May 24

St. David I of Scotland

St. David I of Scotland

The youngest son of Malcolm III, David I was born in 1084 and he died inMay 1153. He was the Prince of the Cumbrians from 1113 to 1124 beforebecoming the king of Scotland in 1124. David spent most of his childhoodin England.

Escape to England

At some point he was temporarily exiled in England in 1093, this wasafter his father and brother were killed during an invasion and hismother passed away shortly afterwards. St David’s paternal unclebesieged them and took over the reins to become the king of Scotland andthis resulted in David being exiled.

During his stay in England, the King of England, Henry married David’ssister and due to the fact that he was now the brother in law to theking, St David became a dependent at the court of King Henry I and isduring this time that he was influenced by the Anglo-French culture ofthe court.

David’s brother who had now become the King, Edward of Scotland died in1107 and his younger brother Alexander took over and it was only thenthat St David returned to Scotland. It was also after his return that hewas able to possess his inheritance through having the backing of KingHenry. There was no bloodshed but it was through threats.

His Way to Becoming the King

When David’s brother, King Alexander died in 1124, David decided to takethe kingdom of Scotland for himself and he had the support of KingHenry. It however was not a simple task as he had to engage in warfareagainst his rival and nephew for the throne. This was fuelled by thefact that St David’s legitimacy to the thrown was questionable but hehad the great advantage of having the support of King Henry.

It took St David ten years to finally defeat his rival and the struggleinvolved the destruction of some cities. During his coronation, therewere some rituals that were part of the usual coronation that were“unchristian” and it took a lot of effort from the bishops to convinceSt David to engage in them.

Due to the fact that St David spent most of his childhood in England, heinitially had little connection with the culture and society of theScots. He however was able to familiarize himself with the culture andpractices of the Scots during the later stages of his reign.

St. David as the King

When St David finally took over, he expanded his control over moredistant regions. He was able to expand his powers into northern England

The new territories that were now under St David’s control were avaluable supplement to his income and manpower. This increased hisstatus as he became known as one of the most powerful in the kingdom ofthe English. After the year 1114, St David spent most of his timeoutside his kingdom as he would be in England or Normandy.

There is the term Davidian Revolution which is used by some scholars tosummarize the changes which took place in Scotland during the time whenSt David was the king. Some of the changes that happened include thefoundation of regional markets, implementation of the ideals of theGregorian reform, foundation of monasteries

Throughout his time as the King of Scotland, St David faced a lot ofuprisings against him but he managed to conquer them. He fought a lot ofwars with those who believed that they were the rightful heirs to thethrone. King Henry’s support for St David was a great asset for him tobe able to have those victories.

Even though he was the king of Scotland, St David had strong ties withEngland and he put efforts in upholding the intended inheritance ofHenry I, the succession of his daughter Empress Matilda. He even went togreat lengths of engaging in wars in the efforts of protecting EmpressMatilda’s interests.

His Contribution Towards the Church

St David is known for having a pioneering role as the instrument ofdiocesan reorganization. He was the defender of the Scottish church’sindependence from the claims of lordship by the Archbishop of York andthe Archbishop of Canterbury.

During his time as the king, he restored bishops as well as erected newones so that they can lead in those churches that were wavering withouta pastor. He also restored some bishopricks.

5 Interesting Facts About St. David I of Scotland

  1. St David’s mother is also a saint.
  2. When St David claimed his inheritance, it inspired some resentment
    amongst some native Scots as they viewed him as being aggressive.
  3. Even after the death of St David’s sister, King Henry continued to
    support him.
  4. St David served as a judge at Woodstock for the treason trial of
    Geoffrey de Clinton.
  5. St David is known as King Henry’s greatest protégé.

Prayer to St. David I of Scotland

Almighty God,You called your servant David to be a faithful and wise steward ofyour mysteries for the people of Wales:Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for theGospel of Christ,we may with him receive our heavenly reward;through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and theHoly Spirit, God, forever and ever.Amen