Huntingdon, earldom of

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Huntingdon, earldom of. In the 12th and early 13th cents., an earldom acquired and held, though not continuously, by members of the Scottish royal house. Their association with it, which placed them in the front rank of the English nobility, stemmed from the marriage in 1113 between David (later David I) and the heiress Matilda, daughter of Earl Waltheof. Its lands, the ‘honour of Huntingdon’, sprawled across a dozen shires, but lay mainly in Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Northamptonshire, and a significant number of tenants—notably the Bruces, Lindsays, and Olifards (Oliphants)—were able to develop Scottish interests and careers. An important weapon in Anglo-Scottish diplomacy, it made Scots kings and princes vassals of the English crown; but it also enabled them to challenge English claims to the overlordship of Scotland itself, by insisting that homage was due for English lands alone.

Keith J. Stringer