What legacy did Margaret and her sons leave

What bequest did Margaret and her boies leave to the church in Scotland?

Historians seem instead sterile when depicting Malcolm the King in Scotland at the terminal of the 11th century ; they all seem to hold him to hold been ‘rough hewn’ . Their positions on his married woman, Margaret a princess from the old English royal household, seem consentaneous that she was a ‘saint’ ; nevertheless, she was clearly non a quiet, demure, ‘placed on a pedestal saint’ . Alternatively she was a adult female of influence who helped reform manners and imposts at the Scots tribunal, conveying it closer to the image of a European royal tribunal ; famed for educating her boies, fiting three of them with the abilities needed subsequently to govern ; and conveying reform to the church and support to the new monasticism from the continent. The involvement and back up given to the church by Margaret and her boies ensured its strength and energy for the undermentioned century.

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Knowing something of Margaret’s background is of import in that it helps inform us of what influenced her when she became queen. She was born in Hungary at the tribunal of King Stephen, who himself was subsequently beatified for his piousness ; her gramps was the every bit pious Edward the Confessor, the builder of Westminster Abby, in whose tribunal she lived for nine old ages ( Barnett, p52 ) . It is clear she was a erudite kid and, harmonizing to Turgot, made full usage of spiritual books available to her at her grandfather’s tribunal (ibid) . It is possibly fortunate that we know more of Margaret life than we do many medieval Queenss, partially due to her girl Matilda commissioning a life of her by Turgot, Prior of Durham and a coeval of her female parent, which has survived despite the intervening centuries. Bearing in head the usual provision of prejudice and the fact that it was written for a loving girl, it acts as a utile beginning and record of the singular alterations brought approximately in the spiritual life of Scotland by its queen. However, one of the earliest records of Margaret is found in theAnglo Saxon Chronicles; one of the narratives told about her explains that Margaret did non desire to get married Malcolm, the Scots King, but felt she had a spiritual career. Ultimately, her brother, who was her legal defender, agreed to the matrimony and it took topographic point in Dunfermline in 1070. An early mark of her future patrimony of the Church could be seen by the big church she had built on the site of her nuptials, dedicated to the Trinity and named Christ’s Church ( Wilson, p63 ) .

It is clear that she continued to be an highly pious adult female, who often fasted and that her piousness moved her to continually look for ways to move as a benefactress to the church. It is know that she built shelters and remainder houses for the hapless and to help pilgrims on the journey to see a shrine at St Andrews. She provided free transition for pilgrims across the Forth ( Queen’s ferry ) and made frequent gifts of Ag and vestments to legion churches ; she established schools of needlecraft particularly to supply vestments for the clergy and fabrics for communion tables, these existed until the Reformation ( Barnett, p55 ) . Christopher Brookes records that Margaret’s piousness was non merely seeable in the personal Acts of the Apostless that she did but that she encouraged the international piousness she had grown up with amongst her new topics ( Brookes, p210 ) . She was besides careful to guarantee her kids were educated ; her hubby cold non read or compose but she ensured all her kids could. She was responsible for piecing a library of spiritual books for their usage ( Barnett, p58 ) . However, her personal piousness is translated into national policy, as she persuaded her hubby of the demand to do reforms to the church in Scotland.

The church in Scotland bore more resemblance to the Celtic Christianity practiced in Wales and Ireland but these signifiers of faith were foreign to Margaret and she exerted her influence to reform them. Although the church had used the same Holy Eucharist as practised in York up to the 9th century it is possible that it was non spoken in Latin but in Gaelic, which could be the ground Margaret declared it a ‘barbarous rite’ ( Wilson, p74 ) . Interestingly, there is no grounds that Margaret ensured there were really adequate churches to let all members of the population to go to ( Barnett, p63 ) . Margaret, through her hubby, was determined to do the church resemble more the church on the continent.

In order to make this Malcolm convened a figure of councils of reform. The Council of the Five Points dealt with issues such as the day of the month of the beginning of Lent, the tradition of abstaining from Communion on Easter twenty-four hours, Mass non being celebrated in an Orthodox mode, the job of people working on a Sunday and the failure to use Rome’s regulations refering matrimonies of affinity ; but most of import for Margaret was the demand to construct closer ties with the Pope. The council called at Edinburgh Castle resolved many of these issues to Margaret’s satisfaction.

