David I

David I

David I was born around 1083 the youngest son of Malcolm III and St Margaret. He was sent to the English court at a young age and became one of the more prominent magnates under the English King Henry I. He was married to Matilda de Senlis in 1113 and awarded the earldom of Huntingdon. He named his son Henry after the English king.

David became king of Scotland in 1124, after a short succession struggle with his nephew, and it was during this period we see more Norman knights coming into Scotland and being granted lands in return for military support. Notably Robert de Brus (ancestor of King Robert I) was immediately awarded Annan when David acceded to the throne. Later in his reign David awarded lands to Walter fitz Alan and bestowed the title royal Steward on him which would become the surname Stewart.

David I and Malcolm IV

David also awarded generous lands and resources to the monastic movement and founded a number of monasteries, most notably Melrose Abbey. He introduced silver coinage, promoted education and awarded royal burgh status to Stirling, Perth and Dunfermline.

He was faced by a few rebellions during his largely peaceful reign. The Earl of Moray in 1130 and the Bishop of the Isles in 1140, both would be problems for his successor as well.

When Henry I died David decided to try and expand Scotland to the south and he invaded England repeatedly over a number of years. In 1138 the Scots won the Battle of Clitheroe but later that year narrowly lost the Battle of the Standard. However in 1139 he was able to negotiate the Treaty of Durham with King Stephen of England which recognised Scotland as an independent kingdom and ceded Northumbria. This had been David´s aim all along.

David died of natural causes in 1153 aged around seventy. His only son had died the year before so the throne fell to his grandson Malcolm. David had a big impact on the country; in fact some historians refer to the Davidian Revolution suggesting the changes he introduced formed the foundations for a later medieval Scotland. It is certainly clear that he made a major contribution to a strong and independent Scotland and that the kings who followed him continued the trends he had begun.