History of Scotland pre Act of Union 1707
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1/2/1901 - present
Page last modified 24/11/2020
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1/5/1707. Act of Union between
England and Scotland. The Union of the English and Scottish crowns was on
24/3/1603, when James VI of Scotland also became King of England. Scotland
failed economically, and England put pressure for Union on the Scottish
Parliament. Scottish aristocrats were offered compensation and voted for Union.
Coinage, taxation, sovereignty, and
parliament became one, but Scotland retained its own legal and religious
system. The Union Jack was adopted as the National Flag.
11/1/1688, James Gardiner, Scottish
soldier, was born (fell at Prestonpans 21/9/1745).
10/11/1685, Duncan Forbes, Scottish
statesman, was born (died 10/12/1747).
18/3/1685, Ralph Erskine, Scottish divine,
was born (died 6/11/1752).
27/7/1681, Donald Cargill, Scottish
Covenanter, born 1610, was executed.
17/3/1676, Thomas Boston, Scottish cleric,
was born in Duns (died 20/5/1732).
5/8/1662, James Anderson, Scottish
historian, was born in Edinburgh (died 3/4/1728).
11/2/1649, William Carstairs, Scottish
statesman, was born (died 28/12/1715).
3/10/1637, George Aberdeen, Scottish lawyer
and statesman (died 20/4/1720) was born.
16/7/1631, Francis Erroll, Scottish nobleman, died.
23/3/1618, James Hamilton Abercorn, Sheriff
of Linlithgow (born ca. 1575), died.
12/4/1606, The Union Jack was adopted as the flag of England,
Wales, and Scotland.
27/3/1603, King James VI of
Scotland halted in Berwick, on his way to also become King James I of
England. He attended a church service at Berwick to ‘give thanks for his
peaceful entry into his new dominions. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to ban the
use of the word ‘borders’ and replace it by ‘middle shires’. However frontier fortresses in both England
and Scotland were dismantled and their garrisons reduced to nominal strength.
James I left Berwick on 5/4/1603, and
entered London on 7/5/1603.
12/12/1600, John Craig, Scottish reformer, died.
1/1/1600, Scotland adopted
1st January as New Year’s Day.
10/12/1599, The Assembly of
the Convention of States at Edinburgh.
3/1/1590, Robert Boyd, Scottish statesman, died.
26/1/1583, John Herries, Scottish politician, died.
31/5/1571, Thomas Crawford, acting for the young King James VI,
captured Dumbarton Castle.
Queen of Scots escaped from Loch Leven Castle. She had been imprisoned there on
16/6/1567. She sailed from Point Mary, crossing the Firth of Forth to begin her
exile in England.
29/7/1567, James VI, then 12
months old, was crowned King at Stirling.
24/7/1567, Mary Queen of Scots abdicated, after being defeated by Protestants at Carberry Hill.
15/5/1567, Mary Queen of Scots was married to the Earl of Bothwell.
9/2/1567, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and father
of James IV
of Scotland and I of England, was murdered at his house near Edinburgh.
19/6/1566. James VI of Scotland,
later James I of England, the first Stuart
King, was born in Edinburgh Castle. He was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Lord Darnley.
9/3/1566, Lord Darnley killed the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots, David Riccio
(born 1531?). Mary
I, six months pregnant with the future James VI of Scotland, witnessed
the murder. Mary
had romantic feelings for Riccio, and the nobility feared the rising
influence of Riccio
upon the royal court.
Queen of Scots married her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in the Old Abbey
Chapel at Holyrood, Edinburgh.
19/8/1561, Mary Queen of Scots returned from France. She arrived at Leith, near
Edinburgh, in thick fog; this may have saved her life, because her
Stuart Earl of Moray, wanted to rule Scotland and was waiting for
her in English ships.
6/7/1560, The Treaty of
Edinburgh was signed.
This ended French interference in Scottish affairs. French troops in Scotland
had tried to support Mary Queen of Scots claim to the throne.
