An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707)
by Robert S. Rait
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I desire to take this opportunity of acknowledging valuable aid derived from the recent works on Scottish History by Mr. Hume Brown and Mr. Andrew Lang, from Mr. E.W. Robertson's Scotland under her Early Kings, and from Mr. Oman's Art of War. Personal acknowledgments are due to Professor Davidson of Aberdeen, to Mr. H. Fisher, Fellow of New College, and to Mr. J.T.T. Brown, of Glasgow, who was good enough to aid me in the search for references to the Highlanders in Scottish mediaeval literature, and to give me the benefit of his great knowledge of this subject.










" V. EDWARD III AND SCOTLAND, 1328-1399 64



" VIII. THE PARTING OF THE WAYS, 1542-1568 116

" IX. THE UNION OF THE CROWNS, 1568-1625 141

" X. "THE TROUBLES IN SCOTLAND", 1625-1688 157







The present volume has been published with two main objects. The writer has attempted to exhibit, in outline, the leading features of the international history of the two countries which, in 1707, became the United Kingdom. Relations with England form a large part, and the heroic part, of Scottish history, relations with Scotland a very much smaller part of English history. The result has been that in histories of England references to Anglo-Scottish relations are occasional and spasmodic, while students of Scottish history have occasionally forgotten that, in regard to her southern neighbour, the attitude of Scotland was not always on the heroic scale. Scotland appears on the horizon of English history only during well-defined epochs, leaving no trace of its existence in the intervals between these. It may be that the space given to Scotland in the ordinary histories of England is proportional to the importance of Scottish affairs, on the whole; but the importance assigned to Anglo-Scottish relations in the fourteenth century is quite disproportionate to the treatment of the same subject in the fifteenth century. Readers even of Mr. Green's famous book, may learn with surprise from Mr. Lang or Mr. Hume Brown the part played by the Scots in the loss of the English dominions in France, or may fail to understand the references to Scotland in the diplomatic correspondence of the sixteenth century.[1] There seems to be, therefore, room for a connected narrative of the attitude of the two countries towards each other, for only thus is it possible to provide the data requisite for a fair appreciation of the policy of Edward I and Henry VIII, or of Elizabeth and James I. Such a narrative is here presented, in outline, and the writer has tried, as far as might be, to eliminate from his work the element of national prejudice.

The book has also another aim. The relations between England and Scotland have not been a purely political connexion. The peoples have, from an early date, been, to some extent, intermingled, and this mixture of blood renders necessary some account of the racial relationship. It has been a favourite theme of the English historians of the nineteenth century that the portions of Scotland where the Gaelic tongue has ceased to be spoken are not really Scottish, but English. "The Scots who resisted Edward", wrote Mr. Freeman, "were the English of Lothian. The true Scots, out of hatred to the 'Saxons' nearest to them, leagued with the 'Saxons' farther off."[2] Mr. Green, writing of the time of Edward I, says: "The farmer of Fife or the Lowlands, and the artisan of the towns, remained stout-hearted Northumbrian Englishmen", and he adds that "The coast districts north of the Tay were inhabited by a population of the same blood as that of the Lowlands".[3] The theory has been, at all events verbally, accepted by Mr. Lang, who describes the history of Scotland as "the record of the long resistance of the English of Scotland to England, of the long resistance of the Celts of Scotland to the English of Scotland".[4] Above all, the conception has been firmly planted in the imagination by the poet of the Lady of the Lake.

"These fertile plains, that soften'd vale, Were once the birthright of the Gael; The stranger came with iron hand, And from our fathers reft the land."

While holding in profound respect these illustrious names, the writer ventures to ask for a modification of this verdict. That the Scottish Lowlanders (among whom we include the inhabitants of the coast districts from the Tay to the Moray Firth) were, in the end of the thirteenth century, "English in speech and manners" (as Mr. Oman[5] guardedly describes them) is beyond doubt. Were they also English in blood? The evidence upon which the accepted theory is founded is twofold. In the course of the sixth century the Angles made a descent between the Humber and the Forth, and that district became part of the English kingdom of Northumbria. Even here we have, in the evidence of the place-names, some reasons for believing that a proportion of the original Brythonic population may have survived. This northern portion of the kingdom of Northumbria was affected by the Danish invasions, but it remained an Anglian kingdom till its conquest, in the beginning of the eleventh century, by the Celtic king, Malcolm II. There is, thus, sufficient justification for Mr. Freeman's phrase, "the English of Lothian", if we interpret the term "Lothian" in the strict sense; but it remains to be explained how the inhabitants of the Scottish Lowlands, outside Lothian, can be included among the English of Lothian who resisted Edward I. That explanation is afforded by the events which followed the Norman Conquest of England. It is argued that the Englishmen who fled from the Normans united with the original English of Lothian to produce the result indicated in the passage quoted from Mr. Green. The farmers of Fife and the Lowlands, the artisans of the towns, the dwellers in the coast districts north of Tay, became, by the end of the thirteenth century, stout Northumbrian Englishmen. Mr. Green admits that the south-west of Scotland was still inhabited, in 1290, by the Picts of Galloway, and neither he nor any other exponent of the theory offers any explanation of their subsequent disappearance. The history of Scotland, from the fourteenth century to the Rising of 1745, contains, according to this view, a struggle between the Celts and "the English of Scotland", the most important incident of which is the battle of Harlaw, in 1411, which resulted in a great victory for "the English of Scotland". Mr. Hill Burton writes thus of Harlaw: "On the face of ordinary history it looks like an affair of civil war. But this expression is properly used towards those who have common interests and sympathies, who should naturally be friends and may be friends again, but for a time are, from incidental causes of dispute and quarrel, made enemies. The contest ... was none of this; it was a contest between foes, of whom their contemporaries would have said that their ever being in harmony with each other, or having a feeling of common interests and common nationality, was not within the range of rational expectations.... It will be difficult to make those not familiar with the tone of feeling in Lowland Scotland at that time believe that the defeat of Donald of the Isles was felt as a more memorable deliverance even than that of Bannockburn."[6]

We venture to plead for a modification of this theory, which may fairly be called the orthodox account of the circumstances. It will at once occur to the reader that some definite proof should be forthcoming that the Celtic inhabitants of Scotland, outside the Lothians, were actually subjected to this process of racial displacement. Such a displacement had certainly not been effected before the Norman Conquest, for it was only in 1018 that the English of Lothian were subjected to the rule of a Celtic king, and the large amount of Scottish literature, in the Gaelic tongue, is sufficient indication that Celtic Scotland was not confined to the Highlands in the eleventh century. Nor have we any hint of a racial displacement after the Norman conquest, even though it is unquestionable that a considerable number of exiles followed Queen Margaret to Scotland, and that William's harrying of the north of England drove others over the border. It is easy to lay too much stress upon the effect of the latter event. The northern counties cannot have been very thickly populated, and if Mr. Freeman is right in his description of "that fearful deed, half of policy, half of vengeance, which has stamped the name of William with infamy", not very many of the victims of his cruelty can have made good their flight, for we are told that the bodies of the inhabitants of Yorkshire "were rotting in the streets, in the highways, or on their own hearthstones". Stone dead left no fellow to colonize Scotland. We find, therefore, only the results and not the process of this racial displacement. These results were the adoption of English manners and the English tongue, and the growth of English names, and we wish to suggest that they may find an historical explanation which does not involve the total disappearance of the Scottish farmer from Fife, or of the Scottish artisan from Aberdeen.

Before proceeding to a statement of the explanation to which we desire to direct the reader's attention, it may be useful to deal briefly with the questions relating to the spoken language of Lowland Scotland and to its place-names. The fact that the language of the Angles and Saxons completely superseded, in England, the tongue of the conquered Britons, is admitted to be a powerful argument for the view that the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England resulted in a racial displacement. But the argument cannot be transferred to the case of the Scottish Lowlands, where, also, the English language has completely superseded a Celtic tongue. For, in the first case, the victory is that of the language of a savage people, known to be in a state of actual warfare, and it is a victory which follows as an immediate result of conquest. In Scotland, the victory of the English tongue (outside the Lothians) dates from a relatively advanced period of civilization, and it is a victory won, not by conquest or bloodshed, but by peaceful means. Even in a case of conquest, change of speech is not conclusive evidence of change of race (e.g. the adoption of a Romance tongue by the Gauls); much less is it decisive in such an instance as the adoption of English by the Lowlanders of Scotland. In striking contrast to the case of England, the victory of the Anglo-Saxon speech in Scotland did not include the adoption of English place-names. The reader will find the subject fully discussed in the valuable work by the Reverend J.B. Johnston, entitled Place-Names of Scotland. "It is impossible", says Mr. Johnston, "to speak with strict accuracy on the point, but Celtic names in Scotland must outnumber all the rest by nearly ten to one." Even in counties where the Gaelic tongue is now quite obsolete (e.g. in Fife, in Forfar, in the Mearns, and in parts of Aberdeenshire), the place-names are almost entirely Celtic. The region where English place-names abound is, of course, the Lothians; but scarcely an English place-name is definitely known to have existed, even in the Lothians, before the Norman Conquest, and, even in the Lothians, the English tongue never affected the names of rivers and mountains. In many instances, the existence of a place-name which has now assumed an English form is no proof of English race. As the Gaelic tongue died out, Gaelic place-names were either translated or corrupted into English forms; Englishmen, receiving grants of land from Malcolm Canmore and his successors, called these lands after their own names, with the addition of the suffix-ham or-tun; the influence of English ecclesiastics introduced many new names; and as English commerce opened up new seaports, some of these became known by the names which Englishmen had given them.[7] On the whole, the evidence of the place-names corroborates our view that the changes were changes in civilization, and not in racial distribution.

