David I or Dauíd mac Maíl Choluim (Modern: Daibhidh I mac [Mhaoil] Chaluim; c. 1084 – 24 May 1153) was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians from 1113 to 1124 and later King of the Scots from 1124 to 1153. The youngest son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Wessex, David spent most of his childhood in Scotland, but was exiled to England temporarily in 1093. Perhaps after 1100, he became a dependent at the court of King Henry I. There he was influenced by the Anglo-French culture of the court.
When David's brother Alexander I died in 1124, David chose, with the backing of Henry I, to take the Kingdom of Scotland (Alba) for himself. He was forced to engage in warfare against his rival and nephew, Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair. Subduing the latter seems to have taken David ten years, a struggle that involved the destruction of Óengus, Mormaer of Moray. David's victory allowed expansion of control over more distant regions theoretically part of his Kingdom. After the death of his former patron Henry I, David supported the claims of Henry's daughter and his own niece, Empress Matilda, to the throne of England. In the process, he came into conflict with King Stephen and was able to expand his power in northern England, despite his defeat at the Battle of the Standard in 1138.
The term "Davidian Revolution" is used by many scholars to summarise the changes which took place in Scotland during his reign. These included his foundation of burghs and regional markets, implementation of the ideals of Gregorian Reform, foundation of monasteries, Normanisation of the Scottish government, and the introduction of feudalism through immigrant French and Anglo-French knights.
|King of the Scots ... (more)|
|Reign||April or May 1124 – 24 May 1153|
|Coronation||Scone, April or May 1124|
|Died||24 May 1153 (aged 68–69)|
|Spouse||Maud, Countess of Huntingdon|
|Issue||Henry, Earl of Northumberland|
|Father||Malcolm III of Scotland|
|Mother||Margaret of Wessex|
The early years of David I are the most obscure of his life. As there is little documented evidence, historians can only guess at most of David's activities in this period.
David was born on a date unknown in 1084 in Scotland. He was probably the eighth son of King Malcolm III, and certainly the sixth and youngest born by Malcolm's second wife, Margaret of Wessex. 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. David and his two brothers Alexander and Edgar, both future kings of Scotland, were probably present when their mother died shortly afterwards. According to later medieval tradition, the three brothers were in Edinburgh when they were besieged by their paternal uncle Donald.
Donald became King of Scotland. It is not certain what happened next, but an insertion in the Chronicle of Melrose states that Donald forced his three nephews into exile, although he was allied with another of his nephews, Edmund. John of Fordun wrote, centuries later, that an escort into England was arranged for them by their maternal uncle Edgar Ætheling.
William Rufus, King of England, opposed Donald's accession to the northerly kingdom. He sent the eldest son of Malcolm, David's half-brother Duncan, into Scotland with an army. Duncan was killed within the year, and 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.
During the power struggle of 1093–97, David was in England. In 1093, he may have been about nine years old. 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. From that point onwards, David was probably an important figure at the English court. Despite his Gaelic background, by the end of his stay in England, David had become a full-fledged Normanised prince. 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".
David's time as Prince of the Cumbrians and Earl marks the beginning of his life as a great territorial lord. His earldom probably began in 1113, when Henry I arranged David's marriage to Maud, 2nd Countess of Huntingdon, who was the heiress to the Huntingdon–Northampton lordship. As her husband, David used the title of earl, and there was the prospect that David's children by her would inherit all the honours borne by Matilda's father Waltheof. 1113 is the year when David, for the first time, can be found in possession of territory in what is now Scotland.
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. On 8 January 1107, Edgar died. His younger brother Alexander took the throne. It has been assumed that David took control of his inheritance – the southern lands bequeathed by Edgar – soon after the latter's death. However, it cannot be shown that he possessed his inheritance until his foundation of Selkirk Abbey late in 1113. 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".
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. David's aggression seems to have inspired resentment amongst some native Scots. A Middle Gaelic quatrain from this period complains that:
Olc a ndearna mac Mael Colaim,
It's bad what Máel Coluim's son has done;,
If "divided from" is anything to go by, this quatrain may have been written in David's new territories in southern Scotland.
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. Although this was a large slice of Scotland south of the river Forth, the region of Galloway-proper was entirely outside David's control.
