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By Rosalind Mitchison

An awesome quantity for an individual in need of a brisk review of North Britain from the yr dot to the 20 th century.

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Even if the direct slaughter of people was less than that of livestock, for a countryside with limited resources devastation and plunder in the depth of winter are equivalent to murder. The effect was such that the Gaelic speech of Buchan gave way to Scots as newcomers recolonized the land later. In the next year, 1308, Bruce outwitted an ambush in the vital cleft to the west, the pass of Brander, and defeated the Macdougalls; his surviving brother Edward Bruce (the rest had been executed by Edward I) went down into Galloway to teach the lord and peasants there to forget their Balliol allegiance, and gradually over the years to retake the castles.

He borrowed the idea of officers of state from England, of Constable, Marischal, and Steward. The ‘sheriff’ was a useful servant though his function in Scotland was not as an administrator of a shire court, for these courts did not exist, but as a royal servant who looked after the king’s rents and held a royal castle,1 and who may have been an adaptation of the old thane. The English writ came to Scotland as the ‘breve’ but its function, as a brief and businesslike administrative order, was unchanged.

She was David’s niece, but another niece was the wife of Stephen. David stayed neutral until called in by Matilda, and then charged in unsuccessfully in the hope of grabbing Northumberland. He tried again in 1138 but was defeated at the famous Battle of the Standard after a campaign that led to a flood of atrocity stories in the English chronicles (it was the Galwegians particularly who annoyed the English). In spite of defeat, the uncertain position of Stephen enabled David to get hold of Carlisle and the earldom of Northumberland.

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