrew got himself caught and imprisoned in Durham in April 1333. His replacement Guardian was Sir Archibald Douglas who rather unfortunately lost the Battle of Halidon Hill in July. Rather bizarrely, and in what can only be described as an own goal, the English ransomed Murray and allowed him to return to Scotland in 1334 – where he proceeded to besiege Balliol’s ally Henry de Beaumont (both names betraying their Anglo-Norman ancestry.)
Edward III was unable to bring Murray to battle, as the wily knight recognised that this was a sure fire way to lose any advantage. Instead, Murray harried the English with guerrilla tactics. When Edward and his army left Scotland he resumed the capture of castles fallen to supporters of Balliol. It was March 1337 before he recaptured his own castle of Bothwell.
The way into England was now clear and the burghers of Carlisle were faced with a Scottish army.
Having made his point, Murray retired in 1338 to Avoch Castle where he died. By that time King Edward III of England had turned his attention to France but Murray’s actions turned the tide in David II’s and Scotland’s favour. Meanwhile in Bute, Robert the Stewart was also taking action to secure the revival of the Bruce cause.
After 1341 the Second Scottish War of Independence reached a stalemate and the seventeen-year old king returned from France where he had been sent for his own safety after Dupplin Moor. The Auld Alliance would see David invading England with disastrous consequences for his rule.
When King Alexander III fell off a cliff one dark and stormy night in 1286, it created a problem. His heir was his granddaughter the Maid of Norway. Sadly she died when she was still a child – possibly as a result of extreme seasickness when she made the crossing from Norway to the Orkneys.
And so dear readers we arrive at 1291. There are many claimants. It swiftly became obvious that no one was going to back down and graciously recognise someone else as king. Scotland was on the edge of a civil conflict. The two key contenders were John Balliol and Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale. King Edward I of England met with Scottish nobles at Norham on Tweed. He graciously volunteered to look at the cases of the claimants to determine who should rule Scotland. The only fly in the neighbourly gesture was this demand that everyone signs an oath of loyalty to him and that whoever he selected should recognise English overlordship…sounds decidedly Machiavellian. And ultimately it was. But at the time Edward was concerned that if he made an unpopular choice his decision would be ignored.
Many of the nobility refused to sign an oath but others did. The rolls of signatures became known as Ragman Rolls. Some people think that the name ‘ragman’ came abut because of all the seals attached to the document. An alternative theory is that is comes from the papal tax record compiled by a man named Ragimunde. There is more than one Ragman Roll. The one signed at Norham in 1291 is smaller than the roll signed in 1296 when Edward invaded Scotland.
And I’m informed the word rigmarole derives from ragman roll – and that ladies and gentlemen made my evening!
A quitclaim was basically a waiver of all legal rights – usually to do with property. it’s a document that stops someone from turning up later to claim a possession back. The two most famous examples that I can think of are the Quitclaim of Canterbury dated 1189 and John of Gaunt’s quitclaim to Katherine Swynford dated 14 February 1382 – but that may be because I’m currently exploring the Scottish Wars of Independence and finishing off some work on medieval mistresses.
Essentially the Duke of Lancaster received something of a shock with the Peasants Revolt of 1381. His estates were attacked, his London home turned into a pile of smouldering rubble, his servants murdered and his son Henry of Bolingbroke had to be smuggled out of the Tower shortly before the rebels broke in and dragged the Archbishop of Canterbury out to his death. No one knows where his long term mistress, and mother of four of his children, Katherine Swynford was during those dangerous weeks. She may also have been hiding John’s daughter Philippa of Lancaster with the rest of her family. There is a theory that she was in Pontefract Castle because when John’s wife Constanza of Castile arrived the castellan refused to open the gates to her and she was forced to find shelter at Knaresburgh Castle. Lancaster who had been negotiating with the Scots at Berwick crossed into Scotland and returned only when it was safe to do so. He swore to forego his sinful ways – which included setting aside the woman he loved.
The quitclaim was a legal document that Lancaster used to give up all rights and claims to any property or gifts that he had given to Katherine in the past. He quite literally quit all claims to anything that once belonged to him that he had granted to his mistress.
