Birth of Edward I
In the late evening of the 17th June 1239 Edward I was born to Henry III and Eleanor of Provence, he was probably named after Edward the Confessor.
On the death of his father in 1272, Edward inherited the English throne. He would build castles in Wales to subdue the Welsh and make his son the first Prince of Wales. By 1290, he moved on to Scotland and angered the Scottish nobility by deciding who would succeed to the Scottish throne. He chose John Balliol. In retaliation the Scottish deposed Balliol and formed an alliance with France. Edward then invaded Scotland, imprisoned Balliol in the Tower of London and placed the Scottish people under English rule. For this he was given the name of Hammer of the Scots.
Edward had a second nickname, that of Longshanks because of his height - he was six foot two. Historian Michael Prestwich wrote of this that Edward's
"Long arms gave him an advantage as a swordsman, long thighs one as a horseman'
On the 5th August in 1305, Scottish knight John de Menteith, turned William Wallace over to English soldiers following information received from Wallace's servant Jack Short.
According to Walter Scott in his "The Lord of the Isles",
William Waleis in nomen that master was of theves
Tiding to the king is comen that robbery mischeves
Sir John of Mentest sued William so nigh
We tok him when ween'd last, on night, his lemam him by
That was through treason of Jack Short his man
He was encheson so that Sir John so him ran
Jack's brother he had slain, the Waleis that is said
The more Jack fain to do William that braid
Wallace was taken to London and put on trial in Westminster Hall for the crime of high treason on August 23, 1305. He maintained, however, that “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.”
William Wallace was executed on the 23rd of August, he was hanged, drawn and quartered. His head was placed on London Bridge, and his limbs displayed in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Perth.
It was late in the evening of the 20th February in 1437 that James I of Scotland met his death at Blackfriar's Church in Perth, Scotland.
The bolt on the inside of the king's bedchamber door had been purposely removed leaving it easy for the assassins to force their way in. On hearing a noise outside, James was quick to realise that his life was in danger, he hoped to make his way to safety through a small tunnel that led to the cellar. While James was making his escape it is said that Catherine Douglas, lady in waiting to Jame's queen Joan Beaufort, rushed to the bedchamber door and placed her arm across the door to prevent the murderers making their entrance. However, the door was easily forced and this broke Catherine's arm.
The king crawled along the tunnel but his exit was blocked. Unable to escape he waited in silence until he thought the danger was over and then called out, but the men were still in the room, two of his assassins crawled in and attacked him with knives, the third coming in later finish him off.
James died from sixteen stab wounds, his hands torn to ribbons defending himself from his enemies blades.
James's killers, Walter and Thomas Stewart where related to the king through Robert II of Scotland, and Robert and Thomas Graham were wealth landowners. They all managed to escape, but were soon found and all died horribly gruesome deaths in ways that don't bear thinking about.
Walter Stewart and Robert Graham had problems with James's rule that were numerous and complicated. They did conspire and act against the king in what appears to be a frenzied attack. However, I do realise these were hard and different times, but the way these men were dealt with was simply barbaric.
Mary's Last Letter
Below is the first page of the last letter Mary Queen of Scots wrote before her execution at Fotheringhay Castle. It was to Henry III of France the younger brother of her first husband Frances II.
It was dated 2am in the morning of the 8th February 1587 on the first page Mary writes:
" Royal brother, having by God's will, for my sins I think, thrown myself into the power of the Queen my cousin, at whose hands I have suffered much for almost twenty years, I have finally been condemned to death by her and her Estates. I have asked for my papers, which they have taken away, in order that I might make my will, but I have been unable to recover anything of use to me, or even get leave either to make my will freely or to have my body conveyed after my death, as I would wish, to your kingdom where I had the honour to be queen, your sister and old ally.
