Proceedings at Norham

On the 11th of June, the four regents of Scotland delivered the kingdom into the hands of Edward; and the captains and governors of its castles, finding that the guardians of the realm, and the most powerful of its nobility, had abandoned it to its fate, gave up its fortresses to his disposal. And here, in the midst of this scene of national humiliation, one Scottish baron stood forward, and behaved worthy of his country. The Earl of Angus, Gilbert de Umfraville, who commanded the important castles of Dundee and Forfar, declared, that having received these, not from England, but from the Estates of Scotland, he would not surrender them to Edward. A formal letter of indemnity was then drawn up, which guaranteed the Earl of Angus from all blame; and, in name of the claimants of the crown, and of the guardians of the realm, enjoined him to deliver the fortresses of which he held the keys.

This removed the objection of Umfraville, and Dundee and Forfar were placed in the hands of Edward. The King of England, satisfied with this express acknowledgement of his rights as Lord Paramount, immediately redelivered the custody of the kingdom into the hands of the regents, enjoining them to appoint Alan bishop of Caithness, an Englishman, and one of his dependants, to the important office of chancellor; and to nominate Walter Agmondesham, another agent of England, as his assistant. To the four guardians, or regents, Edward next added a fifth, Bryan Fitz-Alan, an English baron; and having thus secured an effectual influence over the Scottish councils, he proceeded to assume a generous and conciliating tone. He promised to do justice to the competitors within the kingdom of Scotland, and to deliver immediate possession of the kingdom to the successful claimant; upon the death of any king of Scotland who left an heir, he engaged to wave his claim to those feudal services, which, upon such an occasion, were rigidly exacted by lords superior in smaller fiefs, with the exception of the homage due to him as Lord Paramount; but he stipulated, that, in the event of a disputed succession occurring, the kingdom and its castles were to be again delivered into his hands.

The first act of this extraordinary drama now drew to a conclusion. The great seal, which had been brought from Scotland for the occasion, was delivered to the joint chancellors, the. Bishop of Caithness and Walter Agmondesham. The four guardians, in the presence of a large concourse of English and Scottish nobility, swore fealty to Edward as lord superior; while Bruce lord of Annandale, with his son the Earl of Carrick, John de Baliol, the Earls of March, Mar, Buchan, Athole, Angus, Lennox, and Menteith,'the Black Comyn lord of Badenoch, and many other barons and knights, followed them in taking the oaths of homage. A herald then proclaimed the peace of King Edward as Lord Paramount; and the monarch added a protestation, that his consent to do justice in this great cause within Scotland, should not preclude him from his right of deciding in any similar emergency within his kingdom of England. The assembly then broke up, after an agreement that its next meeting should be at Berwick on the 2d of August, on which day the King of England promised to deliver his final judgment upon the succession to the crown of Scotland.

 Print  Email