David I

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Overview

David I (1084 – 24 May 1153) was a prominent Scottish king during the Middle Ages. He was the youngest son of Malcolm III and Margaret and became king on the death of his brother, Alexander I. <ref>Ian Donnachie and George Hewitt, Birlinn Companion to Scottish History, 79</ref> David was raised and educated at the court of Henry I of England and later became English Earl of Huntingdon. <ref>Donnachie, Hewitt, Companion, 79</ref> After an early life spent in exile David became king with the support of Henry I despite the claims of various relations and imposed his authority on Scotland.

He spearheaded the importation of Anglo-Norman culture and ideas to Scotland, which included religious reform and the development of burghs as centres of trade and fiscal reform.<ref>Donnachie, Hewitt, Companion, 79</ref> David reigned for almost three decades<ref>Michael Lynch, Scotland, a New History, 80</ref> and has been claimed to have been a 'legend in his own lifetime'. <ref>Barrow, David I of Scotland, 5</ref> He expanded royal authority over regions of Scotland which until then had only theoretically been part of the kingdom.

Despite his early association with England, David attempted to take advantage of the conflict between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda to invade England but was defeated at the Battle of the Standard in 1138. He did however gain control of much of northern England, an achievement which later Scots monarchs attempted to emulate.<ref>Donnachie, Hewitt, Companion, 80</ref><ref>Lynch, Scotland, 84</ref>

Early Life

David was born around 1084 although the exact date is unknown. <ref>Oram, David: The King Who Made Scotland, 49 </ref> He was probably the eighth son of King Máel Coluim mac Donnchada, and certainly the sixth and youngest produced by Máel Coluim's second marriage to Queen Margaret. He was the grandson of the ill-fated King Duncan I.

In 1093 King Máel Coluim and David's brother Edward were killed at the River Aln during an invasion of Northumberland. <ref>Duncan, Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom, 121</ref> David and his two brothers Alexander and Edgar, both future kings of Scotland, were probably present when their mother died shortly afterwards. <ref> A.O. Anderson, Scottish Annals, 114, n. 1 </ref> According to later medieval tradition, the three brothers were in Edinburgh when they were besieged by their uncle, Domnall Bán. <ref>John Fordun, Chronica gentis Scotorum, II. 209 </ref>

Domnall became King of Scotland and forced his three nephews into exile, according to the Chronicle of Melrose. <ref>A.O. Anderson, Early Sources, vol. ii, 89</ref>

William Rufus, King of England, opposed Domnall's accession to the northern kingdom. He sent the eldest son of Máel Coluim, David's half-brother Donnchad, into Scotland with an army. Donnchad was killed within the year, so in 1097 William sent Donnchad's half-brother Edgar into Scotland. The latter was more successful, and was crowned King by the end of 1097. <ref>Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, MS. E, s.a. 1097; A.O. Anderson, Scottish Annals, 119 </ref>

During the power struggles of 1093–97, David was in England. In 1093, he may have been about nine years old. <ref>Oram, David, 49</ref> From 1093 until 1103 David's presence cannot be accounted for in detail, but he appears to have been in Scotland for the remainder of the 1090s. When William Rufus was killed, his brother Henry Beauclerc seized power and married David's sister, Matilda. The marriage made David the brother-in-law of the ruler of England. He became a member of the royal household and witnessed royal acts as 'David, the Queen's brother'. <ref>Lynch, New History, 79</ref>

Through his stay in England David became fully Normanised. The chronicler William of Malmesbury wrote that it was in this period that David 'rubbed off all tarnish of Scottish barbarity through being polished by intercourse and friendship with us'. <ref>William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum, W. Stubbs (ed.), Rolls Series, no. 90, vol. ii, 476; trans. A.O. Anderson, Scottish Annals, (1908), 157 </ref>

Prince of the Cumbrians

David became a great territorial magnate under the patronage of Henry I of England, who also arranged for his marriage to a substantial heiress. As well as being 'Prince of the Cumbrians' - a large area of northern England, this marriage also made David the Earl of Huntingdon.

