Alexander III. (1249-1286), King of Scotland, Updated, pp.57-77.

THE [13th] of July, in this same year, 1249, was King Alexander III solemnly crowned at Scone.



In the year 1250, dies Robert de Muschamp [Baron of Wooler, Northumberland], and was interred at Melrose; and in place of Geoffrey [de Liberatione], Bishop of Dunkeld, was elected Mr Richard [de] Inverkeithing, the 11th of February this year, being then Chamberlain of Scotland.

This year, King Alexander renewed the stamp of his coin, making the cross to touch the outermost point of the circle, which in his predecessor’s reigns it did not.


This year, also, in presence of King Alexander and his mother, at Dunfermline, were the bones of St. Margaret, the Queen, dug up from the wooden coffin wherein they lay, and were enclosed in [a] great box of gold, set with precious stones.



This year, 1251, King Alexander III had a solemn interview with Henry, King of England, at York, accompanied [by] a great many of the nobility of both kingdoms, about Christmas-time; on which day King Alexander received the order of knighthood from King Henry; and on the 26th of December, being St. Stephen’s day, he solemnly married the Lady Margaret, eldest daughter to King Henry of England, and there was Alan [Hostarius] Durward, Lord Chief [Justiciar] of Scotland, with diverse others [as] his accomplices, [were] accused of high treason, being reviled by the King of England. The chief point of his accusation was, that he being Lord Chief [Justiciar] of Scotland, and having married the King’s sister, that he had sent great gifts to the Pope, and had procured the children [had by] the king’s sister to be legitimate, to the end, that if anything should happen to the king [maliciously], then these legitimate children of his should succeed to the Scottish crown; and by this practise it was clear and evident, that the said Alan’s intention was to betray both king and kingdom. As conscious to this plot, were accused likewise, at this time, Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith, Uilleam Comyn, Earl of Mar, and Robert [de Keldeleth], Abbot of Dunfermline, Chancellor of Scotland, who accused that he had passed a legitimation under the great seal, to the King’s bastard sister, the wife of Alan [Durward], Earl of Atholll, Great Justiciar of Scotland, and being conscious to himself, he privily fled home to Scotland, and rendered up the great seal to the nobility, which they broke in pieces, until the King’s return, and delivered the privy seal until the great was made, to Abel [de Gullane], the new elected Chancellor, thereafter Bishop of St. Andrews. The [dismissed] Chancellor, Robert, not daring to abide the King’s justice, and homecoming, shaved his head, and rendered himself religious amongst the Cistercian monks in the Abbey of Newbattle in Lothian, in the month of January, 1252.



About the end of this same year, there were removed from being counsellors these, viz.-

Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith,

Alexander Comyn, [Mormaer] of Buchan,

Uilleam Comyn, Earl of Mar; and

Sir Robert [Mormaer of] Ross, the King’s cousin;

and new councillors put in their place.



This year, 1253, died David, Bishop of St. Andrews; in whose [place] succeeded Abel [de Gullane], Lord Chancellor of Scotland, who was consecrated at Rome by the Pope.

This year, also, died Gilbert [of Glenluce], Bishop of Galloway; to whom succeeded Henry, Abbot of Holyroodhouse.

In this year, likewise, Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, and Alan [Hostarius] Durward, in pretended zeal for the commonwealth, with a great army of their followers, came to Edinburgh Castle, from where, at their coming, fled Walter [Comyn, Lord of Badenoch], with his associates, who had gained the King’s ear since his return from York, convening the King and Queen to Warkworth Castle, to meet with his father-in-law, the English King Henry [III.], by whose mediation the late chosen councillors were removed, and others put in their places; and there was Richard [of Inverkeithing], Bishop of Dunkelden, made Chancellor, Sir David [de] Lindsay [the younger], Chamberlain, and Alan Durward again received to the King’s favour, (for a great defeat and overthrow he had given to the King of England’s enemies) and made Lord Chief Justiciar of Scotland for 7 years.



In the year 1254, Prince Edward, King Henry [III.] of England’s eldest son, married Eleanor, daughter to the King of Castile, by whom he was knighted.

This same year, also, died Pope Innocent [IV.]; and in the papal chair to him succeeded Alexander [IV.].



This year, 1256, began with the death of Sir Waleran de Normanville, who was interred in the abbey church of Melrose; and ended with the election of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, brother to King Henry [III.] of England, to the empire of Germany.