10/9/1547. The English won a major victory over the Scots at Pinkie.
25/2/1545, The English were defeated by the Scots at Ancrum Moor. See
24/11/1542. In September 1545 the English again invaded Scotland.
14/12/1542, James V, King of Scotland, died, aged 30. He was succeeded by
his baby daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.
7/12/1542, Mary Queen of Scots, cousin of
Elizabeth I, was born in Llinlithgow Palace, daughter of King James V of Scotland.
24/11/1542. The English
defeated the Scots at Solway Moss as Henry VIII fought to gain control of Scotland. On 1/7/1543 England
and Scotland signed the Peace of
Greenwich, but this was repudiated by the Scottish Parliament on
11/12/1543. England invaded Scotland again in 1544, pillaging Edinburgh, but
failed to gain a surrender from Scotland. See 25/2/1545.
18/10/1541, Margaret, Queen of Scotland, died.
29/2/1528, Patrick Hamilton, Scottish martyr, was burnt at the stake.
11/3/1521, Andrew Forman, Scottish ecclesiastic, died.
9/9/1513. Battle of
Flodden Field, at Branxton, Northumberland. The Scots were defeated by
the English, under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, and James IV
of Scotland was killed. James IV had abandoned his alliance with Henry VIII and
attempted an invasion of England. Margaret, the sister of King Henry VIII, became regent
for her one year old son, James V.
10/4/1512, James V, King of Scotland, born.
8/8/1503, The marriage of King James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII, took place at Holyrod Palace, Edinburgh.
28/5/1503, The Treaty of
Everlasting Peace between Scotland and England was signed; peace actually
lasted ten years.
21/12/1491, A five-year truce
between England and Scotland was declared at Coldstream.
11/6/1488, James III, King of Scotland, was assassinated. He was succeeded by his son, James IV.
21/9/1484, Treaty of Nottingham: Three-year truce between the kingdoms of England
and Scotland signed.
17/3/1473, James IV, King of Scotland, was born.
20/2/1472, Orkney and
Shetland were returned by Norway to Scotland, due to a defaulted dowry payment. King Christiaan of Norway and
Denmark wanted to form an alliance with Scotland by marrying his daughter Margaret
to James III.
lacked money for a dowry, so Orkney and Shetland were temporarily handed over
in lieu. The dowry was never paid so these islands became part of Scotland.
22/11/1469, Sir Alexander Boyd, Scottish statesman, was
3/8/1460, James II, King of
Scotland, killed during the siege
of Roxburgh Castle by the English.
10/7/1451, James III, King of Scotland, was
born (died 11/6/1488).
I, King of Scotland, aged 42, was assassinated by a group of dissident
nobles led by Sir
Robert Graham, who wanted a rival on the Scottish throne. James
had become King in 1424, executing many
of the nobility to establish control. James was staying at the Dominican
Friary at Perth when murdered.
16/10/1430, James II, King of Scotland, was born.
13/5/1390, Scotland’s first
Stuart King, Robert II, died aged 74. His legitimised 50-year-old son succeeded
him as King Robert III, and ruled until 1424.
19/4/1390, Robert II, King of Scotland 1371-90, died at
10/12/1394, King James I of Scotland was born.
10/8/1388, The Battle of Otterburn. A Scottish raiding
party led by the Earls of Douglas, March and Moray was confronted by the English at
Redesdale, Northumberland. The Scots won, and the English leader, Hotspur,
22/2/1371, King David II of Scotland died; Robert II succeeded him, as the first Stuart King of Scotland.
