King William I of Scotland, "the Lion"

King William I of Scotland, "the Lion"

Male 1143 - 1214  (71 years)    Has more than 250 ancestors and more than 250 descendants in this family tree.

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  • Name William I of Scotland 
    Prefix King 
    Suffix "the Lion" 
    Relationshipwith Adam
    Born 1143 
    Gender Male 
    Died 4 Dec 1214  Stirling Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Arbroath Abbey, Tay, Scotland. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I6474  Geneagraphie
    Last Modified 19 Mar 2010 

    Father Earl Henry of Huntingdon,   b. 1114,   d. 12 Jun 1152  (Age 38 years) 
    Mother Ada of Surrey,   d. 1178 
    Married 1139 
    Siblings 9 siblings 
    Family ID F2712  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Ermengarde de Beaumont,   d. 11 Feb 1232-1233 
    Children 
     1. King Alexander II of Scotland,   b. 24 Aug 1198, Haddington, East Lothian Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jul 1249, Isle of Kerrara, Bay of Oban, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years)
     2. Cts Margaret le Scot,   b. Abt 1193,   d. Bef 4 Dec 1259  (Age ~ 66 years)
    Last Modified 19 Mar 2010 
    Family ID F7089  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Isabel Avenal,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Children 
     1. Aufrica of Scotland,   b. Aft 1160,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Isabel of Scotland,   b. Abt 1163, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Ada of Scotland,   b. 1164, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1200, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 36 years)
     4. NN de Huntingdon,   b. Abt 1162, Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Lovat, Beauly, Inverness-Shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 19 Mar 2010 
    Family ID F14711  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Matilda Ferrers,   b. Abt 1143, Derby Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Children 
    +1. Robert London,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 8 Aug 2001 
    Family ID F107882  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Earl of Huntington. Acceded: 24 Dec 1165, Scone Abbey, Perthshire as King of Scotland.

      William, King of Scotland, was surnamed "The Lion" due to the rampant (standing on hind legs) red lion on a yellow field, which he had as his standard. It would go on to become Scotland's Royal Heraldic colours and is easily recognisable even today.
      He was the second son of Henry, Earl of Huntingdon (died 1152), a son of King David I, he became king of Scotland on the death of his brother, the weak-willed Malcolm IV. In December 1165, William was crowned at Scone.

      Shortly after his accesssion to the throne, he spent some time at the English court of Henry II; then quarrelling with Henry, he arranged an alliance between the two countries, Scotland and France, which would take root again over 100 years later (in 1294) and last until 1746, known as the "Auld Alliance." The oldest mutual self-defence treaty in Europe. He arranged this treaty with French King Louis VII; and even assisted Henry's sons in their revolt against their father (Henry II of England) in 1173. In return for this aid, the younger Henry granted Northumberland, a possession which William had sought, in vain, from the English king.

      William was a ferocious fighter and military commander, but of questionable ability as a tactician, by English chronicle accounts. He led a band of well armed men, a mix of wild Irish Kerns, Norman-Scots, Celts and Galloway men. According to the chroniclers the kerns "slaughtered children, ripped open pregnant women, and cut down priests at their atlars." But, this type of description of William's actions were written by frightened and highly propagandized English chroniclers, whose prose was so compelling that later chroniclers and writers would use this same propaganda when they described the behaviour of William Wallace's men.

      The scarlet rampant lion on its yellow field, soon to be Scotland's own standard, was fixed outside Carlisle Castle as William attacked. But the castle kept the gates shut so William's horsemen raided manors on both sides of Hadrian's Wall, burning and killing with the dedicated ferocity of knightly valour.

      In 1174, at Alnwick, William the Lion and a small detachment reached Alnwick Castle which he attempted to beseige. It was not a wise decision. William was outnumbered by the English garrison and even worse, a relief force of English soldiers under Ralf de Glanvil was approaching from the south.

