This site has been archived as part of King's Digital Lab (KDL) archiving and sustainability process, following background analysis and consultation with research leads wherever possible.
Project content and data has been stored as a fully backed-up Virtual Machine and can be made available on request (depending on access controls agreed with the Principal Investigator) for a period of at least 2 years from the decommissioning date indicated below.
If you have an interest in this project and would like to support a future phase please contact us by filling in this form.
At its inception, KDL inherited just under 100 digital research projects and websites. Aware of the intellectual and cultural value of many of these projects, with the support of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at King’s College London, KDL took on its responsibility to the community to steward them in a responsible manner. When the options of setting up a Service Level Agreement for further hosting and maintenance with KDL and/or undertaking migration to IT Services at King’s or other institutions were deemed infeasible or inappropriate, the archiving process was initiated.
We would like to thank research leads, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at King’s College London, and partner institutions, for their support in this process.
For further information on KDL archiving and sustainability process see:
Professor Dauvit Broun
Professor David Carpenter
Professor Keith J. Stringer
Complete team details can be found in the archived site here
10 May 2021
Data Repository at University of Glasgow
The Anglo-Scottish wars which began in 1296 mark a watershed in the history of Britain. In 1296, Edward I deposed the Scottish king, John Balliol, and, mobilizing the massive resources of the English state, strove to annex Scotland to the English crown. In 1314, Edward’s son, Edward II, was decisively defeated at the battle of Bannockburn by Robert Bruce. A few months later, the Scottish parliament banned anyone in Scotland from holding land in England. The English conquest had failed, but it left deep marks. England and Scotland were now severed politically and socially as never before. We still live with the consequences in the twenty-first century.
The paradox of these developments is that they came at end of a long period of Anglo-Scottish peace. Between 1217 and 1296 no hostile armies went to war across the border. The peace was cemented both by the marriages of the sister of King Henry III of England (1216-1272) to King Alexander II of Scotland (1214-1249), and of his daughter to King Alexander III (1249-1286). The realms were united by their coinage. Indeed, there were more English coins circulating in Scotland than there were Scottish. They also (according to one view) had a very similar ‘common law’ with legal procedures in Scotland developing very much on an English model. Meanwhile, both lay lords and religious houses held land on both sides of the border and owed allegiance to both the king of England and the king of Scotland. In this perspective, the destruction of a harmonious Anglo-Scottish modus vivendi came as a bolt from a clear blue sky, being very much the result of contingent events, especially the failure of the direct line of the Scottish crown after the death of Alexander III in 1286. But is this perspective the correct one? Another view is that beneath the superficial harmony, profound changes were taking place. An increasing sense of Scottish identity and history were both unifying the Scottish realm and setting it apart from England. At the same time, the demands of the English crown for overlordship over Scotland were persistent and intensifying. Here were the seeds of the future conflict.
The social and political context of the Scottish Wars of Independence is the subject of the Breaking of Britain project. The Breaking of Britain project’s northern England wing takes the people of the three northernmost counties, Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, and examines their relationship with English royal government. Was that government regarded by the northern peoples as a burden or benefit? The burden would come, of course, from the financial exactions of the crown; the benefit from the crown’s role in maintaining the peace, dispensing justice and facilitating the settlement of disputes through the procedures of the common law. These questions are given a particular edge when asked of the far north. The seat of royal government was Westminster. The king’s major residences and the normal sweep of his itinerary were likewise in the southern half of the country. How far then did kings have power to exact money from the far north? How far, likewise, did litigants from the northern counties seek to bring their cases before the bench and the court ‘coram rege’? Was the north subject to or remote from the normal courses of royal government?
Such an exploration leads on to further questions. How aware were the Scottish people of the situation south of the border? How many had direct experience of it through landholding in the northern counties? If they were aware, how did that influence their attitudes to the critical question of entry into the English state? Did they see the English state, exemplified in the northern counties, as fundamentally different from their own. Did they look apprehensively at the burdens imposed by the English crown? Did they look enviously and eagerly at the benefits of the common law? And can, anyway, one talk of a homogenous ‘people’ either in Scotland or in northern England. Might not royal government be regarded very differently according to class, role and gender?
In order to explore these questions, the northern England wing of the project created a unique data base. The database has enabled local historians, genealogists, school children, university students, and all those interested in the northern past to explore a whole range of issues of their own. Nothing like the database has been prepared before for any English county. It is a unique resource, and the data gathered has been made available in a raw SQL format at the University of Glasgow's RDMS.
'People of Northern England' is a part of the project Breaking of Britain: Cross-Border Society and Scottish Independence 1216-1314'. Further information on the project findings can be found at the PoMS website here.