Greetings from iainthepict. This blog of mine is meant to be like a 'Book of Days' or a kind of 'Scottish Year Book' if you will. The idea was to present an event for each day of the year. Somewhere in here, you can find out what happened, affecting Scotland and the Scots, on any given day of the year. Your comments and observations are very welcome.
The photograph is by Sam Perkins (check him out on Facebook at Sam Perkins Photography) and was taken near Oban.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The 'Quitclaim Of Canterbury'

The 'Quitclaim Of Canterbury' was agreed on the 5th of December, 1189.

Here's a treaty that was good for Scotland! The treaty known as the 'Quitclaim Of Canterbury' (Cantuariam) annulled the provisions of the 'Treaty Of Falaise' and restored to Scotland it's rights as previously enjoyed. Those rights had been enjoyed by Scotland's King, William I, known as Uilliam Garbh (William ‘the Rough’), and before him by his brother, Malcolm IV (Malcolm 'the Maiden'), whom he succeeded. Before that, it was enjoyed by the chronological procession of Kings of Scots, interrupted only by frequent interventions from the south, most notably by Edward I of England.

William I also came to be known as William 'the Lion' and he is credited with adopting the red Lion Rampant on a yellow background as the Royal Emblem of Scotland, under the ‘laws of heraldry’; from whence the nickname. The complimentary sobriquet was first coined by the chronicler Fordun, when he wrote of him as ‘William the Lion of Justice’. The fact that William lost Scotland's right for a while wasn't because he tint them, it was because he had them taken away by yet another English King with megalomaniac tendencies.

For all his lion-like roughness, William suffered from the same problem that afflicted most all Scottish Kings – he was always outnumbered when it came to a fight. The fight he got himself into, which led to the Treaty of Falaise being forced upon him, wasn't one he started. That stushie was began in 1173 by the wife and sons of England's King, Henry II. Eleanor of Aquitaine and three of her sons led a revolt agianst her husband and William pitched in on the side of the rebels in return for the promise of having his title to the Earldom of Northumberland reinstated. 

Northumberland had been given to David I in 1149, by King Stephen of England, and William succeeded his father as Earl in 1152. However, in 1157, the avaricious Plantagenet King Henry II succeeded in getting back Northumberland by threat of force. Malcolm IV put up no opposition and William had his Earldom surrendered on his behalf by his brother. Following Malcolm’s death on the 9th of December, 1165, William was crowned King of Scots at Scone on the 24th of December. Although Henry II then recognised William's succession to the English Earldom of Huntingdon, he refused to grant William that of Northumberland.

After an halfhearted attempt in 1173, in the following year, William launched a grand invasion of Northumberland, with a large army that included a contingent of Flemish mercenaries. William was cute enough to invade when Henry II was awa' in France, but with his army divided into three columns, he came unstuck. In the dawn mist of the 12th of July, 1174, William was surprised in his encampment by a party of about four hundred mounted knights, led by Ranulf de Glanvill. Outnumbered, with a bodyguard of perhaps just sixty fighting men, William rushed from his tent, shouting fearlessly, “Now we shall see which of us are good Knights!”

The 'Battle of Alnwick' didnae last long as William was unhorsed and captured. Scotland's Lion King was then taken to Newcastle, with his feet tied beneath his horse, before being brought to Falaise, in Normandy, around five months later, to face his nemesis, Henry II. The ‘Treaty of Falaise’ then, was signed on the 8th of December, 1174. Its humiliating terms meant that William was forced to accept Henry II as his feudal overlord, meaning Scotland was made a feudal possession of its southron neighbour. In addition, William lost possession of Huntingdon and had to surrender Stirling and Edinburgh Castles to the English. Not only that, Scots had to pay taxes to cover the cost of the English army’s occupation. And just to rub in the ignominious loss of rights, the Scottish Church was placed under the jurisdiction of the English Primate at York.

The ‘Treaty of Falaise’ remained in force for three days short of fifteen years until, in 1189, Richard Coeur de Lion (Richard ‘the Lionheart’), who was broke and in dire need of money to finance the Third Crusade to relieve Jerusalem, agreed to an annulment. The treaty confirming the deal included the restoration of the towns of Berwick and Roxburgh, and confirmation of Williams's rights over Huntingdon. William and Scotland’s release from subjection and allegiance cost his coffers 10,000 silver Marks (or Merks) and the transaction was called the ‘Quitclaim of Canterbury’. It was so called, because the essence of the treaty was Richard I (styled “duke of Normans and Acquitaines and count of Angevins” in the treaty) agreeing to give up any claim he had for feudal superiority over William.

The document states, “...we have freed him [William] from all compacts which our good father Henry, king of the English, extorted from him by new charters and by his capture.” It is perhaps essential to note that the 'Quitclaim' in itself is a long way from being a recognition of Scottish independence. The document (witnessed by thirteen notables, including Richard's infamous brother John; Hamelin de Warenne, Earl of Surrey; and Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury) merely records a return to the status quo that had existed before the Treaty of Falaise. As the 'Quitclaim' further states, “And the oft-named King William has become our liegeman for all the lands for which his predecessors were liegeman of our predecessors; and he has sworn fealty to us and to our heirs.”

Andrew D. M. Barrell confirmed that view in writing 'Medieval Scotland', in which he suggests, “[the Quitclaim] left undefined the earlier ambiguities in the nature of the relationship, including William's claim to Northumbria. He may have been prepared to accept a vague English suzerainty as an inevitable consequence of the imbalance of power between the two realms.”

Three years later, in 1192, the Pope granted a Bull to William, recognising the separate identity of the Scottish Church and its independence of all ecclesiastical authorities apart from Rome. Twenty-two years after that, William 'the Lion', called “Willelmo” in the 'Quitclaim', died at Stirling, on the 4th of December, 1214. William was buried at Arbroath, the Abbey he had founded. Incidentally, the ‘Quitclaim of Canterbury’ is the earliest surviving Scottish public record. It is held in the National Archives of Scotland.

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