In the beginning of the year 1257, there arose great troubles in Scotland, and often it falls out in the lesser age of kings, for

Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith,

Alexander Comyn, [Mormaer] of Buchan,

Uilleam Comyn, Earl of Mar,

John Comyn, Lord Cumbernauld,

Sir Hugh de Abernethy,

Sir David Lochore, [Knight],

Sir Hugh de Barclay, [Justiciar of Lothian],

and with them a great company of their friends and followers, take the King by force out of his bed at Kinross, and led him to Stirling, taking the King’s great seal violently from Mr Robert Stuterville, the Vice Chancellor, the depute of Richard [of Inverkeithing], Bishop of Dunkelden Lord Chancellor of Scotland. This was done after the day of Simon and Jude [28th of October], on the next morning.

In this same year, also, died that holy and religious prelate Clement, Bishop of Dunblane, who before his death had excommunicated all those that had taken the King at Kinross.

Alan Durward, the chief architect of all their domestic broils and mischief, shelters himself in England; his partners fly to the mountains and remote places of the kingdom.

This year, also, Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith, died suddenly, ([it] was thought poisoned by his wife [Isabella]; ) and she shortly thereafter [turning down] diverse noble matches offered [to] her, married a poor English knight named Sir John Russell; at which marriage the nobility much stormed, and forthwith accused her and her new[ly] married husband of the murder, and commits them both to prison; but shortly thereafter liberated, they flee the country.

This year, likewise, died Mr Peter [de] Ramsay, Bishop of Aberdeen; to whom succeeded Andrew [Richard de] Potton, an Englishman. And much about the same time died William, Bishop of Glasgow, called [de] Bondington, who for a long time was Chancellor of Scotland, an honest and sincere prelate; and to him succeeded Mr Nicholas [de] Moffat,

Archdeacon of Teviotdale, who went to Rome to be consecrated; but by the false dealing of his canons that elected him, he was [dismissed], and so the see of Glasgow [was thumped].



In the beginning of this year, 1258, Walter Bailloch [Stewart], in right of his wife, the sister of Walter [Comyn], the late poisoned Earl of Menteith, claims the said earldom as due to him, and by the favour of the nobility obtains the same; he paying a certain sum of money to the [widow, Isabella,] of Earl Walter: she not daring to withstand the calumnies (as she alleged) of her potent adversaries, flees shamefully to England with her new[ly] married husband.

To Clement, Bishop of Dunblane, that died in the preceding year, succeeded Mr Robert de Prebenda, dean of the said see.



Mr John [de] Cheam, an Englishman, consecrated at Rome Bishop of Glasgow by Pope Alexander [IV.], in 1259; who, coming to Scotland in the month of June in the subsequent year 1260, with great difficulty obtained King Alexander’s favour.



This year the Countess of Menteith, that had married Sir John [de] Russell, complains to Pope Urban [IV.], newly elected, that she was wronged by the Scottish King and his nobility, who had wrongfully taken her earldom from her (as she alleged); for the determining of which cause the Pope sent his [side] Legate; who comes to York, and there sits before him Walter Bailloch [Stewart], the now Earl of Menteith, with almost the whole nobility, and chief of the clergy of Scotland, to give testimony of the business. The King, finding himself and his prerogative so wronged in this business appeals from the Pope’s Legate to the Pope himself, where yet the controversy lay undecided.



In March 1262, dies Thomas [fitz Ranulf], the son of Ranulf [of Moray], and Juliana [Moray], his spouse, and were there solemnly interred at Melrose.



This year, 1263, was the battle of Largs fought between King Alexander III. and Haakon [IV. Haakonsson] King of Norway. Alexander Stewart [Steward of Scotland], great grandchild to the first Walter [Stewart], called of Dundonald, was general of the Scottish army, who valiantly overthrew the Norwegian King, and his whole army. This Alexander was grandfather to Walter [Stewart], that married the Lady Marjorie [Bruce], daughter to King Robert I. Few men of mark died of the Scots this day, except Sir Piers [de] Curry, knight, a stout and resolute commander, [in the] 16th [year] of King Alexander III.’s reign.

