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English Domination The Stuart Dynasty

Sovereigns' of Scotland

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.  

Celtic Kings from the Unification of Scotland

1005 - 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 1027 by King Cnut.

1034 - Duncan I (Donnchad I). Succeeded his grandfather Malcolm II as King of the Scots. Invaded northern England and besieged Durham in 1039.

Macbeth, c.10401040 - Macbeth. Acquired the throne after defeating Duncan I in battle following years of family feuding. He was the 1st Scottish King to make a pilgrimage to Rome. A generous patron of the Church it is thought he was buried at Iona, 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.

1057 - 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. William I (The Conqueror) invaded Scotland in 1072 and forced Malcolm to accept the Peace of Abernethy and become his vassal.

1093 - Donald III Ban. Son of Duncan I he seized the throne from his brother Malcolm III and made the Anglo-Normans very unwelcome at his court. He was defeated and dethroned by his nephew Duncan II in May 1094.

1094 - Duncan II. Son of Malcolm III. In 1072 he had been sent to the court of William I as a hostage. With the help of an army supplied by William II (Rufus) he defeated his uncle Donald III Ban. His foreign supporters were detested. Donald engineered his murder on 12th Nov 1094

1094 - Donald III Ban (restored). In 1097 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.

1097 - 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 by William II. Unmarried, he was buried at Dunfermline Priory in Fife. His sister married Henry I in 1100.

1107 - Alexander I. The son of Malcolm III and his English wife St. Margaret. 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 Henry I. He died childless and was buried in Dunfermline.   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.

1124- David I. The youngest son of Malcolm III 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 towns at 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 King of England, and had attained an almost mythical status through a 'Davidian' revolution.

1153 - Malcolm IV (Mael Coluim IV). Son of 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 surrendered Cumbria and Northumbria to Henry II. He died unmarried and with reputation for chastity, hence his nickname 'the Maiden'.

1165 - William the Lion. 2nd son of Henry of Northumbria. After a failed attempt to invade Northumbria, William was captured by Henry II. 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 1189 that William was able to recover Scottish independence in return for a payment of 10,000 marks. William's reign witnessed the extension of royal authority northwards across the Moray Firth 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

The 1st 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 III's sister Joan in 1221. Renouncing his ancestral claim to Northumbria, the Anglo-Scottish border was finally established by the Tweed-Solway line.

Alexander II. 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.

Alexander 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 accidentally discovered.

1249 - Alexander III. The son of Alexander II, he married Henry III's daughter Margaret in 1251. Following the Battle of Largs against King Haakon of Norway in Oct. 1263, Alexander 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.

Alexander lll, by charter dated at Kintore, in 1274, granted to the Burgesses the privilege of an annual fair, to continue for 14 days.

Between 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 Battle of 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 King Eric of Norway and Margaret, daughter of Alexander III. She became Queen at the age of two, and was promptly betrothed to Edward, son of Edward I. She saw neither kingdom nor husband as she died aged 7 at Kirkwall on Orkney in September 1290. Her death caused the most serious crisis in Anglo-Scottish relations.


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Last modified: 01/09/2013