The Crisis of Kingship (1286–96)

Michael Brown

in The Wars of Scotland 1214–1371

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780748612376
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672301 | DOI:
The Crisis of Kingship (1286–96)

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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On 29 March 1286 the funeral of Alexander III was held at Dunfermline Abbey. Alexander's sudden death had brought to an end the male line of the royal dynasty that had ruled Scotland for two centuries. His funeral was the setting for the first of a series of councils during the spring of 1286. At these meetings the Scottish political class gathered to seek ways of filling the political vacuum left at the heart of the kingdom by Alexander's death. This issue of the succession would turn from a short-term crisis into a drawn-out military and political struggle, and the next three generations of Scots would face the issues raised by this sustained crisis. At the centre of this would be the search for the kind of widely-accepted royal lordship exercised by Alexander III and his forebears, but the course of the struggle would transform the structure and character of the thirteenth-century kingdom and threaten its survival. The threat to the survival of the Scottish realm would come from the kings of England.

Keywords: Alexander III; Scottish history; royal dynasty; Scottish kingdom; succession

Chapter.  10236 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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