Scotland: The Declaration of Arbroath

Declaration of Arbroath

Declaration of Arbroath

The Declaration of Arbroath was signed at Arbroath Abbey in 1320 by Scottish nobles including Sir Henry St.Clair, who urged the Pope to accept Scottish Independence from England.

The stage was set for a bold move toward independence with the Scottish victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, in which Henry St.Clair served as one of Robert the Bruce’s commanders.

The Papacy was one of the most powerful forces in the world during this time and any effort by the Scots to attain independence required the Vatican’s blessing.  The Declaration indicated that should the Pope refuse to accept the Scottish case, the bloody wars of independence would continue with future deaths, being the responsibility of the Pope.  The Pope accepted the Declaration and granted Independence for Scotland.

Declaration of Arbroath:

Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.

The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith. Nor would. He have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles — by calling, though second or third in rank — the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter’s brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron forever.

The Most Holy Fathers your predecessors gave careful heed to these things and bestowed many favours and numerous privileges on this same kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the Blessed Peter’s brother. Thus our nation under their protection did indeed live in freedom and peace up to the time when that mighty prince the King of the English, Edward, the father of the one who reigns today, when our kingdom had no head and our people harboured no malice or treachery and were then unused to wars or invasions, came in the guise of a friend and ally to harass them as an enemy. The deeds of cruelty, massacre, violence, pillage, arson, imprisoning prelates, burning down monasteries, robbing and killing monks and nuns, and yet other outrages without number which he committed against our people, sparing neither age nor sex, religion nor rank, no one could describe nor fully imagine unless he had seen them with his own eyes.

But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert. He, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and bore them cheerfully. Him, too, divine providence, his right of succession according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and King. To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

Therefore it is, Reverend Father and Lord, that we beseech your Holiness with our most earnest prayers and suppliant hearts, inasmuch as you will in your sincerity and goodness consider all this, that, since with Him Whose vice-gerent on earth you are there is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman, you will look with the eyes of a father on the troubles and privation brought by the English upon us and upon the Church of God. May it please you to admonish and exhort the King of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs to him since England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave us Scots in peace, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at all, and covet nothing but our own. We are sincerely willing to do anything for him, having regard to our condition, that we can, to win peace for ourselves.

This truly concerns you, Holy Father, since you see the savagery of the heathen raging against the Christians, as the sins of Christians have indeed deserved, and the frontiers of Christendom being pressed inward every day; and how much it will tarnish your Holiness’s memory if (which God forbid) the Church suffers eclipse or scandal in any branch of it during your time, you must perceive. Then rouse the Christian princes who for false reasons pretend that they cannot go to help of the Holy Land because of wars they have on hand with their neighbours. The real reason that prevents them is that in making war on their smaller neighbours they find quicker profit and weaker resistance. But how cheerfully our Lord the King and we too would go there if the King of the English would leave us in peace, He from Whom nothing is hidden well knows; and we profess and declare it to you as the Vicar of Christ and to all Christendom.

But if your Holiness puts too much faith in the tales the English tell and will not give sincere belief to all this, nor refrain from favouring them to our prejudice, then the slaughter of bodies, the perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that will follow, inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we believe, be surely laid by the Most High to your charge.

To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty calls us, ready to do your will in all things, as obedient sons to you as His Vicar; and to Him as the Supreme King and Judge we commit the maintenance of our cause, casting our cares upon Him and firmly trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring our enemies to nought.

May the Most High preserve you to his Holy Church in holiness and health and grant you length of days.

Given at the monastery of Arbroath in Scotland on the sixth day of the month of April in the year of grace thirteen hundred and twenty and the fifteenth year of the reign of our King aforesaid.

(Image) Declaration of Arbroath: Scottish.biz

Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza was born on the 25th November 1638, at the Ducal Palace of Vila Vicosa in Alentego, Portugal to parents John, Duke of Braganza and Luisa de Guzman.

In 1640, her father John, the Duke of Braganza accepted the crown of Portugal, and became King John IV of Portugal.

On the 23rd June 1661, a contract of marriage was signed, and Catherine of Braganza and Charles II were married by proxy, on the 23rd April 1662 in Lisbon.

The terms of the contract, meant England obtained Tangiers, the Seven islands of Bombay, trading privileges in Brazil and East Indies, plus two million Portuguese crowns.  In return Portugal obtained military and naval support against Spain.

On the 21st May 1662, Catherine of Braganza married King Charles Ii, in two ceremonies; one a private Catholic service, the other a public Anglican service.

