Donnchadh IV, Earl of Fife
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Mormaer Donnchadh IV of Fife, a Guardian of Scotland, ruled Fife, 1288 – 1353, and was in fact the last of the native Scottish rulers of the province. He was born in late 1289, the same year as his father Donnchadh III's death.
He came into the Mormaerdom as a baby, owing to the murder of his father. He was so young, in fact, that the honor of crowning John Balliol - normally the hereditary right of the Mormaer of Fife - was delegated to a knight, namely Sir John de St. John. He also missed the crowing of Robert I, owing to his captivity in the Kingdom of England. Robert was forced to call upon Donnchadh's aunt, Isabella, to do the job in his absence.
His initial support for Robert has been doubted,<ref>G.W.S. Barrow, Robert Bruce, p. 156</ref> but in 1315, a year after the Battle of Bannockburn, he surrendered his Mormaerdom to King Robert in order to receive it back. The agreement with Robert ensured that the Mormaerdom would not be held by the king, and that the arms of Fife should always be unique from the similar royal arms. If Donnchadh were to die childless, King Robert would grant it to someone, by default Alan of Menteith.<ref>ibid., p. 278</ref>. This was because Donnchadh's wife was in the custody of the English, and there was obviously some pressure from the men of Fife to retain their own regional ruler. He was present at the negotiations which led to the Treaty of Edinburgh, and a signatory to the Declaration of Arbroath.<ref>ibid., p.258</ref>
Donnchadh fought for against the Anglo-Balliol coalition, but was captured at when the Scottish army was defeated at the Battle of Halidon Hill. Donnchadh was reconciled with King Edward Balliol during his custody, and crowned him King, as was the right of the ancient Mormaers of Fife.
Donnchadh died with no male heirs. He is important because he was the last male Gaelic ruler of Fife. When he died in 1353, he past his mormaerdom on to his daughter Isabella, who in turn signed it over to Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany in 1371.
- Bannerman, John, "MacDuff of Fife," in A. Grant & K.Stringer (eds.) Medieval Scotland: Crown, Lordship and Community, Essays Presented to G.W.S. Barrow, (Edinburgh, 1993), pp.20-38
- Barrow, G.W.S., Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland, (Edinburgh, 1988)
|Mormaer of Fife|
1288 – 1353