      Exactly what happened next depends, somewhat, on which version you read. One version claims that in a severe mist (common to both versions), William saw a group of knights on horseback approaching, and thinking them to be his men he rode to them. When he got closer, he saw they were instead a body of English cavalry, he was said not to be afraid, but couched his lance and exclaimed "Now it will appear who knows how to be a knight!" according to this version, a spear from the English brought down his horse, and with his feet securely tied beneath the belly of another, this time as a prisoner, he was taken to English King Henry II in Northhampton.

      The other version differs only in the manner of his unhorsing. In it, he was skirmishing valiantly in a deep mist when he was unhorsed. Before he could get up from the ground, his own horse rolled on top of him and pinned him down whence the English took him prisoner.

      He was sent in chains to Henry II at Northhampton, but Henry, was said to be too busy to deal with the captive king, so William the Lion of Scotland was taken through England to the Kent coast and from there, across the Channel to Henry II's castle at Falaise in Normandy.

      The English king had recently scourged his own body in penance for the murder of Thomas Becket. Henry, now feeling purified by this, accepted Williams capture as a gift from God and the dead archbishop (Becket).

      Henry sent the Scots king to a prison in Falaise and sent an avenging English army to Scotland, where it took the castles of Berwick, Roxburgh, Jedburgh and Edinburgh, wasting or taxing all the country. In bitter exile in Falaise, Normandy, The Lion became a sheep. William was not married and his brother was also a prisoner, the line of Canmore (from Gaelic Cean more - large or big head), faced extinction, or at least expulsion, if both were imprisoned until death.

      Henry II now extracted an oath of allegiance from William, that Henry was his feudal superior (a claim that Edward I and other future English kings would use on Scotland). This time the English king spelled out exactly what the act of homage meant: William held Scotland only by permission of Henry II. Scottish soldiers were to be evacuated from the castles and garrisons, and replaced by English troops. And the entire expense(s) of the English garrisons, now all over Scotland, were to be paid by the Scots for the English occupation!

      It was a bitter and humilating treaty for Scotland, the Scots had to endure this humiliating subserviance to England and all it meant for 15 years. It was to be known as the Treaty of Falaise, and was a sour pill for Scotland to swallow. In fact, the payments to the English, for the Scots own land and castles, so severly taxed the population, Scotland nearly reverted to a country of peasants. Already a just a moderate nation, in terms of wealth, compared to their English neighbours, this taxation nearly destroyed Scotland. But, luckily for Scotland, after 15 years of this occupation and taxation, a new king was on the throne of England.

      The new English king, Richard Coer de Lion; Richard Lionheart (more commonly known as Richard the Lionhearted), was much more interested in fame, battle and glory he might receive from battling the infidels in the Holy Land. So much so, he made overtures to William the Lion. Richard was badly in need of quick funds, to mount a Crusade (the third). Richard Lionheart agreed that for 10,000 merks of silver for supplies and transportation to the Holy Land, he would release William the Lion of Scotland from the humiliating Treaty of Falaise, and would also return to William all the Castles the English Crown still held in Scotland. William agreed and even comtemplated purchasing Northumbria from Richard Lionheart, which he was willing to sell for an additional 15,000 merks. But Richard insisted on keeping the castles in Northumbria, and without them, William realised it would be impossible for him to keep a hold on Northumbria and he withdrew the offer to purchase Northumbria - but did repurchase Scotland and all its castles for the high sum agreed upon.

      Scotland was nearly bankrupt from 15 years of taxation and William's repurchase of his own land and castles must have been another particularly nasty pill to ingest. It had been a humiliating experience for him, for Scotland and its people. But, he did so and thus saved Scotland (after nearly losing it), barely, from becoming a North English provence. Scotland became independent once again and the surrendered castles were returned for the agreed price and replaced with Scottish garrisons.

      Richard Lionheart set off for the Holy Land on the Third Crusade where he gained much fame, and eventual imprisonment in Austria and his absense during those years from England and English affairs left England in a sorry state with John taking over as the new king of England.

      At the age of 53, William the Lion fathered an heir by the illegitimate granddaughter of Henry I whom the English had forced upon him. An indication of their affection towards each other is evidenced by the fact that they had been married 13 years before she bore their son, Alexander.

