Talk:Patrick V, Earl of March

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No proper sources on this page. I shall see what I can do. David Lauder 14:37, 14 June 2007 (UTC)


I'd say Fiona Watson is at odds with everyone else on the numbering. There seems to be no dispute in anything I can find that the last Dunbar Earl of March was the eleventh and so counting backwards this fellow just has to be the ninth and those before him 8th, 7th etc. It makes far more sense to number them correctly in the accepted manner than by calling them all Patrick and putting Roman numerals after their names - I cannot find any such form of reference in peerage directories. Also, although some may argue that numbering (for all peers, not just the Dunbars) as we know it was not in vogue in, say, 1300, the fact remains that this is 2007 and it is an accepted/expected form of reference today for peers to be numbered. David Lauder 09:23, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, David, this isn't a big issue for me; these numberings are not facts, and my view on it is that it is silly to impose such numbering and peerage works are the epitome of bad scholarship in anything predating the early modern period or later middle ages. It is not the case that the ODNB is wrong, or that the peerage scholars are wrong, because it is not a true or false issue. These peerage works follow a pattern set by the first peerage historians in the 18th century; in this earldom's case, Cospatric, Earl of Northumberland, was taken as the first earl, whereas modern writers would not accept this even if they use the 18th century numbering. To impose this numbering system on earls of this period you need two things: 1) you need to know who the first earl was and 2) you need to have knowledge of a continuous line of earls. You don't have that for any Scottish earldom until the earldom of Douglas was "created" in the 14th century (in the case of Carrick, there is may or may not have been an additional mormaer between Donnchadh and Niall, depending on whether "Nicholas" is a Latinisation of Niall or a separate name; in the case of Sutherland (Cat), there may have been between 3 and 5 13th century earls, and who knows how many before the de Moravias were mormaers of Cat). Now, for "Dunbar", was Cospatric I "1st earl", or Cospatric II? And what about Dolfin, brother of Cospatric II, was he "earl in Lothian"? Who knows?! It is important also to understand that "earls", Gaelic or Anglo-Saxon, were not peers; and "earl" was in practice a lower grade of kingship, and in Scotland it appears to have been socially impossible for the following century or more to "appoint" any earl without the "appointee" himself possessing "comital" or "royal blood". In point of fact, no "earl of Dunbar" is attested until a rather spurious couple of entries in the Chronicle of Melrose use it for Waltheof; all charters of Waltheof and previous earls just use the title "comes" - possessing the status of earl in Lothian - while Cospatric II's gravestone I think says "Earl of Lothian". Before the 13th/14th centuries, it is far more important to possess the sub-regnal social status of "earl" than to attach it to any particular location ... in fact, the locational name use for our "earldom of Dunbar" changed three times in the two centuries after the Cospatric II, first know earl, going from "Lothian" (generic province), "Dunbar" (family seat) to "March" (geopolitical conceptualisation); what this means is that using Cospatric I as first earl is historically correct, but not for the reasons that the 18th century writers would have believed; though definitely not "1st Earl of Dunbar" (an anachronism anyways), Cospatric I was the first Cospatric to possess comital status; and as I said to once elsewhere, as PatricK V's English vernacular name was almost certainly Cospatric, he would have been Cospatric VIII: there's some OR for you!!! For point of record, modern historians don't really think about it and usually take for granted the peerage numbers; e.g. McGladdery rather embarrassingly corrected Walter Bower who called Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas, Archibaldus Secundus comes de Douglas saying "he was in fact the 4th earl" when Bower actually meant "Archibald II, Earl of Douglas" not "Archibald, 2nd Earl of Douglas" (I'm working from memory here, it may have been a correction of the 5th earl to Archibaldus Tertius, or something else, but the point is that the mistake was made). It think the way you've edited this article to deal with this is perfect, though I should point out he did not possess two earldoms ... only one. March and Dunbar are the same earldoms here. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 10:36, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, I hear what you say but I am not convinced that you or me are superior in our knowledge to the earlier writers and assessors of all this. I think everyone has a POV and clearly many disagree with each other. My POV is that it is 2007 and we here on Wikipedia should not be attempting to rewrite history according to our POVs. We should try and accommodate as much as possible from all POVs if reliably sourced. The numbering system has been used for at least half a millenium or longer and is an accurate way of identifying particular peers. You say you don't accept these people were peers in the modern sense but its 2007 and that is how we now view them. You are possibly hair-splitting. The peerage has been formalised and it is considered retrospective. (I didn't do this). Now I know you find this abhorrent but all I am trying to do with articles is to write them in a manner which conforms to at least the past 500 years of accepted peerage directories/biographies. That is what today's readers understand and expect. It matters not to me personally what number these people were. Regarding the Dunbars (yes, I knew that E of Dunbar was the same title as E of March and that they just changed saddles), I studied this family at college (40 years ago). I found them fascinating. But I had always thought (without returning to re-research them) that the actual lineage was quite clear - from the first who carried the title (comes or otherwise earl) or the accepted/acknowledged first, and it is easy to count up the line. The same with the Douglases. We know exactly who used the title(s) and surely it is therefore easy to number them? Calling them I, II, III, in my view is hopeless and meaningless. Just my POV, I know. Regards, David Lauder 12:04, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, the lineage for Dunbar is relatively clear, but we do not know if Dolfin was earl between Cospatric I and Cospatric II (to ask "earl of what" is to misunderstand Anglo-Saxon conceptualisation of "Earlship"), and there may have been an additional earl between Cospatric II and Waltheof (sources aren't exhaustive enough to know). Anyways, this is not a matter of knowledge or fact, but of presentation; and ps we - you and I - do have more knowledge than the antiquaries of the 18th century, just compare Bishop Keith's catalogue with Watt's Fasti Ecclesiae and you'll see this well illustrated; most historical sources we have now were opened up between the 1830s and the 1920s. Imposing the formality of court peers from the early modern period on regional kinglets from the pre-14th cent. is surely not very helpful, and although a forgivable force of habit with 18th or 19th century writers, is quite cringeworthy in modern peerage hacks. No historian would regard Patrick V as a peer ... the Scottish peerage system dates only to the 1440s and, as the word is technical, this can't be gotten around. The peerage works that cover people in the earlier period do so mostly for convenience. The numbering system is simply unusable for all but one or two "Scottish" earldoms - and probably not even these - until the 14th century. Who on earth was the "1st Earl of Angus"? What the 18th century writers did for these was start from the first ones they knew about, but unfortunately that means starting in the reign of David I when sources start appearing (to them) for the first time, and has nothing to do with who was actually 1st. Since then we have found names for two 10th century "earls" of Angus and Atholl, names which have appeared because of the Poppleton MS, and an one or two early 11th century earls of Mar because of Irish annals. And for instance it's only recently we've worked out the problem of Ethelred and Caustantin both being earls of Fife in the same late 11th century document; only by good study of the diplomatic here was it shown that Ethelred being earl was a mistake, but they didn't know that in the 18th or 19th centuries, and as a result you've read some very inventive discussions and attempts to deal with it by peerage writers. To emphasise, I don't really see that there's a content dispute atm, so this convo is purely for interest. ;) And yeah, the Dunbars are an interesting family. Last Anglo-Saxon earls anywhere, they believed they were descended from the Kings of England, Scotland and Denmark. Very interesting and confident naming patterns, Cospatric, Gawain, George, Columba; not sure they ever abandoned their old semi-regal idea of self-importance, and never thought of themselves as committed to either the Scottish or English kingdom, which, as many have commented, resulted in them being pilloried by both Scottish and English national historians for their lack of patriotism and their - lol - self-interest. Of course the real reason for this reputation in Scotland was George II's last "betrayal; their kindred in the following centuries constantly had to defend their ancestors to other Scots, who regarded the Dunbar kin as traitors incarnate ("Dumbar, that auld spelunk of tressoun") - witness the poet Dunbar's fascinating flyting with Walter Kennedy; the latter accused Patrick V (called "Corspatrik traitour be his style") of bringing the English language into Scotland, and the kindred was "curst Corspatrikis clan"; Godscroft said similar things about the Dunbar kindred. There's enough evidence to produce a few volumes of work on the family ... shame no-one has done it yet. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 14:40, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

