One This Day: John Balliol Was Crowned ‘King Of Scotland’


Today in 1292, John Balliol was crowned ‘The King of Scotland’ at Berwick. From the start of his reign he was forced to swear homage and fealty to Edward I as his superior and overlord. Things became difficult when Balliol refused to join the Edward’s fight against the French in 1294. The Scots resented Edward’s demands.

The Scots instead made a defensive alliance with Philip IV of France. This Treaty against England, marked the formal beginning of the ‘Auld Alliance’ between Scotland and France, which was to last for nearly 300 years.

When Balliol finally renounced his fealty to Edward I on 5 April 1296. Edward marched north, defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar in East Lothian and captured the castles of Roxburgh, Edinburgh and Stirling.

On July 10, Balliol was finally captured, his heraldic insignia were ripped from his coat. In fury, Edward marched onward to Scone and removed the Stone of Destiny upon which the Scottish kings were crowned. He had it sent to Westminster Abbey (where it remained for the next 700 years before being returned to Scotland in 1996).

Balliol was taken to England as a prisoner, but in 1299 he was allowed to go to France, where he lived on his family estates at Bailleul until his death in April 1313 at about the age of 63.

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