It wasn’t long before Catherine realised Charles had a number of mistresses, and marriage or no marriage they were here to stay.

One Barbara Palmer, mistress to King Charles II was appointed “Lady of the Bedchamber” to Queen Catherine.  Inspite of her objections, Charles had no intentions of changing his mind, and Catherine had to agree with the wishes of her husband and king.

The King’s advisors had put forward, he should seek divorce, for after twelve years of marriage, his Queen had not bore him a son and heir, he rejected the suggestion.

In 1675, English Catholics were ordered out of England, and Catherine a Catholic had no priest to confide in.

Francisco de Mello, became her Lord Chamberlain, but in 1676 was sent packing, for the printing of a catholic Book.  Catherine was isolated from her Catholic faith.

Charles passed away on the 6th February 1685, and Catherine expressed great grief at his death.  She remained in England, residing at Somerset House, being godmother to James Francis Edward, son of James II.

During the reign of William III and Mary II Parliament introduced a bill, which limited the number of Catholic servants she could employ.

In March of 1699, Catherine returned to her homeland of Portugal, becoming tutor to Prince John, son of the recently deceased Maria Sofia of Neuburg.

In 1703, she was one of the supporters in the “Treaty of Methuen” between Portugal and England.

In 1701 and 1704-05, she acted as Regent for Peter III, her brother.

On the 31st December 1705, Catherine of Braganza died at Bemposta Palace in Lisbon, and was buried at the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, the Royal Pantheon of the Braganza Dynasty.

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Anne Hyde

Anne Hyde

Anne Hyde

Anne Hyde was born on the 12th March 1637, at Cranbourne Lodge, to parents Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon and Frances Aylesbury.

In 1649, the family fled England, after the execution of King Charles I, and settled in the Netherlands.

Anne, became lady-in-waiting to Mary Stuart, Princess of Orange, and attracted the attention of James, the Duke of York.  She fell head over heels in love with James, got pregnant, and James felt it was his duty to marry her, much to the annoyance of his mother; Henrietta Maria.  For she considered her new daughter-in-law, a commoner, and not of Royal blood.

James, the Duke of York and Anne Hyde were married on the 3rd September 1600, in a private ceremony held at Worcester House in London.

Anne bore James two children, who survived infancy: Mary and Anne, who would take their place in later years as; Queen Mary II and Queen Anne.

The marriage would prove, not to be a happy one, for Anne had to share her affections for James, with his many mistresses.

Anne, an Anglican at the time of her marriage, was drawn to Catholicism, as James had, during their time abroad.  So it was not surprising, they eventually converted.

Anne Hyde died on the 31st March 1671, following fifteen months of illness, and died from suspected breast cancer.  She was buried in the vault, of Mary, Queen of Scots, in Henry VII’s Chapel at Westminster Abbey.

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Mary of Modena

Mary of Modena

Mary of Modena

Mary Beatrice d’Este was born on the 5th October 1658 at the Ducal Palace of Modena in Italy, to parents Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena and Laura Martinozzi.  Mary Beatrice; a descendant of the Bourbon royal family of France and the Medici family of Italy.

In 1669, James (James II), Duke of York, a Roman Catholic and younger brother to King Charles II and heir to the English throne, proposed marriage.

On the 30th September 1673 Mary Beatrice and James, Duke of York, were married by proxy in Modena, and married in person on the 23rd November 1673, and had two children who survived infancy; James and Louise Maria.

In 1688, the Popish Plot, headed by Anthony Ashley Cooper, was aimed at excluding the Catholic, Duke of York, his rightful successor to the English throne.

James and Mary Beatrice were forced into exile in Brussels.  Returning when Charles II was taken ill, fearing James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, would seize the throne… fortunately Charles recovered.

James and Mary, were sent to Edinburgh by Charles, and resided at Holyrood House.

In 1683, the Rye House Plot, was aimed at the assassination of King Charles II and his brother James, and Monmouth would become Lord Protector of England.

In 1684, James was re-admitted to the Privy Council.

King Charles II died on the 6th February 1685, and Charles and Mary were crowned on the 23rd April.

On the 19th July 1687, Mary’s mother, Laura the Duchess of Modena died.

Catherine Sedley, one time mistress of James II, and mother to two of his illegitimate children, had an affair tolerated by Mary.  However, James went one step too far, making her the Countess of Dorchester.

Mary threatened to renounce her throne, and go into a convent, unless he rid himself of her.  Mary won, Catherine Sedley was banished to Ireland, for the duration of her life, with a comfortable pension.