David's brother, King Edgar, had visited William Rufus in May 1099 and bequeathed to David extensive territory to the south of the river Forth. <ref>Oram, David, 59–60 </ref> In January 1107, Edgar died. It has been assumed that David took control of his inheritance – the southern lands bequeathed by Edgar – soon after the latter's death. <ref>Judith Green, "David I and Henry I", 3. She cites the gap in knowledge about David's whereabouts as evidence; for a brief outline of David's itinerary, see Barrow, The Charters of David I, 38–41</ref>

However, it cannot be shown that he possessed his inheritance until his foundation of Selkirk Abbey late in 1113. <ref>Judith Green, "David I and Henry I", 3. She cites the gap in knowledge about David's whereabouts as evidence; for a brief outline of David's itinerary, see Barrow, The Charters of David I, 38–41</ref> According to Richard Oram, it was only in 1113, when Henry returned to England from Normandy, that David was at last in a position to claim his inheritance in southern 'Scotland'.<ref>Oram, David, 59–63</ref>

King Henry's backing seems to have been enough to force King Alexander to recognise his younger brother's claims. This probably occurred without bloodshed, but through threat of force nonetheless. <ref> A.O. Anderson, Scottish Annals, (1908), 193 </ref> David's aggression seems to have inspired resentment amongst some native Scots.

It's bad what Máel Coluim's son has done,
dividing us from Alexander;  
he causes, like each king's son before, 
the plunder of stable Alba.<ref>Thomas Clancy, The Triumph Tree, 184</ref>


If "divided from" is anything to go by, this quatrain may have been written in David's new territories in southern Scotland. <ref>Clancy, 'A Gaelic Polemic Quatrain' 88</ref> The lands in question consisted of the pre-1975 counties of Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire, Berwickshire, Peeblesshire and Lanarkshire. David, moreover, gained the title princeps Cumbrensis, "Prince of the Cumbrians", as attested in David's charters from this era.<ref>Oram, David, 62–64; for Princeps Cumbrensis, see Archibald Lawrie, Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153, (Glasgow, 1905), no. 46 </ref>

Although this was a large slice of Scotland south of the river Forth, the region of Galloway-proper was entirely outside David's control. <ref>Richard Oram, The Lordship of Galloway, (Edinburgh, 2000), 54–61</ref> David may perhaps have had varying degrees of overlordship in parts of Dumfriesshire, Ayrshire, Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire. In the lands between Galloway and the Principality of Cumbria, David eventually set up large-scale marcher lordships, such as Annandale for Robert de Brus, Cunningham for Hugh de Morville, and possibly Strathgryfe for Walter Fitzalan. <ref>Oram, David, 113</ref>

In the later part of 1113, King Henry gave David the hand of Matilda of Huntingdon, daughter and heiress of Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria. The marriage brought with it the "Honour of Huntingdon", a lordship scattered through the shires of Northampton, Huntingdon, and Bedford; within a few years, Matilda bore two sons. The eldest, Malcolm, died as an infant and was said to have been strangled by Donald III, and the second, Henry, was named by David after his patron. <ref>G. W. S. Barrow, "David I (c. 1085–1153)" </ref>

The new territories which David controlled were a valuable supplement to his income and manpower, increasing his status as one of the most powerful magnates in the Kingdom of the English. Moreover, Matilda's father Waltheof had been Earl of Northumberland, a defunct lordship which had covered the far north of England and included Cumberland and Westmorland, Northumberland-proper, as well as overlordship of the bishopric of Durham. After King Henry's death, David would revive the claim to this earldom for his son Henry.<ref>Duncan, Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom, 134, 217–8, 223</ref>

David's activities and whereabouts after 1114 are not always easy to trace. He spent much of his time outside his principality, in England and in Normandy. Despite the death of his sister on 1 May 1118, David still possessed the favour of King Henry when his brother Alexander died in 1124, leaving Scotland without a king.

