William I

(c. 1142—1214) king of Scots

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(c. 1142–1214),

king of Scots (1165–1214), later known as ‘the Lion’. Younger brother and successor to Malcolm IV, he was granted the earldom of Northumberland by his grandfather David I in 1152, and never accepted the loss of the border counties to Henry II in 1157. When Henry faced a major rebellion in 1173–4, William invaded Northumberland and Cumberland in a disastrous bid to reassert Scottish control. Captured at Alnwick, he had to recognize Henry as the superior lord of Scotland by the treaty of Falaise. Although William's conflicts with the English crown distracted his attention from the Highlands and Isles, his long reign nevertheless saw important advances. New burghs were founded outside the traditional royal heartlands; Anglo‐Norman families gained new estates, especially north of the river Tay; and the bishopric of Argyll was established in about 1192. But a contrast must still be drawn between the effectiveness of royal power in the Lowlands and its much more restricted nature in the far north and west. In addition, the Isles remained, however loosely, under the overlordship of Norway. William died at Stirling and was buried in Arbroath abbey. Not until the 14th cent. was he referred to as ‘the Lion’, an epithet evoking his reputation as an enforcer of justice.

Subjects: British History.

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