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.
In the later part of 1113, King Henry gave David the hand of Matilda of Huntingdon, daughter and heiress of Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland. 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 a son, whom David named Henry after his patron.
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.
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.
Michael Lynch and Richard Oram portray David as having little initial connection with the culture and society of the Scots; but both likewise argue that David became increasingly re-Gaelicised in the later stages of his reign. Whatever the case, David's claim to be heir to the Scottish kingdom was doubtful. David was the youngest of eight sons of the fifth from last king. Two more recent kings had produced sons. William fitz Duncan, son of King Donnchad II, and Máel Coluim, son of the last king Alexander, both preceded David in terms of the slowly emerging principles of primogeniture. However, unlike David, neither William nor Máel Coluim had the support of Henry. So when Alexander died in 1124, the aristocracy of Scotland could either accept David as King, or face war with both David and Henry I.
Alexander's son Máel Coluim chose war. Orderic Vitalis reported that Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair "affected to snatch the kingdom from [David], and fought against him two sufficiently fierce battles; but David, who was loftier in understanding and in power and wealth, conquered him and his followers". Máel Coluim escaped unharmed into areas of Scotland not yet under David's control, and in those areas gained shelter and aid.
In either April or May of the same year, David was crowned King of Scotland (Old Irish: rí(gh) Alban; Medieval 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. 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".
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". He was probably in that part of Scotland he did rule for most of the time between late 1127 and 1130. 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.
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.
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". 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".
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. 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. Since modern historians no longer confuse him with "Malcolm MacHeth", it is clear that nothing more is ever heard of Máel Coluim mac Alaxadair, except perhaps that his sons were later allied with Somerled.
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.
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.
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.
While fighting King Stephen and attempting to dominate northern England in the years following 1136, David was continuing his drive for control of the far north of Scotland. In 1139, his cousin, the five-year-old Harald Maddadsson, was given the title of "Earl" and half the lands of the earldom of Orkney, in addition to Scottish Caithness. Throughout the 1140s Caithness and Sutherland were brought back under the Scottish zone of control. Sometime before 1146 David appointed a native Scot called Aindréas to be the first Bishop of Caithness, a bishopric which was based at Halkirk, near Thurso, in an area which was ethnically Scandinavian.
In 1150, it looked like Caithness and the whole earldom of Orkney were going to come under permanent Scottish control. However, David's plans for the north soon began to encounter problems. In 1151, King Eystein II of Norway put a spanner in the works by sailing through the waterways of Orkney with a large fleet and catching the young Harald unaware in his residence at Thurso. Eystein forced Harald to pay fealty as a condition of his release. Later in the year David hastily responded by supporting the claims to the Orkney earldom of Harald's rival Erlend Haraldsson, granting him half of Caithness in opposition to Harald. King Eystein responded in turn by making a similar grant to this same Erlend, cancelling the effect of David's grant. David's weakness in Orkney was that the Norwegian kings were not prepared to stand back and let him reduce their power.
David's relationship with England and the English crown in these years is usually interpreted in two ways. Firstly, his actions are understood in relation to his connections with the King of England. No historian is likely to deny that David's early career was largely manufactured by King Henry I of England. David was the latter's brother-in-law and "greatest protégé", one of Henry's "new men". His hostility to Stephen can be interpreted as an effort to uphold the intended inheritance of Henry I, the succession of his daughter and David's niece, Matilda, the former Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. David carried out his wars in her name, joined her when she arrived in England, and later knighted her son, the future Henry II.
However, David's policy towards England can be interpreted in an additional way. David was the independence-loving king trying to build a "Scoto-Northumbrian" realm by seizing the most northerly parts of the English kingdom. In this perspective, David's support for Matilda is used as a pretext for land-grabbing. David's maternal descent from the House of Wessex and his son Henry's maternal descent from the English Earls of Northumberland is thought to have further encouraged such a project, a project which came to an end only after Henry II ordered David's child successor Máel Coluim IV to hand over the most important of David's gains. It is clear that neither one of these interpretations can be taken without some weight being given to the other.
