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.