We now proceed to indicate the method by which these changes were effected, apart from any displacement of race. Our explanation finds a parallel in the process which has changed the face of the Scottish Highlands within the last hundred and fifty years, and which produced very important results within the "sixty years" to which Sir Walter Scott referred in the second title of Waverley.[8] There has been no racial displacement; but the English language and English civilization have gradually been superseding the ancient tongue and the ancient customs of the Scottish Highlands. The difference between Skye and Fife is that the influences which have been at work in the former for a century and a half have been in operation in the latter for more than eight hundred years.

What then were the influences which, between 1066 and 1300, produced in the Scottish Lowlands some of the results that, between 1746 and 1800, were achieved in the Scottish Highlands? That they included an infusion of English blood we have no wish to deny. Anglo-Saxons, in considerable numbers, penetrated northwards, and by the end of the thirteenth century the Lowlanders were a much less pure race than, except in the Lothians, they had been in the days of Malcolm Canmore. Our contention is, that we have no evidence for the assertion that this Saxon admixture amounted to a racial change, and that, ethnically, the men of Fife and of Forfar were still Scots, not English. Such an infusion of English blood as our argument allows will not explain the adoption of the English tongue, or of English habits of life; we must look elsewhere for the full explanation. The English victory was, as we shall try to show, a victory not of blood but of civilization, and three main causes helped to bring it about. The marriage of Malcolm Canmore introduced two new influences into Scotland—an English Court and an English Church, and contemporaneously with the changes consequent upon these new institutions came the spread of English commerce, carrying with it the English tongue along the coast, and bringing an infusion of English blood into the towns.[9] In the reign of David I, the son of Malcolm Canmore and St. Margaret, these purely Saxon influences were succeeded by the Anglo-Norman tendencies of the king's favourites. Grants of land[10] to English and Norman courtiers account for the occurrence of English and Norman family and place-names. The men who lived in immediate dependence upon a lord, giving him their services and receiving his protection, owing him their homage and living under his sole jurisdiction, took the name of the lord whose men they were.

A more important question arises with regard to the system of land tenure, and the change from clan ownership to feudal possession. How was the tribal system suppressed? An outline of the process by which Scotland became a feudalized country will be found in the Appendix, where we shall also have an opportunity of referring, for purposes of comparison, to the methods by which clan-feeling was destroyed after the last Jacobite insurrection. Here, it must suffice to give a brief summary of the case there presented. It is important to bear in mind that the tribes of 1066 were not the clans of 1746. The clan system in the Highlands underwent considerable development between the days of Malcolm Canmore and those of the Stuarts. Too much stress must not be laid upon the unwillingness of the people to give up tribal ownership, for it is clear from our early records that the rights of joint-occupancy were confined to the immediate kin of the head of the clan. "The limit of the immediate kindred", says Mr. E.W. Robertson,[11] "extended to the third generation, all who were fourth in descent from a Senior passing from amongst the joint-proprietary, and receiving, apparently, a final allotment; which seems to have been separated permanently from the remainder of the joint-property by certain ceremonies usual on such occasions." To such holders of individual property the charter offered by David I gave additional security of tenure. We know from the documents entitled "Quoniam attachiamenta", printed in the first volume of the Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, that the tribal system included large numbers of bondmen, to whom the change to feudalism meant little or nothing. But even when all due allowance has been made for this, the difficulty is not completely solved. There must have been some owners of clan property whom the changes affected in an adverse way, and we should expect to hear of them. We do hear of them, for the reigns of the successors of Malcolm Canmore are largely occupied with revolts in Galloway and in Morayshire. The most notable of these was the rebellion of MacHeth, Mormaor of Moray, about 1134. On its suppression, David I confiscated the earldom of Moray, and granted it, by charters, to his own favourites, and especially to the Anglo-Normans, from Yorkshire and Northumberland, whom he had invited to aid him in dealing with the reactionary forces of Moray; but such grants of land in no way dispossessed the lesser tenants, who simply held of new lords and by new titles. Fordun, who wrote two centuries later, ascribes to David's successor, Malcolm IV, an invasion of Moray, and says that the king scattered the inhabitants throughout the rest of Scotland, and replaced them by "his own peaceful people".[12] There is no further evidence in support of this statement, and almost the whole of Malcolm's short reign was occupied with the settlement of Galloway. We know that he followed his grandfather's policy of making grants of land in Moray, and this is probably the germ of truth in Fordun's statement. Moray, however, occupied rather an exceptional position. "As the power of the sovereign extended over the west," says Mr. E.W. Robertson, "it was his policy, not to eradicate the old ruling families, but to retain them in their native provinces, rendering them more or less responsible for all that portion of their respective districts which was not placed under the immediate authority of the royal sheriffs or baillies." As this policy was carried out even in Galloway, Argyll, and Ross, where there were occasional rebellions, and was successful in its results, we have no reason for believing that it was abandoned in dealing with the rest of the Lowlands. As, from time to time, instances occurred in which this plan was unsuccessful, and as other causes for forfeiture arose, the lands were granted to strangers, and by the end of the thirteenth century the Scottish nobility was largely Anglo-Norman. The vestiges of the clan system which remained may be part of the explanation of the place of the great Houses in Scottish History. The unique importance of such families as the Douglasses or the Gordons may thus be a portion of the Celtic heritage of the Lowlands.

If, then, it was not by a displacement of race, but through the subtle influences of religion, feudalism, and commerce that the Scottish Lowlands came to be English in speech and in civilization, if the farmers of Fife and some, at least, of the burghers of Dundee or of Aberdeen were really Scots who had been subjected to English influences, we should expect to find no strong racial feeling in mediaeval Scotland. Such racial antagonism as existed would, in this case, be owing to the large admixture of Scandinavian blood in Caithness and in the Isles, rather than to any difference between the true Scots and "the English of the Lowlands". Do we, then, find any racial antagonism between the Highlands and the Lowlands? If Mr. Freeman is right in laying down the general rule that "the true Scots, out of hatred to the 'Saxons' nearest to them, leagued with the 'Saxons' farther off", if Mr. Hill Burton is correct in describing the red Harlaw as a battle between foes who could have no feeling of common nationality, there is nothing to be said in support of the theory we have ventured to suggest. We may fairly expect some signs of ill-will between those who maintained the Celtic civilization and their brethren who had abandoned the ancient customs and the ancient tongue; we may naturally look for attempts to produce a conservative or Celtic reaction, but anything more than this will be fatal to our case. The facts do not seem to us to bear out Mr. Freeman's generalization. When the independence of Scotland is really at stake, we shall find the "true Scots" on the patriotic side. Highlanders and Islesmen fought under the banner of David I at Northallerton; they took their place along with the men of Carrick in the Bruce's own division at Bannockburn, and they bore their part in the stubborn ring that encircled James IV at Flodden. At other times, indeed, we do find the Lords of the Isles involved in treacherous intrigues with the kings of England, but just in the same way as we see the Earls of Douglas engaged in traitorous schemes against the Scottish kings. In both cases alike we are dealing with the revolt of a powerful vassal against a weak king. Such an incident is sufficiently frequent in the annals of Scotland to render it unnecessary to call in racial considerations to afford an explanation. One of the most notable of these intrigues occurred in the year 1408, when Donald of the Isles, who chanced to be engaged in a personal quarrel about the heritage which he claimed in right of his Lowland relatives, made a treacherous agreement with Henry IV; and the quarrel ended in the battle of Harlaw in 1411. The real importance of Harlaw is that it ended in the defeat of a Scotsman who, like some other Scotsmen in the South, was acting in the English interest; any further significance that it may possess arises from the consideration that it is the last of a series of efforts directed against the predominance, not of the English race, but of Saxon speech and civilization. It was just because Highlanders and Lowlanders did represent a common nationality that the battle was fought, and the blood spilt on the field of Harlaw was not shed in any racial struggle, but in the cause of the real English conquest of Scotland, the conquest of civilization and of speech.

