John Balliol

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John
John Balliol.jpg
King John, his crown and sceptre symbolically broken and with an empty coat of arms as depicted in the 1562 Forman Armorial, produced for Mary, Queen of Scots
King of Scots
Reign17 November 1292 – 10 July 1296
Coronation 30 November 1292
Predecessor Margaret
Successor
Bornc.1249
Died1313
Château de Hélicourt, Picardy, France
Burial
prob. Hélicourt
Spouse Isabella de Warenne
Issue Edward Balliol
House House of Balliol
Father John I de Balliol
Mother Dervorguilla of Galloway

John Balliol [1] (c.1249 – late 1314), known derisively as Toom Tabard (meaning "empty coat"), was King of Scots from 1292 to 1296. Little is known of his early life. After the death of Margaret, Maid of Norway, Scotland entered an interregnum during which several competitors for the Crown of Scotland put forward claims. Balliol was chosen from among them as the new King of Scotland by a group of selected noblemen headed by King Edward I of England.

Margaret, Maid of Norway Queen of Scots

Margaret, known as the Maid of Norway, was the queen-designate of Scotland from 1286 until her death. She was the daughter of King Eric II of Norway and Margaret of Scotland. By the end of the reign of her maternal grandfather, King Alexander III of Scotland, she was his only surviving descendant and recognized heir presumptive. Alexander III died in 1286, his posthumous child was stillborn, and Margaret inherited the crown. Due to her young age, she remained in Norway rather than going to Scotland. Her father and the Scottish leaders negotiated her marriage to Edward of Caernarfon, son of King Edward I of England. She was finally sent to the British Isles in September 1290, but died in Orkney, sparking off the succession dispute between thirteen competitors for the crown of Scotland.

When the crown of Scotland became vacant in September 1290 on the death of the child monarch Margaret, the Maid of Norway, a total of thirteen claimants to the throne came forward. Those with the most credible claims were John Balliol, Robert Bruce, John Hastings and Floris V, Count of Holland.

Edward I of England King of England

Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved from an early age in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and defeated the baronial leader Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham in 1265. Within two years the rebellion was extinguished and, with England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.

Contents

Edward used his influence over the process to subjugate Scotland and undermined Balliol's personal reign by treating Scotland as a vassal of England. Edward's influence in Scottish affairs tainted Balliol's reign and the Scottish nobility deposed him and appointed a Council of Twelve to rule instead. This council signed a treaty with France known as the Auld Alliance.

Vassal Person aligned with a lord or monarch

A vassal is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch, in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support by knights in exchange for certain privileges, usually including land held as a tenant or fief. The term is also applied to similar arrangements in other feudal societies.

Auld Alliance Alliance between France and Scotland

The Auld Alliance was an alliance made in 1295 between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. The alliance was formed for the purpose of controlling England's numerous invasions. The Scots word auld, meaning old, has become a partly affectionate term for the long-lasting alliance between the two countries. It remained until the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560.

In retaliation, Edward invaded Scotland, starting the Wars of Scottish Independence. After a Scottish defeat in 1296, Balliol abdicated and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Eventually, Balliol was sent to his estates in France and retired into obscurity, taking no more part in politics. Scotland was then left without a monarch until the accession of Robert the Bruce in 1306. John Balliol's son Edward Balliol would later exert a claim to the Scottish throne against the Bruce claim during the minority of Robert's son David.

Wars of Scottish Independence war of national liberation

The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

Tower of London A historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

Robert the Bruce King of Scotland

Robert I, popularly known as Robert the Bruce, was King of Scotland from 1306 until his death in 1329. Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, and eventually led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland's place as an independent country and is today revered in Scotland as a national hero.

Name

Balliol arms: Or an inescutcheon gules voided (orle) Balliol arms.svg
Balliol arms: Or an inescutcheon gules voided (orle)

In Norman French his name was Johan de Bailliol, [2] in Middle Scots it was Jhon Ballioun, and in Scottish Gaelic, Iain Bailiol. In Scots he was known by the nickname Toom Tabard, usually understood to mean "empty coat“ in the sense that he was an ineffective king. Alternatively the word coat may refer to coat of arms; either to the Balliol arms which are a plain shield with an orle, also known as an inescutcheon voided [3] or because his arms were stripped from his tabard in public. [4]

Anglo-Norman, also known as Anglo-Norman French, was a dialect of French that was used in England and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period.

Middle Scots was the Anglic language of Lowland Scotland in the period from 1450 to 1700. By the end of the 15th century, its phonology, orthography, accidence, syntax and vocabulary had diverged markedly from Early Scots, which was virtually indistinguishable from early Northumbrian Middle English. Subsequently, the orthography of Middle Scots differed from that of the emerging Early Modern English standard. Middle Scots was fairly uniform throughout its many texts, albeit with some variation due to the use of Romance forms in translations from Latin or French, turns of phrases and grammar in recensions of southern texts influenced by southern forms, misunderstandings and mistakes made by foreign printers.

