|Saint Margaret of Scotland|
|Queen consort of Scotland|
Kingdom of Hungary
|Died||16 November 1093 (aged 47-48)|
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Kingdom of Scotland
|Spouse||Malcolm III, King of Scotland|
|Father||Edward the Exile|
Saint Margaret of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic : Naomh Maighréad; Scots : Saunt Marget, c. 1045 – 16 November 1093), also known as Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess and a Scottish queen. Margaret was sometimes called "The Pearl of Scotland". Born in the Kingdom of Hungary to the expatriate English prince Edward the Exile, Margaret and her family returned to England in 1057. Following the death of king Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, her brother Edgar Ætheling was elected as King of England but never crowned. After she and her family fled north, Margaret married Malcolm III of Scotland by the end of 1070.
Margaret was a very pious Christian, and among many charitable works she established a ferry across the Firth of Forth in Scotland for pilgrims travelling to St Andrews in Fife, which gave the towns of South Queensferry and North Queensferry their names. Margaret was the mother of three kings of Scotland, or four, if Edmund of Scotland (who ruled with his uncle, Donald III) is counted, and of a queen consort of England. According to the Vita S. Margaritae (Scotorum) Reginae (Life of St. Margaret, Queen (of the Scots)), attributed to Turgot of Durham, Margaret died at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1093, merely days after receiving the news of her husband's death in battle.
In 1250, Pope Innocent IV canonized her, and her remains were reinterred in a shrine in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland. Her relics were dispersed after the Scottish Reformation and subsequently lost. Mary, Queen of Scots, at one time owned her head, which was subsequently preserved by Jesuits in the Scots College, Douai, France, from where it was lost during the French Revolution.
Margaret was the daughter of the English prince Edward the Exile and his wife Agatha, and also the granddaughter of Edmund Ironside, King of England.After the death of Ironside in 1016, Canute sent the infant Edward and his brother to the court of the Swedish king, Olof Skötkonung, and they eventually made their way to Kiev. As an adult, he travelled to Hungary, where in 1046 he supported the successful bid of King Andrew I for the Hungarian crown. The provenance of Margaret's mother, Agatha, is disputed, but Margaret was born in Hungary about 1045. Her brother Edgar the Ætheling and sister Cristina were also born in Hungary around this time. Margaret grew up in a very religious environment in the Hungarian court.
Margaret came to England with the rest of her family when her father, Edward the Exile, was recalled in 1057 as a possible successor to her great-uncle, the childless King Edward the Confessor. Whether from natural or sinister causes, her father died immediately after landing, and Margaret, still a child, continued to reside at the English court where her brother, Edgar Ætheling, was considered a possible successor to the English throne.When Edward the Confessor died in January 1066, Harold Godwinson was selected as king, possibly because Edgar was considered too young. After Harold's defeat at the Battle of Hastings later that year, Edgar was proclaimed King of England, but when the Normans advanced on London, the Witenagemot presented Edgar to William the Conqueror, who took him to Normandy before returning him to England in 1068, when Edgar, Margaret, Cristina, and their mother Agatha fled north to Northumbria, England.
According to tradition, the widowed Agatha decided to leave Northumbria, England with her children and return to the continent. However, a storm drove their ship north to the Kingdom of Scotland, where they were shipwrecked in 1068. There they were given refuge by King Malcolm III. The locus where it is believed that they landed is known today as St Margaret's Hope. Margaret's arrival in Scotland, after the failed revolt of the Northumbrian earls, has been heavily romanticized, though Symeon of Durham implied that her first meeting of Malcolm III may not have been until 1070, after William the Conqueror's Harrying of the North. Other sources say they met 9 years before. According to Orderic Vitalis, one of Malcolm's earliest actions as king was to travel to the court of Edward the Confessor in 1059 to arrange a marriage with "Edward's kinswoman Margaret, who had arrived in England two years before from Hungary".If a marriage agreement was made in 1059, it was not kept, and this may explain the Scots invasion of Northumbria in 1061 when Lindisfarne was plundered.
King Malcolm III was a widower with two sons, Donald and Duncan, and would have been attracted to marrying one of the few remaining members of the Anglo-Saxon royal family. The marriage of Malcolm and Margaret occurred in 1070. Subsequently, Malcolm executed several invasions of Northumberland to support the claim of his new brother-in-law Edgar and to increase his own power. These, however, had little effect save the devastation of the county.
Margaret and Malcolm had eight children – six sons and two daughters:
Margaret's biographer Turgot of Durham, Bishop of St. Andrew's, credits her with having a civilizing influence on her husband Malcolm by reading him narratives from the Bible. She instigated religious reform, striving to conform the worship and practices of the Church in Scotland to those of Rome. This she did on the inspiration and with the guidance of Lanfranc, a future archbishop of Canterbury.She also worked to conform the practices of the Scottish Church to those of the continental Church, which she experienced in her childhood. Due to these achievements, she was considered an exemplar of the "just ruler", and moreover influenced her husband and children, especially her youngest son, the future King David I of Scotland, to be just and holy rulers.
