Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/52

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[844 A.D.
Robert the Bruce.

from four kingdoms into one, and the existence within the realm of four distinct races, perhaps nearly equal in numbers ; namely, the Picts, the Scottish Gael, the Teuton or Anglian, and the Scandinavian. Second, the close relationship between the royal houses of England and Scotland. Third, the extent to which the lands of the native chiefs and septs had passed into the hands of Norman barons, most of whom, besides doing homage to the King of Scots for estates held from him, also owed allegiance to the King of England for lands in his dominions, not less valuable and extensive than their Scottish possessions, and which had generally been much longer in their families. This double allegiance will be found to account for a great deal of inconsistency and vacillation shown by some of the most puissant barons of that age.

The kingdom of Scotland, so far as it could be said to exist at the time of the Norman conquest of England, was of very recent origin and of constantly fluctuating dimensions. It is true that in the earlier half of the ninth century, Kenneth MacAlpin, King of the Scots of Dalriada, overcame the Picts by the help of the Danes, and, in 844, became the first monarch over all Alban, or, as it subsequently came to be called, Scotia. But this kingdom of Scone included no more than central Scotland, Perthshire, Argyll, Angus and Mearns, and Fife. The ancient territory of the northern Picts, extending over a great part of what we now call the Highlands, was partly under independent Celtic chiefs and partly held by Norsemen. Galloway and half Ayrshire