Scotland's History Debates Balliol's Legacy


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Balliol's Legacy

Debate: history has been less than kind to John Balliol. He swore allegiance to an English king and was dominated by the powerful Scottish nobility - a predicament shared by many other Scottish kings yet he is remembered as a weak man - the 'toom tabard'. Is this reputation really deserved?

John Balliol, King of Scots, is stripped of his kingship by Edward I of England.

From A History of Scotland: The Hammers of the Scots.

Fiona Watson explores the events leading to Balliol's troubled kingship.

From In Search of Scotland.


Sean Cameron, Kirkcaldy 2010-12-03

How are most of these comments related to the question in hand? Also, to one of the original commentors, there was no mention of Glencoe because it BEARS NO MENTION. It wasn't all that important, pure and simple. Also to the Scotch myths guy, read some Tom Nairn, its right up your street. Personally I don't think that such unbridled skepticism is either beneficial or productive. As for Balliol? He did his best. He was thrown the kingdom like a scrap and he was used as a puppet by Edward I. There weren't any men in that time, in Britain, who could face Longshanks, and Balliol was no exception. He started the Auld Alliance too, not sure whether that was a pro or not. Regardless, he was a good man who tried hard and doesn't deserve the reputation that history gave him.

stewart short, glasgow 2009-12-07

bailliol was out of his depth just like our current rulers he didnt have any spin doctor macbeth was a fine king look what shakespear did for his reputation

Steven Pugh, Basingstoke 2009-12-06

'You are hereby ordered to fall upon the McDonalds of Glencoe and put all to the sword under seventy' This act of genocide was ordered by William lll to bring in line all Clans still loyal to James ll after the 1689 Ist Jacobite rebellion. The massacre took place in 1692 when Campbell militia having taken hospitality from the Mcdonalds, turned on them in the night and murdered women, children and the older members of the Clan, This act of genocide sent shock waves across Europe- yet BBC - History of Scotland never mentioned it - hardly a bloodless Glorious Revolution it was authorised murder of the innocents. Also not mentioned in the Covenanters episode -ECW was the major part of James Graham of Montrose - he kept the Scottish Royalists cause alight right up until he was betrayed by Charles ll in 1651 . From the other side , The Duke of Argyles role also has been left out - a major polictical player in the wars 1638 -1652, especially against the engagers .

M. King, Coventry, England 2009-12-03

Having lived most of my life in England with an Irish background both the BBC Scotland

-BBC Scotland Moderator-

Apologies, it looks like your message has come through cropped. If you re-post I'll put up the full message.

j.brooks, ipswich suffolk 2009-12-02

mr oliver, enjoyed the coast series, with sir david attenbrough's series the most enjoyable
on the bbc, what with all the other hyped rubbish these days you both bring a voice of
sanity to our lives. well done.
the history of scotland i found rather overwhelming and quite difficult to follow, so will
watch it again, now i know why when talking to 'scots' why they all tell a differing tale of
scotlands history.
incidently a couple of moths ago i passed you at woodbridge tide mill in suffolk, on
the river deben.... are you making a program for this area??.
(you were talking, otherwise would have stopped and congratulated you and the team
for the wonderful 'coast series'.)

j, brooks, ipswich/suffolk 2009-12-02

some wiz at brit telcom worked out that more than 38% of names in scotland were anglo
saxon and irish, and that there were more 'scots' names in the rest of the uk than in
scotland... more irish names in the uk than in rep'ireland. and what a suprise my family
tree shows a scots gt grandmother 'gunn' and a 'robertson' and my wifes mother a 'templeton'
fm stranraer. history is fine but dont let it get mixed up with the present, we brits have lived
on these isles for many thousands of years do folk really emagine a pure englishman, scotsman
welshman or ulsterman or irishman exists? very doubtful.
the nationalism/devolution push that exists in all four home countries is in my humble opinion
is simply 'more jobs for the boys' - more mp's, msp's and mep's for we taxpayers to
true brit

Gavon, Glasgow 2009-11-25

This show is irritating! I can't stand the guy but is the only channel I have on my tv

Dave, La Loupe , FRANCE 2009-03-05

I lived in Aberdeenshire for over 20 years and quickly realised that I knew more about Scottish History than amost any of the locals and that was little enough.
The fact is that most of what the average Scot believes to be the History of Scotland , was made up in the 18th and 19th centuries by romantics and nationalists , from tradition myth and legend , leavened with a little scholarly research.
Unfortunately the various successive rulers of Northern Albion be they Irish gael , Norse , Saxon , Norman or English have been rather successful in repressing the cultural heritages of their predecessors.