Our argument derives considerable support from the references to the Highlands of Scotland which we find in mediaeval literature. Racial distinctions were not always understood in the Middle Ages; but readers of Giraldus Cambrensis are familiar with the strong racial feeling that existed between the English and the Welsh, and between the English and the Irish. If the Lowlanders of Scotland felt towards the Highlanders as Mr. Hill Burton asserts that they did feel, we should expect to find references to the difference between Celts and Saxons. But, on the contrary, we meet with statement after statement to the effect that the Highlanders are only Scotsmen who have maintained the ancient Scottish language and literature, while the Lowlanders have adopted English customs and a foreign tongue. The words "Scots" and "Scotland" are never used to designate the Highlanders as distinct from other inhabitants of Scotland, yet the phrase "Lingua Scotica" means, up to the end of the fifteenth century, the Gaelic tongue.[13] In the beginning of the sixteenth century John Major speaks of "the wild Scots and Islanders" as using Irish, while the civilized Scots speak English; and Gavin Douglas professed to write in Scots (i.e. the Lowland tongue). In the course of the century this became the regular usage. Acts of the Scottish Parliament, directed against Highland marauders, class them with the border thieves. There is no hint in the Register of the Privy Council or in the Exchequer Rolls, of any racial feeling, and the independence of the Celtic chiefs has been considerably exaggerated. James IV and James V both visited the Isles, and the chief town of Skye takes its name from the visit of the latter. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, it was safe for Hector Boece, the Principal of the newly founded university of Aberdeen, to go in company of the Rector to make a voyage to the Hebrides, and, in the account they have left us of their experiences, we can discover no hint that there existed between Highlanders and Lowlanders much the same difference as separated the English from the Welsh. Neither in Barbour's Bruce nor in Blind Harry's Wallace is there any such consciousness of difference, although Barbour lived in Aberdeen in the days before Harlaw. John of Fordun, a fellow-townsman and a contemporary of Barbour, was an ardent admirer of St. Margaret and of David I, and of the Anglo-Norman institutions they introduced, while he possessed an invincible objection to the kilt. We should therefore expect to find in him some consciousness of the racial difference. He writes of the Highlanders with some ill-will, describing them as a "savage and untamed people, rude and independent, given to rapine, ... hostile to the English language and people, and, owing to diversity of speech, even to their own nation[14]." But it is his custom to write thus of the opponents of the Anglo-Norman civil and ecclesiastical institutions, and he brings all Scotland under the same condemnation when he tells us how David "did his utmost to draw on that rough and boorish people towards quiet and chastened manners".[15] The reference to "their own nation" shows, too, that Fordun did not understand that the Highlanders were a different people; and when he called them hostile to the English, he was evidently unaware that their custom was "out of hatred to the Saxons nearest them" to league with the English. John Major, writing in the reign of James IV (1489-1513), mentions the differences between Highlander and Lowlander. The wild Scots speak Irish; the civilized Scots use English. "But", he adds, "most of us spoke Irish a short time ago."[16] His contemporary, Hector Boece, who made the Tour to the Hebrides, says: "Those of us who live on the borders of England have forsaken our own tongue and learned English, being driven thereto by wars and commerce. But the Highlanders remain just as they were in the time of Malcolm Canmore, in whose days we began to adopt English manners."[17] When Bishop Elphinstone applied, in 1493, for Papal permission to found a university in Old Aberdeen, in proximity to the barbarian Highlanders, he made no suggestion of any racial difference between the English-speaking population of Aberdeen and their Gaelic-speaking neighbours.[18] Late in the sixteenth century, John Lesley, the defender of Queen Mary, who had been bishop of Ross, and came of a northern family, wrote in a strain similar to that of Major and Boece. "Foreign nations look on the Gaelic-speaking Scots as wild barbarians because they maintain the customs and the language of their ancestors; but we call them Highlanders."[19]

Even in connexion with the battle of Harlaw, we find that Scottish historians do not use such terms in speaking of the Highland forces as Mr. Hill Burton would lead us to expect. Of the two contemporary authorities, one, the Book of Pluscarden, was probably written by a Highlander, while the continuation of Fordun's Scoti-chronicon, in which we have a more detailed account of the battle, was the work of Bower, a Lowlander who shared Fordun's antipathy to Highland customs. The Liber Pluscardensis mentions the battle in a very casual manner. It was fought between Donald of the Isles and the Earl of Mar; there was great slaughter: and it so happened that the town of Cupar chanced to be burned in the same year.[20] Bower assigns a greater importance to the affair;[21] he tells us that Donald wished to spoil Aberdeen and then to add to his own possessions all Scotland up to the Tay. It is as if he were writing of the ambition of the House of Douglas. But there is no hint of racial antipathy; the abuse applied to Donald and his followers would suit equally well for the Borderers who shouted the Douglas battle-cry. John Major tells us that it was a civil war fought for the spoil of the famous city of Aberdeen, and he cannot say who won—only the Islanders lost more men than the civilized Scots. For him, its chief interest lay in the ferocity of the contest; rarely, even in struggles with a foreign foe, had the fighting been so keen.[22] The fierceness with which Harlaw was fought impressed the country so much that, some sixty years later, when Major was a boy, he and his playmates at the Grammar School of Haddington used to amuse themselves by mock fights in which they re-enacted the red Harlaw.

From Major we turn with interest to the Principal of the University and King's College, Hector Boece, who wrote his History of Scotland, at Aberdeen, about a century after the battle of Harlaw, and who shows no trace of the strong feeling described by Mr. Hill Burton. He narrates the origin of the quarrel with much sympathy for the Lord of the Isles, and regrets that he was not satisfied with recovering his own heritage of Ross, but was tempted by the pillage of Aberdeen, and he speaks of the Lowland army as "the Scots on the other side".[23] His narrative in the History is devoid of any racial feeling whatsoever, and in his Lives of the Bishops of Aberdeen he omits any mention of Harlaw at all. We have laid stress upon the evidence of Boece because in Aberdeen, if anywhere, the memory of the "Celtic peril" at Harlaw should have survived. Similarly, George Buchanan speaks of Harlaw as a raid for purposes of plunder, made by the islanders upon the mainland.[24] These illustrations may serve to show how Scottish historians really did look upon the battle of Harlaw, and how little do they share Mr. Burton's horror of the Celts.

When we turn to descriptions of Scotland we find no further proof of the correctness of the orthodox theory. When Giraldus Cambrensis wrote, in the twelfth century, he remarked that the Scots of his time have an affinity of race with the Irish,[25] and the English historians of the War of Independence speak of the Scots as they do of the Welsh or the Irish, and they know only one type of Scotsman. We have already seen the opinion of John Major, the sixteenth-century Scottish historian and theologian, who had lived much in France, and could write of his native country from an ab extra stand-point, that the Highlanders speak Irish and are less respectable than the other Scots; and his opinion was shared by two foreign observers, Pedro de Ayala and Polydore Vergil. The former remarks on the difference of speech, and the latter says that the more civilized Scots have adopted the English tongue. In like manner English writers about the time of the Union of the Crowns write of the Highlanders as Scotsmen who retain their ancient language. Camden, indeed, speaks of the Lowlands as being Anglo-Saxon in origin, but he restricts his remark to the district which had formed part of the kingdom of Northumbria.[26]

We should, of course, expect to find that the gradually widening breach in manners and language between Highlanders and Lowlanders produced some dislike for the Highland robbers and their Irish tongue, and we do occasionally, though rarely, meet some indication of this. There are not many references to the Highlanders in Scottish literature earlier than the sixteenth century. "Blind Harry" (Book VI, ll. 132-140) represents an English soldier as using, in addressing Wallace, first a mixture of French and Lowland Scots, and then a mixture of Lowland Scots and Gaelic:

"Dewgar, gud day, bone Senzhour, and gud morn!

* * * * *

Sen ye ar Scottis, zeit salust sall ye be; Gud deyn, dawch Lard, bach lowch, banzoch a de".

In "The Book of the Howlat", written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, by a certain Richard Holland, who was an adherent of the House of Douglas, there is a similar imitation of Scottish Gaelic, with the same phrase "Banachadee" (the blessing of God). This seemingly innocent phrase seems to have some ironical signification, for we find in the Auchinleck Chronicle (anno 1452) that it was used by some Highlanders as a term of abuse towards the Bishop of Argyll. Another example occurs in a coarse "Answer to ane Helandmanis Invective", by Alexander Montgomerie, the court poet of James VI. The Lowland literature of the sixteenth century contains a considerable amount of abuse of the Highland tongue. William Dunbar (1460-1520), in his "Flyting" (an exercise in Invective), reproaches his antagonist, Walter Kennedy, with his Highland origin. Kennedy was a native of Galloway, while Dunbar belonged to the Lothians, where we should expect the strongest appreciation of the differences between Lowlander and Highlander. Dunbar, moreover, had studied (or, at least, resided) at Oxford, and was one of the first Scotsmen to succumb to the attractions of "town". The most suggestive point in the "Flyting" is that a native of the Lothians could still regard a Galwegian as a "beggar Irish bard". For Walter Kennedy spoke and wrote in Lowland Scots; he was, possibly, a graduate of the University of Glasgow, and he could boast of Stuart blood. Ayrshire was as really English as was Aberdeenshire; and, if Dunbar is in earnest, it is a strong confirmation of our theory that he, being "of the Lothians himself", spoke of Kennedy in this way. It would, however, be unwise to lay too much stress on what was really a conventional exercise of a particular style of poetry, now obsolete. Kennedy, in his reply, retorts that he alone is true Scots, and that Dunbar, as a native of Lothian, is but an English thief:

"In Ingland, owle, suld be thyne habitacione, Homage to Edward Langschankis maid thy kyn".

