Upon his departure, Scotland became the scene of civil faction and ecclesiastical violence. There were at this time in that kingdom thirty-two knights and three powerful earls of the name of Comyn; and these, with their armed vassals, assisted by many of the disgraced nobility, formed an effectual check upon the measures of the regency. Gamelin, the Bishop elect of St Andrews, and the steady enemy of English influence, unawed by his late removal, procured himself to be consecrated by the Bishop of Glasgow; and although placed without the protection of the laws, he yet, in an appeal to the court of Rome, induced the pope to excommunicate his accusers, and to declare him worthy of his bishopric. Henry, enraged at the bold opposition of Gamelin, prohibited his return, and issued orders to arrest him if he attempted to land in England; while the regents performed their part in the persecution, by seizing the rich revenues of his see.
In the midst of these scenes of faction and disturbance, the King and Queen of Scotland proceeded to London on a visit to their father, and were received with great magnificence. They were entertained at Oxford, Woodstock, and in London. Tents were raised in the meadows for the accommodation of their followers; and Henry renewed to Alexander a grant of the honour of Huntingdon, which had been held by some of his predecessors.§ The party of the Comyns, however, were slowly regaining ground. The pope, by his judgment in favour of Gamelin, espoused their quarrel; and they soon received a powerful support in Mary de Couci the widow of Alexander the Second, and John of Acre her husband, who at this time passed through England into Scotland.This was deemed a favourable conjuncture by the delegates of the pope, to publish the sentence of excommunication against the counsellors of the king. The ceremony, in those days an affair of awful moment, was performed by the Bishop of Dumblane, and the Abbots of Jedburgh and Melrose, in the abbey church of Cambuskenneth, and repeated, "by bell and candle," in every chapel in the kingdom.