Scots language Germanic language

Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster in Ireland. It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language which was historically restricted to most of the Highlands, the Hebrides and Galloway after the 16th century. The Scots language developed during the Middle English period as a distinct entity.

Early life

Little of Balliol's early life is known. He was born between 1248 and 1250 at an unknown location; possibilities include Galloway, Picardy and Barnard Castle, County Durham. [5] He was the son of John, 5th Baron Balliol, Lord of Barnard Castle (and founder of Balliol College, Oxford), and his wife Dervorguilla of Galloway, daughter of Alan, Lord of Galloway and granddaughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon - the brother ofWilliam the Lion. [6] [7] From his mother he inherited significant lands in Galloway and claim to Lordship over the Gallovidians, as well as various English and Scottish estates of the Huntingdon inheritance; from his father he inherited large estates in England and France, such as Hitchin, in Hertfordshire.

Galloway area in southwestern Scotland

Galloway is a region in southwestern Scotland comprising the historic counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire.

Barnard Castle town in Durham, Britain

Barnard Castle is a market town in Teesdale, County Durham, England. It is named after the castle around which it was built. It is the main settlement in the Teesdale area, and is a popular tourist destination. The Bowes Museum has the best collection of European fine and decorative arts in the North of England, housed in a magnificent 19th-century French-style chateau. Its most famous exhibit is the 18th-century Silver Swan automaton, though art includes work by Goya and El Greco.

Dervorguilla of Galloway Medieval Gaelic woman

Dervorguilla of Galloway was a 'lady of substance' in 13th century Scotland, the wife from 1223 of John, 5th Baron de Balliol, and mother of John I, a future king of Scotland.

Accession as King of Scots

The seal of John Balliol John Scotland.jpg
The seal of John Balliol

In 1284 Balliol had attended a parliament at Scone, which had recognised Margaret, Maid of Norway, as heir presumptive to her grandfather, King Alexander III. [8] Following the deaths of Alexander III in 1286 and Margaret in 1290, John Balliol was a competitor for the Scottish crown in the Great Cause, [6] as he was a great-great-great-grandson of David I through his mother (and therefore one generation further than his main rival Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale, grandfather of Robert the Bruce, who later became king), being senior in genealogical primogeniture but not in proximity of blood. He submitted his claim to the Scottish auditors with King Edward I of England as the administrator of the court, at Berwick-upon-Tweed on 6 June 1291. [9] The Scottish auditors' decision in favour of Balliol was pronounced in the Great Hall of Berwick Castle on 17 November 1292, [9] and he was inaugurated accordingly King of Scotland at Scone, 30 November 1292, St. Andrew's Day. [6]

Parliament of Scotland legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland

The Parliament of Scotland was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The parliament, like other such institutions, evolved during the Middle Ages from the king's council of bishops and earls. It is first identifiable as a parliament in 1235, during the reign of Alexander II, when it was described as a "colloquium" and already possessed a political and judicial role. By the early fourteenth century, the attendance of knights and freeholders had become important, and from 1326 commissioners from the burghs attended. Consisting of the "three estates" of clergy, nobility and the burghs sitting in a single chamber, the parliament gave consent for the raising of taxation and played an important role in the administration of justice, foreign policy, war, and all manner of other legislation. Parliamentary business was also carried out by "sister" institutions, such as General Councils or Convention of Estates. These could carry out much business also dealt with by parliament – taxation, legislation and policy-making – but lacked the ultimate authority of a full parliament.

Scone, Scotland Village in Perth and Kinross, Scotland

Scone is a town in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. The medieval town of Scone, which grew up around the monastery and royal residence, was abandoned in the early 19th century when the residents were removed and a new palace was built on the site by the Earl of Mansfield. Hence the modern village of Scone, and the medieval village of Old Scone, can often be distinguished.

Alexander III of Scotland King of Scots

Alexander III was King of Scots from 1249 until his death. He concluded the Treaty of Perth, by which Scotland acquired sovereignty over the Western Isles and the Isle of Man. His heir, Margaret, Maid of Norway, died before she could be crowned.

Edward I, who had coerced recognition as Lord Paramount of Scotland, the feudal superior of the realm, steadily undermined John's authority. He demanded homage to be paid towards himself, legal authority over the Scottish King in any disputes brought against him by his own subjects, contribution towards the costs for the defence of England, and military support was expected in his war against France. He treated Scotland as a feudal vassal state and repeatedly humiliated the new king. The Scots soon tired of their deeply compromised king; the direction of affairs was allegedly taken out of his hands by the leading men of the kingdom, who appointed a Council of Twelve—in practice, a new panel of Guardians—at Stirling in July 1295. They went on to conclude a treaty of mutual assistance with France—known in later years as the Auld Alliance. [10]

Abdication

In retaliation for Scotland's treaty with France, Edward I invaded, commencing the Wars of Scottish Independence. The Scots were defeated at Dunbar and the English took Dunbar Castle on 27 April 1296. [9] John abdicated at Stracathro near Montrose on 10 July 1296. [9] Here the arms of Scotland were formally torn from John's surcoat, giving him the abiding name of "Toom Tabard" (empty coat). [11]

