Alexander II of Scotland

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Alexander II (Mediaeval Gaelic: Alaxandair mac Uilliam; Modern Gaelic: Alasdair mac Uilleim) (24 August 1198 - 8 July 1249) was King of Scots from 1214 to his death.

Contents

Early life

He was born at Haddington, East Lothian, the only son of the Scottish king William the Lion and Ermengarde of Beaumont. He spent time in England (John of England knighted him at Clerkenwell Priory in 1213) before succeeding to the kingdom on the death of his father on 4 December 1214, being crowned at Scone on 6 December the same year.

King of Scotland

In 1215, the year after his accession, the clans Meic Uilleim and MacHeths, inveterate enemies of the Scottish crown, broke into revolt; but loyalist forces speedily quelled the insurrection.

In the same year Alexander joined the English barons in their struggle against John of England, and led an army into the Kingdom of England in support of their cause. This action led to the sacking of Berwick as John's forces ravaged the north.

The Scottish forces reached the south coast of England at the port of Dover where in September 1216, Alexander paid homage to the pretender Prince Louis of France for his lands in England, chosen by the barons to replace King John. But John died and the Pope and the English aristocracy changed their allegiance to his nine-year-old son Henry, forcing the French and the Scottish armies to return home. shortly after taking London and the Scottish army returned to Scotland.

Peace between Henry III, the French prince and Alexander followed on 12 September 1217 with the treaty of Kingston. Diplomacy further strengthened the reconciliation by the marriage of Alexander to Henry's sister Joan of England on 18 June or 25 June 1221.

The next year marked the subjection of the hitherto semi-independent district of Argyll. Royal forces crushed a revolt in Galloway in 1235 without difficulty; nor did an invasion attempted soon afterwards by its exiled leaders meet with success. Soon afterwards a claim for homage from Henry of England drew forth from Alexander a counter-claim to the northern English counties. The two kingdoms, however, settled this dispute by a compromise in 1237. This was the Treaty of York which defined the boundary between the two kingdoms as running between the Solway Firth (in the west) and the mouth of the River Tweed (in the east).

Joan died in March, 1238 in Essex, and in the following year, 1239, Alexander remarried. His second wife was Marie de Coucy. The marriage took place on 15 May 1239, and produced one son, the future Alexander III, born in 1241.

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