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William I of Scotland

William I (Wm. the Lion, Wm. Leo, Wm. Dunkeld and Wm. Canmore, I), king of Scotland (r. 1165-1214), was born in 1143. He succeeded Malcolm IV.

William is believed to be the founder of Arbroath Abbey where the Declaration of Arbroath was later drawn up. He was known as the Lion because of his flag, or standard, a red lion rampant on a yellow background. This went on to become the Royal standard of Scotland and is still used today by the British Monarch when in Scotland.

William also arranged the Auld Alliance, the first treaty for mutual self defence between nations. The treaty was agreed by Scotland, France, and Norway. Although Norway never took much part in it, it played some part in Franco-Scottish affairs until 1746.

William also inherited the title of Earl of Northumbria in 1152. However he was forced to give up this title to King Henry II of England in 1157. This caused trouble after William became king, since he spent a lot of effort trying to regain Northumbria. In 1174 during a raid in support of the revolt by Henry's wife and sons, William was captured by Henry's troops and taken in chains to Northampton, and then transferred to Falaise in Normandy. Henry then sent an army to Scotland and occupied it. As ransom and to regain his kingdom, William had to acknowledge Henry as his feudal superior and agree to pay for the cost of the English army's occupation of Scotland by taxing the Scots. This he did by signing the Treaty of Falaise. He was then allowed to return to Scotland. The Treaty of Falaise remained in force for the next fifteen years. At the end of that time the new English king, Richard the Lionheart, agreed to terminate it in return for 10,000 silver marks. Richard needed the money to take part in the Third Crusade.

William died in Stirling on the 4th December 1214 and was buried in Arbroath Abbey. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander II.

Preceded by:
Malcolm IV
List of British monarchs Succeeded by:
Alexander II