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Beginning to A.D. 350
A.D. 350 to 794
A.D. 795 to 1260

The Coronation of John Balliol

Toom Tabard (the empty coat)

The question of succession did not start well. Edward I arrived at Norham in May 1291 in full royal regalia. The Scots stopped just north of the border, expecting King Edward to cross the Tweed and come to them, but Edward would not "capitulate". When the Scots reluctantly sent a delegation across the Tweed they were met with a demand that Edward must be acknowledged as the Lord Superior of Scotland (i.e. higher in rank than the King) before he would settle the succession. He also insisted upon settling the matter as a judge, not arbiter.

One by one the Scots accepted the inevitability of this if they wished to remain at peace with their neighbour and settle the matter of Kingship. On 12 June the Scottish Community of the Realm finally came to Norham, and the lengthy process of adjudication began until the "competitors were reduced to two: John Balliol and Robert Bruce. At this point a panel of 104 arbiters or 'auditors' were appointed - forty each nominated by Balliol and Bruce, and twenty-four from Edward's council. On 6 November 1292, the court adjudicated in favour of Balliol by a large majority (including twenty-nine of Bruce's own auditors). Primogeniture (the common law right of the firstborn son to inherit the entire estate), it was decided, was more significant than proximity.

Bruce formally resigned his claim to his son and heirs, so that it would not be lost after his death, retiring to his castle at Lochmaben. His son Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, in turn surrendered his earldom to his own son, Robert Bruce (the future king), who was now eighteen years old.

Three days later, after paying homage to Edward, Balliol left for Scone, where he was inaugurated as King of Scots on the Stone of Scone inside the abbey church on 30 November 1292. However, within a month. Balliol and many Scottish nobles had to travel to Newcastle to swear fealty yet again for his kingdom to King Edward. Balliol's four-year reign started and ended in humiliation for King John Balliol and left Balliol with the jeering nickname of 'Toom Tabard' (Empty Tunic) with which he has come down in history (perhaps unfairly).