Tonight, after dinner, I have been advised of my sentence: I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning. I have not had time to give you a full account of everything that has happened, but if you will listen to my doctor and my other unfortunate servants, you will learn the truth, and how, thanks be to God, I scorn death and vow... "
King Duncan I and Macbeth
The numerous clans of Scotland had been fighting each other for centuries and would continue to do so right up to the 18th century. One of these battles, in the middle of the 11th century, saw the death of King Duncan I at the hands of one Macbeth.
Duncan, who had a claim to the throne through his mother was king for just six years and Macbeth or mac Bethad mac Findlaich to give him his true name, was a clan leader from the north of Scotland. Like many a monarch in history, Duncan's time as king lasted as long as he could hold onto the crown before another with what they considered an equal claim ripped it from his head. In Duncan's case, his forays into the lands held by Macbeth at Moray cost him his life.
It was on this day that the aforementioned Duncan was slain in battle by Macbeth's forces at Bothnagowan or Pitgaveny near Elgin in Moray.
If you think of Macbeth then your mind automatically thinks of William Shakespeare who used Raphael Holinshed's Chronicle of Scottish History as a basis of his famous play and it is from his work that we, on the whole, view Duncan and Macbeth. Holinshed's work and Shakespeare play should be taken with a pinch of salt, they were written over five hundred years after the event. Shakespeare wrote Macbeth when James I of Scotland was on sitting on the English throne.
There is a painting of a dark-haired bearded Duncan depicted as one, among ninety-three other paintings, of Scotland's heroic kings, it has him wearing a red cloak over his armoured shoulders (the image below is probably based on this work)
The original painting is by a Dutch artist and dates to the reign of Charles II and forms part of the aforedmentioned set commissioned to decorate the Great Gallery at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The inscription on the painting reads - Duncanvs I. The inscriptions on each of the paintings are taken from the work of a 16th-century Scottish historian and together they are an attempt to represent the 'symbolic power' of Scottish kingship.
Duncan's portrait has the following inscription -
'Son of Beatrix, daughter of Malcolm II a good and modest Prince. He was slain by Macbeth, traitorously, in the 6th Year of his Reign’ Duncan I is number eighty-four in the series.
Duncan I's body is stated to be buried on the island of Iona.
Marriage of Margaret Tudor
The marriage of Margaret Tudor to James IV of Scotland took place on the 8th August in 1503, it followed their marriage by proxy on the 25th January 1503 at Richmond Palace.
The future queen of the Scots was accompanied on her journey north by her father, they left Richmond Place at the end of June, crossing the border into Scotland on the 1st August where they were greeted by the Archbishop of Glasgow and a large crowd of nobles all decked out in ‘in rich jewels and massy chains’.
It may have taken Margaret a while to settle into her new life in Scotland, it seems that she was homesick, writing to her father
‘I would I were with your Grace now and many times more’
Margaret bore James six children but only one survived. The future James V was seventeen months old when his father was killed fighting the English in 1513 at Flodden. Margaret stepped in to rule for her infant son.
Her marriage, a year later to Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, gave the Scottish Parliament an excuse to replace her with John Stewart, Duke of Albany
Murder of David Rizzio
It was on the 9th March 1566 that Italian David Rizzio, private secretary to Mary Queen of Scots was murdered at Holyrood House in Edinburgh.
Out of the fourteen men involved in Rizzio's death it had been Patrick, Lord Ruthven who was the first in the queen's bedchamber that evening, standing in the door way he was wearing full armour that covered his nightshirt, Forcing his way into the room he shouted the words
“May it please your majesty to let yonder man Davie come forth of your presence, for he has been overlong here.”
Rizzio is said to have hidden behind Mary's skirts before he was dragged kicking and screaming to his death, he was stabbed over fifty times before his body was pushed to the bottom of a stone staircase. Later, in his testimony on Rizzio's murder, Ruthven stated that the Scottish lords had acted in what they considered was the best for Mary's husband Henry Darnley, Mary herself, the State of Scotland and religion. State and religion, I imagine were the main factors behind this plot, Darnley I think was not.
