- King David I (1084-1153)
The last of the four sons of Malcolm Canmore> and Queen (later Saint) Margaret> to become King of Scotland, David was sent (together with his sister) to the Norman English court of William II at the age of nine and spent over 30 years there. In 1100, his sister (Maud in Scotland but Matilda in England) married William II's son Henry, who became king in the same year.
When David's brother Edgar died in 1107, David became king of Southern Scotland (below the line of the Forth and Clyde). His brother Alexander I was unhappy at this arrangement but David had more knights than Alexander with which to defend his inheritance. After all, King Henry I had given David the "Honour of Huntingdon" (country manors in eleven counties), made him prince of Cumbria and married him to a widowed heiress of Northumberland.
When Alexander I died in 1124, David set off for Scotland, accompanied by many knights and courtiers from Norman England - many of whom became the future aristocrats and even kings of Scotland - including Bruce, Balliol and FitzAlan (who later became the Stewart kings).
David established a feudal system in Scotland and introduced many novel ideas such as silver coinage, promoting education and giving audiences to rich and poor alike. Stirling, Perth and Dunfermline were made royal burghs which meant that they could engage in foreign trade. David also founded 15 religious houses, including the abbeys at Jedburgh, Kelso and Melrose.
His was a long and largely peaceful reign though he did have to deal with rebellions by the Earl of Moray in 1130 and the Bishop of the Isles in 1140. He also decided to take advantage of the death of Henry I and attempted to push the Scottish border further south. In 1138, at the Battle of the Standard near Northallerton, he did not follow up an attack by the Scottish knights and decided to leave the field of battle. While it was by no means a rout, the English army had clearly won the day. However, in 1139, under the Treaty of Durham, King Stephen of England not only recognised Scotland as an independent kingdom, but also ceded Northumbria.
King David died peacefully on 24 May 1153, in Carlisle at the age of 69. He had ended his days gardening and tending orchards below Edinburgh Castle> and in Haddington. His only son Henry had died in 1152, so he was succeeded by his 12-year-old grandson, Malcolm IV.
The ilustration above is of King David (on the left) and his grandson Malcolm IV. It is from a decorated charter of 1165, granted to Kelso Abbey>. The charter is now in the possession of the Duke of Roxburghe (though this photo is of a copy on display at Jedburgh Abbey).
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