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

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.

Wikipedia Images

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.

Wikipedia Image

Scotland: The Jacobite Rebellion

King James II

King James II

The Jacobites  were supporters of the exiled royal house of the Stuart. The Jacobites took their name from Jacobus.  James II had been deprived of his throne in 1688.

In 1689 supporters of James II led by Viscount Dundee defeated a Protestant Covenanter army at the Battle of Killiekrankie.

In 1690 William of Orange defeats James II and his Jacobite supporters at the Battle of Boyne in Ireland.

In 1691, William of Orange offers a pardon to all Jacobites in the Scottish highlands who swear an allegiance to him by the end of the year.

In the January of 1692, King William II issues an order of displine against the Highland Scots.  In the February, the MacDonald chief was late in taking his oath to King William, and members of the Campbell clan killed 38 MacDonald’s at Glencoe.

In June of 1701, the Act of Settlement was passed by Parliament, which stated if William III and Princess/Queen Anne died without heirs, succession would pass to Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of James I, and her heirs.

King James III

King James III

James II dies, succeeded by his son James III (The Old Pretender).

In 1708 a French naval squadron unsuccessfully attempted to land the Old Pretender on the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh.

With the accession of King George I of England, a Jacobite rebellion started in Braemar on the 6th September 1715 in Scotland.  The Scottish Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Sheriffmuir on the 13th November.  On the 14th November English and Scottish Jacobites were defeated near Preston.  On the 22nd December the Old Pretender lands at Peterhead, joining up with fellow Jacobites at Perth, before returning to France on the 4th February 1716.

In 1743 war broke out between England and France. France was a Catholic country, and had always supported the Stuarts’ claim to the English throne.

King Louis XV informed the fifty-seven year old James Edward Stuart in 1745 that if he was to invade England he would supply him with arms and ammunition. James was not keen on becoming involved in another military campaign. However, his son Charles Stuart was keen to stand in for his father, and so it was, that on 5 July he left France with 700 men.

Once in Scotland, Charles Stuart; Bonnie Prince Charlie, began building up his army. He was especially successful at persuading Catholics living in the Scottish Highlands to join him. In September, Charles was ready to take action. His first move was to capture Holyrood, the ancient palace of Scottish kings. The English army arrived soon afterwards but Charles’ army had an easy victory at the battle of Prestonpans. Charles’ 5,000 man army now marched into England and by December had reached Derby.

Charles had hoped that English Catholics would join his army. This did not happen. In fact, in many of the towns that he marched through, the crowds showed great hostility to Charles’ army. Louis XV had promised Charles that 12,000 French soldiers would invade England in the autumn of 1745. However, Louis XV did not keep his promise. Although Charles still wanted to march on London, his military advisers argued that without the support of the French they were certain to be beaten. Reluctantly, Charles agreed to return to Scotland.

On the 18th February 1746, Jacobite forces capture Inverness.

A government army, led by the Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland, followed Charles back into Scotland. Completely outnumbered, Charles’s army was chased into the Scottish Highlands.

NPG 5517; Prince Charles Edward Stuart by Louis Gabriel Blanchet

Bonnie Prince Charlie

In April 1746, Charles Stuart; Bonnie Prince Charlie decided to turn and fight the English army, and met at Culloden Moor on 16 April. Cumberland’s army destroyed the Jacobites and Charles was forced to flee from the battlefield.

A reward of £30,000 was offered for his capture, but Charles still had many loyal supporters who were willing to hide him, until he could be smuggled back to France.

George II gave the Duke of Cumberland instructions that the Scots had to be punished for supporting Charles. Many of those who had joined Charles’ army were executed and their land was given to those who had remained loyal to George II. Scotsmen were also banned from wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.

Wikipedia Images

English Crown = Norman Civil War

English Saxon Crown

England’s Anglo-Saxon Crown

1135 Stephen the grandson of William the Conqueror claimed the English throne on the death of Henry and was crowned King of England on the 26th December.  However, Henry’s choice of successor had been his daughter; Matilda.

1136 The Earl of Norfolk, a keen supporter of Matilda led a rebellion against Stephen.  Robert the Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son by birth of Henry I, once a supporter of Stephen, switched his allegiance to Matilda in 1138.  David I of Scotland, invades the English lands, showing support for Matilda, and her right to the English throne, but is defeated in battle at Northallerton.

In 1141 Matilda captures Stephen at the “Battle of Lincoln” and she proclaims herself Queen of England.”  What appeared to be a victory was scuppered as Robert the Earl of Gloucester is captured by Stephen’s forces, and Matilda is forced to exchange Stephen for his freedom.

1145 Stephen defeats Matilda at the “Battle of Farringdon.”

1147 Matilda’s son Henry Plantagenet is called to England, and Stephen hopes that his presence would put an end to his mother’s right to the English throne.  In 1148 Matilda is forced to abandon her cause to become Queen of England, and leaves English soil.

1151 Geoffrey of Anjou, husband of Matilda dies, and so their son Henry Plantagenet, becomes the Count of Anjou.  In 1153 Henry the new Count of Anjou, lands his forces in England and gathers support, for war against Stephen.

This Civil War between Stephen and Matilda is resolved under the “Treaty of Westminster.”  Stephen remains King for life, and upon his death, Henry Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou would become King Henry II of England.

1154 King Stephen of England dies, and was buried at Faversham in Kent.

1167 The rightful heir to the English throne according to the wishes of King Henry I, was that his daughter Matilda should have reigned… sadly that never happened, and after years of war between each other Matilda died on the 10th September at Rouen, and buried in the Rouen Cathedral in France.