Donian Sinclair, W.Highlands, Scotland. 2009-01-30

Anon, re: Your question on British authorities planning genocide in High Sco, yes I can provide evidence to support this fact, here & NOW! In 1692 King William II & III (King Billy) "signed" his approval of the genocide/ethnic cleansing of Glencoe. I'm sure there's enough points of ref here for you to find this FACT on any search engine.
Some of the UK (Scots) forces were sickened by these orders & broke their swords in protest, some tipped off the victims just prior to the massacre allowing some to escape.

Anonymous 2009-01-26

Donian - 'Final Solution'? Let me get this straight. You're saying that the 18thc. British government were Nazis planning genocide against highland scots? What were these government 'plans' you mention? (can you quote references?). These landowners I mentioned didn't need govt authority to start sheep rearing. They owned the land and could do what they wanted. Oh, and by the by, do you know the name of the man who intro'd the cheviot sheep into the Highland economy and drove out your ancestors - 'Agricultural John' - aka Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster. Any relation?

Brian Ross, Glasgow. 2009-01-24

Davie Lawson, Addiewell.
Welcome tae the site Dave! Glad tae hear fae another SCOT that's naw afraid tae stand on their ain two feet n doesn't have a heid fudged up wi sectarian gumf that does nuffin but keep us divided (weakened). Stay safe Dave. Bide yir time.
Siol Nan Gaidheal. (2010)

David Lawson, Addiewell (Scotland) 2009-01-23

Here Here, Brian Ross, Glasgow v Jack, Edinburgh's comments on Scotlands natural resources. Scotland doesnt want its independence purely to be greedy with its oil and gas, Jack you're talking bolox!! but want only to control its usage in a more economical way, so atl least its people can benefit from it. Why should a country which has potential wealth lke ours have some of the worst poverty stricken areas in Europe and with a life expectancy of 65? Its a crime.

Tom Jackson, Edinburgh 2009-01-23

Ah Felicity!

Having had my chips, I'll return to your theme. If you're flying kites, then all and good. It's a fun way to pass the time. If you're seriously wanting to debate the history (the 'raison d'etre' of this site), then please start soon. P Marwood's piece of puff isn't even good enough to be propaganda, it's just plain silly. Ignorance is never attractive. Do you know anything about my country?

Donian Sinclair, W.Highlands, Sco, Europe. 2009-01-23

Stu Durham. Ta for tryin to school me on where I was born. Yes these folk you mentioned were L.lords of parts of the Heilans. However be educated from a Highlander ma friend. These 'final solution' (heard that term before?) plans were drawn up by London authorities & to be implemented by L.lords to rid the isles of the rebellious Scots sung about in verses of GSTQ. Failure to implement these UK orders resulted in L.lords losing their lands & deportation to the colonies. Stop deflecting
the blame! Be a man!

Tom Jackson, Edinburgh 2009-01-23

Hi Everybody,

Sorry to be missing, mt internet connection has been down for 24 hours. Felicity et all, I'll get back to soon!

Stu, Durham 2009-01-23

Hi Donian
You're blaming The English for the Highland Clearances?. As an Englishman I agree that the Clearances were linked partly to the awful governemnt repression after Culloden. However they were also (and I'd say predominantly) an example of pure and simple capitalist exploitation - in other words a joint attempt to repress a poulation and make money at the same time. And who were the principle people to take advantage of this? - Elizabeth Countess of Sutherland, Alistair McDonnell of Glengarry, John Ross of Balnagowan, McLeod of McLeod (to name but a few). These weren't Englishmen, Donian. They were your own Highland Chiefs! We English are to blame for a lot

-BBC Scotland Moderator-

Hi Stu, looks like the end of your message got cropped. I'll happily post it up if you re-send. Apologies.