William of Orange, supported by Protestants in England, landed at Torbay in Devon on the 5th November 1688.  Plymouth fell to William, and many switched allegiance from James to William.

With his Queen in France, James chose to leave his throne, he had abdicated, reaching France on Christmas Day 1688.

William and Mary accepted the English throne in 1689.

James II, sought to recover the English throne, but after being defeated at the “Battle of the Boyne,” in Ireland in 1690, accepted the inevitable.

On the 6th September 1701, James, the former King James II of England died, and was buried at St.Germaine.

Mary received a request from Scotland, to surrender the custody of her son; James Francis Edward over to them, and agree to his conversion to Protestantism.  The first step in him succeeding to the English throne on William III’s death.

William III died in March 1702, and Lord Lovat begged Mary to release her son, and come to Scotland.  A rising had been planned of 15,000 soldiers, seizing the throne for James Francis Edward.  Mary refused… the uprising never got started.

Mary entered the Convent of the Visitations, Chaillot, on the outskirts of Paris, where she would live out the rest of her days, in near poverty.

On the 7th May 1718, she passed away, and was buried at Chaillot.  Her tomb was destroyed, during the French Revolution.

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Matilda of Flanders

Matilda of Flanders

Matilda of Flanders

Matilda of Flanders, was born in 1031 to parents Baldwin V the Count of Flanders and Adele of France, daughter of Robert II of France and Constance of Arles.  Matilda’s mother Adele was a religious woman, later known as “Adele the Holy,”  who oversaw her  daughter’s education.

Matilda’s early years were spent in Lille, Northern France.  She fell in love with Brihtric an English Ambassador to Flanders, but he rebuffed her advances.  Some years later she acted as Regent for William I of England.  She confiscated Brihtric’s lands, and had him thrown in prison, where he died.  (A scorned woman got her revenge).

Duke William of Normandy sent his representatives to the Court of the Count of Flanders, asking for the hand of Matilda in marriage.  His request was denied by Matilda, she would not marry the illegitimate son of “Robert the Devil.”

A furious William, rode to Bruges, pulled her from her horse as she was on her way to church and threw her to the ground.  Another account states he entered her room at her father’s court, threw her to the floor and hit her.  Where after Matilda is reported as saying: “No other man will marry me, but William.”

In 1049 Pope Leo IX condemned their proposed marriage as incestuous and the couple were excommunicated.  Duke William of Normandy and Matilda of Flanders were married at Notre Dame in 1051/52.  In 1059 William was reconciled with the papacy, and so it was William and Matilda founded two churches as penance for defiance of a papal ban.

The union of marriage between William and Matilda was successful, for they had ten children: Robert – Richard – Cecilia    Adeliza – William II – Matilda – Constance – Adela – Adele and   Henry I.

Of those who survived into adulthood:

Adele would become the mother of King Stephen of England, who reigned from 1135-1154.

Constance would marry Alan IV the Duke of Brittany.

William II would become King William II of England and reigned from 1087-1100.

Henry I would become King of England and reigned from 1100-1135.

Richard died in a hunting accident in the New Forest, where he was gored to death by a stag.

Agatha married Alfonso VI, King of Galicia – y – Leon, Spain.

Cecilia entered the church, and became Abbess of Holy Trinity.

In 1066, William launched an invasion on England, and Matilda commissioned “The Mora” a flagship for her husband’s crossing of the English Channel.  Matilda remained in Normandy as Regent and William presented her with crown jewels upon his return.  On the 11th May, Matilda was crowned Queen of England in 1068 at Westminster Abbey.

When illness struck down his beloved wife; Matilda, William rushed to Normandy to be at her side.  In November 1083, Matilda died at Caen, and William her husband heard her final confession.  She was buried in the Choir of the Holy Trinity “I’Abbaye aux Dames” in Caen, Normandy.

Her final bequests: She left money to the poor, and her royal Sceptre and Crown to Holy Trinity Abbey.

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Scotland’s Birth from Palaeolithic Times

Scotlands Pre-Historic Time

10,000 BC: The earliest known occupation of Scotland by man, started in the Palaeolithic era, also known as the Stone Age.  Man lived off the land and waters, hunting for fish and wild animals, gathering fruit, plants, roots, nuts and shells.

Stone Age Man

Stone Age Man

3,000 BC: Early prehistoric tools discovered in Scotland, date back to the Neolithic age, and the nomadic hunter-gatherers.  It was a time when farmers built permanent dwellings.

