John of Scotland

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John Balliol (c. 1249 – c. 25 November 1314) was King of Scots from 1292 to 1296.


Early life

Little of John's early life is known. He was born between 1248 and 1250 at an unknown location, possibilities include Galloway, Picardy and Barnard Castle, County Durham.[1] He was the son of John, 5th Baron Balliol, Lord of Barnard Castle, and his wife Dervorguilla of Galloway, daughter of Alan, Lord of Galloway and granddaughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon.[2] From his mother he inherited significant lands in Galloway and claim to Lordship over the Gallovidians, as well as various English and Scottish estates of the Huntingdon inheritance; from his father he inherited large estates in England and France, such as Hitchin, in Hertfordshire.

Accession as King of Scotland

Following the death of Margaret, Maid of Norway, in 1290, John Balliol was a competitor[2] for the Scottish crown in the so called 'Great Cause', as he was a great-great-great-grandson of King David I through his mother (and therefore one generation further than his main rival Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale, grandfather of the future Robert the Bruce), being senior in genealogical primogeniture but not in proximity of blood. He submitted his claim to the Scottish auditors with King Edward I of England as the arbitrator, at Berwick-upon-Tweed on 6 June 1291.[3] The Scottish auditors' decision in favour of Balliol was pronounced in the Great Hall of Berwick Castle on 17 November 1292[3], and he was inaugurated accordingly king of Scotland at Scone, 30 November 1292, St. Andrew's Day.[2]

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