Malcolm 4

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Malcolm IV / Kings and Queens

  • Name  : Malcolm IV
  • Born  : c.1141
  • Died  : 1165
  • Category  : Kings and Queens
  • Finest Moment : Defeat of Somerled

The eldest son of Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, and the grandson of the great David I, Malcolm IV would have a tough enough time living up to his predecessor's reputation, even had the times been peaceful. Circumstances were against him from the word go. He took the throne aged 12, in 1153, and the years of peace immediately started to unravel.

Native earls, who had resented the Normanising policies of David I, began to stir up trouble. Somerled, sub-king of Argyll and ruler of the Isles, began to push for more land, while there were rebellions in Moray and Galloway.

In 1157 the English began their old tricks again; Henry II told Malcolm that he was reclaiming the English counties of Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmoreland, counties which he had ceded to David I by treaty. As a sop he confirmed Malcolm's rights to the earldom of Huntingdon (admittedly large and rich areas of England, but not quite the same thing).

Malcolm went to France in 1158 to fight for Henry, which did not go down too well at home, but he redeemed himself by soundly defeating Somerled's forces, who were sneaking up the Clyde. All this was too much for a young man who was not possessed of the robust constitution required for such rough games. Malcolm, who never married and left no heirs (his nickname was thus obviously 'The Maiden') died on 9 December 1165, at Jedburgh.

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