120 AD: Much of Scotland’s history, started when the Roman’s arrived in Britain.  As hard as they tried, Roman forces could not defeat the Caledonians and Picts.  Fortifications were built by the Romans, to defend themselves against these warriors, in the shape of Hadrian’s and Antonine Wall.

800 AD: Viking accomplished warriors and seamen migrated from Norway and Denmark, settling in Scotland.  The Viking’s settled in the west as the Picts forged a new kingdom; the Kingdom of Alba.

1040 AD: Macbeth ruled Scotland, and a fictious tale by William Shakespeare written in Tudor Times, kept the tale alive for centuries.  Macbeth, the King of Alba ruled from 1040-1057.

1100 AD: In the 12th century, the Kingdom of Alba grew, becoming a feudal society. Peace was achieved through the “Treaty of Falaise,” signed by William I.  During the reigns of Alexander II & III much land was turned over to agriculture, trade on the continent grew, monasteries and abbeys flourished.

1297 AD: Succession crisis brought unrest across Scotland, following the death of Alexander III.  England’s monarch, Edward I believed he should be recognised as overlord of Scotland, as his troops marched north. Edward planned to cross the River forth at Stirling Bridge, but were pushed back by William Wallace.

1306 AD: Robert the Bruce was crowned King, amidst times of unrest.  In 1314, Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II at the “Battle of Bannockburn.”

1320 AD: The “Declaration of Arbroath” proclaimed Scotland’s status as an independent state, which was sent to the Pope John XXII, who gave his seal of approval.

1450 AD: The cultural intellectual and artistic movement took hold across Europe which brought changes to Scotland.  Education, intellectual life, literature, art, music, architecture, and politics advanced in the late 15th century.

1542 AD: In 1542 Mary is crowned Queen of the Scots at the tender age of nine months.  Her reign was marked by civil unrest during the Rough Wooing and conflict between the Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation.  Worried Mary would try to launch a Catholic plot against her, Elizabeth I imprisoned Mary in England until her execution in 1597.

1603 AD: James VI succeeded to the throne at just 13 months after Mary was forced to abdicate.  When Elizabeth I died with no heir, James VI succeeded to the English throne and became King James VI & James I, a historic move that’s now known as the “Union of the Crowns.”

1707 AD: The Act of Union brought Scotland even closer to Britain by creating a single Parliament of the United Kingdom at the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament).

1746AD: The “Battle of Culloden” in 1746 was the final Jacobite rising and the last battle fought on British soil.  The Jacobites were no match for the Hanoverian army – the battle lasted barely an hour and the army had been crushed.

1746 AD: Shortly after the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden, a period known as the Highland Clearances began.  A number of laws were introduced in an attempt to assimilate the Highlanders; speaking Gaelic and wearing traditional attire was banned, and clan chiefs had their rights of jurisdiction removed.

1750 AD: The Age of Enlightment shaped the modern world.  The intellectual movement sought to understand the natural world and the human mind and ranged across philosophy, chemistry, geology, engineering, technology, poetry, medicine, economics and history.

1800 AD: Industrial advances and wealth accumulated from the trade of tobacco, sugar and cotton which brought about the dawn of urban Scotland at the turn of the 19th century.  The country shifted from rural to urban, and huge towns, large factories and heavy industry took hold.  Mining, shipbuilding and textiles became an important part of Scotland’s development.

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Scotland: Neolithic – Bronze Age (4000-751BC)

Bronze Age Tools

Bronze Age Tools

The farmers of the early Neolithic age have left little or no evidence of their life.  It appears they lived in small houses, built upon a stone base, with a roof made from timbers and thatch.  Evidence of grinding stones, proves that cereals were cultivated and ground for flour.

Evidence exists of domesticated animals; sheep, cattle and goats, in the form of bones.  Farmers are known to have hunted for wild food, such as deer or fish.  Farming tools used, more than likely consisted of spades and hoes, and possibly a basic plough.

Hand tools such as axes and hammers would have been constructed from wood, flint and stone.  Flint would have been easier to work than stone, producing a razor sharp edge.  On the flip side, stone axes and hammers, would have lasted much longer.  There are suggestions that some axes show no sign of use, and begs the question, whether it had a symbolic use.  Pottery of this period has all the indications of a community.  Clay pots had practical uses, but were heavy to use.

Traces of burials and ceremonial structures have been discovered in Long Barrows.  Excavated tombs contain many bones which have been cleaned.

Across the world, bodies of the dead are often exposed for defleshing before burial takes place.  Some evidence found, suggest this form of burial took place in Scotland.

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