Since by the death of Lord Alexander, late king of Scotland, the royal throne of the kingdom has been vacant until now, and by the laws and customs of Scotland, it is one of the rights, privileges and liberties of the seven earls of the realm of Scotland, and of the community of the realm, to make a king of that realm, and to set him upon the royal throne; lest William, bishop of St Andrews, and John Comyn, who are acting as guardians of the realm of Scotland, should put forward any king to exercise rule or should do anything in prejudice of the liberties and rights of the seven earls (of which the son of Duncan, the late earl of Fife, is one), the addressor [here unnamed] appointed in the bishop’s presence on behalf of and in the name of the said seven earls, the bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, and free tenants of Scotland and the community of the same supporting them, do appeal by this document to Lord Edward, king of England, from William, bishop of St Andrews and John Comyn and the part of the community supporting them, and also from John Balliol, lest he should take any action in the realm. The addressee seeks the help of the king of England, placing himself, the seven earls, and others mentioned, under the peace, protection and defence of the king of England. Since William, bishop of St Andrews and John Comyn, holding themselves as guardians, have made no amends for all the losses and injuries caused from the time of Alexander, king of Scotland until the present, the addressee thus appeals; since the said William and John have substituted others as subordinate guardians, for which no power or authority was given by the nobles and magnates, and these subordinates have gone to the land of Moray, directly under the rule of the king of Scotland, and have there destroyed and robbed lands and villages belonging to freemen of the king of Scotland, and have burnt these villages, the addressee, appointed in their presence, on behalf of, and in the name of Donald, earl of Mar, one of the seven earls, and also in the name of the freemen of Moray, and of those of the earl of Mar, to secure a remedy and gain redress, he thus appeals to the king of England and places the earl of Mar and others named under the protection of the said king. Since the said William and John, to preserve and defend the laws and customs of the realm and to render to each person the right which should belong to him by law (though 'we', Robert Bruce, lord of Annandale, as the legitimate and true heir designate to the rule of the realm of Scotland have put forward a claim concerning the right which he has in the realm and is urgently pursuing his right); they, with some persons of the realm, intend and propose to make John Balliol king in the realm of Scotland, and to confer on him the rights and honours which go with it, to the prejudice and hindrance of Robert’s and the earls’ rights; he thus appeals to lord Edward, king of England for pursuing and obtaining his right which he had in Scotland and on behalf of the earls.
September 1290 X 10 May 1291
Death of Margaret, maid of Norway × beginning of the ‘Great Cause’
Source for Data Entry
Anglo-Scottish Relations, no. 14
A-S Relations, no. 14
TNA, E39/89 [formerly a ‘roll’?]
This document is known as the ‘Appeal of the seven earls of Scotland’. For more in depth discussions on this see: Anglo-Scottish Relations, 44-50; Duncan, Kingship of the Scots, Chapter 10