King of Scots

In either April or May of the same year David was crowned King of Scotland (Gaelic: rí(gh) Alban; Latin: rex Scottorum) at Scone. If later Scottish and Irish evidence can be taken as evidence, the ceremony of coronation was a series of elaborate traditional rituals, of the kind infamous in the Anglo-French world of the 12th century for their "unchristian" elements.<ref>John J. O'Meara (ed.), Gerald of Wales: The History and Topography of Ireland, (London, 1951), 110 </ref>

Ailred of Rievaulx, friend and one time member of David's court, reported that David "so abhorred those acts of homage which are offered by the Scottish nation in the manner of their fathers upon the recent promotion of their kings, that he was with difficulty compelled by the bishops to receive them". <ref>A.O. Anderson, Scottish Annals, 232 </ref>

Whatever David thought of his childhood homeland, the Anglo-Norman historians were clearly convinced that he had little cultural or social connection to it in 1124. David remained an absentee king for much of his early reign in Scotland-proper. In his first act as king he made a grant or perhaps a reaffirmation of a previous grant to one of his followers, Robert de Brus, of the lordship of Annandale, on the frontier between his old principality and the lands of "Galloway":

This charter addresses only his "English and French" followers, and the witness list contains the names of eight Frenchmen and one Englishman; there are no Scots. By contrast, the witnesses to the charters of Alexander I issued in Scotland-proper are virtually all Gaels.<ref>Liber Ecclesie de Scon, (Bannatyne Club, 1843), nos i & iv.</ref>

In 1124 then it is possible to argue that David felt he could depend on Frenchmen and Englishmen only. It would take some time for David to reestablish himself in the country and people of his early childhood.

Celtic vs. Norman

Both Michael Lynch and Richard Oram portray David as having little initial connection with the culture and society of the Scots; Oram characterizes David's position at his accession in 1124 as "a stranger in a strange land". <ref>Oram, David: The King Who Made Scotland, title to chapter 5, 73-88</ref> Both historians likewise argue that David became increasingly re-Gaelicized in the later stages of his reign.<ref>Michael Lynch, New History, 83</ref>

Other historians, such as R. Andrew McDonald for instance, focus on the violence of David's "Norman" establishment, and partially explain David's troubles in Scotland as non-Celtic tension against the "Celtic" periphery. <ref>R. Andrew McDonald, Outlaws of Medieval Scotland, 24-29 </ref>

The latter Norman-Celtic dualistic picture is attacked by Matthew Hammond, who asks why the Gaelic east of the kingdom which constituted David's Scotian heartland was less "Celtic" than the heavily Norse-influenced west and north. <ref>Matthew H. Hammond, Ethnicity and the Writing of Medieval Scottish history, 23</ref>

Struggle to assert authority

Outside his Cumbrian principality and the southern fringe of Scotland-proper, David exercised little power in the 1120s, and in the words of Richard Oram, was "king of Scots in little more than name".<ref>Oram, David, 87</ref>

He was probably in that part of Scotland he did rule for most of the time between late 1127 and 1130. </ref>Oram, David, 83</ref> However, he was at the court of Henry in 1126 and in early 1127, and returned to Henry's court in 1130, serving as a judge at Woodstock for the treason trial of Geoffrey de Clinton. It was in this year that David's wife, Matilda of Huntingdon, died. Possibly as a result of this, and while David was still in southern England, Scotland-proper rose up in arms against him.<ref> Anderson, Scottish Annals, 167</ref>

The instigator was, again, his nephew Máel Coluim, who now had the support of Óengus of Moray. King Óengus was David's most powerful vassal, a man who, as grandson of King Lulach of Scotland, even had his own claim to the kingdom. The rebel Scots had advanced into Angus, where they were met by David's Mercian constable, Edward; a battle took place at Stracathro near Brechin. According to the Annals of Ulster, 1000 of Edward's army, and 4000 of Óengus' army – including Óengus himself – died. </ref>Annals of Ulster, s.a. U1130.4</ref>

According to Orderic Vitalis, Edward followed up the killing of Óengus by marching north into Moray itself, which, in Orderic's words, "lacked a defender and lord"; and so Edward, "with God's help obtained the entire duchy of that extensive district". <ref>Anderson, Scottish Annals, 167</ref> However, this was far from the end of it. Máel Coluim escaped, and four years of continuing civil war followed; for David this period was quite simply a "struggle for survival".<ref>Oram, David, 88</ref>

