Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland

By K. J. Stringer | Go to book overview

6
THE POLITICAL ROLE OF WALTER COMYN,
EARL OF MENTEITH, DURING THE MINORITY OF
ALEXANDER III OF SCOTLAND

Alan Young

The political role of the baronage in medieval Scotland, especially before about 1300, has been a strangely neglected subject. As a result, the view that Scottish barons in the earlier Middle Ages — and Anglo-Scottish barons are included in this category — were at best politically irresponsible aggressors and at worst political anarchists1 has not been seriously contested. Concentration on periods of political crisis in Scotland has tended to emphasise the view that these barons played a largely disruptive role. This has been the case with studies of the minority of Alexander III, where emphasis has been laid on the Anglo-Scottish baronial family of Comyn performing 'the more fearful role of overmighty subjects'.2 However, such judgements have generally been reached by viewing baronial activities in crisis from outside the baronial milieu. In order to achieve a more complete picture it is surely necessary to attempt an examination of a political crisis from inside. It is with this purpose in mind that the present study has been undertaken.

Several factors make the study of the role of Walter Comyn, earl of Menteith, during Alexander III's minority especially suitable for such treatment. The Comyns were one of the most powerful and politically influential families in thirteenthcentury Scotland. An accurate assessment of their political role, however, has long been obscured by the anti-Comyn writings of Scottish annalists such as John of Fordun, or literary historians such as George Buchanan, who wrote when Stewarts had long held the throne and the traditions of Bruce and Wallace were deep-seated. The role of Walter Comyn, earl of Menteith, has especially suffered from extreme interpretations, largely as a result of his involvement in the minority crisis which both dominated and shaped his career between 1249 and 1258. In the attempt to understand his actions in these years two main views have emerged. Either Earl Walter has been seen as an unscrupulous and lawless political aggressor,3 or else he has been regarded as the leader of a 'national' or 'patriot' party.4 To look at Alexander III's minority from inside the baronial milieu, and especially from inside the Comyn family, is clearly desirable in order to put these interpretations into a proper perspective.

The sudden and unexpected death of Alexander II in 1249 brought a dangerous situation in Scotland because the heir, the late king's son by Marie de Coucy, was a boy of only eight years. One of the leading figures in the political crisis emanating from this situation was Walter Comyn, earl of Menteith. By 1237 Walter Comyn

-131-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 290

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.