In an Epitaph on Donald Owre, a son of the Lord of the Isles, who raised a rebellion against James IV in 1503, Dunbar had a great opportunity for an outburst against the Highlanders, of which, however, he did not take advantage, but confined himself to a denunciation of treachery in general. In the "Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins", there is a well-known allusion to the bag-pipes:

"Than cryd Mahoun[27] for a Healand padyane; Syne ran a feynd to feche Makfadyane[28] Far northwart in a nuke.[29] Be he the correnoch had done schout Erschemen so gadderit him about In Hell grit rowme they tuke. Thae tarmegantis with tag and tatter Full lowde in Ersche begowth to clatter, And rowp lyk revin and ruke. The Devill sa devit was with thair yell That in the depest pot of Hell He smorit thame with smoke."

Similar allusions will be found in the writings of Montgomerie; but such caricatures of Gaelic and the bagpipes afford but a slender basis for a theory of racial antagonism.

After the Union of the Crowns, the Lowlands of Scotland came to be more and more closely bound to England, while the Highlands remained unaffected by these changes. The Scottish nobility began to find its true place at the English Court; the Scottish adventurer was irresistibly drawn to London; the Scottish Presbyterian found the English Puritan his brother in the Lord; and the Scottish Episcopalian joined forces with the English Cavalier. The history of the seventeenth century prepared the way for the acceptance of the Celtic theory in the beginning of the eighteenth, and when philologists asserted that the Scottish Highlanders were a different race from the Scottish Lowlanders, the suggestion was eagerly adopted. The views of the philologists were confirmed by the experiences of the 'Forty-five, and they received a literary form in the Lady of the Lake and in Waverley. In the nineteenth century the theory received further development owing to the fact that it was generally in line with the arguments of the defenders of the Edwardian policy in Scotland; and it cannot be denied that it holds the field to-day, in spite of Mr. Robertson's attack on it in Appendix R of his Scotland under her Early Kings.

The writer of the present volume ventures to hope that he has, at all events, done something to make out a case for re-consideration of the subject. The political facts on which rests the argument just stated will be found in the text, and an Appendix contains the more important references to the Highlanders in mediaeval Scottish literature, and offers a brief account of the feudalization of Scotland. Our argument amounts only to a modification, and not to a complete reversal of the current theory. No historical problems are more difficult than those which refer to racial distribution, and it is impossible to speak dogmatically on such a subject. That the English blood of the Lothians, and the English exiles after the Norman Conquest, did modify the race over whom Malcolm Canmore ruled, we do not seek to deny. But that it was a modification and not a displacement, a victory of civilization and not of race, we beg to suggest. The English influences were none the less strong for this, and, in the end, they have everywhere prevailed. But the Scotsman may like to think that mediaeval Scotland was not divided by an abrupt racial line, and that the political unity and independence which it obtained at so great a cost did correspond to a natural and a national unity which no people can, of itself, create.


[Footnote 1: Spanish and Venetian Calendars of State Papers. Cf. especially the reference to the succour afforded by Scotland to France in Spanish Calendar, i. 210.]

[Footnote 2: Historical Essays, First Series, p. 71.]

[Footnote 3: History of the English People, Book III, c. iv.]

[Footnote 4: History of Scotland, vol. i, p. 2. But, as Mr. Lang expressly repudiates any theory of displacement north of the Forth, and does not regard Harlaw in the light of a great racial contest, his position is not really incompatible with that of the present work.]

[Footnote 5: History of England, p. 158. Mr. Oman is almost alone in not calling them English in blood.]

[Footnote 6: History of Scotland, vol. ii, pp. 393-394.]

[Footnote 7: Instances of the first tendency are Edderton, near Tain, i.e. eadar duin ("between the hillocks"), and Falkirk, i.e. Eaglais ("speckled church"), while examples of the second tendency are too numerous to require mention. Examples of ecclesiastical names are Laurencekirk and Kirkcudbright, and the growth of commerce receives the witness of such names as Turnberry, on the coast of Ayr, dating from the thirteenth century, and Burghead on the Moray Firth.]

[Footnote 8: Cf. Waverley, c. xliii, and the concluding chapter of Tales of a Grandfather.]

[Footnote 9: William of Newburgh states this in a probably exaggerated form when he says:—"Regni Scottici oppida et burgi ab Anglis habitari noscuntur" (Lib. II, c. 34). The population of the towns in the Lothians was, of course, English.]

[Footnote 10: For the real significance of such grants of land, cf. Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond, Essay II.]

[Footnote 11: Scotland under her Early Kings, vol. i, p. 239.]

[Footnote 12: Annalia, iv.]

[Footnote 13: There is a possible exception in Barbour's Bruce (Bk. XVIII, 1. 443)—"Then gat he all the Erischry that war intill his company, of Argyle and the Ilis alswa". It has been generally understood that the "Erischry" here are the Scottish Highlanders; but it is certain that Barbour frequently uses the word to mean Irishmen, and it is perhaps more probable that he does so here also than that he should use the word in this sense only once, and with no parallel instance for more than a century.]

[Footnote 14: Chronicle, Book II, c. ix. Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 15: Ibid, Book V, c. x. Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 16: History of Greater Britain, Bk. I, cc. vii, viii, ix. Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 17: Scotorum Regni Descriptio, prefixed to his "History". Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 18: Fasti Aberdonenses, p. 3.]

[Footnote 19: De Gestis Scotorum, Lib. I. Cf. App. A. It is interesting to note, as showing how the breach between Highlander and Lowlander widened towards the close of the sixteenth century, that Father James Dalrymple, who translated Lesley's History, at Ratisbon, about the beginning of the seventeenth century, wrote: "Bot the rest of the Scottis, quhome we halde as outlawis and wylde peple". Dalrymple was probably a native of Ayrshire.]

[Footnote 20: Liber Pluscardensis, X, c. xxii. Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 21: Scoti-chronicon, XV, c. xxi. Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 22: Greater Britain, VI, c. x. Cf. App. A. The keenness of the fighting is no proof of racial bitterness. Cf. the clan fight on the Inches at Perth, a few years before Harlaw.]

[Footnote 23: Scotorum Historiae, Lib. XVI. Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 24: Rerum Scotorum Historia, Lib. X. Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 25: Top. Hib., Dis. III, cap. xi.]

[Footnote 26: Britannia, section Scoti.]

[Footnote 27: Mahoun = Mahomet, i.e. the Devil.]

[Footnote 28: The Editor of the Scottish Text Society's edition of Dunbar points out that "Macfadyane" is a reference to the traitor of the War of Independence:

"This Makfadzane till Inglismen was suorn; Eduard gaiff him bath Argill and Lorn".

Blind Harry, VII, ll. 627-8.


[Footnote 29: "Far northward in a nuke" is a reference to the cave in which Macfadyane was killed by Duncan of Lorne (Bk. VIII, ll. 866-8).]



c. 500-1066 A.D.

Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, it has been customary to speak of the Scottish Highlanders as "Celts". The name is singularly inappropriate. The word "Celt" was used by Caesar to describe the peoples of Middle Gaul, and it thence became almost synonymous with "Gallic". The ancient inhabitants of Gaul were far from being closely akin to the ancient inhabitants of Scotland, although they belong to the same general family. The latter were Picts and Goidels; the former, Brythons or Britons, of the same race as those who settled in England and were driven by the Saxon conquerors into Wales, as their kinsmen were driven into Brittany by successive conquests of Gaul. In the south of Scotland, Goidels and Brythons must at one period have met; but the result of the meeting was to drive the Goidels into the Highlands, where the Goidelic or Gaelic form of speech still remains different from the Welsh of the descendants of the Britons. Thus the only reason for calling the Scottish Highlanders "Celts" is that Caesar used that name to describe a race cognate with another race from which the Highlanders ought to be carefully distinguished. In none of our ancient records is the term "Celt" ever employed to describe the Highlanders of Scotland. They never called themselves Celtic; their neighbours never gave them such a name; nor would the term have possessed any significance, as applied to them, before the eighteenth century. In 1703, a French historian and Biblical antiquary, Paul Yves Pezron, wrote a book about the people of Brittany, entitled Antiquite de la Nation et de la Langue des Celtes autrement appellez Gaulois. It was translated into English almost immediately, and philologists soon discovered that the language of Caesar's Celts was related to the Gaelic of the Scottish Highlanders. On this ground progressed the extension of the name, and the Highlanders became identified with, instead of being distinguished from, the Celts of Gaul. The word Celt was used to describe both the whole family (including Brythons and Goidels), and also the special branch of the family to which Caesar applied the term. It is as if the word "Teutonic" had been used to describe the whole Aryan Family, and had been specially employed in speaking of the Romance peoples. The word "Celtic" has, however, become a technical term as opposed to "Saxon" or "English", and it is impossible to avoid its use.

Besides the Goidels, or so-called Celts, and the Brythonic Celts or Britons, we find traces in Scotland of an earlier race who are known as "Picts", a few fragments of whose language survive. About the identity of these Picts another controversy has been waged. Some look upon the Pictish tongue as closely allied to Scottish Gaelic; others regard it as Brythonic rather than Goidelic; and Dr. Rhys surmises that it is really an older form of speech, neither Goidelic nor Brythonic, and probably not allied to either, although, in the form in which its fragments have come down to us, it has been deeply affected by Brythonic forms. Be all this as it may, it is important for us to remember that, at the dawn of history, modern Scotland was populated entirely by people now known as "Celts", of whom the Brythonic portion were the later to appear, driving the Goidels into the more mountainous districts. The Picts, whatever their origin, had become practically amalgamated with the "Celts", and the Roman historians do not distinguish between different kinds of northern barbarians.