Henry I had arranged his inheritance to pass to his daughter Empress Matilda. Instead, Stephen, younger brother of Theobald II, Count of Blois, seized the throne. David had been the first lay person to take the oath to uphold the succession of Matilda in 1127, and when Stephen was crowned on 22 December 1135, David decided to make war.
Before December was over, David marched into northern England, and by the end of January he had occupied the castles of Carlisle, Wark, Alnwick, Norham and Newcastle. By February David was at Durham, but an army led by King Stephen met him there. Rather than fight a pitched battle, a treaty was agreed whereby David would retain Carlisle, while David's son Henry was re-granted the title and half the lands of the earldom of Huntingdon, territory which had been confiscated during David's revolt. On Stephen's side he received back the other castles; and while David would do no homage, Stephen was to receive the homage of Henry for both Carlisle and the other English territories. Stephen also gave the rather worthless but for David face-saving promise that if he ever chose to resurrect the defunct earldom of Northumberland, Henry would be given first consideration. Importantly, the issue of Matilda was not mentioned. However, the first Durham treaty quickly broke down after David took insult at the treatment of his son Henry at Stephen's court.
When the winter of 1136–37 was over, David prepared again to invade England. The King of the Scots massed an army on the Northumberland's border, to which the English responded by gathering an army at Newcastle. Once more pitched battle was avoided, and instead a truce was agreed until December. When December fell, David demanded that Stephen hand over the whole of the old earldom of Northumberland. Stephen's refusal led to David's third invasion, this time in January 1138.
The army which invaded England in January and February 1138 shocked the English chroniclers. Richard of Hexham called it "an execrable army, savager than any race of heathen yielding honour to neither God nor man" and that it "harried the whole province and slaughtered everywhere folk of either sex, of every age and condition, destroying, pillaging and burning the vills, churches and houses". Several doubtful stories of cannibalism were recorded by chroniclers, and these same chroniclers paint a picture of routine enslavings, as well as killings of churchmen, women and infants.
By February King Stephen marched north to deal with David. The two armies avoided each other, and Stephen was soon on the road south. In the summer David split his army into two forces, sending William fitz Duncan to march into Lancashire, where he harried Furness and Craven. On 10 June, William fitz Duncan met a force of knights and men-at-arms. A pitched battle took place, the battle of Clitheroe, and the English army was routed.
By later July, 1138, the two Scottish armies had reunited in "St Cuthbert's land", that is, in the lands controlled by the Bishop of Durham, on the far side of the river Tyne. Another English army had mustered to meet the Scots, this time led by William, Earl of Aumale. The victory at Clitheroe was probably what inspired David to risk battle. David's force, apparently 26,000 strong and several times larger than the English army, met the English on 22 August at Cowdon Moor near Northallerton, North Yorkshire.
The Battle of the Standard, as the encounter came to be called, was a defeat for the Scots. Afterwards, David and his surviving notables retired to Carlisle. Although the result was a defeat, it was not by any means decisive. David retained the bulk of his army and thus the power to go on the offensive again. The siege of Wark, for instance, which had been going on since January, continued until it was captured in November. David continued to occupy Cumberland as well as much of Northumberland.
On 26 September Cardinal Alberic, Bishop of Ostia, arrived at Carlisle where David had called together his kingdom's nobles, abbots and bishops. Alberic was there to investigate the controversy over the issue of the Bishop of Glasgow's allegiance or non-allegiance to the Archbishop of York. Alberic played the role of peace-broker, and David agreed to a six-week truce which excluded the siege of Wark. On 9 April David and Stephen's wife Matilda of Boulogne (daughter of Mary of Scotland, and so another niece of David) met each other at Durham and agreed a settlement. David's son Henry was given the earldom of Northumberland and was restored to the earldom of Huntingdon and lordship of Doncaster; David himself was allowed to keep Carlisle and Cumberland. King Stephen was to retain possession of the strategically vital castles of Bamburgh and Newcastle. This effectively fulfilled all of David's war aims.
The settlement with Stephen was not set to last long. The arrival in England of the Empress Matilda gave David an opportunity to renew the conflict with Stephen. In either May or June, David travelled to the south of England and entered Matilda's company; he was present for her expected coronation at Westminster Abbey, though this never took place. David was there until September, when the Empress found herself surrounded at Winchester.
