David 1

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David I / Kings and Queens

  • Name  : David I
  • Born  : 1084
  • Died  : 1153
  • Category  : Kings and Queens
  • Finest Moment : King of Scotland, 1124

The sixth, and youngest son of Malcolm III Canmore and Queen Margaret, he spent much of his early years in the court of his brother-in-law King Henry I of England. Through his marriage in 1113 to a daughter of Waltheof, earl of Northumbria, he gained the English earldom of Huntingdon.

When his elder brother Edgar died, David inherited southern Scotland south of the Forth-Clyde line. When another brother, Alexander I succeeded Edgar, he tried to break this arrangement, until David did some basic arithmetic and told Alexander that he, David, had lots more knights than he did. The brothers calmed down and enjoyed their rightful lands.

On the death of Alexander in 1124, David became King of Scots. He introduced many new ideas to Scotland, including silver coinage, trading burghs, several orders of monasteries suitable for education and agriculture, and built or rebuilt the castles around which the first Scottish burghs grew: Edinburgh, Stirling, Berwick, Roxburgh. He gave a daily audience to the poor of his realm, in all their languages.

David backed his niece, the Holy Roman empress Matilda, as heir to Henry I in England, and from 1136 he fought for her against King Stephen. He made peace with Stephen, fought him again, made peace again, and in 1141 re-entered the war again for Matilda. In 1149 he knighted her son Henry Plantagenet (later to be King Henry II of England).

In old age, like all good men, he spent his time pottering about in his gardens; his was the first below Edinburgh Castle for example. He also experimented with grafting apple trees. He died on 24 May 1153, in Carlisle.

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