In the end of the fifth century and the beginning of the sixth, a new settlement of Goidels was made. These were the Scots, who founded the kingdom of Dalriada, corresponding roughly to the Modern Argyllshire. Some fifty years later (c. 547) came the Angles under Ida, and established a dominion along the coast from Tweed to Forth, covering the modern counties of Roxburgh, Berwick, Haddington, and Midlothian. Its outlying fort was the castle of Edinburgh, the name of which, in the form in which we have it, has certainly been influenced by association with the Northumbrian king, Edwin.[30] This district remained a portion of the kingdom of Northumbria till the tenth century, and it is of this district alone that the word "English" can fairly be used. Even here, however, there must have been a considerable infusion of Celtic blood, and such Celtic place-names as "Dunbar" still remain even in the counties where English place-names predominate. A distinguished Celtic scholar tells us: "In all our ancient literature, the inhabitants of ancient Lothian are known as Saix-Brit, i.e. Saxo-Britons, because they were a Cymric people, governed by the Saxons of Northumbria".[31] A further non-Celtic influence was that of the Norse invaders, who attacked the country from the ninth to the eighteenth century, and profoundly modified the racial character of the population on the south and west coasts, in the islands, and along the east coast as far south as the Moray Firth.

Such, then, was the racial distribution of Scotland. Picts, Goidelic Celts, Brythonic Celts, Scots, and Anglo-Saxons were in possession of the country. In the year 844, Kenneth MacAlpine, King of the Scots of Dalriada, united under his rule the ancient kingdoms of the Picts and Scots, including the whole of Scotland from the Pentland Firth to the Forth. In 908, a brother of the King of Scots became King of the Britons of Strathclyde, while Lothian, with the rest of Northumbria, passed under the overlordship of the House of Wessex. We have now arrived at the commencement of the long dispute about the "overlordship". We shall attempt to state the main outlines as clearly as possible.

The foundation of the whole controversy lies in a statement, "in the honest English of the Winchester Chronicle", that, in 924, "was Eadward king chosen to father and to lord of the Scots king and of the Scots, and of Regnold king, and of all the Northumbrians", and also of the Strathclyde, Brythons or Welsh. Mr. E.W. Robertson has argued that no real weight can be given to this statement, for (1) "Regnold king" had died in 921; (2) in 924, Edward the Elder was striving to suppress the Danes south of the Humber, and had no claims to overlordship of any kind over the Northumbrian Danes and English; and (3) the place assigned, Bakewell, in Derbyshire, is improbable, and the recorded building of a fort there is irrelevant. The reassertion of this homage, under Aethelstan, in 926, which occurs in one MS. of the Chronicle, is open to the objection that it describes the King of Scots as giving up idolatry, more than three hundred and fifty years after the conversion of the country; but as the entry under the year 924 is probably in a contemporary hand, considerable weight must be attached to the double statement. In the reign of Edmund the Magnificent, an event occurred which has given fresh occasion for dispute. A famous passage in the "Chronicle" (945 A.D.) tells how Edmund and Malcolm I of Scotland conquered Cumbria, which the English king gave to Malcolm on condition that Malcolm should be his "midwyrtha" or fellow-worker by sea and land. Mr. Freeman interpreted this as a feudal grant, reading the sense of "fealty" into "midwyrtha", and regarded the district described as "Cumbria" as including the whole of Strathclyde. It is somewhat difficult to justify this position, especially as we have no reason for supposing that Edmund did invade Strathclyde, and since, in point of fact, Strathclyde remained hostile to the kingdom of Scotland long after this date. In 946 the statement of the Chronicle is reasserted in connection with the accession of Eadred, and in somewhat stronger words:—"the Scots gave him oaths, that they would all that he would". Such are the main facts relating to the first two divisions of the threefold claim to overlordship, and their value will probably continue to be estimated in accordance with the personal feelings of the reader. It is scarcely possible to claim that they are in any way decisive. Nor can any further light be gained from the story of what Mr. Lang has happily termed the apocryphal eight which the King of Scots stroked on the Dee in the reign of Edgar. In connection with this "Great Commendation" of 973, the Chronicle mentions only six kings as rowing Edgar at Chester, and it wisely names no names. The number eight, and the mention of Kenneth, King of Scots, as one of the oarsmen, have been transferred to Mr. Freeman's pages from those of the twelfth-century chronicler, Florence of Worcester.

We pass now to the third section of the supremacy argument. The district to which we have referred as Lothian was, unquestionably, largely inhabited by men of English race, and it formed part of the Northumbrian kingdom. Within the first quarter of the eleventh century it had passed under the dominion of the Celtic kings of Scotland. When and how this happened is a mystery. The tract De Northynbrorum Comitibus which used to be attributed to Simeon of Durham, asserts that it was ceded by Edgar to Kenneth and that Kenneth did homage, and this story, elaborated by John of Wallingford, has been frequently given as the historical explanation. But Simeon of Durham in his "History"[32] asserts that Malcolm II, about 1016, wrested Lothian from the Earl of Northumbria, and there is internal evidence that the story of Edgar and Kenneth has been constructed out of the known facts of Malcolm's reign. It is, at all events, certain that the Scottish kings in no sense governed Lothian till after the battle of Carham in 1018, when Malcolm and the Strathclyde monarch Owen, defeated the Earl of Northumbria and added Lothian to his dominions. This conquest was confirmed by Canute in 1031, and, in connection with the confirmation, the Chronicle again speaks of a doubtful homage which the Scots king "not long held", and, again, the Chronicle, or one version of it, adds an impossible statement—this time about Macbeth, who had not yet appeared on the stage of history. The year 1018 is also marked by the succession of Malcolm's grandson, Duncan, to the throne of his kinsman, Owen of Strathclyde, and on Malcolm's death in 1034 the whole of Scotland was nominally united under Duncan I.[33] The consolidation of the kingdom was as yet in the future, but from the end of the reign of Malcolm II there was but one Kingdom of Scotland. From this united kingdom we must exclude the islands, which were largely inhabited by Norsemen. Both the Hebrides and the islands of Orkney and Shetland were outside the realm of Scotland.

The names of Macbeth and "the gentle Duncan" suggest the great drama which the genius of Shakespeare constructed from the magic tale of Hector Boece; but our path does not lie by the moor near Forres, nor past Birnam Wood or Dunsinane. Nor does the historian of the relations between England and Scotland have anything to tell about the English expedition to restore Malcolm. All such tales emanate from Florence of Worcester, and we know only that Siward of Northumbria made a fruitless invasion of Scotland, and that Macbeth reigned for three years afterwards.

We have now traced, in outline, the connections between the northern and the southern portions of this island up to the date of the Norman Conquest of England. We have found in Scotland a population composed of Pict, Scot, Goidel, Brython, Dane, and Angle, and we have seen how the country came to be, in some sense, united under a single monarch. It is not possible to speak dogmatically of either of the two great problems of the period—the racial distribution of the country, and the Edwardian claims to overlordship. But it is clear that no portion of Scotland was, in 1066, in any sense English, except the Lothians, of which Angles and Danes had taken possession. From the Lothians, the English influences must have spread slightly into Strathclyde; but the fact that the Celtic Kings of Scotland were strong enough to annex and rule the Lothians as part of a Celtic kingdom implies a limit to English colonization. As to the feudal supremacy, it may be fairly said that there is no portion of the English claim that cannot be reasonably doubted, and whatever force it retains must be of the nature of a cumulative argument. It must, of course, be recollected that Anglo-Norman chroniclers of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, like English historians of a later date, regarded themselves as holding a brief for the English claim, while, on the other hand, Scottish writers would be the last to assert, in their own case, a complete absence of bias.


[Footnote 30: Johnston: Place-Names of Scotland, p. 102.]

[Footnote 31: Rev. Duncan MacGregor in Scottish Church Society Conferences. Second Series, Vol. II, p. 23.]

[Footnote 32: Hist. Dun. Rolls Series, i. 218.]

[Footnote 33: Duncan was the grandson of Malcolm, and, by Pictish custom, should not have succeeded. The "rightful" heir, an un-named cousin of Malcolm, was murdered, and his sister, Gruoch, who married the Mormaor of Moray, left a son, Lulach, who thus represented a rival line, whose claims may be connected with some of the Highland risings against the descendants of Duncan.]




