Margaret (DNB01)

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MARGARET, the Maid of Norway (1283–1290), queen of Scotland, born in 1283, was daughter of Eric II of Norway. Her mother, who died at or soon after her birth, was Margaret, daughter of Alexander III of Scotland [q. v.], by his queen Margaret, daughter of Henry III [q. v.] Alexander, the only surviving son of Alexander III, having clied before the end of 1283, the nobles of Scotland met at Scone on 5 Feb. 1284 and bound themselves to acknowledge Margaret as heir of the kingdom, reserving the rights of any children who might thereafter be born to the king, and of any posthumous child who might be born to his son Alexander. On 19 March 1286 Alexander III was killed, and on 11 April the estates appointed six regents to govern for the infant queen. Edward I obtained a bill of dispensation from Honorius IV in May 1287, that his sons and daughters might marry within the prohibited degrees, and in May 1289 sent ambassadors to Nicolas IV to obtain the pope's consent to the marriage of his sonEdward and Margaret. Eric, who was largely indebted to the English king, sent three ambassadors to England in September, as from himself and Margaret, to request Edward to secure the rights of the queen. At Edward's instance four commissioners were sent by the regents of Scotland to meet them and three commissioners appointed by himself at Salisbury, where on 6 Nov. it was agreed that before 1 Nov. next following Eric should send Margaret either to England or Scotland free from any matrimonial engagement; Edward promised that if Scotland was in a settled state he would send her thither unengaged, on receiving a promise from the Scots that they would not give her in marriage except as he should ordain and with her father's consent. The bill of dispensation for the marriage of the young Edward and Margaret was obtained a few days later.

Tidings of the proposed marriage having reached Scotland, the estates of that kingdom at a meeting at Brigham in March 1290 wrote to Edward warmly approving his design, and to Eric urging him to send his daughter to England speedily. By the articles of Margaret's marriage treaty, arranged on 11 July, Edward promised that the kingdom of Scotland should remain separate and independent, saving his rights in the marches and elsewhere. He requisitioned a ship at Yarmouth to fetch Margaret, and caused it to be fitted out and victualled by Matthew de Columbers, his butler. The ship was manned by forty seamen, and as Eric seems to have been expected to accompany his daughter great provision was made for the voyage, thirty-one hogsheads and one pipe of wine, ten barrels of beer, fifteen salted oxen, four hundred dried fish and two hundred stock fish, five hundred walnuts, and two loaves of sugar being put on board. The ship arrived at Bergen, and took Margaret on board without her father. On 7 Oct. William Fraser (d. 1297) [q. v.], bishop of St. Andrews, wrote to Edward saying that be and the English proctors appointed for the marriage had heard that Margaret had been ill, and that it was then generally believed that she had died on her voyage at one of the Orkneys. The report was true. Nothing is known of the circumstances of her death or burial. About ten years later a young woman came to Norway from Germany declaring herself to be Margaret, Eric's daughter. She said that she had been kidnapped at the Orkneys by a woman of high rank, Ingebiorg, the wife of Thore Hakonsson, and had been sold by her. Many believed her story. The king, Hakon V, who had succeeded his brother Eric, caused her to be tried, and she was burnt alive at Bergen in 1301. Her cruel death excited much compassion; she was believed by many to have been Eric's daughter, and was for a time reverenced at Bergen as a saint.

[Docs, illustr. Scottish Hist. vol. i. ed. Steveneon; Rymer's Fœdera, vol. ii. (both Record publ.); Ann. Dunst. ap. Ann. Monast. iii. 359; Cotton an. 1290 (both Rolls Ser.); Hemingburgh an. 1291; Trivet an. 1289 (both Engl. Hist. Soc.); Torfæus's Hist. Nor. pt. iv. bk. 7, cc. 1, 5, bk, 8, c. 1; Ann. Island. Reg. ap. SS. Rerum Dan. iii. 123, ed. Langebek; Munch's Det Norske Folks Hist. iv. 192 sqq., 344 sqq.; Burton's Hist. of Scotland, ii. 42 sqq., 112-13.]

W. H.