Wikipedia Image

Plantagenet’s Land Seizure

Isabella of Gloucester

Isabella of Gloucester

Isabella, the Countess of Gloucester was born in 1173, to parents, William Fitz Robert, the 2nd Earl of Gloucester and his wife Hawise de Beaumont.  Hawise was the daughter of the Earl of Leicester, which made Isabella, the niece of the Earl of Leicester.

King Henry II sought the wealth of the Earl of Gloucester.  In 1176, an agreement was forged between the Earl and King, whereby John would inherit Gloucester’s wealth in return for marrying Isabella, making her a future Queen.  Isabella would be the sole heir of the Gloucester estate.

The Earl of Gloucester died in 1183, and John became heir in waiting to the Gloucester estate.  In 1189 King Henry II died, and Prince Richard (Richard the Lionheart) was crowned King of England.

On the 29th August 1189, Prince John married Isabella of Gloucester at Marlborough Castle.

Isabella and John’s grandfather was King Henry I, and as such a dispensation was required from the Vatican.  Pope Clement III granted a dispensation to marry, but sexual relations were forbidden.

In 1199 King Richard died and Prince John became King John of England.  It didn’t take him long, to divorce Isabella on the grounds it was an illegal marriage.

Isabella was divorced from John, but not free of him, for he wanted to keep control over her.  He made her his ward, thus maintaining total control of her property.

King John humiliated Isabella, making her chaperone to his new Queen.  In a final act of humiliation he sold her like a common slave for 20,000 marks to the Earl of Essex, and they were married on the 20th January 1214.

Wikipedia Image

Mary Queen of Scots

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots was born at Linlithgow Palace on the 8th December 1542, to parents King James V and Marie de Guise.

James V had been defeated at the “Battle of Solway Moss” by English forces commanded by Oliver Sinclair.  James chose to retire to his hunting lodge at Falkland Palace in Fife out of disgrace, and on the 14th December he died.

Henry VIII, called off the war against Scotland, and sought to negotiate a marriage between Mary and Prince Edward VI heir apparent to the English throne, then aged five.

The Regent of Scotland, The Earl of Arran was in favour of the marriage, and so the Treaty of Greenwich was entered into, thus Mary and Edward were betrothed to each other.  However, opposing factions saw it as a threat to Scottish nationality and their Catholic religion.  Pressure was brought to bear on the Earl of Arran, to withdraw from the treaty, and seek an alliance with France.

On the 9th December 1543, Mary was crowned Mary, Queen of Scots at Stirling castle.

In 1558, Mary married Francis the dauphin of France at Notre Dame in Paris, and on the 10th July 1559, Mary ascends to Queen Consort of France, when her husband becomes King Francis II of France.

Many in England feared this marriage could have long term consequences.  For Mary was now queen Consort of France, Queen of Scotland, and declared herself as the true Queen of England, whilst her husband became King Consort of Scotland and King of France, this royal alliance had united French and Scottish crowns.

On the 5th December 1560, Mary’s husband King Francis II of France died.

In 1560, Mass performed in Latin became illegal, according to the law laid down by the Scottish Parliament, as the Protestant faith, spread across much of Scotland.

Mary, Queen of Scots found herself a widow at eighteen, and returned to her homeland of Scotland in 1561, to take up her position as Queen of Scotland.  She a Catholic, in a predominately Protestant country, forced into accepting her Scotland was now led by a Protestant Government.

In 1565, Mary marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, her cousin, believing upon the death of Elizabeth I; with him on her side, any claim to the English throne would be increased.  They married at Mary’s private chapel in Holyrood House on the 29th July.  The marriage was a failure, for Darnley wanted to be joint ruler with Mary.

Mary appointed one David Riccio an Italian as her personal secretary, and on the 9th March 1566, Darnley burst into her chambers at Holyrood House with fellow conspirators in a jealous rage, and murdered Riccio.

On the 19th June 1566, Mary gave birth to a son; James at Edinburgh Castle, who would grow up to become King James VI of Scotland, and baptised on the 12th December at Stirling Castle.

Early in 1567, Darnley was known to be plotting against Mary’s life.  Then on the 9th February Stuart Darnley, the King of Scotland was strangled to death in the grounds of Kirk O’Fields, following an explosion.  Then in the May, the Earl of Bothwell believed to be behind the murder marries Mary, Queen of Scots.

On the 15th June 1567, Protestant Lords confronted Mary at Carberry Hill, near Edinburgh, where she surrendered and was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle.  Pressure was brought to bear, forcing her to abdicate in favour of her infant son; James.

Mary escaped in 1568, defeated in the “Battle of Langside” on the 13th May, and fled south, crossing the border into England, expecting Elizabeth to support her … how wrong she was.

Mary found herself a prisoner, first at Carlisle Castle, then Bolton Castle.

In October of 1586, Mary found herself on trial for treason against the life of Elizabeth, through correspondence with Anthony Babington.  On the 25th October she was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to death.

Mary Queen of Scots Execution

Execution of Mary Queen of Scots by Dutch Artist

On the 8th February 1587, Mary Queen of Scots, she who sought help from Elizabeth and England, a conspirator against the life of Elizabeth, lost her own life to the executioner… at Fotheringhay Castle, and was buried first at Peterborough Cathedral, then in 1612 moved to Westminster Abbey.

Images:
Mary Queen of Scots: Wikipedia
Execution of Mary Queen of Scots: National Portrait Gallery