19/7/1333, The Battle of Halidon Hill. Edward III
Archibald Douglas, during the last of the Wars of Scottish Independence. The English victory secured
for England the strategic town of Berwick on Tweed, and the English also learnt
valuable lessons in the use if infantry, which would prove useful in later
12/8/1332, Edward Balliol (1283-1364, the elder son of John Balliol), having landed at
Kinghorn, Fife, made a surprise attack on the Scottish Army at Duplin Moor. Balliol
was leading an army of 3,400 soldiers fighting for the ‘disniherited Barons’. Balliol
routed the Scots under the Regent, the Earl of Mar, and was crowned King of Scotland
on 24/9/1332 at Scone. However in December 1332 Balliol himself fell victim to a
surprise counter attack at Annan and fled across into England on an unsaddled
horse. Further attempts by Balliol to gain the Scottish throne in 1334
and 1335 were unsuccessful and in 1356 he formally renounced his claim in
favour of King
Edward III. Balliol died without heirs.
11/1331, King David II of Scotland was crowned at
7/6/1329. Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland from 1306, died of leprosy at
Cardross Castle on the Firth of Clyde. He was buried at Dunfermline Abbey under
the High Altar.
5/3/1324, King David II of Scotland was born, son of Robert the
Scottish fight for independence
from England, 1286-1323
1323, The Treaty of Northampton
confirmed Robert the Bruce as King of Scotland, and provided for the marriage
of Bruce’s son David to Joanna, daughter of King Edward II of England.
6/4/1320, The Scots
reaffirmed their independence by signing the Declaration of
Arbroath. The Pope did not recognise Robert The Bruce as legitimate
King of Scotland, and Pope John XXII had demanded that Scotland make
peace with England, However the Scottish barons, with the support of the Church
in Scotland, asserted under this Declaration the identity of Scotland as a
separate nation with its ‘uninterrupted
succession of 113 Kings, all our native and royal stock’. The Declaration
also noted the injuries caused by English incursions into Scotland. Since then
this has been a key document for those campaigning for Scottish independence.
1/4/1318, Berwick-upon-Tweed was retaken by the
Scottish from the English.
forces under Edward II suffered a major
defeat at Bannockburn by the Scots. Robert The
Bruce was confirmed in power in Scotland. See 21/9/1327. By the time
the Battle of Bannockburn was fought, Scotland had been almost cleared of
English troops, with the exception of Stirling Castle. Here the governor, Alexander
Mowbray, had promised to surrender if not relieved by St John the
Baptist’s Day. Edward II collected a huge army for the relief
of Stirling, and Robert the Bruce assembled his smaller force at Torwood, 4
miles north-west of Falkirk. At the Battle, on the Bannock Burn, the superior
numbers of the English cavalry were hampered by the cramped site of the battle;
the rear ranks of the English could not reach the fighting, but hampered the
retreat of those in front under Robert’s attacks. Robert then led his reserves
in to complete the rout of the English. Many English, uninjured in the battle,
perished in the Bannock Burn and the marshes beyond. Edward II, seeking refuge in Stirling Castle, was refused
on account of its imminent surrender; he escaped by a roundabout route via
Dunbar back to England.
8/11/1308, Duns Scotus,
Scottish theologian, born ca. 1266, died in Cologne, Germany.
23/8/1305, William Wallace, Scottish patriot, was hanged in
London, see 5/8/1305.
5/8/1305. Sir William Wallace, leader of the
Scots, campaigner for their independence from the English, was captured by the
English and later executed.
20/7/1304, Fall of
Stirling Castle: Edward I of England took the last rebel stronghold in the Wars of Scottish Independence.
English under King
Edward I used longbows for the first time when they defeated
the Scots under William
Wallace at the battle of Falkirk.
Wallace defeated an
English army of over 50,000 men under Edward I at Stirling Bridge. William Wallace was a minor noble from
Elderslie and one of the few to take on Edward when he assumed the overlordship of
Scotland. He realised that the neck of land between the rivers Forth and Clyde
at Stirling was narrow enough to create a tactical advantage for the Scottish
men stood at the slopes of the Abbey Craig, in front of a narrow bridge across
the Forth, wide enough for only two horsemen abreast. As the English drew up, Wallace’s
men charged them before they could get into battle position. The narrow bridge then collapsed,
drowning many English.
defeated the Scots at the Battle of
30/3/1296, Capture of Berwick: King Edward I
of England captured Berwick-upon-Tweed, sacking what was at this
time a Scottish border town with much bloodshed. He slaughtered most residents,
including those who fled to the churches.