It appears that David asked for and obtained extensive military aid from King Henry. Ailred of Rievaulx related that at this point a large fleet and a large army of Norman knights, including Walter l'Espec, were sent by Henry to Carlisle in order to assist David's attempt to root out his Scottish enemies. <ref>Anderson, Scottish Annals, 193–4, see also Oram, David, 86</ref>

The fleet seems to have been used in the Irish Sea, the Firth of Clyde and the entire Argyll coast, where Máel Coluim was probably at large among supporters. In 1134 Máel Coluim was captured and imprisoned in Roxburgh Castle. <ref>Anderson, Early Sources, vol. ii, 183</ref>

Pacifies West and North

Richard Oram puts forward the suggestion that it was during this period that David granted Walter fitz Alan the kadrez of Strathgryfe, with northern Kyle and the area around Renfrew, forming what would become the "Stewart" lordship of Strathgryfe; he also suggests that Hugh de Morville may have gained the kadrez of Cunningham and the settlement of "Strathyrewen" (i.e. Irvine). This would indicate that the 1130–34 campaign had resulted in the acquisition of these territories. <ref>Oram, David, 93–6</ref>

How long it took to pacify Moray is not known, but in this period David appointed his nephew William fitz Duncan to succeed Óengus, perhaps in compensation for the exclusion from the succession to the Scottish throne caused by the coming of age of David's son Henry. William may have been given the daughter of Óengus in marriage, cementing his authority in the region. The burghs of Elgin and Forres may have been founded at this point, consolidating royal authority in Moray.

David also founded Urquhart Priory, possibly as a "victory monastery", and assigned to it a percentage of his cain (tribute) from Argyll.<ref>Oram, David, 91–3</ref>

During this period too, a marriage was arranged between the son of Matad, Mormaer of Atholl, and the daughter of Haakon Paulsson, Earl of Orkney. The marriage temporarily secured the northern frontier of the Kingdom, and held out the prospect that a son of one of David's Mormaers could gain Orkney and Caithness for the Kingdom of Scotland. Thus, by the time Henry I died on 1 December 1135, David had more of Scotland under his control than ever before.<ref>Richard Oram, "David I and the Conquest of Moray", 11</ref>

Appearance

Surviving images of David I such as the seal of a charter made to Kelso Abbey in 1159 show a grey haired, bearded and patriarchal figure. <ref>Lynch, New History, 80</ref> They also represent a king surrounded by traditional symbols of power, and innovative imagery which appears to be copied from the Capetian kings of France.<ref>Lynch, New History, 80</ref>

David I shown with his grandson, Malcolm IV

Davidan Revolution

The reign of David I is associated with striking changes to Scottish society. This has been termed a 'Davidan Revolution' by historians, although they disagree on the extent or importance of the changes. This 'revolution' is held to underpin the development of later medieval Scotland, whereby the changes he inaugurated grew into most of the central institutions of the later medieval kingdom.

Since the work of Robert Bartlett, it has become increasingly apparent that better understanding of David's "revolution" can be achieved by recognising the wider 'European revolution' taking place during this period. The central idea is that from the late 10th century onwards the culture and institutions of the old Carolingian heartlands in northern France and western Germany were spreading to outlying areas, creating a more recognisable "Europe". Scotland was just one of many "outlying" areas. <ref>Bartlett, The Making of Europe, 24–59</ref>

The 'revolution' encouraged Anglo-Norman settlement and culture. <ref>Donnachie, Hunt, Companion, 79</ref> David encouraged the settlement of Norman knights such as the de Brus family, to whom he granted the vast lands of Annandale in southwest Scotland. <ref>Lynch, New History, 80</ref> These new and potentially powerful lordships headed by Anglo- Norman nobles and their families were among the most notable of his innovations. <ref>Donnachie, Hunt, Companion, 79</ref>

David created an administrative system headed by officials such as sheriffs.<ref>Donnachie, Hunt, Companion, 79</ref> New sheriffdoms enabled the King to effectively administer royal demesne land. During David I's reign, royal sheriffs had been established in the king's core personal territories; namely, in rough chronological order, at Roxburgh, Scone, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling and Perth.<ref>McNeill & MacQueen, Atlas of Scottish History, 193</ref>