"The chroniclers all agree in depicting Queen Margaret as a strong, pure, noble character, who had very great influence over her husband, and through him over Scottish history, especially in its ecclesiastical aspects. Her religion, which was genuine and intense, was of the newest Roman style; and to her are attributed a number of reforms by which the Church [in] Scotland was considerably modified from the insular and primitive type which down to her time it had exhibited. Among those expressly mentioned are a change in the manner of observing Lent, which thenceforward began as elsewhere on Ash Wednesday and not as previously on the following Monday, and the abolition of the old practice of observing Saturday (Sabbath), not Sunday, as the day of rest from labour (see Skene's Celtic Scotland, book ii chap. 8)." 348–350, quotes from a contemporary document regarding Margaret's life, but his source says nothing at all of Saturday Sabbath observance, but rather says St. Margaret exhorted the Scots to cease their tendency "to neglect the due observance of the Lord's day."The later editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica, however, as an example, the Eleventh Edition, remove Skene's opinion that Scottish Catholics formerly rested from work on Saturday, something for which there is no historical evidence. Skene's Celtic Scotland, vol. ii, chap. 8, pp.
She attended to charitable works, serving orphans and the poor every day before she ate and washing the feet of the poor in imitation of Christ. She rose at midnight every night to attend the liturgy. She successfully invited the Benedictine Order to establish a monastery in Dunfermline, Fife in 1072, and established ferries at Queensferry and North Berwick to assist pilgrims journeying from south of the Firth of Forth to St. Andrew's in Fife. She used a cave on the banks of the Tower Burn in Dunfermline as a place of devotion and prayer. St. Margaret's Cave, now covered beneath a municipal car park, is open to the public.Among other deeds, Margaret also instigated the restoration of Iona Abbey in Scotland. She is also known to have interceded for the release of fellow English exiles who had been forced into serfdom by the Norman conquest of England.
Margaret was as pious privately as she was publicly. She spent much of her time in prayer, devotional reading, and ecclesiastical embroidery. This apparently had considerable effect on the more uncouth Malcolm, who was illiterate: he so admired her piety that he had her books decorated in gold and silver. One of these, a pocket gospel book with portraits of the Evangelists, is in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.
Malcolm was apparently largely ignorant of the long-term effects of Margaret's endeavours, not being especially religious himself. He was content for her to pursue her reforms as she desired, which was a testament to the strength of and affection in their marriage.
Her husband Malcolm III, and their eldest son Edward, were killed in the Battle of Alnwick against the English on 13 November 1093. Her son Edgar was left with the task of informing his mother of their deaths. Not yet 50 years old, Margaret died on 16 November 1093, three days after the deaths of her husband and eldest son. The cause of death was reportedly grief. She was buried before the high altar in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland. In 1250, the year of her canonization, her body and that of her husband were exhumed and placed in a new shrine in the Abbey. In 1560, Mary Queen of Scots had Margaret's head removed to Edinburgh Castle as a relic to assist her in childbirth. In 1597, Margaret's head ended up with the Jesuits at the Scots College, Douai, France, but was lost during the French Revolution. King Philip of Spain had the other remains of Margaret and Malcolm III transferred to the Escorial palace in Madrid, Spain, but their present location has not been discovered.
Pope Innocent IV canonized St. Margaret in 1250 in recognition of her personal holiness, fidelity to the Roman Catholic Church, work for ecclesiastical reform, and charity. On 19 June 1250, after her canonisation, her remains were transferred to a chapel in the eastern apse of Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland.In 1693 Pope Innocent XII moved her feast day to 10 June in recognition of the birthdate of the son of James VII of Scotland and II of England. In the revision of the General Roman Calendar in 1969, 16 November became free and the Church transferred her feast day to 16 November, the date of her death, on which it always had been observed in Scotland. However, some traditionalist Catholics continue to celebrate her feast day on 10 June.
She is also venerated as a saint in the Anglican Church.
Margaret is remembered in the Church of England with a Lesser Festival on 16 November.
Several churches throughout the world are dedicated in honour of St Margaret. One of the oldest is St Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, which her son King David I founded. The Chapel was long thought to have been the oratory of Margaret herself, but is now thought to have been established in the 12th century. The oldest edifice in Edinburgh, it was restored in the 19th century and refurbished in the 1990s. Numerous other institutions are named for her as well.
Malcolm III was King of Scotland from 1058 to 1093. He was later nicknamed "Canmore". Malcolm's long reign of 35 years preceded the beginning of the Scoto-Norman age. Henry I of England and Eustace III of Boulogne were his sons-in-law, making him the maternal grandfather of Empress Matilda, William Adelin and Matilda of Boulogne. All three of them were prominent in English politics during the 12th century.