The Norman Conquest of England could not fail to modify the position of Scotland. Just as the Roman and the Saxon conquests had, in turn, driven the Brythons northwards, so the dispossessed Saxons fled to Scotland from their Norman victors. The result was considerably to alter the ecclesiastical arrangements of the country, and to help its advance towards civilization. The proportion of Anglo-Saxons to the races who are known as Celts must also have been increased; but a complete de-Celticization of Southern Scotland could not, and did not, follow. The failure of William's conquest to include the Northern counties of England left Northumbria an easy prey to the Scottish king, and the marriage of Malcolm III, known as Canmore, to Margaret, the sister of Edgar the AEtheling, gave her husband an excuse for interference in England. We, accordingly, find a long series of raids over the border, of which only five possess any importance. In 1069-70, Malcolm (who had, even in the Confessor's time, been in Northumberland with hostile intent) conducted an invasion in the interests of his brother-in-law. It is probable that this movement was intended to coincide with the arrival of the Danish fleet a few months earlier. But Malcolm was too late; the Danes had gone home, and, in the interval, William had himself superintended the great harrying of the North which made Malcolm's subsequent efforts somewhat unnecessary. The invasion is important only as having provoked the counter-attack of the Conqueror, which led to the renewal of the supremacy controversy. William marched into Scotland and crossed the Forth (the first English king to do so since the unfortunate Egfrith, who fell at Nectansmere in 685). At Abernethy, on the banks of the Tay, Malcolm and William met, and the English Chronicle, as usual, informs us that the King of Scots became the "man" of the English king. But as Malcolm received from William twelve villae in England, it is, at least, doubtful whether Malcolm paid homage for these alone or also for Lothian and Cumbria, or for either of them. There is, at all events, no question about the villae. Scottish historians have not failed to point out that the value of the homage, for whatever it was given, is sufficiently indicated by Malcolm's dealings with Gospatric of Northumberland, whom William dismissed as a traitor and rebel. Within about six months of the Abernethy meeting, Malcolm gave Gospatric the earldom of Dunbar, and he became the founder of the great house of March. No further invasion took place till 1079, when Malcolm took advantage of William's Norman difficulties to make another harrying expedition, which afforded the occasion for the building of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The accession of Rufus and his difficulties with Robert of Normandy led, in 1091, to a somewhat belated attempt by Malcolm to support the claims of the AEtheling by a third invasion, and, in the following year, peace was made. Rufus confirmed to Malcolm the grant of twelve villae, and Malcolm in turn gave the English king such homage as he had given to his father. What this vague statement meant, it was reserved for the Bruce to determine, and the Bruces had, as yet, not one foot of Scottish soil. The agreement made in 1092 did not prevent Rufus from completing his father's work by the conquest of Cumberland, to which the Scots had claims. Malcolm's indignation and William's illness led to a famous meeting at Gloucester, whence Malcolm withdrew in great wrath, declining to be treated as a vassal of England. The customary invasion followed, with the result that Malcolm was slain at Alnwick in November, 1093.

But the great effects of the Norman Conquest, as regards Scotland, are not connected with strictly international affairs. They are partially racial, and, in other respects, may be described as personal. It is unquestionable that there was an immigration of the Northumbrian population into Scotland; but the Northumbrian population were Anglo-Danish, and the north of England was not thickly populated. When William the Conqueror ravaged the northern counties with fire and sword, a considerable proportion of the population must have perished. The actual infusion of English blood may thus be exaggerated; but the introduction of English influences cannot be questioned. These influences were mainly due to the personality of Malcolm's second wife, the Saxon princess, Margaret. The queen was a woman of considerable mental power, and possessed a great influence over her strong-headed and hot-tempered husband. She was a devout churchwoman, and she immediately directed her energies to the task of bringing the Scottish church into closer communion with the Roman. The changes were slight in themselves; all that we know of them is an alteration in the beginning of Lent, the proper observance of Easter and of Sunday, and a question, still disputed, about the tonsure. But, slight as they were, they stood for much. They involved the abandonment of the separate position held by the Scottish Church, and its acceptance of a place as an integral portion of Roman Christianity. The result was to make the Papacy, for the first time, an important factor in Scottish affairs, and to bridge the gulf that divided Scotland from Continental Europe. We soon find Scottish churchmen seeking learning in France, and bringing into Scotland those French influences which were destined seriously to affect the civilization of the country. But, above all, these Roman changes were important just because they were Anglican—introduced by an English queen, carried out by English clerics, emanating from a court which was rapidly becoming English. Malcolm's subjects thenceforth began to adopt English customs and the English tongue, which spread from the court of Queen Margaret. The colony of English refugees represented a higher civilization and a more advanced state of commerce than the Scottish Celts, and the English language, from this cause also, made rapid progress. For about twenty-five years Margaret exercised the most potent influence in her husband's kingdom, and, when she died, her reputation as a saint and her subsequent canonization maintained and supported the traditions she had created. Not only did she have on her side the power of a court and the prestige of courtly etiquette, but, as we have said, she represented a higher civilizing force than that which was opposed to her, and hence the greatness of her victory. It must, however, be remembered that the spread of the English language in Scotland does not necessarily imply the predominance of English blood. It means rather the growth of English commerce. We can trace the adoption of English along the seaboard, and in the towns, while Gaelic still remained the language of the countryman. There is no evidence of any English immigration of sufficient proportions to overwhelm the Gaelic population. Like the victory of the conquered English over the conquering Normans, which was even then making fast progress in England, it is a triumph of a kind that subsequent events have revealed as characteristically Anglo-Saxon, and it called into force the powers of adaptation and of colonization which have brought into being so great an English-speaking world.

Malcolm's reign ended in defeat and failure; his wife died of grief, and the opportunity presented itself of a Celtic reaction against the Anglicization of the reign of Malcolm III. The throne was seized by Malcolm's brother, Donald Bane. Malcolm's eldest son, Duncan, whose mother, Ingibjorg, had been a Dane, received assistance from Rufus, and drove Donald Bane, after a reign of six months, into the distant North. But after about six months he himself was slain in a small fight with the Mormaer or Earl of the Mearns, and Donald Bane continued to reign for about three years, in conjunction with Edmund, a son of Malcolm and Margaret. But in 1097, Edgar, a younger brother of Edmund, again obtained the help of Rufus and secured the throne. The reign of Edgar is important in two respects. It put an end to the Celtic revival, and reproduced the conditions of the time of Malcolm and Margaret. Henceforward Celtic efforts were impossible except in the Highlands, and the Celts of the Lowlands resigned themselves to the process of Anglicization imposed upon them alike by ecclesiastical, political, and commercial circumstances. It saw also the beginning of an influence which was to prove scarcely less fruitful in results than the Anglo-Saxon triumph of which we have spoken. In November, 1100, Edgar's sister, Matilda, was married to the Norman King of England, Henry I, and two years later, another sister, Mary, was married to Eustace, Count of Boulogne, the son of the future King Stephen. These unions, with a son and a grandson respectively of William the Conqueror, prepared the way for the Norman Conquest of Scotland. Edgar died in January, 1106-7, and his brother and successor, Alexander I, espoused an Anglo-Norman, Sybilla, who is generally supposed to have been a natural daughter of Henry I. On the death of Alexander, in 1124, these Norman influences acquired a new importance under his brother David, the youngest son of Malcolm and Margaret. During the troubles which followed his father's death, David had been educated in England, and after the marriage of Henry I and Matilda, had resided at the court of his brother-in-law, till the death of Edgar, when he became ruler of Cumbria and the southern portion of Lothian. He had married, in 1113-14, the daughter and heiress of Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon, who was also the widow of a Norman baron. In this way the earldom of Huntingdon became attached to the Scottish throne, and afforded an occasion for reviving the old question of homage. Moreover, Waltheof of Huntingdon was the son of Siward of Northumbria, and David regarded himself as, on this account, possessing claims over Northumbria.

David, as we have seen, had been brought up under Norman influences, and it is under the son of the Saxon Margaret that the bloodless Norman conquest of Scotland took place. Edgar had recognized the new English nobility and settlers by addressing charters to all in his kingdom, "both Scots and English"; his brother, David, speaks of "French and English, Scots and Galwegians". The charters are, of course, addressed to barons and land-owners, and their evidence refers to the English and Anglo-Norman nobility. The Norman fascination, which had been turned to such good account in England, in Italy, and in the Holy Land, had completely vanquished such English prepossessions as David might have inherited from his mother. Normans, like the Bruces and the Fitzalans (afterwards the Stewarts), came to David's court and received from him grants of land. The number of Norman signatures that attest his charters show that his entourage was mainly Norman. He was a very devout Church-man (a "sair sanct for the Crown" as James VI called him), and Norman prelate and Norman abbot helped to increase the total of Norman influence. He transformed Scotland into a feudal country, gave grants of land by feudal tenure, summoned a great council on the feudal principle, and attempted to create such a monarchy as that of which Henry I was laying the foundations. There can be little doubt that this strong Norman influence helped to prepare the Scottish people for the French alliance; but its more immediate effect was to bring about the existence of an anti-national nobility. These great Norman names were to become great in Scottish story; but it required a long process to make their bearers, in any sense, Scotsmen. Most of them had come from England, many of them held lands in England, and none of them could be expected to feel any real difference between themselves and their English fellows.