Felicity, Cymru 2009-01-22

Oh Tom, I did ask for enlightenment from a well-balanced Scot. That doesn't mean one with a chip on EACH shoulder. But Stu and Donian do make good points, more eruditely than I did myself. Furthermore, P Marwood's precis seemed accurate enough, cutting through the melodrama and pathos. And please, some of you, in deference to my shameful ignorance, would you kindly humour me and leave out the earthy patois

Donian Sinclair, W.Highlands, Sco, Europe. 2009-01-22

Felicity Cymru. Stu Durham.
Thinking of re-assessing my position, so are most of the W.Highlands, we're ALL on this site. Aren't many of us left after the "UK" authorities gave orders from London to 'clear' us from our homes in High Scotland. Don't want to say how they 'cleared' Glencoe. Anyway you've got us that scared with what you've said that we've decided to ALL just stay stuck onto the top of Eng & allow London to continue plundering our resources to give cash to Palestinians, pay Boris Johnson, etc.

Donian Sinclair, Western Highlands, Scotland, Europe. 2009-01-22

Stu, Durham.
Your post says Highlanders could ask for independence if there was self-determination & they were of 'the people'. Thats right & is a legislated human right under the ICPPR. E.g.- 'South Ossetia', loads of Russians poured into the region & voted for independence from Georgia but it wasn't recognised by the international authorities due to the self-determination not being of 'the people' but rather of 'a plantation'. As folk north of the border are happy being Scots I doubt it VERY MUCH!!

Ullieam, Skye 2009-01-22

Tae wee jean in anglo-land

Ye make me laugh hen ye ken that! If it was not for our ansters raiding yer ol' brits of the past then the saxxon horde would never have came ere the water tae save yer rears! funny though.. Folk tal of the crown of the day and yet they forget it has ties tae the scottish mare than the english and mare tae the german than the scottish... I hope prince harry calls hs wane 'hans'.. could e image aw the saxxons faces? :-)

Stu, Durham 2009-01-22

Hi Tom
Is Felicity so way off the mark here? You say 'Scotland will never be divided' after independence. Why not? Because there is no precedent? Because of its already small size? These things are based much more on national self-determination. If there was a will for the Highlands to be a separate nation, how could Lowland Scotland deny this? There are also many precendents for further national subdivisions. India got independence from GB, then Pakistan from India, then Bangladesh from Pakistan (all in about 25 years). Nor is size an objection. The island of Hispaniola is almost the exact size of Scotland, yet it constitutes two countries - Haiti and the Dominican Republic. There has always been a distinct separate culture in the Highlands, and there is ever the possibility that an independent Scotland might become too Edinburgh-centric, just as England is too London-centric

Tom Jackson, Edinburgh 2009-01-21

To Pat in Northhampton,

Try '', a general entry site to all sorts of Scottish links. Good luck!

pat, northampton 2009-01-21

hi ya folks i am trying to find something like a family tree of the clans, any ideas?
i have looked on several sites lots of different stories about clans and my own clan was apparently at culloden. i am registered blind low vision. not for sympathy. i am doing my family tree and i was born in scotland and the clan name handed down as a middle name.
pat oh love the programme on bbc

Brian Ross, Glasgow. 2009-01-20

John re: Robert the Bruce.
Robert the Bruce was born in Ayr, Scotland on the 11th of July, 1274 and died in Cardross, Scotland on the 7th of June 1329. He was about 7 or 8 generations on from his Norman ancestors & never lost touch with his Scots/Gaelic/Celtic roots. He was multi-lingual, well educated, lost most of his family & almost his life on several occasions fighting against English aggressors in the land of his birth- Scotland! Was King of Scots & you'll find out his birthplace on this website. Ciao

John 2009-01-20

Robert the Bruce was English by birth (Hatfield Hertfordshire) and french by tongue and blood.Not as Scottish as many may think.



About the Scotland's History Debates

The Scotland's History debates ran from October 2008 to March 2011. They were run in conjunction with the TV series A History of Scotland.

By the time of closing the debates had received well over six thousand comments from members of the public.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed and made the debates so lively, informative and engaging.

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