Who were the outstanding Kings of Scots?

Jun 2015
5,716
UK
#1
Bar Robert the Bruce, and maybe Malcolm, who else stood out?

And hy was the title King of Scots and not King of Scotland, like King of England, King of France, King of Castile, or King of Leon? How come Scottish sovereigns retained that title when the styles King of the English and King of the Franks change respectively?
 
Nov 2015
1,016
Ayton
#2
Before Flodden, James IV had been a popular king. He had prestigious projects on the go.
Married to Margaret, an English princess. In an agreed state of 'Perpetual Peace'.

But, like England has a friend who gets us into awkward situations
So, Scotland had a similar Friend. One who Scotland sided with against the Pope and most of the rulers of Christendom. France.

James ended up excommunicated and then dead. Which was not a good outcome.
Even so, I would love to know where 'The Seven Sisters', guns he had cast in Antwerp, ended up.

Maybe, when I'm digging at Flodden next year we might find one!
 
Nov 2015
1,016
Ayton
#4
Henry gained quite a lot of money to leave France. James got 'perpetual peace' although there is no trace of his body. No record of the Burial at St. Paul's (old records from 16th century). Then I saw that Henry VII had a funeral at St. Paul's but was buried at Westminster Abbey. So my next call to St. Paul's will be funeral, not burial.
Finding anything related to 16th century is just amazing!
 
Mar 2012
3,474
Redneck Country, AKA Texas
#5
I wonder if James VI counts. Sure, he wasn't exactly popular in the day, but he set the foundations for the formation of Great Britain.
 
Mar 2014
8,881
Canterbury
#7
My top five (as an avid reader of Scottish history) would be:

Causantín II (900-943): The first king to bear the title 'king of Alba' (i.e., Scotland) instead of 'king of Picts' or 'king of Scots' and Picts, Causantín ruled over forty years, and in that time oversaw the final synthesis of Pictish and Goidelic culture. He was also a major renovator and innovator of institutions and public projects old and new, a moderniser of both ecclesiastic and governmental organs. He was properly the 'founder' of Scotland, as much as it had one.

Maol Coluim III (1058-1093): The famous 'Canmore' (big head, or big chief), Maol Coluim and his wife Saint Margaret feudalised the Scottish realm, heralding Anglo-Norman Scotland and the later feudal kingdom and the modern country. He also began the first decisive push to subdue many of Scotland's regional kings, though the work would not be completed for generations after his time.

David I (1124-1153): The greatest of all modernisers, the 'Davidian Revolution' basically founded the feudal kingdom and thus modern Scotland - on the back of Malcolm's spadework. A truly remarkable reformer of all aspects, David left Scotland a far wealthier, stronger, and more centralised place than it was before. He struck the country's first coins and founded its first burghs, as well as many other things that left it unrecognisable. Ultimately, his burghs were the bedrock for modern Anglicised Scots society.

Alexander II (1214-1249): A top conqueror of rebels and regional rulers, Alexander dealt decisively with rival claimants' families and regional sub-kings. His reign set the boundary between England and Scotland, which until then had been hotly-disputed, and laid the foundations for sovereign Scottish control of its independence-minded (or Norwegian-occupied) periphery. So his reign (plus those of Alexander III and James III) basically gave the country the borders as-we-know-them.

Robert I (1306-1329): It would be hard to make this list without Robert de Brus. He was, of course, the 'patriotic freedom fighter' (careerist opportunist) who spearheaded the latter phase of the First War of Scottish Independence and masterminded the Battle of Bannockburn, which won independence from the English after centuries of varying degrees of homage and an attempt at direct control.

James IV (1488-1513): In addition to bringing down the last of the ri - the Lords of the Isles - James IV was the most successful of all the Stewart monarchs who didn't inherit England. He was a very well-educated, wise, ambitious, and effective ruler in all respects. He greatly-improved the state of Scotland's armed forces and navy as well as the political situation at home and abroad. He was the founder of many intellectual and culture centres, as well as beautiful buildings, and is hailed as Scotland's first true Renaissance king.
 
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Nov 2015
1,016
Ayton
#9
I wonder if James VI counts. Sure, he wasn't exactly popular in the day, but he set the foundations for the formation of Great Britain.
I can't see how he set the foundations for Great Britain. Every military campaign he fronted was a failure. Financially, his administration was a failure. In his dealings with Parliament, he just stacked up troubles for Charles I. He was wasteful and demanded too much of his Nobles in the way of 'gifts' or benevolences. As a Scottish King until he abandoned Scotland we was a decent King. He needed to make Scotland feel that he was still the same guy that went to England. A really good king of Scotland would have had Henry/Charles play a far greater part in Scotland. That way, Charles might not have misjudged the Scots so badly.
 
Mar 2014
8,881
Canterbury
#10
I can't see how he set the foundations for Great Britain
If we exclude inheriting the throne of England and managing to stay on it - no mean feat - he didn't really do much that bore fruit in his lifetime. It would be best to think of him as a forefather of British identity, rather than its founder.