During the reign of Henry I, Anglo-Norman influences thus worked a great change in Scotland. On Henry's death, David, as the uncle of the Empress Matilda, immediately took up arms on her behalf. Stephen, with the wisdom which characterized the beginning of his reign, came to terms with him at Durham. David did not personally acknowledge the usurper, but his son, Henry, did him homage for Huntingdon and some possessions in the north (1136). In the following year, David claimed Northumberland for Henry as the representative of Siward, and, on Stephen's refusal, again adopted the cause of the empress. The usual invasion of England followed, and after some months of ravaging, a short truce, and a slight Scottish victory gained at Clitheroe on the Ribble, in June, 1138, the final result was David's great defeat in the battle of the Standard, fought near Northallerton on the 22nd August, 1138.

The battle of the Standard possesses no special interest for students of the art of war. The English army, under William of Albemarle and Walter l'Espec, was drawn up in one line of battle, consisting of knights in coats of mail, archers, and spearmen. The Scots were in four divisions; the van was composed of the Picts of Galloway, the right wing was led by Prince Henry, and the men of Lothian were on the left. Behind fought King David, with the men of Moray. The Galwegians made several unsuccessful attempts upon the English centre. Prince Henry led his horse through the English left wing, but the infantry failed to follow, and the prince lost his advantage by a premature attempt to plunder. The Scottish right made a pusillanimous attempt on the English left, and the reserve began to desert King David, who collected the remnants of his army and retired in safety to a height above Cowton Moor, the scene of the fight. Prince Henry was left surrounded by the enemy, but saved the position by a clever stratagem, and rejoined his father. Mr. Oman remarks that the battle was "of a very abnormal type for the twelfth century, since the side which had the advantage in cavalry made no attempt to use it, while that which was weak in the all-important arm made a creditable attempt to turn it to account by breaking into the hostile flank.... Wild rushes of unmailed clansmen against a steady front of spears and bows never succeeded; in this respect Northallerton is the forerunner of Dupplin, Halidon Hill, Flodden, and Pinkie."[34] The chief interest, for our purpose, attaching to the battle of the Standard, is connected with the light it throws upon the racial complexion of the country seventy years after the Norman Conquest. Our chief authorities are the Hexham chroniclers and Ailred of Rivaulx[35], English writers of the twelfth century. They speak of David's host as composed of Angli, Picti, and Scoti. The Angli alone contained mailed knights in their ranks, and David's first intention was to send these mail-clad warriors against the English, while the Picts and Scots were to follow with sword and targe. The Galwegians and the Scots from beyond Forth strongly opposed this arrangement, and assured the king that his unarmed Highlanders would fight better than "these Frenchmen". The king gave the place of honour to the Galwegians, and altered his whole plan of battle. The whole context, and the Earl of Strathern's sneer at "these Frenchmen", would seem to show that the "Angli" are, at all events, clearly distinguished from the Picts of Galloway and the Scots who, like Malise of Strathern, came from beyond the Forth. It is probable that the "Angli" were the men of Lothian; but it must also be recollected both that the term included the Anglo-Norman nobility ("these Frenchman") and the English settlers who had followed Queen Margaret, and that David was fighting in an English quarrel and in the interests of an English queen. The knights who wore coats of mail were entirely Anglo-Norman, and it is against them that the claim of the Highlanders is particularly directed. When Richard of Hexham tells us that Angles, Scots, and Picts fell out by the way, as they returned home, he means to contrast the men of Lothian and the new Anglo-Norman nobility with the Picts of Galloway and the Highlanders from north of the Forth, and this unusual application of the term Angli, to a portion of the Scottish army, is an indication, not that the Lowlanders were entirely English, but that there was a strong jealousy between the Scots and the new English nobility. The "Angli" are, above all others, the knights in mail.[36]

It is not possible to credit David with any real affection for the cause of the empress or with any higher motive than selfish greed, and it can scarcely be claimed that he kept faith with Stephen. Such, however, were the difficulties of the English king, that, in spite of his crushing defeat, David reaped the advantages of victory. Peace was made in April, 1139, by the Treaty of Durham, which secured to Prince Henry the earldom of Northumberland, as an English fief. The Scottish border line, which had successively enclosed Strathclyde and part of Cumberland, and the Lothians, now extended to the Tees. David gave Stephen some assistance in 1139, but on the victory of the Empress Maud[37] at Lincoln, in 1141, David deserted the captive king, and was present, on the empress's side, at her defeat at Winchester, in 1141. Eight years later he entered into an agreement with the claimant, Henry Fitz-Empress, afterwards Henry II, by which the eldest son of the Scottish king was to retain his English fiefs, and David was to aid Henry against Stephen. An unsuccessful attempt on England followed—the last of David's numerous invasions. When he died, in 1153, he left Scotland in a position of power with regard to England such as she was never again to occupy. The religious devotion which secured for him a popular canonization (he was never actually canonized) can scarcely justify his conduct to Stephen. But it must be recollected that, throughout his reign, there is comparatively little racial antagonism between the two countries. David interfered in an English civil war, and took part, now on one side, and now on the other. But the whole effect of his life was to bring the nations more closely together through the Norman influences which he encouraged in Scotland. His son and heir held great fiefs in England,[38] and he granted tracts of land to Anglo-Norman nobles. A Bruce and a Balliol, who each held possessions both in Scotland and in England, tried to prevent the battle of the Standard. Their well-meant efforts proved fruitless; but the fact is notable and significant.

David's eldest son, the gallant Prince Henry, who had led the wild charge at Northallerton, predeceased his father in 1152. He left three sons, of whom the two elder, Malcolm and William, became successively kings of Scotland, while from the youngest, David, Earl of Huntingdon, were descended the claimants at the first Inter-regnum. It was the fate of Scotland, as so often again, to be governed by a child; and a strong king, Henry II, was now on the throne of England. As David I had taken advantage of the weakness of Stephen, so now did Henry II benefit by the youth of Malcolm IV. In spite of the agreement into which Henry had entered with David in 1149, he, in 1157, obtained from Malcolm, then fourteen years of age, the resignation of his claims upon Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland. In return for this, Malcolm received a confirmation of the earldom of Huntingdon (cf. p. 18). The abandonment of the northern claims seems to have led to a quarrel, for Henry refused to knight the Scots king; but, in the following year, Malcolm accompanied Henry in his expedition to Toulouse, and received his knighthood at Henry's hands. Malcolm's subsequent troubles were connected with rebellions in Moray and in Galloway against the new regime, and with the ambition of Somerled, the ruler of Argyll, and of the still independent western islands. The only occasion on which he again entered into relations with England was in 1163, when he met Henry at Woodstock and did homage to his eldest son, who became known as Henry III, although he never actually reigned. As usual, there is no statement precisely defining the homage; it must not be forgotten that the King of Scots was also Earl of Huntingdon.

Malcolm died in 1165, and was succeeded by his brother, William the Lion, who reigned for nearly fifty years. Henry was now in the midst of his great struggle with the Church, but William made no attempt to use the opportunity. He accepted the earldom of Huntingdon from Henry, and in 1170, when the younger Henry was crowned in Becket's despite, William took the oath of fealty to him as Earl of Huntingdon. But in 1173-74, when the English king's ungrateful son organized a baronial revolt, William decided that his chance had come. His grandfather, David, had made him Earl of Northumberland, and the resignation which Henry had extorted from the weakness of Malcolm IV could scarcely be held as binding upon William. So William marched into England to aid the rebel prince, and, after some skirmishes and the usual ravaging, was surprised while tilting near Alnwick, and made a captive. He was conveyed to the castle of Falaise in Normandy, and there, on December 8th, 1174, as a condition of his release, he signed the Treaty of Falaise, which rendered the kingdom of Scotland, for fifteen years, unquestionably the vassal of England.[39] The treaty acknowledged Henry II as overlord of Scotland, and expressly stated the dependence of the Scottish Church upon that of England. The relations of the churches had been an additional cause of difficulty since the time of St. Margaret, and the present arrangement was in no sense final. A papal legate held a council in Edinburgh in 1177, and ten years afterwards Pope Clement III took the Scottish Church directly under his own protection.