This civil war, or "the Anarchy" as it was later called, enabled David to strengthen his own position in northern England. While David consolidated his hold on his own and his son's newly acquired lands, he also sought to expand his influence. The castles at Newcastle and Bamburgh were again brought under his control, and he attained dominion over all of England north-west of the river Ribble and Pennines, while holding the north-east as far south as the river Tyne, on the borders of the core territory of the bishopric of Durham. While his son brought all the senior barons of Northumberland into his entourage, David rebuilt the fortress of Carlisle. Carlisle quickly replaced Roxburgh as his favoured residence. David's acquisition of the mines at Alston on the South Tyne enabled him to begin minting the Kingdom of Scotland's first silver coinage. David, meanwhile, issued charters to Shrewsbury Abbey in respect to their lands in Lancashire.
However, David's successes were in many ways balanced by his failures. David's greatest disappointment during this time was his inability to ensure control of the bishopric of Durham and the archbishopric of York. David had attempted to appoint his chancellor, William Comyn, to the bishopric of Durham, which had been vacant since the death of Bishop Geoffrey Rufus in 1140. Between 1141 and 1143, Comyn was the de facto bishop, and had control of the bishop's castle; but he was resented by the chapter. Despite controlling the town of Durham, David's only hope of ensuring his election and consecration was gaining the support of the Papal legate, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester and brother of King Stephen. Despite obtaining the support of the Empress Matilda, David was unsuccessful and had given up by the time William de St Barbara was elected to the see in 1143.
David also attempted to interfere in the succession to the archbishopric of York. William FitzHerbert, nephew of King Stephen, found his position undermined by the collapsing political fortune of Stephen in the north of England, and was deposed by the Pope. David used his Cistercian connections to build a bond with Henry Murdac, the new archbishop. Despite the support of Pope Eugenius III, supporters of King Stephen and William FitzHerbert managed to prevent Henry taking up his post at York. In 1149, Henry had sought the support of David. David seized on the opportunity to bring the archdiocese under his control, and marched on the city. However, Stephen's supporters became aware of David's intentions, and informed King Stephen. Stephen therefore marched to the city and installed a new garrison. David decided not to risk such an engagement and withdrew. Richard Oram has conjectured that David's ultimate aim was to bring the whole of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria into his dominion. For Oram, this event was the turning point, "the chance to radically redraw the political map of the British Isles lost forever".
Historical treatment of David I and the Scottish church usually emphasises David's pioneering role as the instrument of diocesan reorganisation and Norman penetration, beginning with the bishopric of Glasgow while David was Prince of the Cumbrians, and continuing further north after David acceded to the throne of Scotland. Focus too is usually given to his role as the defender of the Scottish church's independence from claims of overlordship by the Archbishop of York and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
It was once held that Scotland's episcopal sees and entire parochial system owed its origins to the innovations of David I. Today, scholars have moderated this view. Ailred of Rievaulx wrote in David's eulogy that when David came to power, "he found three or four bishops in the whole Scottish kingdom [north of the Forth], and the others wavering without a pastor to the loss of both morals and property; when he died, he left nine, both of ancient bishoprics which he himself restored, and new ones which he erected". Although David moved the bishopric of Mortlach east to his new burgh of Aberdeen, and arranged the creation of the diocese of Caithness, no other bishoprics can be safely called David's creation.
The bishopric of Glasgow was restored rather than resurrected. David appointed his reform-minded French chaplain John to the bishopric and carried out an inquest, afterwards assigning to the bishopric all the lands of his principality, except those in the east which were already governed by the Bishop of St Andrews. David was at least partly responsible for forcing semi-monastic "bishoprics" like Brechin, Dunkeld, Mortlach (Aberdeen) and Dunblane to become fully episcopal and firmly integrated into a national diocesan system.
As for the development of the parochial system, David's traditional role as its creator can not be sustained. Scotland already had an ancient system of parish churches dating to the Early Middle Ages, and the kind of system introduced by David's Normanising tendencies can more accurately be seen as mild refashioning, rather than creation; he made the Scottish system as a whole more like that of France and England, but he did not create it.