The Justiciarship too was created in David's reign. Two Justiciarships were created, one for Scotland-proper and one for Lothian, i.e. for Scotland north of the river Forth and Scotland south of the Forth and east of Galloway. Although this institution had Anglo-Norman origins, in Scotland north of the Forth at least it represented some form of continuity with an older office. For instance, Mormaer Causantín of Fife is styled judex magnus (i.e. great Brehon); the Justiciarship of Scotia hence was just as much a Gaelic office modified by Normanisation as it was an import, illustrating Barrow's "balance of New and Old" argument. <ref>Barrow, G.W.S., "The Judex", in Barrow (ed.) The Kingdom of the Scots, (Edinburgh, 2003), 57–67 and "The Justiciar", also in Barrow (ed.) The Kingdom of the Scots, 68–111</ref>

David also promoted religious reform. He established ten new monastic houses including the Cistercian abbeys of Melrose and Newbattle, and the Augustinian abbeys of Jedburgh and Holyrood. <ref>Donnachie, Hunt, Companion, 79</ref>

David encouraged the development of burghs as centres of fiscal and monetary reform, resulting in the construction of the first true towns in Scotland.<ref>Donnachie, Hunt, Companion, 79</ref> As Prince of the Cumbrians, David founded the first two burghs of "Scotland", at Roxburgh and Berwick. <ref>Duncan, Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom, 465 </ref>

These were settlements with defined boundaries and guaranteed trading rights, locations where the king could collect and sell the products of his cain and conveth (a payment made in lieu of providing the king hospitality) rendered to him. These burghs were essentially Scotland's first towns. <ref>See G.W.S. Barrow, Kingship and Unity: Scotland, 1000–1306, (Edinburgh. 1981), 84–104; see also, Keith J. Stringer, "The Emergence of a Nation-State, 1100–1300", in Jenny Wormald (ed.), Scotland: A History, (Oxford, 2005), 66–9</ref>

David would found more of these burghs when he became King of Scots. Before 1135, David laid the foundations of four more burghs, this time in the new territory he had acquired as King of Scots; burghs were founded at Stirling, Dunfermline and Edinburgh, three of David's favoured residences.<ref> Duncan, 265</ref> One of the burghs possibly established by David I was Lanark- a settlement which is said to typify the Scoto-Norman burgh. <ref>Donnachie, Hunt, Companion, 79</ref>

Historiography

Medieval reputation

The earliest assessments of David I portray him as a pious king, a reformer and a civilising agent in a barbarian nation. For William of Newburgh, David was a "King not barbarous of a barbarous nation", who "wisely tempered the fierceness of his barbarous nation". William praises David for his piety, noting that, among other saintly activities, "he was frequent in washing the feet of the poor".<ref>Anderson, Early Sources, 231</ref>

Another of David's eulogists, his former courtier Ailred of Rievaulx, echoes Newburgh's assertions and praises David for his justice as well as his piety, commenting that David's rule of the Scots meant that "the whole barbarity of that nation was softened ... as if forgetting their natural fierceness they submitted their necks to the laws which the royal gentleness dictated".<ref>Anderson, Early Sources, 232–3</ref>

Although avoiding stress on 12th-century Scottish "barbarity", the Lowland Scottish historians of the later Middle Ages tend to repeat the accounts of earlier chronicle tradition. Much that was written was either directly transcribed from the earlier medieval chronicles themselves or was modelled closely upon them, even in the significant works of John of Fordun, Andrew Wyntoun and Walter Bower. <ref> Felix J. H. Skene & William Forbes Skene (ed.), John of Fordun's Chronicle of the Scottish Nation, (Edinburgh, 1872), 200ff.; Donaldson, The Sources of Scottish History, 34: "...at what point its information about Scotland should receive credence is far from clear". Though Wyntoun, Fordun and Bower may have had access to documents which are no longer extant, much of their information is either duplicated in other records or cannot be corroborated; for a survey of David's historical reputation, see Oram, David, 203–25</ref>