About the political relationship there could be no such doubt. William stood, theoretically, if not actually, in much the same position to Henry II, as John Baliol afterwards occupied to Edward I. It was not till the accession of Richard I that William recovered his freedom. The castles in the south of Scotland which had been delivered to the English were restored, and the independence of Scotland was admitted, on William's paying Richard the sum of 10,000 marks. This agreement, dated December, 1189, annulled the terms of the Treaty of Falaise, and left the position of William the Lion exactly what it had been at the death of Malcolm IV. He remained liegeman for such lands as the Scottish kings had, in times past, done homage to England. The agreement with Richard I is certainly not incompatible with the Scottish position that the homage, before the Treaty of Falaise, applied only to the earldom of Huntingdon; but the usual vagueness was maintained, and the arrangement in no way determines the question of the homage paid by the earlier Scottish kings. For a hundred years after this date, the two countries were never at war. William had difficulties with John; in 1209, an outbreak of hostilities seemed almost certain, but the two kings came to terms. The long reign of William came to an end in 1214. His son and successor, Alexander II, joined the French party in England which was defeated at Lincoln in 1216. Alexander made peace with the regent, resigned all claims to Northumberland, and did homage for his English possessions—the most important of which was the earldom of Huntingdon, which had, since 1190, been held by his uncle, David, known as David of Huntingdon. In 1221, he married Joanna, sister of Henry III. Another marriage, negotiated at the same time, was probably of more real importance. Margaret, the eldest daughter of William the Lion, became the wife of the Justiciar of England, Hubert de Burgh. Mr. Hume Brown has pointed out that immediately on the fall of Hubert de Burgh, a dispute arose between Henry and Alexander. The English king desired Alexander to acknowledge the Treaty of Falaise, and this Alexander refused to do. The agreement, which averted an appeal to the sword, was, on the whole, favourable to Scotland. Nothing was said about homage for this kingdom. David of Huntingdon had died in 1119, and Alexander gave up the southern earldom, but received a fief in the northern counties, always coveted of the kings of Scotland. This arrangement is known as the Treaty of York (1236). Some trifling incidents and the second marriage of Alexander, which brought Scotland into closer touch with France (he married Marie, daughter of Enguerand de Coucy), nearly provoked a rupture in 1242, but the domestic troubles of Henry and Alexander alike prevented any breach of the long peace which had subsisted since the capture of William the Lion. In 1249, the Scottish king died, and his son and successor,[40] Alexander III, was knighted by Henry of England, and, in 1251, married Margaret, Henry's eldest daughter. The relations of Alexander to Henry III and to Edward I will be narrated in the following chapter. Not once throughout his reign was any blood spilt in an English quarrel, and the story of his reign forms no part of our subject. Its most interesting event is the battle of Largs. The Scottish kings had, for some time, been attempting to annex the islands, and, in 1263, Hakon of Norway invaded Scotland as a retributive measure. He was defeated at the battle of Largs, and, in 1266, the Isles were annexed to the Scottish crown. The fact that this forcible annexation took place, after a struggle, only twenty years before the death of Alexander III, must be borne in mind in connection with the part played by the Islanders in the War of Independence.


[Footnote 34: Art of War in the Middle Ages, p. 391.]

[Footnote 35: Cf. App. A.]

[Footnote 36: In the final order of battle, David seems to have attempted to bring all classes of his subjects together, and the divisions have a political as well as a military purpose. The right wing contained Anglo-Norman knights and men from Strathclyde and Teviotdale, the left wing men from Lothian and Highlanders from Argyll and the islands, and King David's reserve was composed of more knights along with men from Moray and the region north of the Forth.]

[Footnote 37: The Empress Maud, daughter of Henry I, and niece of David, must be carefully distinguished from Queen Maud, wife of Stephen, and cousin of David, who negotiated the Treaty of Durham.]

[Footnote 38: Ailred credits Bruce with a long speech, in which he tries to convince David that his real friends are not his Scottish subjects, but his Anglo-Norman favourites, and that, accordingly, he should keep on good terms with the English.]

[Footnote 39: William's English earldom of Huntingdon, which had been forfeited, was restored, in 1185, and was conferred by William upon his brother, David, the ancestor of the claimants of 1290.]

[Footnote 40: As Alexander III was the last king of Scotland who ruled before the War of Independence, it is interesting to note that he was crowned at Scone with the ancient ceremonies, and as the representative of the Celtic kings of Scotland. Fordun tells us that the coronation took place on the sacred stone at Scone, on which all Scottish kings had sat, and that a Highlander appeared and read Alexander's Celtic genealogy (Annals XLVIII. Cf. App. A). There is no indication that Alexander's subjects, from the Forth to the Moray Firth, were "stout Northumbrian Englishmen", who had, for no good reason, drifted away from their English countrymen, to unite them with whom Edward I waged his Scottish wars.]




When Alexander III was killed, on the 19th March, 1285-86, the relations between England and Scotland were such that Edward I was amply justified in looking forward to a permanent union. Since the ill-fated invasion of William the Lion in 1174, there had been no serious warfare between the two countries, and in recent years they had become more and more friendly in their dealings with each other. The late king had married Edward's sister, Margaret, and the child-queen was her grand-daughter; Alexander and Margaret had been present at the English King's coronation in 1274; and, in addition to these personal connections, Scotland had found England a friend in its great final struggle with the Danes. The misfortunes which had overtaken Scotland in the premature deaths[41] of Alexander and his three children might yet prove a very real blessing, if they prepared the way for the creation of a great island kingdom, which should be at once free and united. The little Margaret, the Maid of Norway, Edward's grand-niece, had been acknowledged heir to the throne of her grandfather, in February, 1283-84, and on his death her succession was admitted. The Great Council met at Scone in April, 1286, and appointed six Guardians of the Kingdom. It was no easy task which was entrusted to them, for the claim of a child and a foreigner could not but be disputed by the barons who stood nearest to the throne. The only rival who attempted to rebel was Robert Bruce of Annandale, who had been promised the succession by Alexander II, and had been disappointed of the fulfilment of his hopes by the birth of the late king in 1241. The deaths of two of the guardians added to the difficulties of the situation, and it was with something like relief that the Scots heard that Eric of Norway, the father of their queen, wished to come to an arrangement with Edward of England, in whose power he lay. The result of Eric's negotiations with Edward was that a conference met at Salisbury in 1289, and was attended, on Edward's invitation, by four Scottish representatives, who included Robert Bruce and three of the guardians. Such were the troubles of the country that the Scots willingly acceded to Edward's proposals, which gave him an interest in the government of Scotland, and they heard with delight that he contemplated the marriage of their little queen to his son Edward, then two years of age. The English king was assured of the satisfaction which such a marriage would give to Scotland, and the result was that, by the Treaty of Brigham, in 1290, the marriage was duly arranged. Edward had previously obtained the necessary dispensation from the pope.

The eagerness with which the Scots welcomed the proposal of marriage was sufficient evidence that the time had come for carrying out Edward's statesmanlike scheme, but the conditions which were annexed to it should have warned him that there were limits to the Scottish compliance with his wishes. Scotland was not in any way to be absorbed by England, although the crowns would be united in the persons of Edward and Margaret. Edward wisely made no attempt to force Scotland into any more complete union, although he could not but expect that the union of the crowns would prepare the way for a union of the kingdoms. He certainly interpreted in the widest sense the rights given him by the treaty of Brigham, but when the Scots objected to his demand that all Scottish castles should be placed in his power, he gave way without rousing further suspicion or indignation. Hitherto, his policy had been characterized by the great sagacity which he had shown in his conduct of English affairs; it is impossible to refuse either to sympathize with his ideals or to admire the tact he displayed in his negotiations with Scotland. His considerateness extended even to the little Maid of Norway, for whose benefit he victualled, with raisins and other fruit, the "large ship" which he sent to conduct her to England. But the large ship returned to England with a message from King Eric that he would not entrust his daughter to an English vessel. The patient Edward sent it back again, and it was probably in it that the child set sail in September, 1290. Some weeks later, Bishop Fraser of St. Andrews, one of the guardians, and a supporter of the English interest, wrote to Edward that he had heard a "sorrowful rumour" regarding the queen.[42] The rumour proved to be well-founded; in circumstances which are unknown to us, the poor girl-queen died on her voyage, and her death proved a fatal blow to the work on which Edward had been engaged for the last four years.

Of the thirteen[43] competitors who put forward claims to the crown, only three need be here mentioned. They were each descended from David, Earl of Huntingdon, brother of William the Lion and grandson of David I. The claimant who, according to the strict rules of primogeniture, had the best right was John Balliol, the grandson of Margaret, the eldest daughter of Earl David. His most formidable opponent was Robert Bruce of Annandale, the son of Earl David's second daughter, Isabella, who based his candidature on the fact that he was the grandson, whereas Balliol was the great-grandson, of the Earl of Huntingdon, through whom both the rivals claimed. The third, John Hastings, was the grandson of David's youngest daughter, Ada. Bishop Fraser, in the letter to which we have already referred, urged Edward I to interfere in favour of John Balliol, who might be employed to further English interests in Scotland. The English king thereupon decided to put forward a definite claim to be lord paramount, and, in virtue of that right, to decide the disputed succession.

Since Richard I had restored his independence to William the Lion, in 1189, the question of the overlordship had lain almost entirely dormant. On John's succession, William had done homage "saving his own right", but whether the homage was for Scotland or solely for his English fiefs was not clear. His successor, Alexander II, aided Louis of France against the infant Henry III, and, after the battle of Lincoln, came to an agreement with the regent, by which he did homage to Henry III, but only for the earldom of Huntingdon and his other possessions in Henry's kingdom. After the fall of Hubert de Burgh, Henry used his influence with Pope Gregory IX, who looked upon the English king as a valuable ally in the great struggle with Frederick II, to persuade the pope to order the King of Scots to acknowledge Henry as his overlord (1234). Alexander refused to comply with the papal injunction, and the matter was not definitely settled. Henry made no attempt to enforce his claim, and merely came to an agreement with Alexander regarding the English possessions of the Scottish king (1236). During the minority of Alexander III, when Henry was, for two years, the real ruler of Scotland (1255-1257), he described himself not as lord paramount, but as chief adviser of the Scottish king. Lastly, when, in 1278, Alexander III took a solemn oath of homage to Edward at Westminster, he, according to the Scottish account of the affair, made an equally solemn avowal that to God alone was his homage due for the kingdom of Scotland, and Edward had accepted the homage thus rendered.

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