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A Part of Scotland 1135-1157

When Henry I of England died in 1135, he was succeeded by his nephew Stephen, instead of his daughter Matilda. David, King of Scotland, attacked Northumberland in support of Matilda, although it later became clear that he wanted Northern England for hims elf. He was defeated in battle at Northallerton in 1138, but was given Northumberland the following year. When the Scottish Chancellor William Cumin seized the Prince Bishop of Durham's throne in 1141, David's control of the North-East was complete.

December 25, 1135 - STEPHEN IS CROWNED (London)

Stephen becomes king of England following the death of his uncle Henry I. Henry had hoped his daughter Matilda would succeed him. King David of Scotland invades England in support of Matilda.

February 5, 1136 - PEACE TREATY SIGNED (Durham City)

Stephen and David sign a treaty at Durham settling land disputes. David's son Henry is granted Huntingdon, but Stephen keeps Northumberland, which has been claimed by the Scots for many years.

1138 - DAVID INVADES (Northumberland)

David invades Northumberland four times in support of Matilda. His aim may be the acquisition of Northern England, which has close religious, linguistic and cultural ties to lowland Scotland. He claims Northern England through his wife who is the grand- daughter of Earl Siward, the pre-conquest ruler of the North.

August 22, 1138 - BATTLE OF THE STANDARD (Cowton Moor near Northallerton)

The Scots invade again and fight the English, whose army is almost entirely composed of Yorkshire barons, at the Battle of the Standard near Northallerton. Before the battle the English leader Thurstan, the Archbishop of York who was once a close friend of David, set up a mast on a chariot with standards of Yorkshire saints tied to it for good luck. St Cuthbert's banner was not represented, suggesting a lack of support from Durham and Northumberland. Thurstan's supporters include the Mowbrays, Lacys and Percys along with the Balliols and Bruces of the Tees valley. David's supporters are Norman barons from Scotland, but he has some Yorkshire support. David's army is heavily defeated in the battle and he is forced to retreat to his castle at Carlisle.

September 26, 1138 - PEACE TREATY DRAWN UP (Carlisle)

Alberic, Bishop of Ostia, representing the Pope, negotiates a peace treaty between Stephen and David at Carlisle.


A peace treaty is signed at Durham following constant Scottish raids. David's son Henry is given Northumberland, but the castles of Bamburgh and Newcastle remain property of the English King. The Tees forms the border between England and Scotland as Northumberland's territory extends to the district of Sadberge on the north side of the river. The district of Sadberge stretches from Hartlepool to Teesdale, but does not include Stockton and Darlington, which belong to the Prince Bishop of Durham. The Prince Bishop's territory remains outside Scottish control. The treaty is witnessed by the Archbishops of Canterbury, York, St Andrews and Glasgow.

1141 - USURPER SEIZES CASTLE (County Durham)

For most of the year, Matilda is the unofficial Queen of England. She has invaded from France and her supporters have captured King Stephen. Although Stephen regains the crown, the unrest spurs the Scots - who have backed Matilda - to attack from the north. William Cumin, the Chancellor of Scotland, claims to be Prince Bishop of Durham following the untimely death of Bishop Geoffrey. Even though Cumin has no real claim, he gains the support of a number of local barons including the Balliol family of Teesdale and the Bruces of Hartlepool who also own land in Scotland.

1143 - NORTHALLERTON CASTLE (Northallerton)

William Cumin has built a castle at Northallerton. The surrounding area called Allertonshire belongs to the Bishops of Durham.

1143 - BATTLE FOR BISHOPRIC (Rome and Durham)

William Cumin forges papal documents confirming him as the Bishop of Durham, but the monks of Durham cathedral monastery refuse to accept him. He surrounds the city with soldiers but some monks still escape to Rome where they ask the Pope if Cumin has a legitimate claim. He says that Cumin is not a bishop and orders that they elect a new bishop within 40 days. William of St Barbara, Dean of York, is duly elected, but when he tries to take the bishopric he is defeated by Cumin's retainers at St Giles' Church, Gilesgate, on the outskirts of Durham. Cumin's men have been terrorising the county of Durham.

1144 - USURPER SURRENDERS (Durham City)

Cumin's men fortify Kirk Merrington near Spennymoor which is attacked by William's supporters. After severe pressure from Durham barons Cumin surrenders Durham Castle to the true Bishop of Durham who finally takes up his post.


Henry Plantagenet (the future King Henry II) promises David of Scotland that when he is king, he will continue to recognise David's right to Cumberland and Northumberland.

June 12, 1152 - EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND is BURIED (Kelso)

Henry, the son of King David, has died and is buried at Kelso Abbey near the River Tweed. Meanwhile the Scots recently began the construction of Berwick upon Tweed castle.


King David of Scotland dies at his Carlisle castle. He is succeeded by his grandson Malcolm IV (Malcolm the Maiden), who inherits Northumberland. David was one of the most powerful Scottish kings and has increased the Norman influence in Scotland. He enc ouraged the building of great Scottish monasteries like Kelso and Melrose, many with strong ties to monasteries in Yorkshire and France. Ailred, Abbot of Rievaulx, an associate of David writes an epitaph to him which reads: "O desolate Scotia who shall c onsole thee now? He is no more who made an untilled and barren land a land that is pleasant and plenteous."

1153 - PIRATES ATTACK (Hartlepool)

Norwegian pirates led by King Eystein attack and plunder Hartlepool after raiding several parts of the Scottish coast. This is the last recorded Viking raid on England.


Henry II, the new king of England, abolishes the Earldom of York (Yorkshire). William le Gros surrenders Scarborough castle to the king as it was built without Royal permission.

1157 - SCOTS LOSE (Northumberland)

Despite his promises in 1147, Henry II reclaims Northumberland from the Scots but allows them to keep Tynedale

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