Aristocratic Politics and the Crisis of Scottish Kingship, 1286-96

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In the ten years from 1286 Scotland experienced a crisis of royal succession and sovereignty which by 1296 seemed to have left it a conquered land in the hands of the English king. The activities of Scotland's leading magnates and prelates in this period have been analysed in terms of the divisive effects of a disputed royal succession and of the defence of collective liberties as a self-conscious community of the realm. However, as with political crises in other medieval realms, the leaders of this community also acted as individual lords with concerns of land, lordship and office. Such concerns were normal features of political life but between 1286 and 1296 had to be resolved in exceptional circumstances of interregnum and the loss of sovereignty. Events which derived from the interplay of aristocratic politics included the murder of Duncan, earl of Fife, the legal dispute over the lands of Macduff and rivalries between leading Hebridean lords. Issues like these fed into and shaped the issues confronting the Scottish guardians and King John and were significant elements in the crisis which engulfed the realm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalScottish Historical Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


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