However, it is clear that although reforms were made under Margaret’s influence, it is non possible to state that she was responsible for all the major reforms. There is small grounds for the being of a diocesan system in the 11th century. It is besides clear that many dioceses, such as St Andrews and Glasgow remained vacant for many old ages. Church land was frequently in the custodies of baronial households, who treated the gross from it as personal financess for their ain usage. The Queen sought the aid of Lanfranc, the Archbishop of Canterbury to rede her on the topic of reforms ( Wilson, p76 ) . Lanfranc sent monastics at her petition to assist organize and animate reform ; Anselm, a ulterior Archbishop sent monastics between 1100 and 1107 at the petition of Margaret’s boy Edgar’s petition. Edgar’s piousness can besides be seen in the lands he gave to the church at Durham, Coldingham, Dunfermline and St Andrews ( Barnett, p158 ) . Her belief in the importance of reform was continued once more during the regulation of her boy, Alexander 1, who appointed Turgot to the vacant see of St Andrew ( Wilson, p74 ) ; he was besides responsible for the formation of a diocesan system. This can non be said for her boy David, who was more active. He established sees at Brechin, Dunblane, Caithness, Ross and Aberdeen ( Dict. Nat. Biog. , vol 1, p743 )

One of Margaret’s major bequests to the church in Scotland was the debut of cloistered communities in many parts of Scotland, where antecedently there had been none. At the clip of her reaching the resurgence of spiritual houses in the South of England was non known about in Scotland, Margaret brought a cognition of the cloistered patterns of Europe with her ( Wilson, p70 ) . At this clip there continued and older cloistered tradition in some parts of the state, where individual persons, known as culdees ( from the Gaelicceli de, intending ‘companions of God’ ) (ibid, p71 ) . Margaret and her boies supported these abstainers. Margaret, and her boies Ethelred and Edgar gave money to the culdees of Lochleven ; Ethelred, a ballad archimandrite of Dunkeld granted lands to this group (ibid, p71 ) .

The reaching of the Benedictine monastics, sent by Lanfranc, ensured the constitution of monasticism in Scotland under her backing. Her boies continued this backing. Alexander founded three Augustinian monasteries, including the monastery at Scone ( Barnett, p159 ) . Bernard of Clairveaux to a great extent influenced her boy David. It is claimed that David was so taken by the new Cistercian order that he travelled to Tiron, near Chatres, to see Bernard ; it is besides claimed he brought back 12 monastics with him in order to set up a monastery of the order in Scotland (ibid, p162 ) . He surely founded a monastery at Selkirk with 12 Cistercian monastics, followed shortly after by Kelso, Jedburgh, Holyrood, Melrose, Newbattle, Dundrennan, Canbuskenneth, Holmcultram, Kinloss and Dryburgh (ibid) .

It is rather clear that Margaret and her boies had a really important consequence on the church in Scotland and left a long bequest. Between them they brought relgion in Scotland from the periphery of Celtic Christianity to suit more forthrightly within the mantle of Rome. The constitution of a diocesan system and more dioceses strengthened the church. The belief in the importance of the work of the Benedictines, Augustinians and Cistercians ensured the foundation of a strong cloistered system such as that which existed on the continent, with all the advantages that brought to the population in both spiritual and societal footings. The bequest of Margaret and her boies lasted until the Reformation and lingers still in folk memory.


The Concise Dictionary of National Biography,OUP: Oxford, vols.1 & A ; 2

Brooke, C. ,Europe in the Central Middle Ages, 962-1154,Longman: London, ( 2neodymiumedition ) , 1987

Davis, R.H.C. ,A History of Medieval Europe: from Constantine to Saint Louis, Longman: London, ( 2neodymiumedition ) , 1988

Ratcliffe Barnet, T. ,Margaret of Scotland, Queen and Saint: her influence on the early church in Scotland, Oliver & A ; Boyd: Edinburgh, 1926

Wilson, A.J. ,St Margaret, Queen of Scotland, John Donald Publishers Ltd. : Edinburgh, 1993

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