ABERDEEN, a City and seaport-town and seat of a University, the Capital of the
County of Aberdeen, and the metropolis of the North of Scotland, 109 miles (N.
N. E.) from Edinburgh, and 511 from London; containing, with parts of the
parishes of Old Aberdeen and Banchory-Devenick, 67,000 inhabitants. This
ancient City is by some historians identified with the Devana of Ptolemy; and
according to an absurd tradition, Gregory the Great, d.889 King of Scotland, is said
to have made the Town a Royal Burgh.
from the Unification of Scotland
Malcolm II (Mael Coluim II). He
acquired the throne by killing
Kenneth III (Cinaed III) of a rival royal
dynasty. Attempted to expand his kingdom southwards with a notable victory at
the Battle of Carham, Northumbria in 1018. He was driven north again in
by King Cnut.
Duncan I (Donnchad
his grandfather Malcolm II as King of the Scots. Invaded northern England and
the throne after defeating
in battle following years of family feuding. He was the 1st Scottish King to
make a pilgrimage to
A generous patron of the Church it is thought he was buried at
the traditional resting place of the Kings of the Scots.
Macbeth, who for 17 years had by the help of
Thorfinn, the Scandinavian (whose name may be seen in the Deeside town of
Torphins), usurped the Kingship of Scotland. Malcolm Canmore led an
army against him in 1057, and gradually driving him North, beyond the
Mounth, overtook him at Lumphanan. There Macbeth was slain. A
Macbeth's stone is said to mark the place where he received his death-wound, and
Macbeth's Cairn is marked by a clump of trees in the midst of cultivated
land. The farm called Cairnbethie retains the echo of his name.
Kincardine O'Neil, where Malcolm awaited the result of the conflict,
commands the ford of the Dee on the ancient route of travel from south to
north across the Cairn-o-Mounth.
Malcolm III Canmore (Mael Coluim III Cenn Mór). Succeeded to the throne
after killing Macbeth and Macbeth's stepson Lulach in an
English-sponsored attack. Malcolm shortly after
passed through Aberdeenshire at the head of an expedition against the Celtic
population which had supported Macbeth. The Norman Conquest, 9 years thereafter,
was the occasion of Anglo-Saxon settlements in the county. The Court of
Malcolm and Queen Margaret became a centre of Anglo-Saxon influence. The old
Gaelic language gave way before the new Teutonic speech. The Celtic population
made various attempts to recover the power that was fast slipping from their
hands. Malcolm headed a 2nd expedition to Aberdeenshire in 1078, and on
that occasion granted the lands of Monymusk and Keig to the Church
of St Andrews. He is said to have had a hunting-seat in the Forest of Mar,
and the ruined Castle of Kindrochit in the village of Braemar is
associated with this fact.
Conqueror) invaded Scotland in
and forced Malcolm to accept the Peace of
become his vassal.
- Donald III Ban. Son of
Duncan I he seized the throne from his brother
and made the Anglo-Normans very unwelcome at his court. He was defeated and
dethroned by his nephew
- Duncan II. Son of
he had been sent to the court of William I as a hostage. With the
help of an army supplied by William
he defeated his uncle Donald III Ban. His foreign supporters were detested.
Donald engineered his murder on 12th Nov
Donald III Ban (restored). In
Donald was captured and blinded by another of his nephews,
Edgar. A true
Scottish nationalist, it is perhaps fitting that this would be the last king of
the Scots who would be laid to rest by the Gaelic Monks at Iona.
Edgar. Eldest son of Malcolm
III. He had taken refuge in England when his parents died in
1093. Following the
death of his half-brother
Duncan II, he became the Anglo-Norman candidate for
the Scottish throne. He defeated Donald III Ban with the aid of an army supplied
William II. Unmarried, he was buried at Dunfermline Priory in Fife. His
sister married Henry
Alexander I. The son of
and his English wife St.
Succeeded his brother Edgar to the throne and continued the policy of
'reforming' the Scottish Church, building his new priory at Scone near Perth.
He married the illegitimate daughter of
He died childless and was buried in
The earliest mention of Aberdeen is
in a Charter of Alexander I, granting to the Monks of Scone a
dwelling in each of the principal towns one of which is Aberdeen. A stream of
Anglo-Saxons, Flemings and Scandinavians had been gradually flowing towards the
settlement at the mouth of the Dee, where they pursued their handicrafts and
established trade with other ports.
David I. The youngest son
and St. Margaret. A modernising king, responsible for transforming his kingdom
largely by continuing the work of Anglicisation begun by his mother. He seems to
have spent as much time in England as he did in Scotland. He was the first
Scottish King to issue his own coins and he promoted the the development of
Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Perth, Stirling,
Inverness and Aberdeen. By the end of his reign his lands extended over
Newcastle and Carlisle. He was almost as rich and powerful as the
England, and had attained an almost mythical status through a 'Davidian'
- Malcolm IV (Mael Coluim IV). Son
Henry of Northumbria.