One of the first problems David had to deal with as king was an ecclesiastical dispute with the English church. The problem with the English church concerned the subordination of Scottish sees to the archbishops of York and/or Canterbury, an issue which since his election in 1124 had prevented Robert of Scone from being consecrated to the see of St Andrews (Cell Ríghmonaidh). It is likely that since the 11th century the bishopric of St Andrews functioned as a de facto archbishopric. The title of "Archbishop" is accorded in Scottish and Irish sources to Bishop Giric and Bishop Fothad II.
The problem was that this archiepiscopal status had not been cleared with the papacy, opening the way for English archbishops to claim overlordship of the whole Scottish church. The man responsible was the new aggressively assertive Archbishop of York, Thurstan. His easiest target was the bishopric of Glasgow, which being south of the river Forth was not regarded as part of Scotland nor the jurisdiction of St Andrews. In 1125, Pope Honorius II wrote to John, Bishop of Glasgow ordering him to submit to the archbishopric of York. David ordered Bishop John of Glasgow to travel to the Apostolic See in order to secure a pallium which would elevate the bishopric of St Andrews to an archbishopric with jurisdiction over Glasgow.
Thurstan travelled to Rome, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury, William de Corbeil, and both presumably opposed David's request. David however gained the support of King Henry, and the Archbishop of York agreed to a year's postponement of the issue and to consecrate Robert of Scone without making an issue of subordination. York's claim over bishops north of the Forth were in practice abandoned for the rest of David's reign, although York maintained her more credible claims over Glasgow.
In 1151, David again requested a pallium for the Archbishop of St Andrews. Cardinal John Paparo met David at his residence of Carlisle in September 1151. Tantalisingly for David, the Cardinal was on his way to Ireland with four pallia to create four new Irish archbishoprics. When the Cardinal returned to Carlisle, David made the request. In David's plan, the new archdiocese would include all the bishoprics in David's Scottish territory, as well as bishopric of Orkney and the bishopric of the Isles. Unfortunately for David, the Cardinal does not appear to have brought the issue up with the papacy. In the following year the papacy dealt David another blow by creating the archbishopric of Trondheim, a new Norwegian archbishopric embracing the bishoprics of the Isles and Orkney.
Perhaps the greatest blow to David's plans came on 12 July 1152 when Henry, Earl of Northumberland, David's only son and heir, died. He had probably been suffering from some kind of illness for a long time. David had under a year to live, and he may have known that he was not going to be alive much longer. David quickly arranged for his grandson Malcolm IV to be made his successor, and for his younger grandson William to be made Earl of Northumberland. Donnchad I, Mormaer of Fife, the senior magnate in Scotland-proper, was appointed as rector, or regent, and took the 11 year-old Malcolm around Scotland-proper on a tour to meet and gain the homage of his future Gaelic subjects. David's health began to fail seriously in the spring of 1153, and on 24 May 1153, David died in Carlisle Castle. In his obituary in the Annals of Tigernach, he is called Dabíd mac Mail Colaim, rí Alban & Saxan, "David, son of Malcolm, King of Scotland and England", a title which acknowledged the importance of the new English part of David's realm. He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey.
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" (this can be read literally: his mother, who is now patron saint of Scotland, was widely-known and lauded for the same practice). 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".
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. 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. 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.
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. 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".
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.
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.
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. Michael Lynch followed and built upon Barrow's compromise solution, arguing that as David's reign progressed, his kingship became more Celtic. Despite its subtitle, in 2004 in the only full volume study of David I's reign yet produced, David I: The King Who Made Scotland, its author Richard Oram further builds upon Lynch's picture, stressing continuity while placing the changes of David's reign in their context.
However, while there may be debate about the importance or extent of the historical change in David I's era, no historian doubts that it was taking place. The reason is what Barrow and Lynch both call the "Davidian Revolution". David's "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 Robert Bartlett's pioneering work, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950–1350 (1993), reinforced by Moore's The First European Revolution, c.970–1215 (2000), 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.
The widespread enfeoffment of foreign knights and the processes by which land ownership was converted from customary tenures into feudal, or otherwise legally-defined relationships, would revolutionise the way the Kingdom of Scotland was governed, as did the dispersal and installation of royal agents in the new mottes that were proliferating throughout the realm to staff newly created sheriffdoms and judiciaries for the twin purposes of law enforcement and taxation, bringing Scotland further into the "continental" model.
