Winners don't wait for chances

The Great Cause

The relationship between the nations of England and Scotland by the 1280s was one of relatively harmonious coexistence.[116] The issue of homage did not reach the same level of controversy as it did in Wales; in 1278 King Alexander III of Scotland paid homage to Edward I, but apparently only for the lands he held of Edward in England.[117] Problems arose only with the Scottish succession crisis of the early 1290s. In the years from 1281 to 1284, Alexander's two sons and one daughter died in quick succession. Then, in 1286, King Alexander died himself, leaving as heir to the throne of Scotland the three-year-old Margaret, the Maid of Norway, who was born in 1283 to Alexander's daughter Margaret and King Eric II of Norway.[118] By the Treaty of Birgham, it was agreed that Margaret should marry King Edward's then one-year-old son Edward of Carnarvon, though Scotland would remain free of English overlordship.[119][120] 19th-century drawing of the Stone of Destiny. The Scottish coronation stone remained at Westminster Abbey until it was returned to Scotland in 1996. Margaret, by now seven years of age, sailed from Norway for Scotland in the autumn of 1290, but fell ill on the way and died in Orkney.[121][122] This left the country without an obvious heir, and led to the succession dispute known to history as the Great Cause.[123] Even though as many as fourteen claimants put forward their claims to the title, the real contest was between John Balliol and Robert de Brus.[124] The Scottish magnates made a request to Edward to arbitrate in the dispute.[125] At Birgham, with the prospect of a personal union between the two realms, the question of suzerainty had not been of great importance to Edward. Now he i

sisted that, if he were to settle the contest, he had to be fully recognised as Scotland's feudal overlord.[126] The Scots were reluctant to make such a concession, and replied that since the country had no king, no one had the authority to make this decision.[127] This problem was circumvented when the competitors agreed that the realm would be handed over to Edward until a rightful heir had been found.[128] After a lengthy hearing, a decision was made in favour of John Balliol on 17 November 1292.[129] Even after Balliol's accession, Edward still continued to assert his authority over Scotland. Against the objections of the Scots, he agreed to hear appeals on cases ruled on by the court of guardians that had governed Scotland during the interregnum.[130] A further provocation came in a case brought by Macduff, son of Malcolm, Earl of Fife, in which Edward demanded that Balliol appear in person before the English Parliament to answer the charges.[131] This the Scottish king did, but the final straw was Edward's demand that the Scottish magnates provide military service in the war against France.[132] This was unacceptable; the Scots instead formed an alliance with France and launched an unsuccessful attack on Carlisle.[133] Edward responded by invading Scotland in 1296 and taking the town of Berwick in a particularly bloody attack.[134] At the Battle of Dunbar, Scottish resistance was effectively crushed.[135] Edward confiscated the Stone of Destiny the Scottish coronation stone and brought it to Westminster, deposed Balliol and placed him in the Tower of London, and installed Englishmen to govern the country.[3] The campaign had been very successful, but the English triumph would only be temporary.