Feudal Britain: The Completion of the Medieval Kingdoms, 1066-1314

By G. W. S. Barrow | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
THE ANGLO-SCOTTISH WAR

WE have seen that the thirteenth century was an age of legal definition. It was inevitable that Anglo-Scottish relations should become an object of this prevailing activity; it is only surprising that, following Falaise ( 1174) and its cancellation ( 1189), the first serious attempt to define them anew was not made for another hundred years.

English and Scottish opinion differed on the meaning of the homage performed by a king of Scotland to a king of England. The Scots held that homage was due for lands held of the English Crown, which apparently included Lothian. It was not owed for the kingship of Scotland. As much is clear from the following facts. In 1216, when Alexander II was supporting the Magna Carta barons he did homage to Prince Louis of France, then regarded by the insurgents as prospective King of England, "for the land of Lothian". In 1237 Alexander obtained the cancellation of the treaty made in 1212 between his father and King John, which he clearly felt to have imposed too great a degree of submission upon the Wcottish monarchy. Thirdly, the Scots account of Alexander III's homage to Edward I ( October 29th, 1278) differs markedly from the English. According to it, Alexander declared: "I become your man for the lands I hold of you in the kingdom of England, for which I owe you homage; saving my kingdom." Then the Bishop of Norwich, William of Middleton, said, "And be it saved to the King of England if he have the right to homage for it." And the king speaking clearly answered, "No one has a right to homage for my kingdom of Scotland save God alone." This account receives some confirmation from the further fact that before 1261 a petition is known to have been made to the Papacy on behalf of King Alexander, seeking the right to receive anointment.1 It was felt that the absence of this rite from the Scottish enthroning ceremony laid him and his ancestors open to the charge of not being kings in the fullest sense.

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1
Marc Bloch, Scot. Hist. Rev., xxiii ( 1926), 105-6.

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