Scotland in this period experienced innovations in governmental practices and the importation of foreign, mostly French, knights. It is to David's reign that the beginnings of feudalism are generally assigned. This is defined as "castle-building, the regular use of professional cavalry, the knight's fee" as well as "homage and fealty". David established large scale feudal lordships in the west of his Cumbrian principality for the leading members of the French military entourage who kept him in power. Additionally, many smaller scale feudal lordships were created.
Steps were taken during David's reign to make the government of that part of Scotland he administered more like the government of Anglo-Norman England. New sheriffdoms enabled the King to effectively administer royal demesne land. During his reign, royal sheriffs were established in the king's core personal territories; namely, in rough chronological order, at Roxburgh, Scone, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling and Perth. The Justiciarship too was created in David's reign. 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.
The revenue of his English earldom and the proceeds of the silver mines at Alston allowed David to produce Scotland's first coinage. These altered the nature of trade and transformed his political image.
David was a great town builder. As Prince of the Cumbrians, David founded the first two burghs of "Scotland", at Roxburgh and Berwick. Burghs 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). David founded around 15 burghs.
Perhaps nothing in David's reign compares in importance to burghs. While they could not, at first, have amounted to much more than the nucleus of an immigrant merchant class, nothing would do more to reshape the long-term economic and ethnic shape of Scotland than the burgh. These planned towns were or became English in culture and language; William of Newburgh wrote in the reign of King William the Lion, that "the towns and burghs of the Scottish realm are known to be inhabited by English"; as well as transforming the economy, the failure of these towns to go native would in the long term undermine the position of the native Scottish language and give birth to the idea of the Scottish Lowlands.
David was one of medieval Scotland's greatest monastic patrons. In 1113, in perhaps David's first act as Prince of the Cumbrians, he founded Selkirk Abbey for the Tironensians. David founded more than a dozen new monasteries in his reign, patronising various new monastic orders.
Not only were such monasteries an expression of David's undoubted piety, but they also functioned to transform Scottish society. Monasteries became centres of foreign influence, and provided sources of literate men, able to serve the crown's growing administrative needs. These new monasteries, and the Cistercian ones in particular, introduced new agricultural practices. Cistercian labour, for instance, transformed southern Scotland into one of northern Europe's most important sources of sheep wool.
David I of ScotlandBorn: c. 1084 Died: 24 May 1153
| King of the Scots
Simon I de Senlis
| Earl of Huntingdon
Henry of Scotland
|Reign of King David I of Scotland|
|Mormaers, Earls and Kinglets|
|Gille Brígte||Somairle mac Gille Brígte||Máel Muire, Matad||Garnait||Harald Maddadsson|
|Causantín, Gille Míchéil, Donnchad||Fergus||none known||Cospatric II, Cospatric III||Amlaíb mac Gofraid|
|Ruadrí, Gille Chlerig, Morggán||none known||Óengus, William fitz Duncan||Áed||Máel Ísu|
|England||Holy Roman Empire||France||Ireland||Norway|
|Henry I (1100–35),
|Henry V (1099–1125)
Lothair III (1125–37)
Conrad III (1138–52)
Frederick I Barbarossa (1152–90)
|Louis VI, (1108–37)
Louis VII, (1137–80)
|Toirdelbach (1119–56)||Sigurd I Jorsalfar,(1103–30)|
Harald IV Gille, (1130–6)
Sigurd II Munn, (1136–55)
|Bishops in Scotland|
|Nechtán||Samson||Aindréas||Cormac, Gregoir||Gilla Aldan|
|John, Herbert||Gregoir||Mac Bethad, Symeon||Robert||-|
(Cellach mac Áeda),
(Máel Máedóc Ua Morgair),
(Gilla Meic Laic mac Diarmata)
William of St. Barbara
Events from the 1130s in England.Abbot of Dunfermline
The Prior, then Abbot and then Commendator of Dunfermline was the head of the Benedictine monastic community of Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, Scotland. The abbey itself was founded in 1128 by King David I of Scotland, but was of earlier origin. King Máel Coluim mac Donnchada ("Malcolm III") had founded a church there with the help of Benedictines from Canterbury. Monks had been sent there in the reign of Étgar mac Maíl Choluim (Edgar, 1097–1107) and Anselm had sent a letter requesting that Étgar's brother and successor King Alaxandair mac Maíl Coluim (Alexander I, 1107–1124) protect these monks. By 1120, when Alaxandair sent a delegation to Canterbury to secure Eadmer for the bishopric of St Andrews, there is a Prior of the Dunfermline monks by the name of Peter leading the delegation. Control of the abbey was secularized in the 16th century and after the accession of James Stewart in 1500, the abbey was held by commendators. In the second half of the 16th century, the abbey's lands were being carved up into lordships and it was finally annexed to the crown in July, 1593.Abbot of Newbattle
The Abbot of Newbattle (later Commendator of Newbattle) was the head of the Cistercian monastic community of Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian. It was founded by David I of Scotland in 1140.Bishop of Caithness
The Bishop of Caithness was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Caithness, one of Scotland's 13 medieval bishoprics. The first referenced bishop of Caithness was Aindréas, a Gael who appears in sources between 1146 and 1151 as bishop. Aindréas spent much if not all of his career outside his see.
