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By Rosalind Mitchison

An amazing quantity for an individual short of a brisk review of North Britain from the yr dot to the 20 th century.

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Extra resources for A History of Scotland

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He had driven out the Scandinavians and controlled Kintyre and some of the islands. Only in 1164 was he defeated and killed by Malcolm IV. Galloway was fiercely separate under its own law, and wearing its own clothing: the Galwegians fought in battle ‘half naked’. The reason why local independence was dangerous to the monarchy was that at best David I and his grandsons had a claim to the throne that needed some explaining. Duncan II had left a son, William, from whom came a line of ‘MacWilliams’, and this form of nomenclature indicates that their base was in Gaelic Scotland.

The leaders, the ‘high men’, met him at Norham on the Tweed in May 1291, and there he demanded that they recognize his overlordship. The Scots, after chewing it over for three weeks, made a famous and fairly diplomatic reply. ’ The first part of this statement is true. Edward’s respect for the letter of the law meant that he would not have claimed such a right unfounded. The second half was simply dishonest: whatever version of the meeting of 1278 was then current in Scotland it must have involved the story of the English claim.

Till the fifteenth century the art of fortification remained well ahead of the techniques of siege, so the great lord in his castle, with his knights and men of arms under him, remained relatively immune to unrest from those below him, or to royal discipline. The early twelfth-century castle might be only ‘motte and bailey’, an artificial or natural mound with a wooden or stone tower ringed by a palisade and ditch, but more formidable buildings came in by 1200 and in the thirteenth century there developed the elaborate and carefully angled keeps, gatehouses, and curtain walls that show that warfare had its own science.

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