10/2/1296, King Edward I
of England forced John Balliol (1250-1313), King of Scotland (see 17/11/1792) to surrender his Crown. Although John
had started out his reign as a vassal and ally of Edward, by 1295 a council of
Scottish Lords had taken power from John and started making alliances with France,
which was then at war with England. John was imprisoned for three years, first on
Hertford and then in the Tower of London. In 1302 John was permitted to retire to
his estates in Normandy.
23/10/1295, The first
treaty forming the Auld Alliance
between Scotland and France against England was signed in Paris.
17/11/1292, John Balliol,
aged 43, was selected by King Edward I of England as King of Scotland
from among 13 candidates; Edward then
treated John as a puppet ruler and Scotland as a vassal state, eventually
provoking the Wars of Scottish Independence, commencing in 1296.
9/1290, Queen Margaret of Scotland, aged
7, reached the Orkneys where she died under mysterious circumstances. She had
been betrothed to the English Edward, aged 6, and her death now left Scotland without a monarch.
16/3/1286. Death of King Alexander
III of Scotland, killed by
a fall from his horse whilst riding in the dark to visit the Queen at Kinghorn,
with only Yolande
of Dreux, Queen of Scotland's unborn child and 3-year-old Margaret, Maid
of Norway as heirs; this sets
the stage for the First War of Scottish Independence and increased influence of England over
III was born in 1241 and became king in 1249 aged eight. See
8/7/1249. He laid a formal claim against King Haakon of Norway for sovereignty
of the Hebrides, settled by Scandinavians since the ninth century. King Haakon
responded by sending a large naval fleet in 1263. Haakon’s fleet halted off
Arran, where Alexander
III stalled negotiations until the autumn storms should begin. Haakon
finally attacked only to encounter a severe storm; the Battle of Largs on 12/10/1263
was indecisive but left Haakon in a hopeless position. He turned back
to Norway but died on the way.
Scottish fight for independence
from England, 1286-1320
Norwegians ousted from Scotland
8/10/1275, Battle of
Ronaldsway: Scottish forces
defeated the Manx of the Isle of Man in a decisive battle, firmly establishing
Scottish rule of the island.
11/7/1274. Robert the Bruce, King of
Scotland, who defeated the English at Bannockburn, was born at Turnberry, Ayrshire. He was
raised at Turnberry Castle amid the political upheavals of the 13th
century; he was created Earl of Carrick in 1296. He supported the Scots against
the English, hoping to secure the kingship of Scotland. However he saw Edward I
proclaim himself king of Scotland, and defeat William Wallace. Initially Bruce
joined with John
Comyn against the English but later sided with the English to obtain
the Scottish throne. He murdered Comyn, and there was a price on his head for
doing this. However Bruce now used force, not politics, to obtain
his goals; this paid off and he was crowned King at Scone in 1306, having been
granted absolution by Bishop Wishart. Bruce managed to unite the
Scottish clans to defeat the English at
Bannockburn in 1314.
2/7/1266, The Treaty
of Perth was signed, between King Magnus ‘the lawmaker’ of Norway and King Alexander
III of Scotland. Norway sold to Scotland the ownership of the Isle
of Man (Sodor, or Southern Island) and the Western Isles, although Norway
retained the Orkney and Shetland Islands. This treaty was a result of the Battle of Largs
2/10/1263, The Battle of Largs. Fought at Largs on the Clyde
between Norwegian forces under King Haakon and Scottish levies under King Alexander III. Haakon wanted to put on a show of strength to
demonstrate continued Norwegian power over the Western Isles (see 2/7/1266).
