Edgar of Scotland

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(Étgar mac Maíl Choluim)
King of Scots
Reign 1097–1107
Born About 1074
Died 8 January, 1107
Buried Dunfermline Abbey
Predecessor Domnall Bán
Successor Alexander I
Consort Unmarried
Father Máel Coluim mac Donnchada
Mother Margaret

Edgar of Scotland or Étgar mac Maíl Choluim (1074 – 8 January, 1107), was king of Scots from 1097 to 1107. He was the son of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada and Queen Margaret (later Saint Margaret).

Edgar claimed the kingship in early 1095, following the murder of his half-brother Donnchad mac Maíl Choluim in late 1094 by Máel Petair of Mearns, a supporter of Edgar's uncle Domnall Bán. His older brother Edmund sided with Domnall Bán, presumably in return for an appanage and acknowledgement as the heir of the ageing and son-less Domnall.<ref>Oram, pp. 44–45.</ref>

Edgar received limited support from William Rufus as Donnchad had before him. However, the English king was occupied with a revolt led by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria, who appears to have the support of Domnall and Edmund. Rufus campaigned in the north for much of 1095, and during this time Edgar gained control only of Lothian. A charter issued at Durham at this time names him "... son of Máel Coluim King of Scots ... possessing the whole land of Lothian and the kingship of the Scots by the gift of my lord William, king of the English, and by paternal heritage."<ref>Oram, p. 46, notes that the charter distinguishes Lothian, William Rufus's gift, from the kingship of the Scots, paternal heritage; Duncan, p. 56.</ref>

Edgar's claims had the support of his brothers Alexander and DavidEthelred was Abbot of Dunkeld, and Edmund was divided from his siblings by his support of Domnall — and his uncle Edgar Ætheling as these witnessed the charter at Durham.<ref>Oram, p.46.</ref>

William Rufus spent 1096 in Normandy which he bought from his brother Robert Curthose, and it was not until 1097 that Edgar received the further support which led to the defeat of Domnall and Edmund in a hard-fought campaign led by Edgar Ætheling.<ref>Oram, p.47; Duncan, pp/. 57–58.</ref>

Although Geoffrey Gaimar claimed that Edgar was due feudal service to William Rufus, it is clear from Rufus's agreement to pay Edgar 40 or 60 shillings a day maintenance when in attendance at the English court that this was less than accurate. On 29 May, 1099, for example, Edgar served as sword-bearer in at the great feast to inaugurate Westminster Hall. However, with William Rufus's death, Edgar ceased to appear at the English court, and was not present at the coronation of Henry I.<ref>Duncan, p.58.</ref>

With Domnall and Edmund removed, Edgar was uncontested king of Scots, and his reign appears to have been without major crisis. It should be noted that Edgar was certainly not heir by primogeniture, as later kings would be, since Donnchad had a legitimate son and heir in the person of William fitz Duncan.<ref>Duncan, p. 59.</ref> Compared with his rise to power, Edgar's reign is obscure. One notable act was his gift of a camel (or perhaps an elephant) to his fellow Gael Muircheartach Ua Briain, High King of Ireland.<ref>Annals of Innisfallen, s.a. 1105.</ref>

In 1098, Edgar signed a treaty with Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway, setting the boundary between Scots and Norwegian claims in the west. Ceding claims to the Hebrides and Kintyre to Magnus was an acknowledgment of the existing situation.<ref>Oram, p. 48.</ref> Edgar's religious foundations included a priory at Coldingham in 1098, associated with the Convent of Durham. At Dunfermline Abbey he sought support from Anselm of Canterbury with his mother's foundation from which the monks of Canterbury may have been expelled by Domnall Bán.<ref>Barrow, p. 153.</ref>

Edgar died in Edinburgh on 8 January, 1107 and was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. He was unmarried and childless and his brother Alexander was his acknowledged successor. Edgar's will also granted David an appanage in "Cumbria" (the lands of the former kingdom of Strathclyde), and perhaps also in southern parts of Lothian.<ref>Duncan, p. 60; Oram, p. 60.</ref>

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Preceded by:
Domnall Bán
King of Scots
Succeeded by:
Alexander I
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