I think you have convinced me. I have not been able to return to further studies in Scottish history. The thing is that with the dissolution of the 'modern' peerage (by which I mean them being taxed out of their estates and ancestral homes) more and more MSS which were hitherto in private hands are coming to the fore. I know of two stately homes which I have visited to examine 16th and 17th century MSS and books who have muniments rooms which the National Archives have not fully catalogued because both peers think "its none of their business - its ours". The mind boggles at the thought of what might be lying around in Ireland and, indeed, what crucial history was destroyed by the destructive lunatics there in the first 30 years of this century. I am not sure I would concur that the Dunbars were responsible for introducing the English language into Scotland. For instance English chroniclers tell us that Canmore spoke excellent English; and his wife was English. As for betrayals, the Bruces were not a native Scottish family and the Stewards were also incomers. All these great families, particularly those in the Lowlands, had lands and lordships in England. I suspect that if my English lordships were producing three times the income of my Scottish fiefdoms I'd be pressed as to who to support in a conflict! Of course you are right in saying that self-interest always prevails. The Scots were appalling at fighting amongst themselves anyway, and the business of George throwing all his toys out of the pram when his daughter's Royal engagement was broken off is both understanding and typical of the seeming endless intrigues which only really came to a grinding halt in 1707. The 17th century in Sotland was fantastically corrupt. Regards, David Lauder 15:07, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Hey, hey ... you're right not to concur that the Dunbars brought English in to Scotland, they of course had nothing whatsoever to do with it ... just using it to illustrate that Dunbar treachery was perceived as so great in the late middle ages/early modern period that they even got the blame for undermining what they thought of then as the national language. You are right that Mael Coluim III was said to have interpreted for Margaret in communication with Scottish church leaders ... this is in the longer version of Turgot which, depending on your view is either the correct unabridged version or the spurious expanded version (hey Bower quotes from Turgot text that is in neither version!). I think the cross-border land holding was not the problem that it has been made out to be ... though it was of course an issue. The earls, for one thing, in most cases possessed no land, and in only a few cases, some land, land which was merely a source of supplementary revenue; yet they were the ones who swung allegiance the most. The Stewards who ruled half a dozen provincial lordships in late 13th century Scotland had almost nothing in England (don't confuse the distant kin of fitzAlan's who by this point had little relationship with the family); Bruce, barely out of teenagehood in the early 1290s, was earl of Carrick, so the estates that still belonged to his father were never going to be of much value. The key point is that Carrick could have yielded a few thousand soldiers to Bruce, men who were his (though not his father's) kinsmen, the Stewarts likewise thousands from their main territories in Bute, Knapdale, Kyle and Strathgryfe. If you look carefully at the Turnberry Band and trace the activities of its members, it'll become obvious that the TB from the start were interested in a Bruce kingship, preferably with English support but without it if necessary; their paltry English estates would have meant nothing to them, being some of the most powerful military leaders in Britain by virtue of their military following in SW Scotland, and considering the prize; it was of course Bruce who forbade those in his allegiance to hold English titles, severing the links. And of course most middle ranking aristocratic Scots would have been motivated more by the strength and whereabouts of the Bruce-Stewart-Lennox-Campbell-MacDonald army or the Balliol-Comyn-MacDougall army or (when or for as long as it could be paid to campaign) the English army than estates in England. Regarding George II, his throwing the toys out could have been one of the most serious disasters in Scottish history had not his vassals undermined him; he would, probably I tend to think, being proud of his origin from the kings of Scotland, England and Denmark, and of proper comital blood, have had an astronomical ego and sense of honour and regarded the Douglases as scum. Regarding source ... yeah, my mouth waters at what could possibly emerge. Only a few years ago a Spanish academic going through some manuscripts discovered a lost work called the "Miracles of St Margaret"; he telephoned Robert Bartlett, prolly because he was the most famous medieval historian resident in Scotland, and Bartlett produced an edition (this btw you should get; it comes with an account of St Aebba of Coldingham, both offering fascinating portrayals of early 13th century (yes) social history in Scotland). Earlier in the century a guy in Germany found an 8th century account of St Ninian, called the "Miracles of Bishop Ninian". Who knows what might pop up in the next few years. :) Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 04:47, 4 November 2007 (UTC)