Edgar of Scotland

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

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

Edgar claimed the kingship of the Scotland in early 1095, following the murder of his half-brother Donnchad mac Maíl Choluim by Máel Petair of Mearns, a supporter of Edgar's uncle, Domnall Bán, in late 1094. His older brother Edmund sided with Domnall Bán, presumably in return for an appanage and acknowledgement as the heir (tanaiste) of the aging and son-less Domnall.[1]

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 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."[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

Dunfermline Abbey, burial place of King Edgar.
Dunfermline Abbey, burial place of King Edgar.

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, as Donnchad had a legitimate son and heir in the person of William fitz Duncan.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]


  1. ^ Oram, pp. 44–45.
  2. ^ Oram, p. 46, notes that the charter distinguishes Lothian, William Rufus's gift, from the kingship of the Scots, paternal heritage; Duncan, p. 56.
  3. ^ Oram, p.46.
  4. ^ Oram, p.47; Duncan, pp/. 57–58.
  5. ^ Duncan, p.58.
  6. ^ Duncan, p. 59.
  7. ^ Annals of Innisfallen, s.a. 1105.
  8. ^ Oram, p. 48.
  9. ^ Barrow, p. 153.
  10. ^ Duncan, p. 60; Oram, p. 60.


Preceded by:
Domnall Bán
King of Scots
Succeeded by:
Alexander I
Monarchs of Scotland (Alba)
Traditional Kings of Picts: (Legendary Kings) | Drest of the 100 Battles | Talorc I | Nechtan I | Drest II | Galan | Drest III | Drest IV | Gartnait I | Cailtram | Talorc II | Drest V | Galam Cennalath | Bruide I | Gartnait II | Nechtan II | Cinioch | Gartnait III | Bruide II | Talorc III | Talorgan I | Gartnait IV | Drest VI | Bruide III | Taran | Bruide IV | Nechtan IV | Drest VII | Alpín I | Óengus I | Bruide V | Cináed II | Alpín II | Talorgan II | Drest VIII | Conall | Caustantín | Óengus II | Drest IX | Eogán | Ferat | Bruide VI | Cináed II | Bruide VII | Drest X
Traditional Kings of Scots: Cináed I | Domnall I | Causantín I | Áed | Eochaid | Giric | Domnall II | Causantín II | Máel Coluim I | Idulb | Dub | Cuilén | Cináed II | Amlaíb | Cináed II | Causantín III | Cináed III | Máel Coluim II | Donnchad I | Mac Bethad | Lulach | Máel Coluim III | Domnall III Bán | Donnchad II | Domnall III Bán | Edgar | Alexander I | David I | Máel Coluim IV | William I | Alexander II | Alexander III | First Interregnum | John | Second Interregnum | Robert I | David II | Edward | David II | Robert II | Robert III | James I | James II | James III | James IV | James V | Mary I | James VI* | Charles I* | The Covenanters | The Protectorate | Charles II* | James VII* | Mary II* | William II* | Anne*
* Also Monarch of Ireland and England

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