John was imprisoned in the Tower of London until allowed to go to France in July 1299. When his baggage was examined at Dover, the Royal Golden Crown and Seal of the Kingdom of Scotland, with many vessels of gold and silver, and a considerable sum of money, were found in his chests. Edward I ordered that the Crown be offered to the shrine of St Thomas Becket at Canterbury, and that the money be returned to John for the expenses of his journey. But he kept the Seal himself. [12] John was released into the custody of Pope Boniface VIII on condition that he remain at a papal residence. He was released around the summer of 1301 and lived the rest of his life on his family's ancestral estates at Hélicourt, Picardy. [13]

Over the next few years, there were several Scottish rebellions against Edward (for example, in 1297 under William Wallace and Andrew Moray). The rebels would invoke the name of "King John", on the grounds that his abdication had been under duress and therefore invalid. This claim came to look increasingly tenuous, as John's position under nominal house-arrest meant that he could not return to Scotland nor campaign for his release, despite the Scots' diplomatic attempts in Paris and Rome. After 1302, he made no further attempts to extend his personal support to the Scots. Effectively, Scotland was left without a monarch until the accession of Robert the Bruce in 1306.

Death

John died in 1313 at his family's château at Hélicourt in France. [10] On 4 January 1315, King Edward II of England, writing to King Louis X of France, said that he had heard of the death of 'Sir John de Balliol' [14] and requested the fealty and homage of Edward Balliol to be given by proxy. [5]

A John de Bailleul is interred in the church of St Waast at Bailleul-sur-Eaune in Normandy. [14] This may or may not be the Scottish king.

John was survived by his son Edward Balliol, who later revived his family's claim to the Scottish throne, received support from the English, and had some temporary successes.

Marriage and issue

John Balliol and his wife SetonArmorialJohnBalliolAndWife.jpg
John Balliol and his wife

John married, around 9 February 1281, Isabella de Warenne, his 4th cousin. She was daughter of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey. [6] Her mother Alice de Lusignan was daughter of Hugh X de Lusignan by Isabella of Angoulême, widow of King John of England, making Isabella niece, in the half-blood, of Henry III of England. John was also the brother-in-law to John Comyn, who was killed following a scuffle with Robert the Bruce in February 1306, in the chapel of the Greyfriars, Dumfries. Opinion remains divided on who started the fight and who exactly killed Comyn.

It has been established that John and Isabella had at least one child:

However, other children have been linked to the couple as other possible issue:

Fictional portrayals

John Balliol has been depicted in drama:

Ancestry

See also

Related Research Articles

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Berwick Castle castle

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Isabella de Warenne British noble

Isabella de Warenne was Baroness of Bywell by her marriage to John Balliol; there is however doubt that she lived to become queen when he succeeded to the Scottish throne.

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References

  1. Hary, Blind. The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace.
  2. Stevenson, Joseph (1870). Documents illustrative of the history of Scotland, Volume 2.
  3. Hodgson, John; Hodgson-Hinde, John (1832). A history of Northumberland, in three parts. Printed by E. Walker. p. 124. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  4. Young, Alan (2010). In the Footsteps of William Wallace: In Scotland and Northern England. The History Press. p. 74. ISBN   9780750951432 . Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  5. 1 2 G. P. Stell, "John [John de Balliol] (c.1248x50–1314)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2005 , accessed 25 July 2007.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Dunbar, Sir Archibald H.,Bt., Scottish Kings – A Revised Chronology of Scottish History 1005–1625, Edinburgh, 1899: p. 115
  7. Cannon, John; Crowcroft, Robert (15 October 2015). The Oxford Companion to British History. Oxford University Press. p. 75. ISBN   9780191044816.
  8. Foedera, p 228
  9. 1 2 3 4 Dunbar, Sir Archibald H.,Bt., Scottish Kings – A Revised Chronology of Scottish History 1005–1625, Edinburgh, 1899: p. 116
  10. 1 2 Magnusson, Magnus (2003). Scotland: The Story of a Nation. Grove Press. p. 121. ISBN   9780802139320.
  11. This translation is disputed.
  12. Foedera , vol.1, part 2, p.909
  13. Magnusson, Magnus (2003). Scotland: The Story of a Nation. Grove Press. ISBN   9780802139320.
  14. 1 2 Dunbar, Sir Archibald H.,Bt., Scottish Kings – A Revised Chronology of Scottish History 1005–1625, Edinburgh, 1899: p. 117
  15. Dunbar, Sir Archibald H.,Bt., Scottish Kings – A Revised Chronology of Scottish History 1005–1625, Edinburgh, 1899: p. 118

Sources

John Balliol
Born: ? c. 1249 Died: November 1314
Regnal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Margaret
as queen-designate
King of Scots
1292–1296
Vacant
Title next held by
Robert I