John Balliol

John Balliol was made King of Scots by King Edward I of England, only to have Edward take his throne taken away by force.

Find out about King John Balliol

How did John Balliol become king?

Before John became king, Scotland had been left without a ruler. The search for a new king would lead to war:

A 19th century engraving showing what John Balliol might have looked like.

What happened to John?

Before he made John king, Edward I, King of England, forced John to recognise him as his superior. Edward expected John to be loyal to him.

England was at war with France. Edward demanded that the Scots took his side against the French. The Scottish nobles were so angry at this that they made John stand up to Edward.

In 1295, John signed a treaty of friendship and support with the King of France. The two countries promised to defend each other against England. The treaty became known as the Auld Alliance.

Auld Alliance facts

The Alliance between Scotland and France lasted for many years:

  • 1295 - the treaty was signed by Balliol
  • 1560 - Scotland converted to the Protestant faith and the Alliance with catholic France faded in importance
  • The Alliance allowed Scottish merchants to buy and sell in France without paying a fee
  • The Alliance gave Scottish people the right to French citizenship up until the early 1900s!

'Toom Tabard'

Edward was furious about the treaty between Scotland and France. In 1296 he marched a large army into Scotland and beat a Scottish army at the Battle of Dunbar.

John surrendered. To punish him, Edward stripped John of his royal status - he was no longer king!

He even ripped the royal insignia from John's tunic. As a result John got the nickname 'Toom Tabard' - meaning empty jacket.

Edward took the Stone of Destiny to England. This was the stone on which all Scottish kings were crowned. Without it the Scots could not make another king. The Wars of Independence had started!

This drawing from 1562 shows King John with a broken crown and sceptre. This was meant to show that John was a weak king.