Braveheart - WHO SHOULD BE KING?

In 1292, England's King Edward I (also known as "Longshanks") removed the Scots' "Stone of Scone" (also known as the "Stone of Destiny") and appropriated it for his own use. He even had a special chair created for it (called the "Coronation Chair," seen in this image).

Centuries passed while this important Scottish treasure remained in England. By 1950, a small group of students decided that it was time to return the Stone of Scone to Scotland. They removed it from Westminster Abbey and, after a good bit of trouble along the way, restored it to Scotland. That was a short-lived effort, however. Within months, authorities returned the Stone to England. On St. Andrews Day, in 1996, the Stone made its way back to Scotland where it is—for now—kept at Edinburgh Castle.


What was the situation like in Scotland in the late 13th century? What kind of laws were in effect?

Although there were about fifteen claims to the Scottish throne, essentially two families were vying for power. Should the king be John Balliol? Should it be Robert the Bruce? The clans were split between who should have their loyalty. The situation was ripe for a takeover by England.

In fact, it was Edward's strategy that helped to cause the chaos in the first place. When the Scottish lords could not decide who should be king, they asked for Edward's help with the decision. The matter was submitted to a "court" which picked the weaker, more controllable man, John Balliol. King John was crowned on the Stone of Scone (also known as the "Stone of Destiny") in 1292. He paid homage to Edward I, Christmas 1292.

But it wasn't long before the Scots began to complain about Balliol. Longshanks, to whom Balliol had paid homage, ordered that all complaints be submitted to English courts. Balliol objected but was threatened with contempt of court and the loss of his castles and towns if he didn't agree. The subtle English takeover had begun.

Now Balliol was in serious trouble. The Scottish people didn't want him. The English king, who had his own agenda, was not supporting him.

Edward, the man who became known as the "English Justinian" because of the legal system he instituted in England, also had a plan for his next conquest. Edward's strategy led to a divided Scotland where both sides wanted his help. He became "Overlord of Scotland" without a fight.

Edward even took the sacred Stone of Scone (also referred to as the Stone of Destiny), on which Scottish monarchs had been crowned for centuries. He brought it to Westminster Abbey in London where he had a special throne made for it. He must have thought that "owning" the Stone of Scone gave him the right to own the Scottish crown.

But Balliol was not as weak as Edward thought. When Longshanks wanted the Scots to help him fight the French, Balliol stood firm. Neither he nor his people would do anything to help Edward with his military campaigns in France.

The die was cast. Edward would suffer no independent thinking from the "King" of Scotland. Longshanks went to war with Balliol.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Jun 19, 2019

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"WHO SHOULD BE KING?" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2001. Jan 20, 2020.
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