The Canterbury Quitclaim of 5 December 1189 was a treaty that reversed the feudal overlordship claimed by King Henry II over Scotland’s kings at the Treaty of Falaise when he had the good fortune to capture William the Lion during a confrontation of Alnwick. Henry’s heir, Richard the Lionheart accepted 10,000 marks from William to help finance his part in the Third Crusade and Scotland was independent once more. Simples…
It’s sometimes helpful to see something in a diagrammatic form to make sense of what’s happening. Beginning with the Royal House of Wessex -King Æthelred was married twice. His second wife was Emma of Normandy who was the mother of Edward the Confessor . Æthelred had a brood of sons by his first wife but the one we need to look at is Edmund Ironside who briefly co-ruled England with King Cnut before being murdered in 1016 whilst in the toilet if the chroniclers are to be believed – and for those of you who like the gory details the assassin was given his orders by Edmund’s own brother-in-law Eadric Streona who was possibly one of the least pleasant political figures in English history, which is saying something as there’re plenty of contenders.
Cnut now claimed the whole of England and married the widowed Queen Emma. He may have hoped that Edmund Ironside’s sons Edward and Edmund would be quietly bumped off when he sent them overseas. Edward the Exile as he became known had three children, only two feature on my table. He was invited back to England by his uncle, Edward the Confessor who succeeded King Cnut’s sons Harold Harefoot (the son of Cnut’s hand fasted wife but now’s not the time to go into that) and Harthacnut (the son of Emma.) Edward the Exile died a very short time after landing on English shores and the suspicion is that he was also bumped off – but in a rather more subtle way than his father.
Whilst he was in exile he married Agatha of Hungary. The couple had three children (yes I know there’re only two on the diagram.) The child I’m interested in today is St Margaret. She married Malcolm Canmore after she fled to Scotland following the Conquest. Her daughter Edith married King Henry I, changed her name to Matilda and was the mother of the Empress Matilda. Every monarch since King Henry II has been descended from the Royal House of Wessex.
The descent of Scottish kings is more complex but it is, I think, also true to say that every king since King David I has been descended from the Royal House of Wessex. King David fathered a line that led to the eight-year old Maid of Norway who died after making the sea crossing from Norway to the Orkneys in 1090. There was no direct claimant to the Scottish Crown- but there were very many contenders. The First Interregnum began whilst King Edward I of England looked at the thirteen competitors who had a claim to the Crown. The man Edward chose, John Balliol was descended from King David on his mother’s side of the family tree. The House of Bruce was also descended from King David. Unsurprisingly the Stewarts are also descended from King David. One of Robert II’s ancestors was the base born daughter of William the Lion and another married the daughter of the Earl of Huntingdon – a title which King Henry I of England gave to King David and which he passed on to his son to avoid the complications of vassalage and overlordship
David born in 1080 was a younger son of Malcolm Canmore and St Margaret. After Malcolm died his throne was inherited by his brother Edgar – which did not go down particularly well with their uncle Donald who claimed the crown as Donald III – in Scotland crowns usually moved sideways through siblings before being inherited by sons but Margaret wanted her sons to inherit rather than her brother-in-law or step-sons.
Edgar received some support from William Rufus not least because the Earl of Northumbria was revolting and Uncle Donald and Edgar’s older brother Edmund who supported his uncle’s claim) were supporting the rebellion Robert de Mowbray who was the Earl of Northumbria between 1086-1095. This was a slightly unexpected allegiance as the earl had killed Malcolm Canmore and his son Edward at the Battle of Alnwick in 1091 – if nothing else it says that the complexities of northern politics should Never be underestimated.
Mowbray ended up in prison, without a title and without a wife before being allowed to become a monk. His fellow conspirators had an even less pleasant time, William of eu being blinded and castrated. Rufus having dealt with the rebellion of 1095 helped Edgar to depose his uncle in 1097. Once in power Edgar made a treaty with Magnus Barefoot which saw the scandavians take control of the Western Isles and send his sister Edith off to `England in 1100 to marry the new king – Henry I. In 1107 Edgar died leaving his throne to his brothers Alexander and David.
Alexander ruled the northern half of Scotland and was Henry I’s brother-in-law and son-in-law having married Sybilla of Normandy, one of the English king’s flock of illegitimate daughter. When he died in 1124, his kingdom was inherited by brother David who ruled all of Scotland until his death in 1153.