Other bishops before Aindréas are possible, but none is documented. King David I of Scotland, is credited with founding many bishoprics, and it is possible that Caithness was one of them. Little documented history exists before the reign of King David.
The earliest bishops resided at Halkirk, with a castle at Scrabster. Bishop Gilbert de Moravia moved the episcopal seat to Dornoch in what is now Sutherland (then regarded as part of Caithness), and the bishopric remained at Dornoch Cathedral for the remainder of its existence. The Bishopric of Caithness' links with Rome ceased to exist after the Scottish Reformation, but continued, saving temporary abolition between 1638 and 1661, under the episcopal Church of Scotland until the Revolution of 1688 led to the permanent abolition of episcopacy in the established church in Scotland (now Presbyterian in government) in 1689.Bishop of Moray
The Bishop of Moray or Bishop of Elgin was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Moray in northern Scotland, one of Scotland's 13 medieval bishoprics. If the foundation charter of the monastery at Scone is reliable, then the Bishopric of Moray was in existence as early as the reign of King Alexander I of Scotland (1107–1124), but was certainly in existence by 1127, when one Gregoir ("Gregorius") is mentioned as "Bishop of Moray" in a charter of king David I of Scotland. The bishopric had its seat (Latin: Cathedra) at Elgin and Elgin Cathedral, but was severally at Birnie, Kinneddar and as late as Bishop Andreas de Moravia at Spynie, where the bishops continued to maintain a palace. The Bishopric's links with Rome ceased to exist after the Scottish Reformation, but continued, saving temporary abolition between 1638 and 1661, under the episcopal Church of Scotland until the Revolution of 1688. Episcopacy in the established church in Scotland was permanently abolished in 1689. The Bishops fortified seat for over 500 years was at Spynie Palace.Cormac of Dunkeld
Cormac, Bishop of Dunkeld (fl. x1114-1131x) is the earliest recorded Bishop of Dunkeld in the 12th century, although he was not the first bishop of Dunkeld. It is possible, that he was the first bishop of Dunkeld distinct from the abbot, but there is no evidence for this. He appears in two rather doubtful charters of King Alexander I of Scotland, in several charters of King David I of Scotland and in the Gaelic notitiae on the Book of Deer, rendering a floruit of on or before the year 1114, to on or after the year 1131. The last source calls him "Cormac escob Dúno Callenn", Cormac bishop of Dunkeld".
