Saturday, 4 March 2017

Scottish King: David I

Alexander I & David I
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 (1113–1124) and later King of the Scots (1124–1153).

The youngest son of Máel Coluim III (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 Norman and Anglo-French culture of the court.

When David's brother Alexander I of Scotland 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, the former Empress-consort, 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.
Empress Matilda

William Rufus, King of England, opposed Domnall's accession to the northerly 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, 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.
Scottish atrocities depicted in the 14th century Luttrell Psalter.
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".

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.

Perhaps the greatest blow to David's plans came on 12 July 1152 when Henry, Earl of Northumberland, David's only son and successor, 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 Máel Coluim 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 Máel Coluim 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 his obituary in the Annals of Tigernach, he is called Dabíd mac Mail Colaim, rí Alban & Saxan, "David, son of Máel Coluim, King of Scotland and England", a title which acknowledged the importance of the new English part of David's realm.

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.
David I
 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.

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