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The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland, 1124–1290$
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Alice Taylor

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749202

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749202.001.0001

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The Early Scottish State?

The Early Scottish State?

(p.25) 1 The Early Scottish State?
The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland, 1124–1290

Alice Taylor

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines two figures—the mormaer (or earl) and the toísech (or thane) and their territorial counterparts (the earldom and thanage)—which have been seen as the most important royal officials of an early Scottish state. It argues that the authority of mormaer and toísech became territorialized over the twelfth century, an argument which has substantial implications for the position that ‘Anglo-Norman’ kings began to ‘feudalize’ their kingdom. In particular, David I’s famous ‘infeftment’ of Donnchad I in the earldom of Fife is reassessed. Royal landed patronage is also examined, and the chapter argues that, particularly in the second half of the twelfth century, kings cemented their power in Scotia by giving land away to their aristocracy. The importance of these two processes—territorialization and gift-giving—to the changing nature of royal authority in the twelfth century is developed in the conclusion to the first part of this book.

Keywords:   gift-giving, feudalism, patronage, state formation, territorialization, lordship, kinship, inheritance, mormaer, thanes

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