1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/William of Scotland

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

WILLIAM (1143-1214), king of Scotland, surnamed “the Lion,” was the second son of Henry, earl of Huntingdon (d. 1152), a son of King David I., and became king of Scotland on the death of his brother, Malcolm IV., in December 1165, being crowned at Scone during the same month. After his accession to the throne William spent some time at the court of the English king, Henry II.; then, quarrelling with Henry, he arranged in 1168 the first definite treaty of alliance between France and Scotland, and with Louis VII. of France assisted Henry's sons in their revolt against their father in 1173. In return for this aid the younger Henry granted to William the earldom of Northumberland, a possession which the latter had vainly sought from the English king, and which was possibly the cause of their first estrangement. However, when ravaging the country near Alnwick, William was taken prisoner in July 1174, and after a short captivity at Richmond was carried to Normandy, where he soon purchased his release by assenting in December 1174 to the treaty of Falaise. By this arrangement the king and his nobles, clerical and lay, undertook to do homage to Henry and his son; this and other provisions placing both the church and state of Scotland thoroughly under the suzerainty of England. William's next quarrel was with Pope Alexander III., and arose out of a double choice for the vacant bishopric of St Andrews. The king put forward his chaplain, Hugh; the pope supported the archdeacon, John the Scot, who had been canonically elected. The usual interchange of threats and defiance's followed; then after the death of Alexander in 1181 his successor, Lucius III., consented to a compromise by which Hugh got the coveted bishopric and John became bishop of Dunkeld. In 1188 William secured a papal bull which declared that the Church of Scotland was directly subject only to the see of Rome, thus rejecting the claims to supremacy put forward by the English archbishop. This step was followed by the temporal independence of Scotland, which was one result of the continual poverty of Richard I. In December 1189, by the treaty of Canterbury, Richard gave up all claim to suzerainty over Scotland in return for 10,000 marks, the treaty of Falaise being thus definitely annulled.

In 1186 at Woodstock William married Ermengarde de Beaumont, a cousin of Henry II., and peace with England being assured three years later, he turned his arms against the turbulent chiefs in the outlying parts of his kingdom. His authority was recognized in Galloway which, hitherto, had been practically independent; he put an end to a formidable insurrection in Moray and Inverness; and a series of campaigns taught the far north, Caithness and Sutherland, to respect the power of the crown. The story of William's relations with King John is interesting, although the details are somewhat obscure. Soon after John's accession in 1199 the Scottish king asked for the earldom of Northumberland, which Richard I., like his father, had refused to restore to Scotland. John, too, refused this demand, but the threatened war did not take place, and in 1200 William did homage to the English king at Lincoln with the ambiguous phrase “saving his own rights.” After a period of inaction war between the two countries again became imminent in 1209; but a peace was made at Norham, and about three years later another amicable arrangement was reached. Both these treaties seem to have been more favourable to England than to Scotland, and it is possible that William acknowledged John as overlord of his kingdom. William died at Stirling on the 4th of December 1214 and was buried at Arbroath. He left one son, his successor Alexander II., and two daughters, Margaret and Isabella, who were sent to England after the treaty of 1209, and who both married English nobles, Margaret becoming the wife of Hubert de Burgh. He also left some illegitimate children. William's reign is a very important period in the early history of Scotland, and may almost be said to mark an epoch in every department of public life. The relations of England and Scotland and of Scotland and France; the rise of towns, the development of trade and the establishment of order in Scotland itself; and the attitude of the Scottish Church, both to the papal see and to England, were all vitally affected by the events of this reign. William founded and richly endowed the abbey at Arbroath, and many of the Scottish towns owe their origin to his charters.

See F. W. Robertson, Scotland under her Early Kings (Edinburgh, 1862); Lord Hailes, Annals of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1819); A. Lang, History of Scotland, vol. i. (1900); also Scotland: History.