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Norham adjudication

Norham adjudication, 1291–2. Edward I's adjudication of the claims put forward by John Balliol and twelve others to the vacant Scottish throne, which began at Norham, near Berwick-on-Tweed, on 10 May 1291. On the death of Margaret ‘the Maid of Norway’ (1290), the Scottish royal house had failed in the main line. Edward insisted on intervening in the succession dispute, or ‘Great Cause’, not as an impartial arbitrator, but as feudal overlord of Scotland; and his standing as such was recognized by the claimants, though not by the rest of the Scottish political community, in June 1291. Their claims were scrutinized by a court of 104 ‘auditors’ (assessors), and after the proceedings had resumed at Berwick, judgment was given on 17 November 1292 in favour of John Balliol, who was enthroned at Scone on 30 November. When on 26 December Edward extracted homage from Balliol as king of Scots, he was thereby unambiguously acknowledged as overlord of Scotland.

Keith J. Stringer

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