It must have been very clear to the Scottish lords that Henry Darnley was jealous of Rizzio's relationship with the queen and he was easily persuaded to join in the plot. However, when it came to the day when action was needed Darnley refused to stab Rizzio, standing back, he distanced himself from what was a frenzied attack. Angered by this his dagger was cleverly left in the body to show his involvement, a fact that was mentioned thirteen days later in English state papers when diplomat Sir Thomas Smith wrote to Lord Burghley.
"His (Darnley) dagger was left standing in Rizzio's body. Their mind was to have hanged Rizzio. The Lords of this last attempt have written Murray not to forbear for their cause to agree with the Queen. Lennox remains at Dunbar much offended with his son. The King repents of it, and confesses that he was abused."
In this affair poor David Rizzio goes down his history as a scapegoat, and Henry Darnley a weak willed coward. Darnley's death a year later was a violent one too, implicated in that was James Bothwell. Lord Ruthven died in his bed three months later. Of the final fate of David Rizzio there is some confusion, but it is considered by many that he lies in unmarked grave at Hollyrood Abbey.
Robert the Bruce
"Let Scotland's warcraft be this: footsoldiers, mountains and marshy ground; and let her woods, her bow and spear serve for barricades. Let menace lurk in all her narrow places among her warrior bands, and let her plains so burn with fire that her enemies flee away. Crying out in the night, let her men be on their guard, and her enemies in confusion will flee from hunger's sword. Surely it will be so, as we're guided by Robert, our lord."
Scotland's Strategy of Guerrilla Warfare c.1308
Robert the Bruce is thought to have been born at Turnberry Castle in Ayrshire Scotland on the 11th July 1274, into an aristocratic family. His mother was Marjorie of Carrick, his father Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale, was distantly related to Scotland's royal family.
According to legend, Bruce was driven into exile and hiding in a cave, he sat and watched a small spider trying to make a web, the spider would fall and then climb slowly back up to try again.
This was Bruce's inspiration for his continued efforts to establish an independent Scotland, and along with William Wallace he is Scotland's national hero.
Robert Bruce had been elected guardian of Scotland in 1298, replacing William Wallace as the leader of the long campaign against the English attempt to conquer Scotland. After the devastating defeat of Wallace at Falkirk in 1298 and then Bruce’s own defeat at Methven in 1306, much of Bruce’s campaign took the form of guerrilla warfare. In this way he completely changed the balance of power in Scotland.
In February of that year, at the altar of Greyfriars Church in Dumfries Robert the Bruce killed John Comyn, a staunch supporter of the Balliol dynasty and head of the most powerful baronial families in Scotland.
Six weeks later, on the 25th March, Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone in Perthshire, however many saw him as a violent usurper.
By 1314, just two major strategic fortresses remained in English hands on the border at Berwick and controlling the crossing
of the Forth at Stirling. But the Stirling garrison finally agreed to surrender if the English king did not arrive with a relieving
force by 24th June 1314. In response Edward II assembled an army of about 13,000 at Berwick, marching north in May and reaching Falkirk on the 22nd June.
Bruce deployed his forces in woodland south west of Stirling, through which the major road approached the town. He carefully prepared this chosen spot, beside the Bannock Burn and, as the English advanced against him, over two days of fighting achieved a dramatic victory.
Alan Beattie Herriot's robust, eighteen foot sculpture of the Scottish hero is testament to that fact, it stands in its
magnificence outside Marischal College Aberdeen. It is there to recognise the debt owed to Robert the Bruce as a
benefactor of the city's Common Good Fund which was developed as a direct result of a charter issued by him in 1319.
After ten years in the workplace I became a mother to three very beautiful daughters, I was fortunate enough to have been able to stay at home and spend my time with them as they grew into the young women they are now. I am still in the position of being able to be at home and pursue all the interests I have previously mentioned. We live in a beautiful Victorian spa town with wooded walks for the dog, lovely shops and a host of lovely people, what more could I ask for.
All works © Andrea Povey 2014. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Andrea Povey.
My Family Stories
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