Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

When William the Conqueror Invaded Scotland by Regan Walker

Welcome to History Undressed, guest author, Regan Walker, author of historical romance! She's introducing us to William the Conqueror and when he invaded Scotland! Enjoy!

When William the Conqueror Invaded Scotland 

by Regan Walker

You might know that a Norman named William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066… but did you know that six years later, in 1072, he invaded Scotland? And not just with his army of knights that he dragged all over England, but with a fleet of ships!

Steinar of Talisand, the hero in Rebel Warrior, my latest novel set in Scotland, belonged to that generation of young English men who were not yet twenty at the time of the Norman Conquest. They were old enough to understand what was happening and to feel keenly the loss of family and lands, yet powerless to do anything about it. Young Anglo-Saxon nobles forever exiled from their country.

Where should they go but to Scotland?

In the eleventh century, Scotland was a wild country where warlords vied for the throne, and the cultures of the Gaels (the Irish who became the Scots), Norse and eventually Saxons and Normans melded together. In 1057, Malcolm Canmore, the son of a king, battled his way to the throne to become King of Scots.

A decade later, William the Conqueror’s harsh actions in England sent Saxons in Wessex and Anglo-Scandinavians in Northumbria fleeing to Scotland. King Malcolm welcomed them and, in so doing, received a boon. For when he cast his eyes upon the beautiful Saxon Princess Margaret, whose family sought refuge at his court, he was smitten.

By 1072, when my story begins, they were married and she had already given him the first of six sons and two daughters.

That her rough, warrior husband deferred to her, at least in matters of their family, can be seen in the names given their sons: Edward, Edmund, Ethelred, Edgar, Alexander and David, the first four from the English royal dynasty. Perhaps, in agreeing to such names, Malcolm saw the potential for his sons to one day claim the throne of England, for as long as Margaret’s younger brother, Edgar Ætheling, the Saxon heir to the throne, remained unmarried and childless, his rights would be transmitted through Margaret to her children. Certainly William the Conqueror did not fail to note this.

At the time of my story, the borders between Scotland and England were not well defined. Malcolm often raided into Northumbria. That he had claims to the region cannot be doubted, but I believe he was also making a point to the Conqueror. It was a bit like poking a stick at a wild boar, however, for William would ultimately seek to rein in the powerful King of Scots and his support for the rebels in England.

The formal link between the royal houses of Scotland and Wessex and Malcolm’s forays into Northumbria were taken as a threat by William, who in 1072, counter-attacked with a full-scale invasion of southern Scotland, pursuing Malcolm into his own backyard.

Abbot Rivaux tells us that the Conqueror traversed Lothian and crossed the Forth by the Carse, the great gateway into Scotland. Florence of Worcester tells us that William penetrated to Abernethy, his fleet being in the River Tay.

That William did not want war with the powerful King of Scots cannot be denied. Scotland was a bit too far and its mountains and lochs a bit too remote for even the Normans. If William was defeated, he could not hope to carry back his army into England. If Malcolm were beaten, the loss of battle might be to him the loss of his kingdom. This gives truth to the statements of the English chroniclers that a peace was agreed to at Abernethy, pursuant to which Malcolm’s lands in England were secured, he swore loyalty to William for those lands and, as a sign of good faith, sent Duncan, his oldest son by his first wife, Ingibiorg, back to England with William.

All this action and history is in Rebel Warrior.

Another likely condition of their peace at Abernethy was that the queen’s brother, Edgar Ætheling, was forced to leave Scotland. The presence of England’s heir in the court of so powerful a warrior as Malcolm had to be of concern to William. One reason Edgar’s sister, Margaret, agreed to wed Malcolm was to secure his support for Edgar’s claim to take back the throne of England.

Edgar did leave Scotland shortly after this. If you want to know when he returned, you’ll have to read my next novel to be released the fall, King’s Knight.

Rebel Warrior:

“Master storytelling transports you to medieval Scotland!”
          Paula Quinn, NY Times Bestselling Author

When your destiny lies far from where you began …

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

On Amazon:

Pinterest storyboard for RebelWarrior

Regan Walker is an award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. She has five times been featured on USA TODAY's HEA blog and four times nominated for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf's Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the medieval category). Regan writes historically authentic novels where history is a character and her readers experience adventure as well as love.

1 comment:

Regan Walker said...

Hi, Eliza. Thanks so much for having me on History Undressed to share my research for Rebel Warrior.