Did You Know?
- Ragman Rolls

Margaret and Balliol

When King Alexander III died in 1286 while crossing the river Forth to Fife at Queensferry, he was succeeded by Queen Margaret, the "Maid of Norway" (Alexander's grandaughter and daughter of King Erik II of Norway). But Margaret died in 1290, en route from Norway to Scotland.

There were a number of claimants to the Scottish throne at that time and King Edward I of England "volunteered" to hear their case and decide who had the most valid claim. Those involved met Edward at Norham on Tweed in 1291. It soon became apparent that Edward was seeking to select someone who would owe allegiances to the English crown and John Balliol was selected to accede to the Scottish throne.

But when Balliol began to resist the demands of Edward in 1296, the English King over-ran Berwick-upon-Tweed and defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar. He then marched across Scotland as far as the Moray Firth, capturing castles and removing such precious items as the Stone of Destiny, the Scottish crown, the Black Rood of St Margaret (believed at the time to be remnants of the true Cross) and huge archives of Scotland's national records.

On 28 August, 1296, Edward held a "parliament" at Berwick. All the prominent Scottish landowners, churchmen and burgesses were summoned to swear allegiance to Edward and sign the parchments and affix their seals, many of which had ribbons attached. In addition to such prominent people as Robert Bruce, 6th Lord of Annandale, his son, the 2nd Earl of Carrick and William Wallace's uncle, Sir Reginald de Crauford, 2,000 signatures were inscribed, making it a most valuable document for future researchers.

The complete list of all the names in the Ragman Rolls can be found here.

It is suggested that the term "Ragman Rolls" derived from the ribbons attached to the seals on the parchments but the name may also have been derived from an earlier record compiled for the purposes of Papal taxation by a man called Ragimunde, whose name was corrupted to Ragman.

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