      William tried to get his claim to the northern counties of England, including Northumbria (again), recognised by the new English King John. But when this was unsuccessful, old William tried an invasion of the area again. A skirmish and then a strange war resulted in which William, at the last moment, supposedly due to a Divine warning that appeared to him, decided against full invasion.

      That is the legend at least. Most likely, he was forestalled by English King John, who crossed the Border himself, demanding a compensation for all damage done by Williams army to the English Border area. There followed an even stranger incident. A set of meetings and conflicts, councils and stakes laid -- passed across gambling tables as if some game were in progress.

      Another manor was burnt, an apology made along with a gift from William to John of a hunting falcon. It was a very strange and bizarre Border war where the dependents and vassals were more eager to fight than the principals.

      In the end, two of William's daughters were sent south to the English court so that John might find husbands for them (or so it was claimed), and until he did, he made them pets of his court, kept them well dressed and fed lavish foods such as figs. The war or almost-war, ended in weary alliance with the dowry of 15,000 merks.

      In 1209 war became imminent again but a peace was made at Norham and three years later another amicable settlement was reached between the two countries.

      Old and senile, William the Lion died at Stirling on 4 December 1214, and was buried at Arbroath.

      His hopes of expanding his kingdom long since abandoned, though he did invest his son Alexander (who would become Alexander II) with his own estates in England. It is somewhat ironic that Scotlands Royal Standard and colours of a red rampant lion on a field of yellow came from this nobly named, seemingly brave, but ineffective warrior at best.

      The Royal Banner or Standard of Scotland
      But the defiant beast -- that Rampant Lion -- was forever left for his people and future kings and queens of Scotland and the inspiration of this beautiful heraldric banner (flag) still inspires to this day. No other symbol identifies Scotland as clearly, as a national, independent power except for the national Flag, the Saltire and the symbolic thistle. But truly, the war flag - the red fighting rampant lion is still awe-inspiring to behold, and the patriotic memories it invokes -- Stirling, Bannockburn, Falkirk, Otterburn, Flodden, Prestonpans on up to Culloden -- in all Scots from around the world, guarantees its popularity and lasting power for many centuries to come.
      *************************************************
      Born in 1143, William the Lion was the younger brother of Malcolm IV. A year after his accession, he went to Normandy with Henry II and later spent Easter 1170 at Windsor. In 1174, however, he joined Henry II's son in his rebellion against his father, and invaded England. He was captured at Alnwick, Northumberland and brought to Henry II with 'his feet shackled beneath the belly of his horse.' He was then held prisoner first in Yorkshire, later at Northampton and finally in France. He was released by the terms of the Treaty of Falaise of 8 December 1174, having been forced to agree to do homage to Henry II 'for Scotland and for all his other lands', and surrender key Scottish castles such as Edinburgh and Stirling.
      As William's feudal lord, Henry now had the right to arrange his marriage, and he gave him Ermengarde de Beaumont, whose father was the son of an illegitimate daughter of Henry I. William eventually recovered Scotland from the English king's feudal overlordship, however, when Henry II was succeeded by Richard I. Richard, determined to raise money for his third Crusade, surrendered his feudal superiority over Scotland for 10,000 merks by the Quitclaim of Canterbury on 5 December 1189 and Scotland was an independent country once more. In 1196-7, William established his sovereignty in Caithness.
      Under William, the development of feudal institutions continued; in part, the Scottish monarchy's government closely resembled England's. William established royal burghs in eastern Scotland up to moray Firth, and extended the use of sheriffs in the same area. Perth and Stirling became major centres of royal administration.
      William I was a vigorous royal patron of the Scottish Church - he founded Arbroath Abbey, Angus in or before 1178. In 1182 Pope Lucius III sent him the Golden Rose and in 1188 Pope Clement III took the Scottish Church under his special protection. In 1192, the Pope granted a Bull to William that recognised the separate identity of the Scottish Church (previously the Church in Scotland had been brought under the authority of the Archbishop of York), and its independence of all ecclesiastical authorities apart from Rome. Gervase of Canterbury described William as 'a man of outstanding sanctity ... much preferring to have peace than the sword and to provide for his people by wisdom rather than iron'. William died at Stirling on 4 December 1214, aged 71, and was buried at Arbroath.
      **************************************************
      might be from the Dictionary of National Biography) for William 'The Lion', King Of Scotland:

      Succeeded his brother 1165, forced King HENRY to restore Northumberland but HENRY repenting of this Grant, made frequent incursions into the Borders of Scotland, until WILLIAM entered England with a great army; and the English then not being in a posture of fighting bought a truce for a large sum of money, during which they recruited their army, and King WILLIAM riding in the night-time was assaulted by the English and taken prisoner 1173. English historians say the truce expired; however it was, WILLIAM was carried to Normandy, while the English invaded Cumberland, but were repulsed by Gilchrist and Rolland, the Scots Generals. Meanwhile DAVID, the King's brother, ransomed him, and the King leaving 15 hostages, and delivering up to the English the four Castles of Roxburgh, Berwick, Edinburgh and Sterling was released 1 Feb. 1174, and 12 of Oct. following he did homage to King HENRY at York. After this the King quelled the robberies of the Aebudae, and Anno 1190, RICHARD I., King of England, restored the Castles and sent back the Articles to King WILLIAM, allowing him to possess all that MALCOLM CANMORE and his predecessors had possessed and with the same privileges. DAVID, the King's brother, accompanied RICHARD to the Holy Land, and returning landed at Alectium, or Taodunum, now Dundee. In the King's absence Harald, Earl of Caithness, deprived the Bishop of Caithness of his tongue and eyes, and on the King's return Harald lost his own eyes 1199, and that year WILLIAM swore fealty to King JOHN for his English lands; but JOHN was angry that WILLIAM would not aid him against the French, and therefore built a fortification in the country of Berwick, which WILLIAM demolished, upon which a war would have ensued, had not an accommodation been speedily made. WILLIAM then after the inundation of Bertha built Perth in a more convenient place Anno 1207. After 5 years he quelled the rebellion of Gothred Mackully.
      *****************************************
      A year after his accession, he went to Normandy with Henry II and later spent Easter 1170 at Windsor. In 1174, however, he joined Henry II's son in his rebellion against his father, and invaded England. He was captured at Alnwick, Northumberland and brought to Henry II with 'his feet shackled beneath the belly of his horse.' He was then held prisoner first in Yorkshire, later at Northampton and finally in France. He was released by the terms of the Treaty of Falaise of 8 December 1174, having been forced to agree to do homage to Henry II 'for Scotland and for all his other lands', and surrender key Scottish castles such as Edinburgh and Stirling.
      As William's feudal lord, Henry now had the right to arrange his marriage, and he gave him Ermengarde de Beaumont, whose father was the son of an illegitimate daughter of Henry I. William eventually recovered Scotland from the English king's feudal overlordship, however, when Henry II was succeeded by Richard I. Richard, determined to raise money for his third Crusade, surrendered his feudal superiority over Scotland for 10,000 merks by the Quitclaim of Canterbury on 5 December 1189 and Scotland was an independent country once more. In 1196-7, William established his sovereignty in Caithness.
      Under William, the development of feudal institutions continued; in part, the Scottish monarchy's government closely resembled England's. William established royal burghs in eastern Scotland up to moray Firth, and extended the use of sheriffs in the same area. Perth and Stirling became major centres of royal administration.
      William I was a vigorous royal patron of the Scottish Church - he founded Arbroath Abbey, Angus in or before 1178. In 1182 Pope Lucius III sent him the Golden Rose and in 1188 Pope Clement III took the Scottish Church under his special protection. In 1192, the Pope granted a Bull to William that recognised the separate identity of the Scottish Church (previously the Church in Scotland had been brought under the authority of the Archbishop of York), and its independence of all ecclesiastical authorities apart from Rome. Gervase of Canterbury described William as 'a man of outstanding sanctity ... much preferring to have peace than the sword and to provide for his people by wisdom rather than iron'.


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