His grandfather David I persuaded the Scottish Chiefs to recognise Malcolm as
his heir to the throne, and aged 12 he became king. Recognising 'that the King
of England had a better argument by reason of his much greater power', Malcolm
Cumbria and Northumbria
He died unmarried and with reputation for chastity, hence his nickname 'the
William the Lion. 2nd son
Henry of Northumbria. After a failed attempt to invade Northumbria,
was captured by Henry
In return for his release, William and other Scottish nobles had to swear
allegiance to Henry and hand over sons as hostages. English garrisons were
installed throughout Scotland. It was only in
that William was able to recover Scottish independence in return for a payment
of 10,000 marks.
reign witnessed the extension of royal authority northwards across the
William the Lion frequently
visited the town and ultimately built a Royal Residence, which after a time was
gifted to the Trinity or Red Friars for a Monastery. The bishopric
of Aberdeen dates from 1150.
monarch of whose residence in Aberdeen there is authentic evidence is King
William the Lion, grandson of David I. He appears to have resided
frequently, either in the City or County, between the years 1179 and
1214 The oldest extant charter of the City was granted by him, and is
believed to be of the former date. It is still in good preservation. William
appears to have had a house in Aberdeen, which, about 1211, he bestowed
on the order of Trinity, Red, or Maturine Friars, whose chief business it
was to collect funds for the redemption of Christians held in slavery by the
Infidels in Palestine. Of this Palace nothing now remains; the site was occupied
by the Old Trades Hall. But there was still to be seen in the 2nd Hall a
ponderous table, at which tradition says the Leonine Monarch used to
preside. It is a very curious piece of furniture, consisting of a massive slab
of artificial stone, smoothly polished, and set in a beautiful oak frame
of much later date; the style of the ornaments showing that it belongs to the
early part of the 17th century. The framework bears the arms of Dr. Guild,
who purchased and fitted up the ruins of the monastery as a hospital for decayed
Burgesses of Trade.
Little of Aberdeen's authentic history is known prior to the reign of Malcolm
III.; and the 1st traces of its having attained any importance are found
in a charter granted at Perth, by William the Lion, conferring on the
inhabitants the privilege of free trade, as fully as their ancestors had
enjoyed that liberty in the time of Malcolm: the same monarch, by a
2nd Charter, dated 28th of Aug., 1179, granted them exemption from
tolls and customs in all markets and fairs within his kingdom. About this
time, Esteyn, one of the Norwegian kings, in a piratical excursion
along the British coast, landed at this place, and plundered the Town, which had
attained sufficient importance to attract the notice of the Sovereign,
who erected for his occasional Residence, when visiting here, an edifice near
the east end of the present Green, which he afterwards bestowed on the
Monks of the Holy Trinity, who had recently been introduced into
Scotland. William also established an Exchequer and a Mint, near the
south end of Castle Street, where money was coined during his reign in
Exchequer Row or Check Raw.
1214 - Alexander II. Son of
William the Lion. With the Anglo-Scottish agreement of
1217, he established a
peace between the two kingdoms that would last for
80 years. The agreement was
further cemented by his marriage to Henry
sister Joan in
Renouncing his ancestral claim to Northumbria, the Anglo-Scottish border was
finally established by the
on various occasions made protracted visits to the town; and about the year
1222, in company with his sister, the Princess Isabella, he
celebrated the festival of Christmas here: he subsequently built, on the site
now occupied by Gordon's Hospital, a convent for Dominician or Blackfriars. This
monarch, by a charter to the burgesses, confirmed all the privileges bestowed by
his predecessors, to which he added the grant of a weekly market, and the right
of establishing a Merchant Guild. In 1244, the town was nearly
destroyed by an accidental fire, which burnt many of the houses, at that time
built chiefly of wood; and about the year 1260, it suffered materially
from a similar calamity.
II. appears to have been frequently in Aberdeen between the years 1222
and 1235. Old Wynton says that, in the former year, " He held his yule in
Abbyrdene." He. too, is said to have had a Palace in the City, which he
afterwards bestowed on the Preaching or Black Friars, an order of which he was a
great patron. Its site was in what now forms the garden of Gordon's Hospital.
The building was destroyed at the period of the Reformation, and not a
vestige of it was visible for many years, until latterly its foundations were
1249 - Alexander III. The
son of Alexander II, he married
Henry III's daughter Margaret in
Battle of Largs against King Haakon of Norway in Oct.
secured the western Highlands and Islands for the Scottish Crown. After the
deaths of his sons, Alexander gained acceptance that his granddaughter Margaret
should succeed him. He fell and was killed whilst riding along the cliffs of
Kinghorn in Fife.
by charter dated at Kintore, in 1274, granted to the Burgesses the
privilege of an annual fair, to continue for 14 days.
1272 and 1369, Aberdeen was the occasional residence of Alexander
III., John Baliol, Robert the Bruce, and David II. The unfortunate
Baliol was taken captive here by John Comyn, Laird of Strathbogie, and
delivered up to Edward I. of England at Montrose. Edward
himself came to Aberdeen on the I4th of July 1296, and remained in it for
5 days. On the 4th he received the homage and oath of allegiance of the
Burgesses and community. For this act, however, the citizens afterwards
made so ample an atonement to "The Bruce," that that illustrious monarch
conferred on them many privileges, which are set forth in what is justly called
the Great Charter of the Burgh. In some of the battles which he fought, in
vindication of his title to the Crown, the citizens of Aberdeen seem to have
afforded him signal assistance. We may here mention incidentally that the
citizens gave undoubted proof of their loyalty and bravery at the
Harlaw, July 1411, when their gallant Provost, Sir Robert Davidson, and
many of the burgesses, were slain in defending the rights of the Crown against
the usurper Donald of the Isles.
1286-90 - Margaret, Maid of Norway. The
only child of
of Norway and Margaret, daughter of
She became Queen at the
age of two, and was promptly betrothed to
Edward, son of Edward
She saw neither kingdom nor husband as she
died aged 7 at
1290. Her death caused the most serious crisis in Anglo-Scottish