For example, Bower includes in his text the eulogy written for David by Ailred of Rievaulx. This quotation extends to over twenty pages in the modern edition, and exerted a great deal of influence over what became the traditional view of David in later works about Scottish history. <ref>John MacQueen, Winnifred MacQueen and D. E. R. Watt (eds.), Scotichronicon by Walter Bower, vol. 3, (Aberdeen, 1995), 139 </ref>

Historical treatment of David developed in the writings of later Scottish historians, and the writings of men like John Mair, George Buchanan, Hector Boece, and Bishop John Leslie ensured that by the 18th century a picture of David as a pious, justice-loving state-builder and vigorous maintainer of Scottish independence had emerged.<ref>Oram, David, 213–7</ref>

Modern Historians

In the modern period there has been more of an emphasis on David's statebuilding and on the effects of his changes on Scottish cultural development. Lowland Scots tended to trace the origins of their culture to the marriage of David's father Máel Coluim III to Saint Margaret, a myth which had its origins in the medieval period. <ref>See, for instance, Steve Boardman, "Late Medieval Scotland and the Matter of Britain", in Edward J. Cowan and Richard J. Finlay (eds.), Scottish History: The Power of the Past, (Edinburgh, 2002), 65–71</ref>

Nineteenth Century Ethnohistory

With the development of modern historical techniques in the mid-19th century, responsibility for these developments appeared to lie more with David than his father. David assumed a principal place in the alleged destruction of the Celtic Kingdom of Scotland. Andrew Lang, in 1900, wrote that "with Alexander I, Celtic domination ends; with David, Norman and English dominance is established". <ref>Quoted in Oram, David, 219, citing Lang, A History of Scotland, vol. 1, 102–9; Lang did not neglect the old myth about Margaret, writing of the Northumbrian refugees arriving in Scotland "where they became the sires of the sturdy Lowland race", Lang, A History of Scotland, vol. 1, 9</ref>

The ages of Enlightenment and Romanticism had elevated the role of races and "ethnic packages" into mainstream history, and in this context David was portrayed as hostile to the native Scots, and his reforms were seen in the light of natural, perhaps even justified, civilised Teutonic aggression towards the backward Celts. <ref>See Matthew H. Hammond, "Ethnicity and the Writing of Medieval Scottish history", 1–27.; see also, Murray G.H. Pittock's work, Celtic Identity and the British Image, (Manchester, 1999), and Oram, David, 219–20 </ref>

Twentieth Century

In the 20th century, several studies were devoted to Normanisation in 12th century Scotland, focusing upon and hence emphasising the changes brought about by the reign of David I. Græme Ritchie's The Normans in Scotland (1954), Archie Duncan's Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom (1974) and the many articles of G. W. S. Barrow all formed part of this historiographical trend. <ref>Græme Ritchie, The Normans in Scotland, (Edinburgh, 1954); Duncan, Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom, 133–73; most of Barrow's most important essays have been collected in two volumes, Scotland and Its Neighbours In the Middle Ages, (London, 1992) and The Kingdom of the Scots: Government, Church and Society from the eleventh century to the fourteenth century, 2nd edn. (Edinburgh, 2003)</ref>

In the 1980s, Barrow sought a compromise between change and continuity, and argued that the reign of King David was in fact a 'Balance of New and Old'. Such a conclusion was a natural incorporation of an underlying current in Scottish historiography which, since William F. Skene's monumental and revolutionary three-volume Celtic Scotland: A History of Ancient Alban (1876–80), had been forced to acknowledge that "Celtic Scotland" was alive and healthy for a long time after the reign of David I. <ref>William Forbes Skene, Celtic Scotland: A History of Ancient Alban, 3 vols. (Edinburgh, 1876–80) see also, Edward J. Cowan, "The Invention of Celtic Scotland", 1–23 </ref>

Michael Lynch followed and built upon Barrow's compromise solution, arguing that as David's reign progressed, his kingship became more Celtic. <ref>Lynch, Scotland: A New History, pp. 82–83</ref> In 2004 the only full volume study of David I appeared authored by Richard Oram. It further builds upon Lynch's picture, stressing continuity while placing the changes of David's reign in their wider contexts.


References

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