Scotland’s Medieval History
Having seen the invasion off the Vikings, Normans and Irish tribes, Scotland began its troublesome relationship with its southern neighbour. England’s troubles with France led us into an alliance that provided mixed fortunes.
Great leaders such as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce (above) led Scotland in overwhelming victories over England at Stirling and Bannockburn, however these victories were matched by many crushing defeats such as those at Falkirk and Halidon Hill.
Despite this there were some brighter moments in these otherwise dark ages – St Andrews University was founded and soon followed by Aberdeen and Edinburgh – so beginning Scotland’s reputation as a place of great learning. Also its relationship with the Danes improved as Orkney and Shetland returned to Scotland once again.
Magnus Barefoot (or Barelegs) came to the throne of Norway in 1093. Like his countrymen he enjoyed the conquest of other countries. In 1098 he drew up the first formal treaty with a Scots king, Edgar, confirming in writing that all the Western Isles and the peninsula of Kintyre belonged to Norway.
» Continue to read about Magnus Barefoot landing in the Western Isles
Kintyre and the Western Isles had been acknowledged as the property of the Norwegian crown in a treaty between Edgar, King of Scots and Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway, in 1098.
» Continue to read about the 1263 Battle of Largs
With Edward I on the throne of England, John Balliol of Scotland and Philip IV of France drew up an offensive and defensive alliance which became a treaty in 1295. This was to have been endorsed with marriage between Balliol’s son Edward and Philip’s niece.
» Continue read about the ‘Auld Alliance’
Scotland was entirely submissive to England by 1296. Following English victories at Dunbar and Berwick, John Balliol had surrendered himself and was taken as a prisoner to England. Edward I toured his new possession as far north as Elgin and removed the Stone of Destiny from Scone to take it back to London.
» Continue to read about the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge
Continuing from his success against the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, William Wallace had continued his ‘liberation of Scotland’ with the recapture of Berwick and raids across Northumberland. In the name of the absent John Balliol he was made a Guardian of the Realm in the March of 1298.
» Continue to read about the 1298 Battle of Falkirk
In 1304, John Comyn II, known as the Red Comyn after his grandfather, moved his allegiance over to England’s Edward I and sat on his ‘Scottish Council’.
» Continue to read about the Murder of the ‘Red Comyn’
After murdering John Comyn, the way was clear for Robert the Bruce to become King of Scotland without challenge. His grandfather had first contested the Bruce family’s claim to the throne back in 1286.
» Continue to read about the Coronation of Robert the Bruce
During the Wars of Independence, Philip de Mowbray agreed to surrender Stirling Castle if not assisted by England. Edward II therefore came across the border and by the time he left Edinburgh for Falkirk on the 22 June, he had amassed an army of sixteen thousand infantry and two and a half thousand knights on horseback.
» Continue to read about the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn
Before Pope John XXII, Scotland had been recognised as an independent nation by the papacy. Pope John preferred Edward II’s version of who was ruler of Scotland however, and in 1319 he accused four Scottish bishops of rebellion and summoned them to answer to him.
» Continue to read about the 1320 Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath
In 1332 during an Anglo-Scots peace, Edward Balliol sailed with eighty-eight ships from the Humber to Fife and fought his way to Scone. His father John had abdicated in 1296 and Edward, claiming his family as still the true royal line, had himself crowned King of Scotland.
» Continue to read about the 1333 Battle of Halidon Hill
The Battle of Otterburn is remembered as the fight where ‘a dead man won the field’. A Scottish attack was made in Northumberland on Henry Percy and his estates, led by James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas, on the 5 August 1388.
» Continue to read about the 1388 Battle of Otterburn
This battle, regarded by many today as the conflict between Highlanders and Lowlanders which killed the expansion of Gaelic influence, was one of the most brutal in Scottish history, becoming known as ‘Red Harlaw’.
» Continue to read about the 1411 Battle of Harlaw
St Andrews University is first mentioned in documents of 1410, but its birth is usually assigned to the charter given to Bishop Henry Wardlaw in 1412, endorsed the following year by Pope Benedict XIII. This was Scotland’s first university and had Warlaw as its Chancellor, while Laurence of Lindores became it’s first Rector and Dean of Arts.
» Continue to read about the founding of the University of St. Andrews
Throughout Scottish history there have been many battles fought on Scots soil, many have been fought on English soil, however a few battles between Scotland and England have taken place on French soil. Few have been as important as this one though; the Battle of Baugé
» Continue to read about the Battle of Baugé
In 1424, when James I returned from eighteen years imprisonment in England, he set about dealing with those who declined to aid his release from prison earlier and curbing the power of Scotland’s nobles.
» Continue to read about the murder of James I
For six centuries the Orkney and Shetland Islands remained under Norwegian sovereignty, geographically central in a sea-faring Scandinavian civilisation which reached across the Atlantic.
» Continue to read about the return of Orkney and Shetland to Scotland
James III’s policies infuriated many noble families, whilst drawing closer to him many more. His unhappy opponents won to their side the King’s son, fifteen year old Prince James, and made it known that they intended to install him as monarch. This was the motivation behind the battle on 11 June at Sauchieburn, near Stirling.
» Continue to read about the 1488 Battle of Sauchieburn