Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray
|Earl of Moray|
Inscription to the Earl of Moray at Edinburgh Castle
|Successor||Thomas Randolph, 2nd Earl of Moray|
|Spouse(s)||Isabel Stewart of Bonkyll|
|Father||Sir Thomas Randolph|
|Died||20 July 1332
Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland
Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray (died 20 July 1332) was Regent of Scotland, an important figure in the Wars of Scottish Independence, and is named second of those in whose names the Barons' Letter to Pope John XXII, commonly known as the Declaration of Arbroath, was sent.
He is usually described as a nephew of Robert the Bruce although their exact relationship is uncertain. The traditional view is that it was through a daughter of the first marriage of Countess Marjorie of Carrick, who was mother of King Robert by her second marriage. However modern sources state that the King's father Robert (1253–1304) married secondly, after 1292, to a lady named Eleanor (died 1331) by whom he had a daughter, Isabel de Bruce, who married Thomas Randolph, Lord Chamberlain of Scotland.
War of Independence
Thomas, the future Earl of Moray, supported Bruce in his initial coup when he proclaimed himself king and was crowned at Scone, but was captured after the defeat at the Battle of Methven and changed sides. Later, fighting for the English, he was in the company of Bruces Scottish enemy John MacDougall of Lorn but was captured and brought before the king, whom he taunted for his alleged cowardice by engaging in guerrilla warfare instead of standing and fighting in pitched battle. He was then put into solitary confinement .
However, he was persuaded to change sides again, and went on to become one of the king's most important lieutenants. The fact that he was allowed to resume his allegiance to Bruce suggests that they did have family ties. His most famous achievement took place on 14 March 1314  when he carried out a daring attack on Edinburgh Castle. This was one of a handful of castles in Scotland still in English hands, and stood on top of an apparently impregnable rock. Amongst his men was William Francis, the son of a former Governor, who knew about a path up the rock, which he had used to visit the town at night against his father's wishes. He volunteered to show Randolph the route and at the dead of night, Randolph led his men up this path to capture the castle.
He played an important role in the Scottish victory at Bannockburn, where he commanded one of the divisions (schiltroms) of the infantry, the others being commanded by King Robert and Edward Bruce, the king's brother.
He accompanied the king's brother, Edward Bruce, on his invasion of Ireland in 1315 and was one of the principal leaders of the war against the English settlers in Ireland. He was also in charge of returning to Scotland to gather reinforcements and to transfer soldiers between the two fronts as needed.
After the death of Edward Bruce and the recall of the expeditionary force from Ireland, Sir Thomas was sent by his uncle as envoy to the court of Rome where he succeeded in getting a temporary absolution for King Robert who had been excommunicated for killing John Comyn. In 1326 he also led the Scottish deputation which negotiated the Treaty of Corbeil, renewing the defensive Franco-Scottish alliance.
On the death of Robert I, the crown was inherited by his son David II, who was only five years old. Randolph became Regent, but three years later died of a sudden illness at Musselburgh on his way to repel an invasion by Edward Balliol and his supporters. At the time it was said that he had been poisoned by the English, but this is now discounted by many scholars though many Scots still believe he was murdered. His successor as Guardian was Domhnall II, Earl of Mar.
Marriage and family
Thomas Randolph married Isabel, only daughter of Margaret de Bonkyl and Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll (killed at the Battle of Falkirk (1298)), a brother of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland. They had several children, including:
- Thomas Randolph, 2nd Earl of Moray,
- John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray,
- Agnes Randolph
- Isabel Randolph, married Sir Patrick Dunbar and their sons were Patrick, 7th Earl of Dunbar and George, 9th Earl of Dunbar.
|Peerage of Scotland|
|Earl of Moray
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