Dunfermline Abbey is a Church of Scotland Parish Church in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. The church occupies the site of the ancient chancel and transepts of a large medieval Benedictine abbey, which was sacked in 1560 during the Scottish Reformation and permitted to fall into disrepair. Part of the old abbey church continued in use at that time and some parts of the abbey infrastructure still remain. Dunfermline Abbey is one of Scotland's most important cultural sites.
North Queensferry is a village in Fife, Scotland, situated on the Firth of Forth where the Forth Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge, and the Queensferry Crossing all meet the Fife coast, some 10 miles from the centre of Edinburgh. According to the 2011 census, the village has a population of 1,076. It is the southernmost settlement in Fife.
David II was King of Scotland for nearly 42 years, from 1329 until his death in 1371. He was the last male of the House of Bruce. Although David spent long periods in exile or captivity, he managed to ensure the survival of his kingdom and left the Scottish monarchy in a strong position.
David I or Dauíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians from 1113 to 1124 and later King of Scotland from 1124 to 1153. The youngest son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Wessex, David spent most of his childhood in Scotland, but was exiled to England temporarily in 1093. Perhaps after 1100, he became a dependent at the court of King Henry I. There he was influenced by the Anglo-French culture of the court.
Donnchad mac Máel Coluim was king of Scots. He was son of Malcolm III and his first wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir, widow of Thorfinn Sigurdsson.
Edgar or Étgar mac Maíl Choluim, nicknamed Probus, "the Valiant", was King of Scotland from 1097 to 1107. He was the fourth son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Wessex but the first to be considered eligible for the throne after the death of his father.
Donald III, and nicknamed "Donald the Fair" or "Donald the White", was King of Scots from 1093–1094 and 1094–1097.
Dunfermline is a town and former Royal Burgh, and parish, in Fife, Scotland, on high ground 3 miles (5 km) from the northern shore of the Firth of Forth. The town recorded a population of 50,380 in 2012, making it the most populous locality in Fife and the 11th most populous in Scotland.
Inverkeithing is a port town and parish, in Fife, Scotland, on the Firth of Forth. A town of ancient origin, Inverkeithing was given royal burgh status during the reign of Malcolm IV in the 12th century. It was an important center of trade during the Middle Ages, and its industrial heritage built on quarrying and ship breaking goes back to the 19th century. In 2016, the town had an estimated population of 4,890, while the civil parish was reported to have a population of 8,090 in 2011.
Elizabeth de Burgh was the second wife and the only queen consort of King Robert the Bruce. Elizabeth was born sometime around 1284, probably in what is now County Down or County Antrim in Ulster, the northern province in Ireland. She was the daughter of one of the most powerful Norman nobles in the Lordship of Ireland at that time, The 2nd Earl of Ulster, who was a close friend and ally of King Edward I of England.
Dunfermline Palace is a ruined former Scottish royal palace and important tourist attraction in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. It is currently, along with other buildings of the adjacent Dunfermline Abbey, under the care of Historic Environment Scotland as a scheduled monument.
Matilda of Scotland, also known as Good Queen Maud or Matilda of Blessed Memory, was Queen of England and Duchess of Normandy as the first wife of King Henry I. She acted as regent of England on several occasions during Henry's absences: in 1104, 1107, 1108, and 1111.
St Margaret's Chapel, in Edinburgh Castle, is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, Scotland. An example of Romanesque architecture, it is a category A listed building. It was constructed in the 12th century, but fell into disuse after the Reformation. In the 19th century the chapel was restored and today is cared for by the St Margaret's Chapel Guild.
Ethelred was the son of King Malcolm III of Scotland and his wife Margaret of Wessex, the third oldest of the latter and the probable sixth oldest of the former. He took his name, almost certainly, from Margaret's great-grandfather Æthelred the Unready. He became the lay abbot of Dunkeld.
Margaret of England was Queen of Scots by marriage to King Alexander III.
The Davidian Revolution is a name given by many scholars to the changes which took place in the Kingdom of Scotland during the reign of David I (1124–1153). These included his foundation of burghs, implementation of the ideals of Gregorian Reform, foundation of monasteries, Normanization of the Scottish government, and the introduction of feudalism through immigrant Norman and Anglo-Norman knights.
Dunfermline is a former burgh and current town in Fife, Scotland. The town grew under the influence of Queen Margaret to be an important ecclesiastical burgh. Until the 17th century, the town was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Scotland. The union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603 saw the end of the town's special status, which led to decline.
The Holyrood or Holy Rood is a Christian relic alleged to be part of the True Cross on which Jesus died. The word derives from the Old English rood, meaning a pole and the cross, via Middle English, or the Scots haly ruid. Several relics venerated as part of the True Cross are known by this name, in England, Ireland and Scotland.
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