John Balliol marries Isabella de Warenne

John Balliol marries Isabella de Warenne

  • February 9, 1281

John Balliol married around 9 February 1281 to Isabella de Warenne, daughter of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey.

Toom Tabard

John Balliol or John de Balliol (c. 1249 – late 1314), known derisively as Toom Tabard (meaning ’empty coat’), was King of Scots from 1292 to 1296. Little is known of his early life. After the death of Margaret, Maid of Norway, Scotland entered an interregnum during which several competitors for the Crown of Scotland put forward claims. Balliol was chosen from among them as the new King of Scotland by a group of selected noblemen headed by King Edward I of England.

Scottish pretender

It has been established that Balliol and de Warenne had at least one child, Edward Balliol, Scottish pretender. Other children linked to the couple include Henry Balliol, killed in the Battle of Annan on 16 December 1332. , Agnes (or Maud or Anne) Balliol (who might actually have been his sister), who married Bryan FitzAlan, Lord FitzAlan, and Margaret Balliol who married Sir John St Clere, knight, of East Grinsted, Sussex.

Accession as King of Scots

In 1284 Balliol had attended a parliament at Scone, which had recognised Margaret, Maid of Norway, as heir presumptive to her grandfather, King Alexander III.

Following the deaths of Alexander III in 1286 and Margaret in 1290, John Balliol was a competitor for the Scottish crown in the Great Cause, as he was a great-great-great-grandson of David I through his mother (and therefore one generation further than his main rival Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale, grandfather of Robert the Bruce, who later became king), being senior in genealogical primogeniture but not in proximity of blood.

He submitted his claim to the Scottish auditors with King Edward I of England as the administrator of the court, at Berwick-upon-Tweed, on 6 June 1291. The Scottish auditors’ decision in favour of Balliol was pronounced in the Great Hall of Berwick Castle on 17 November 1292, and he was inaugurated accordingly King of Scotland at Scone, 30 November 1292, St. Andrew’s Day.

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