He seems to have been succeeded by Gregoir.Davidian Revolution
The Davidian Revolution is a term given by many scholars to the changes which took place in the Kingdom of Scotland during the reign of David I (1124–1153). These included his foundation of burghs, implementation of the ideals of Gregorian Reform, foundation of monasteries, Normanization of the Scottish government, and the introduction of feudalism through immigrant Norman and Anglo-Norman knights.Gregoir of Dunkeld
Gregoir, Bishop of Dunkeld (died 1169) ruled as Bishop of Dunkeld in the middle of the 12th century. He appears in a great number of charters dating to the reigns of David I of Scotland and Máel Coluim IV of Scotland, the earliest of which may date to 1135, although 1146 is the first firm date, when he appears alongside Bishop Andreas of Caithness in the Gaelic notitiae on the Book of Deer. He is not the last Gaelic bishop of the diocese, but his death marks the end of dominance of the bishopric by principally Gaelic-speaking bishops.Henry of Scotland
Henry of Scotland (Eanric mac Dabíd, 1114 – 12 June 1152) was heir apparent to the Kingdom of Alba. He was also the 3rd Earl of Northumberland and the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. He was the son of King David I of Scotland and Queen Maud, 2nd Countess of Huntingdon.Herbert of Selkirk
Herbert of Selkirk was a 12th-century Tironensian monk, who rose to become 3rd Abbot of Selkirk-Kelso and bishop of Glasgow. While abbot of Selkirk, King David I of Scotland moved Selkirk Abbey to nearby Kelso. He was elected to the see of Glasgow soon after the death of his Bishop John, and consecrated by Pope Eugenius III at Auxerre on St Bartholomew's Day, 24 August 1147. He died in 1164.John of Atholl
John of Atholl was a bishop mentioned only in the Orkneyinga Saga as being sent by King David I of Scotland on a diplomatic mission to Orkney. He is called a Bishop "from Atholl" which could either mean he was Bishop of Dunkeld or that he held another episcopal see but originated in province of Atholl.Lord High Steward of Scotland
The title of High Steward or Great Steward is that of an officer who controls the domestic affairs of the royal household. David I of Scotland gave the title in the 12th century to Walter fitz Alan, a French baron of Breton origin whose descendants adopted Steward as a surname to become the House of Stewart/Stuart. In 1371, the last High Steward inherited the throne, and thereafter the title of High Steward of Scotland has been held as a subsidiary title to that of Duke of Rothesay and Baron of Renfrew, held by the heir-apparent to the crown. Thus, currently, The Prince of Wales is High Steward of Scotland, sometimes known as the Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.Mac Bethad of Rosemarkie
Mac Bethad (fl. 1127 x 1131) is the first recorded High Medieval Bishop of Ross, a See then located at Rosemarkie.
He makes his only historical appearance as Macbeth Rosmarkensis Episcopus (i.e. "Mac Bethad, Bishop of Rosemarkie") in a list of witnesses to a charter granted by King David I of Scotland to the Church of Dunfermline, confirming the previous rights of that church.The charter is dated by its modern editor to 1128, but is more safely dated to the period between the years 1127 and 1131.Maud, Countess of Huntingdon
Maud or Matilda (c.1074 – 1130/31) was the queen consort of King David I of Scotland. She was the great-niece of William the Conqueror and the granddaughter of Earl Siward.Mormaer of Moray
The Mormaerdom or Kingdom of Moray (Middle Irish: Muireb or Moreb; Medieval Latin: Muref or Moravia; Modern Gaelic: Moireabh) was a lordship in High Medieval Scotland that was destroyed by King David I of Scotland in 1130. It did not have the same territory as the modern local government council area of Moray, which is a much smaller area, around Elgin. The medieval lordship was in fact centred on both the lower Spey valley and the environs of Inverness and the northern parts of the Great Glen, and probably originally included Buchan and Mar, as well as Ross.Richard Oram
Professor Richard D. Oram F.S.A. (Scot.) is a Scottish historian. He is a professor of medieval and environmental history at the University of Stirling and an honorary lecturer in history at the University of Aberdeen. He is also the director of the Centre for Environmental History and Policy at the University of Stirling.
He received his undergraduate training at the University of St. Andrews, where he also carried out his doctoral research, on medieval Galloway. In 2000 he published The Lordship of Galloway (Birlinn). He has since written a biography of King David I of Scotland (Tempus, 2004), and the High Medieval volume, volume 3, in the New Edinburgh History of Scotland series, entitled Domination and Lordship: Scotland, 1070-1230 (2011).
In June 2014, Oram was appointed president of the Scottish Castles Association, a registered charity.
|Ancestors of David I of Scotland|
David I of Scotland
|Relations and events|
|Monarchs of the Picts |
|Monarchs of the Scots|