However Alexander III’s 1500 Scots defeated the Norwegians. A barefoot Norwegian footsoldier
attempting a surprise attack on the Scottish camp by night trod on a thistle and cried out in pain, alerting
the Scottish camp. In memory of this
event the Scots adopted the thistle as their national emblem.
King Alexander II
8/7/1249. Death of King Alexander II of Scotland. He was born in 1198, and
the Lion to the Scottish throne in 1214. He joined the English
barons in their struggle against King John, marched into England, and
besieged Norham Castle in 1215. In 1217 he again invaded England but then made
peace with King Henry
III, marrying his sister Joanna in 1221. Alexander captured Argyll from the Norwegians, and was on
an expedition to capture the Western Isles also from Norway when he died at
Kerrera. See 16/3/1285.
King Alexander II of Scotland married Mary de Courcy of Picardy; she
survived him to act as Regent for her son.
25/9/1237, The Treaty of York fixed the
border between England and Scotland. The Treaty confirmed English control over
Northumberland, Westmoreland and Cumberland, with the border almost in its
1214, William the Lion of Scotland
died aged 71, after a 49-year reign. He was succeded by his 16-year-old son who
reigned until 1249 as Alexander II .
King Malcolm IV
9/12/1165, Malcolm IV,
King of Scotland, died aged 24. He was succeeded by his 22-year-old brother, William the
Lion, who ruled until 1214.
1164, Death of Somerled, Viking King of the Kingdom of the
Isles. His name means ‘summer traveller’.
1135, King David of Scotland expelled
the Norwegians (Vikings) from Arran and Bute.
27/11/1124. Death of King Alexander
I of Scotland.. He was born in ca.1078. He founded many abbeys
and bishoprics, among them Incholm and
24/5/1153, David I, King of Scotland
1124-53, died at Carlisle aged 69. He was succeeded by his 12-year-old
grandson, who never married, and ruled until late 1165 as King Malcolm IV.
8/1/1107, King Edgar of
Scotland died after a 10-year reign and was succeeded by his brother
who ruled for 17 years.
1097, Edgar was proclaimed King of Scotland, ruled
12/11/1094, Duncan II, son of Malcolm III Canmore and his first wife Ingibiorg, was murdered by his uncle Donald III Ban. In 1072 Duncan II had been sent as hostage to the
court of William I The Conqueror,
where he remained until his father’s death in 1093. Then, with the help of an
army supplied by William II Rufus, he
defeated Donald III in May 1094.
However Duncan II was loathed in
Scotland for being too pro-Norman/English and so he was assassinated.
13/11/1093, Malcolm III MacDuncan, King of Scotland, and
his eldest son Edward,
were killed at a place now called Malcolm’s Cross. Malcolm had been besieging
Alnwick. His wife Margaret died 4 days later. He was succeeded
by his brother Donald
Bane, who ruled until 1097.
1074, Malcolm III began to fortify the
city of Edinburgh.
1070, Malcolm III made a link with
England by marrying Margaret, sister of Edgar.
King of Scots, died and was succeeded by Malcolm III, son of Duncan I.
Scottish king Macbeth, who killed King
Duncan 1 in 1040, was
killed in battle by Duncan’s son, Malcolm.
14/8/1040, Macbeth murdered Duncan I, King of Scotland, and became King himself.
1005, King Kenneth II of Scotland died after an
8-year reign. He was succeeded by King Malcolm II, who ruled until 1034.
945, Scotland took the Lake District area from England.
863, Constantine II, son of Kenneth I, became King of Scotland.
843, Kenneth MacAlpine, King of Dalraida, united Scotland to become Kenneth I, King of Scotland.
831, Kenneth MacAlpine, King of
Moray, defeated the Picts.
717, King Nectan of the Picts expelled the Columban
Church from what is now Moray.
22/8/565, First recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, by St Columba.
See also Christianity
for early Church conversion work in Britain
See also Roman Empire
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