David ruled the southern half of Scotland. He, aged nine-years, accompanied his sister Edith to the English court and acquired Norman culture and a Norman wife in the form of Matilda of Huntingdon – making the scottish king a man with estates in Northampton and the south of England – which meant he was an English vassal (but only for English lands.) And incidentally King Henry had made him the prince of Cumbria and married him to the widow of an earl of Northumberland to give him a bit more of a punch in the north.
David established a feudal system in Scotland and founded 15 religious houses, including the abbeys at Jedburgh, Kelso and Melrose after he returned to Scotland in 1124. An intensely pious man, it didn’t stop David from invading England on behalf of his niece the Empress Matilda.
In 1138 he came second in the Battle of the Standard – one of only two pitched battles to take place during the Anarchy. The second being the Battle of Lincoln in 1141 but if we’re going to be pedantic about it, David wasn’t really promoting Matilda’s cause, he was aiming at making Scotland that bit bigger – which he did because in 1139 the Treaty of Durham saw King Stephen recognise David as king of an independent Scotland which included Cumberland and Northumbria.
He died on 24 May 1153, in his bed, in Carlisle Castle – which was definitely Scottish at the time.
Arnulf was a younger son of Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury and Mabel de Bellême. He is associated with the earldom of Pembroke Castle and the founding of Pembroke Priory. His birthdate is usually given as 1066 but there is no exact record. The de Bellêmes were part of the Conqueror’s extended kinship network and although de Montgomery didn’t take part int he Conquest he was in England by 1067 where he was granted extensive land holdings. By 1086 he was a very wealthy man having been rewarded with land in Sussex, including manors which had belonged to King Harold, and Shropshire.
It was in 1086 that Arnulf first made his appearance on the known historical record when he witnessed a grant made by his father to a monastery in Normandy. Arnulf is also in evidence rebelling against William Rufus along with the rest of his family in support of Robert Curthose, the Conqueror’s eldest son. The family did not suffer when the rebellion failed and was soon involved in extending its landholdings and power base by an invasion of Wales- specifically the kingdom of Deheubarth – including modern day Dyfed. He is associated with the capture of Nest of Wales pictured at the start of this post with her lover King Henry I – the crowns are to represent their status rather than to suggest that they retired to bed wearing nothing but headgear.
When Roger died in 1094 he was succeeded by his son Hugh and after his death by Robert de Bellême, who was Arnulf and Hugher’s elder brother. De Bellême and his family supported Robert Curthose’s claim to the English throne against that of Curthose’s younger brother King Henry I in 1102. Arnulf had sent his steward, Gerald of Wales, to Ireland to arrange a marriage contract with Muirchertach Ua Briain of Munster which included military assistance as well as a bride. When the rebellion failed, the Montgomery family were banished from England and Arnulf lost Pembroke and the power that he wielded on the marches between England and Wales. The story of their rebellion and subsequent banishment is recounted by Orderic Vitalis, who quite frankly wasn’t totally impressed by the family then or in earlier times.
Following the banishment of the Montgomeries from English shores Arnulf took himself to Ireland and his father-in-law who had no doubt hoped to benefit from Arnulf’s potential as a trading ally. He spent the next twenty years in either Ireland or Normandy. He died circa 1122 at the latest but maybe as early as 1118.
Arnulf’s daughter, Alice, married Maurice FitzGerald the son of Nest the daughter of King Rhys and Arnulf’s steward Gerald of Windsor.
We have clearly left my start date of 1066 behind – to the tune of some five hundred years – but nothing happens in a vacuum historically speaking: territories and politics evolve.
Hadrian’s Wall marked the border of the Roman Empire but by the fifth century things were looking grim and there was a proliferation of military based kingdoms. The kingdom of Rheged could be found in modern day Cumbria extending into the Eden Valley and Westmorland. It’s ruler Urien or Urbgen can be found in twelfth century Welsh poetry. One of Taliesin’s poems refers to him as the ruler of Aeron which might be Ayr – meaning that on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence the Romano-British kingdom of Rheged could have extended from Ayrshire south of the Solway. The inhabitants of the kingdom spoke a Celtic language and its rulers were descended from Coel Hen – that’s ‘Old King Cole’ to you and me and I doubt very much whether he was a ‘merry old soul.’ Needless to say there is a lack of paper evidence and after Urien’s death, probably at the hands of one of his own extended kinship network, the kingdom disintegrated and was subsequently incorporated into the kingdoms of Strathclyde and, more definitely, Northumbria.