This same year, also, the Queen [Margaret] was brought to bed [to deliver a] fair son at Jedburgh, and was christened Alexander, by [Abel de] Gullane, Bishop of St. Andrews. He was born the 13th day of January, on St. Anne’s day.



In February, 1264, the King of the Isle of Man [Magnús Óláfsson] met King Alexander at Dumfries, and became his liegeman, and there did him homage, on condition that when the King of Norway should invade Man, that then he should have shelter in any place of Scotland, and protection from the King: and he did oblige himself to furnish the King with 12 galleys of 24 oars a-piece, at all times when so ever the said King should employ him.

In May this same year, Alexander Comyn, [Mormaer] of Buchan, Uilleam Comyn, Earl of Mar, and Alan [Hostarius] Durward, with a great army, went to the Western Isles, and there killed a great many of those who had persuaded Haakon [IV.], King of Norway, to invade Scotland, and banished the remnant, and so returned with great booty.

This year, also, died Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, and Great Constable of Scotland, whose lands were divided amongst his 3 daughters.

This same year died Nicholas de Soules, Lord of Liddesdale, at Rouen in France, the wisest and most eloquent man that Scotland had; and to him succeeded his son William [de Soules].

David Hastings, Earl of Atholl, Colbán, son to the Earl of Fife, and diverse others, were knighted by King Alexander, this year, in September, at Scone.

This same year, also, the battle of Lewes was fought, in which were taken prisoner Robert Bruce and John Comyn, and imprisoned in the castle of Dover.

In this year, after the battle of Largs, wherein Haakon [IV.], King of Norway, lost his nephew, in great sorrow and grief he came to Orkney, and there wintered, and in January died; to whom succeeded his son Magnus [VI.], who, immediately after his father’s death, sent the letters of diverse great men of Scotland to King Alexander, who had invited and solicited his father to invade Scotland.



In the following year, 1265, King Alexander sent Reynold Roxburgh ambassador to Norway, a monk of Melrose, a man learned, politic, and eloquent, to conclude a peace and amity with the Norwegian king; he handled his business so well, that he obtained the Western Isles [for] the Scottish crown, for the payment of 4000 marks sterling, to be paid at one term, and consigned [to] the Bishop of Orkney [Henry]‘s hands.



In the year 1266, Reynold the monk, the King’s ambassador, returned from Norway, with the Chancellor [Askatin] of that kingdom, who brought with him the foresaid league, which King Alexander did solemnly swear [to] at Scone, in May.

This same year died Máel Coluim, Earl of Fife, whose widow, after her husband’s death, married the eldest son and heir of the Earl of Mar [Domhnall].

[Supposed wizard] Hugh [de] Gifford, Lord Yester, and Sir Robert Meyners, Chamberlain of Scotland, died likewise both of them this same year.



David Hastings, Earl of Atholl, and Adam [of Kilconquhar], Earl of Carrick, with diverse other noblemen and knights, embraced the crusade for the Holy Land, which was enjoined this year, 1267, by Pope Clement, and proclaimed here in Scotland by his Legate, Octobonus. This same Legate also enjoined the whole clergy and church of Scotland to the tent of all their church leavings for a year to the King of England, which they altogether refused.

In March, this year, died the King of Man [Magnús Óláfsson], whose widow, the daughter of Eóghan [mac Dubhghaill, Lord] of Argyle, was thereafter married to Máel Ísu, Earl of Strathearn.

This year died also the Countess of Mar [Elizabeth], sister to Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan; and Adam, Lord of Dalkeith, and his daughter Lora, and were solemnly interred at Melrose.



In the 1268, departed this life John, Bishop of Glasgow, at Meaux, where he was interred; in whose [place] was elected and consecrated his nephew, Robert Wishart, Archdeacon of Lothian.

In November, this year, died John [de] Edrom, Abbot of Melrose; and in his place succeeded Robert [de] Keldeleth, a monk of Newbattle, sometime Lord Chancellor of Scotland, in the 1st year of King Alexander II.



This year, 1269, the King was troubled to compose a controversy that had arisen between David Hastings, Earl of Atholl, and John Comyn, for a castle called Blair, built by John in prejudice of David, as he alleged; which castle the King ordained John to [transfer] to Earl David, and he to give him 500 marks, in ready money, for the same.

This year Sir Reginald de Cheyne [resigned] his office of Great Chamberlain of Scotland; and in his place succeeded one much beloved by the King and nobility, viz. Sir Thomas Randolph [Earl of Moray], the son of Thomas, the son of Randell.

