Tag Archives: Scotland

Scotland under the rule of Alexander III

Scotland under the rule of Alexander III


The eight-year-old Alexander III had been king for only a few days when two factions began to struggle for control of his small person. One was led by Alan Durward, the Justiciar of Scotland, supported by the Bruces and the Earl of Dunbar; the other was led by Walter de Comyn, Earl of Menteith and head of an ambitious and much ramified baronial family.

Hammering the Celts, 1272 – 1330

Hammering the Celts, 1272 – 1330

Henry’s heir was a swarthy giant of 6ft 2in, as Provencal  (through his mother) as he was Plantagenet. Edward I (1272 – 1307) first heard of his father’s death when stopping in Sicily on his way back from a crusade. Such was his lack of urgency that he spent two years in France before arriving in England in 1274. Now aged thirty-five, he had rescued his father from the barons’ rebellion, but he had been an early supporter of de Montfort and understood the need for kingly power in a constitutional framework.

King Kenneth MacAlpin and the Alban kings

King Kenneth MacAlpin and the Alban kings

The centre of administration of the Pictish kingdom in the 9th century was Forteviot on the River Earn. Close by the Dunkeld, King Kenneth MacAlpin (Cináed mac Ailpín) set up a new religious centre about 850AD. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that Iona was now no longer tenable as a religious capital, although the monastery was eventually re-established and it remained the burial place of Pictish kings until the time of Donald Ban.

Victorian Scotland

Victorian Scotland

By the time Victoria became queen of Great Britain in 1837 the powers of the monarch were much more restricted than those of her 18th century predecessors, and far less than the autocratic power, always greater in Scotland than in England, that kings had had before 1688. Parliament was sovereign, although the unelected House of Lords retained powers of veto over the Commons. The House of Commons itself was elected only by a minority of the adult population.

James II of Scotland and the fall of the Black Douglases

James II of Scotland and the fall of the Black Douglases

In 1449 James II of Scotland was nineteen and he began to assert himself and moved against his erstwhile Guardian, Alexander Livingston, and his family. In January 1450, two members of the Livingston family were beheaded for treason and the family estates were forfeited to the crown. Gradually, however, the Crichtons now glided back into the king’s favour and William Crichton regained the role of Chancellor.