In the early medieval period, which was the Dark Ages when I was at school, the British kingdom of Strathclyde covered the area, at various times, between the Clyde and as far south as the River Lune in Lancashire. It’s thought that the kingdom derived from a fourth century state that was a buffer zone designed to hold off the Picts from Scotland and the Scots from Ireland (they settled in Argyle).
Now we throw the Angles into the mix. Æthelfirth was the king of Bernicia (think Bamburgh) and of Deira (think East Riding and North Yorkshire). His period in power was 592-616. He was a successful warlord who gained significant territories at this time. It’s likely that Rheged disappeared into his power and that the Lothians also came under his control. The Venerable Bede paints a picture of ravaged Britons. At the same time as Rheged disappeared Strathclyde also faded for a time.
A succeeding king – Edwin of Northumbria- even had an impact on the Isle of Man. Northumbria became the most dominant of the early medieval kingdoms during the seventh century. The territories around it shrank or were subsumed. It was at this point that the Northumbrians probably sought to establish overlordship over the kingdom of Strathclyde which had undergone some shrinkage since the second paragraph of this post. Bede also records that some Britons who lived in Strathclyde looked to the Picts and the Scots for support. Inevitably after the initial bonhomie, the Britons of Strathclyde faced danger on two fronts. In 711 and 717 the people of Strathclyde were defeated by the Scots. The area Bede was describing included Dumbarton, Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire. The Solway probably marked the edge of the kingdom of Strathclyde at that time. And needless to say there was an awful lot of slaying going on. By 750 the Northumbrians had annexed southern Aryshire.
During the 840s Kenneth Mac Alpin united the Scots and the Picts. The royal families of the region formed alliances, intermarried and carried on bumping one another off. The shape of their territories changed and developed according to who was handiest with their army.
And because I like a date to pin these things to – this all happened before 875 (or thereabouts) when Bishop Eardulf of Lindisfarne fled with the body of St Cuthbert as a result of the arrival of the next set of invaders – the Vikings (but that’s a different story and a new post.) As the saints body was kept at Whithorn in Galloway for a while it has been suggested that the area was still part of Northumbria at the time – certainly there were earlier monastic affiliations which meant that the saint was welcome.
Uhtred of Galloway, born in 1128, was the grandson of King Henry I. His mother married to Fergus of Galloway was one of the king’s illegitimate daughters. The alliance on the northern edge of England would have helped to secure the border through an extended kinship network. The same pattern of marriage to strategic border barons and lords can be seen across Henry’s domains. He married one daughter, called Alice, to Matthew of Montmorency. On that occasion the king’s ploy proved ineffective as Matthew later became the Constable of France. Rather than invading and maintaining an army in hostile territory Henry sought to absorb local nobles into a wider affinity of kinship to create a buffer zone. There is also the element of assimilation to consider in the case of Elizabeth Fitzroy, Uhtred, the grandson of a king was part of the Anglo-Norman aristocracy which led to resentment in the border region of Scotland.
As a boy Uhtred was sent to the court of Malcolm IV as a hostage. Malcolm’s mother, Ada or Adeline, was a great-grand daughter of the king. By 1157 Malcom did homage for his possessions in England at Peveril Castle in 1157. At the time Malcolm was granted the earldom of Huntingdon in exchange for Cumberland which he claimed by right of his father and grandfather.
At some point Uhtred married Gunhilda of Dunbar and became a father of a family of five sons and daughters. Through their father they were descended from the Normans and from their mother they were descended from the House of Dunkeld One of his daughters, Christina born about 1170, became the wife of William de Brus, the 3rd Lord of Annandale , making her the two times great grandmother of Robert the Bruce – assuming I’ve counted back up the family tree correctly.
In 1160 Fergus of Galloway died and Uhtred became a co-ruler of Galloway with his brother Gilla Brigte. The fought alongside William the Lion in the Scottish invasion of Northumbria in 1174. The result was a disaster for William the Lion but also for Uhtred. The Galwegians took the opportunity to rebel against the Anglo-Normans. Uhtred’s brother and nephew blinded and castrated him before killing him. Gille Brite took control of all of Galloway and allied himself with Henry II.