This same year, in December, died St. Louis [IX.], the French King, at Tunisia, in Africa, fighting against the Saracens; and with him David [Hastings], Earl of Atholl, whose bones were brought home to Scotland, and interred in the cathedral church of Dunkeld.

This year, also, died Albin, Bishop of Brechin, to him succeeded William [de] Kilconcath; and [Forbhlaith], Countess of Atholl; she was interred at Melrose.

This year, likewise, died John [de] Balliol, that founded a college at Oxford, in England.

And in September died Adam de Kilconquhar, Earl of Carrick, at Acre in Palestine; whose widow, Dina [Marjorie], Countess of Carrick, was thereafter married to Robert de Bruce the younger.



In February this year, 1270, Uilleam Comyn, Earl of Mar, and Simon, Abbot of Dunfermline, were sent [as] ambassadors to England, for the earldom of Huntingdon.

In April, this year, died Colbán, Earl of Fife, leaving a son [Donnchadh] of 8 years of age to succeed him, whose ward and marriage were given to Prince Alexander, the King’s eldest son, until the heir was past his minority.

This same year, also, died Walter de Baltrodin, Bishop of Caithness; and in his see succeeded Nicholas, Abbot of Scone.

On Michaelmas day [29th of September], at Scone, King Alexander knighted Donnchadh, son to Uilleam, Earl of Mar.

This year William de Ferrers, son to the Countess [Margaret] of Ferrers, (she was the elder daughter of Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, and Great Constable of Scotland,) married the widow [Anne] of Colban, Earl of Fife, lately dead; Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan, being forced to [reinstate] him to the place and dignity of Great Constable of Scotland, whereof he had possessed himself, pretending a right from his wife, she being the younger daughter of Roger, Earl of Winchester.



This year, 1271, the King kept 5 bishoprics [alert] in his own hand, viz.

St. Andrews,



In May, 1272, Robert Wishart, at the solicitation of William Wishart [his cousin], Lord Chancellor of Scotland, is promoted to the bishopric of Glasgow, being formerly Archdeacon of Lothian; and at Michaelmas, at Haddington, William de Soules, the son and heir of Nicholas [de Soules], Lord Liddesdale, is solemnly knighted by King Alexander.



This same year, likewise, dies Adam [of Kilconquhar], Earl of Carrick, in the Holy Land, leaving one only daughter, his heir, named Marjorie, who succeeded him in the earldom, and married Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale and Cleveland, at his castle of Turnberry, in 1273, between whom was [born] the noble and valiant King Robert I.

On St Magnus Day [16th of April], this year, died the great Chamberlain of Scotland, Richard [de] Inverkeithing, Bishop of Dunkeld, a worthy prelate, and a very faithful counsellor; his corpse was interred in the cathedral church at Dunkeld, and his heart was sent to the choir of St. Columba’s church in [Inchcolm]. To him succeeded in the see his own dean, Robert de Stuteville, the King’s cousin.

Macchabeus [Matthew], this year elected Bishop of Ross, is consecrated by the Pope himself at Rome.

This year, also, William Fraser, dean of Glasgow, is by King Alexander created Lord Chancellor of Scotland.

This year, at York, there was a solemn interview between King Alexander and the King of England [Edward I], before whom there was debated a great controversy between John Comyn [Lord of Badenoch] and Walter Bailloch [Stewart], for the earldom of Menteith; in respect that William [Comyn of Kirkintilloch], the eldest son of John Comyn, had married the only daughter [Isabella] of the last Countess, who was the undoubted and righteous heir of the earldom of Menteith.

About this same time died Robert [de Keldeleth], Abbot of Melrose, formerly Abbot of Dunfermline, and Lord Chancellor of Scotland.



In the year 1274, William [de Crachin], the elect Bishop of Brechin, after he had long danced attendance at the court of Rome for his consecration, there died; after whom was elected William, a friar predicant, who, for the smallness of the benefice, would not accept; and shortly after died Matthew [Macchabeus], Bishop of Ross, after whom was elected to that see, Thomas de [Dundee].

This year, died Margaret, Queen of Scotland, daughter to Henry, and sister to Edward, Kings of England, at Cupar Castle, 4th of March, and was interred at Dunfermline.



