Border lordship and central politics: The local context of Scottish power struggles, 1525-1552

Schmid, Christopher
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University of Guelph

This thesis investigates the relationship between the Scottish central government, meaning royal government and its representatives, and Scottish lords of the Anglo-Scottish border from 1525 to 1552. The necessities and organization of border administration created a situation in which there was a constant potential for instability, poor government on the borders, and disrupted relations between Scotland and England. Good administration depended on the crown's respect for border lords' independence and the fulfillment of border administrative duties by the border lords. This relationship and the strategic position enjoyed by the border lords on the frontier also created the potential for the border lords to participate in Scottish central politics to an extent much greater than any other Scottish peripheral region. This potential was most apparent during the power struggles between King James V and the Earl of Angus from 1525 to 1528, and the power struggle between the Earl of Arran and Cardinal Beaton starting in 1542. This study reveals that the character of border administration and the relationship between the crown and the borders was not determined solely by the crown. The independence of the border lords was continued due to the authority and strategic position of the borderers, even while the borderlands were being incorporated within the larger realm.

border lordship, central politics, Scotland, power struggles, royal government