Malcolm IV


Malcolm IV

Malcolm IV was born in 1141 and was crowned king in 1153 at the age of twelve. He was a pious young man and very interested in chivalry and warfare. He also had Anglo-Norman tastes which did not endear him to the Scottish people and he had to face a number of uprisings during his reign. He became known as Malcolm the Maiden partly because of his vow of celibacy.

Malcolm held the earldom of Northumbria and paid homage to King Henry II of England for his lands there. In 1157 he surrendered his northern English counties in return for the earldom of Huntingdon. It was a bad deal for the Scottish king but he desperately wanted to be knighted by Henry II and perhaps feared a war.

In 1159 Malcolm accompanied the English king to France and took part in the siege of Toulouse an act for which he was finally knighted. However upon returning home in 1160 the king had to face a revolt which ended with him subduing Galloway. He then turned his attention to Moray in the north and finally to the King of the Isles, Somerled in the west. It seems many of the Scottish nobles were irritated by his neglect of the kingdom and angered by his deference to the English king.

Malcolm was only twenty-four when he died, apparently of natural causes, in 1165 and he left no heirs. He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey and was succeeded by his brother William.