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English Claims Over Scotland

In 924 the first claim by an English king, Edward, to the over-lordship of Scotland appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The entry contains a manifest error, and the topic causes war between modern historians, English and Scottish. In fact, there are several such entries of Scottish acceptance of English suzerainty under Constantine II., and later, but they all end in the statement, “this held not long.” The “submission” of Malcolm I. to Edmund is not a submission but an alliance; the old English word for “fellow-worker,” or “ally,” designates Malcolm as fellow-worker with Edward of England.

This word (midwyrhta) was translated fidelis (one who gives fealty) in the Latin of English chroniclers two centuries later, but Malcolm I. held Cumberland as an ally, not as a subject prince of England. In 1092 an English chronicle represents Malcolm III. as holding Cumberland “by conquest.”

The main fact is that out of these and similar dim transactions arose the claims of Edward I. to the over-lordship of Scotland, claims that were urged by Queen Elizabeth’s minister, Cecil, in 1568, and were boldly denied by Maitland of Lethington. From these misty pretensions came the centuries of war that made the hardy character of the folk of Scotland.



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