This year, 1275, died that active and gallant knight, Alan [Hostarius] Durward, sometime Earl of Atholl, and was interred in the abbey church of Coupar in Angus, leaving 3 daughters, his heirs, amongst whom his lands were equally divided.

This year, the monks and clergy of the Cistercian Order in Scotland, gave a subsidy for all their order to Benemund [de Vicci], the Pope’s Legate, of 50,000 marks, towards the charge of Holy war.

This year, Mr Archibald [Heroch], Archdeacon of Moray, and Friar William [de Kilconquhar], of the order of predicants, are consecrated Bishops of Caithness and Brechin.



This year, also, Dervorguilla, the daughter of Alan [fitz Roland], Earl of Galloway, founded the Abbey of Sweetheart,* in Galloway, in 1276.



In this year 1277, flourished Jacobus da Varagine [Jacopo De Fazio], who wrote that book called Legenda Aurea [Golden Legend, also titled Reading of the Saints].



About the latter end of the month of March, 1278, Rudolf [of Habsburg], the [Roman] Emperor, overthrows Ottokar [II.], King of Bohemia, and from him recovers Austria, by which occasion Austria came to the Earls of Habsburg.



In August, 1279, died David, 2nd son to King Alexander III., at Stirling Castle, and was interred at Dunfermline amongst the kings.



This year, 1280, Prince Alexander, King Alexander III.’s eldest son, at Roxburgh, the Sunday after St. Martin’s day [11th of November], was solemnly married to [Guy] the Earl of Flanders’ daughter [Margaret], with great feasting and triumph.



In May, 1281, the Lady Margaret, King Alexander III.’s eldest daughter, was solemnly married to [Eric II. Magusson], King of Norway, who took shipping for Norway the 14th day of August following, this same year, with a great train, to accompany her home to Norway; the chief amongst them were, Walter [Bailloch Stewart], Earl of Menteith, and his Countess [Mary]; [Thomas] Abbot of Balmerino; Sir Bernard [de] Mowat, knight; with diverse others. The said Abbot and Sir Bernard were both drowned in their return home, with 30 persons more.



This year, 1282, Donnchadh, the son of Colbán, Earl of Fife, having passed his minority, entered to the possession of his earldom.



This year, 1283, was a very sorrowful year for Scotland; for in September died the kingdom’s hope, Prince Alexander, in the 20th year of his age, at the Abbey of Lindores, and was solemnly interred at Dunfermline; and within a month after his death, died his sister, the Lady Margaret, Queen of Norway, having lived not above a year and 6 months married to King [Eric II.]. By him she had one only daughter, named Margaret, who died a child likewise.



This year, 1284, Tekuder, the Tartarian king of Persia, that became a [Muslim], is killed in battle by Arghun, who was solemnly crowned King of Persia, and many other kingdoms; he was a great favourer of the Christians, and one that inclined much to administer justice.



In August, 1285, King Alexander III. being much pressed by the Lords of his counsel, and also by the estates of the kingdom, to marry, he sent ambassadors, Thomas [Charteris], Lord Chancellor of Scotland, Sir Patrick [de] Graham [of Kincardine], Sir William St. Claire [of Rosslyn], and Sir John de Soules, Knights, to France, there to weed him a wife; who brought with them, in the beginning of February, 1286, home to Scotland, [Yolande], the daughter of the Earl of Dreaux, or Droco, in France, a beautiful and comely lady. She was married to the King solemnly at Jedburgh, with great feasting, the Sunday after her arrival to Scotland.



The 14th day of April, 1286, King Alexander, hunting a little west [of] Kinghorn, apart from his train, the courser whereon he rode rushed to the ground with him, with a full strength, and flings the King quite from him; by which fall he broke his neck bone, and so presently departed this life, without speaking one word. His corpse was embalmed, and solemnly interred at Dunfermline amongst his predecessors. Never was there more lamentation and sorrow for a king in Scotland, than for him; for the nobility, clergy, and, above all, the gentry and commons, bedewed his coffin for 17 days space with rivulets of tears.


*  More on the building of Sweetheart Abbey can be found in ‘Scots Lore‘ (1895); February, ‘Work of Societies‘; June, ‘A Mediaeval Architect – part III‘; July, ‘A Mediaeval Architect – part IV‘ & ‘Morow’s Place in History‘.