Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray

Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray

Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray (died 20 July 1332) was Regent of Scotland, an important figure in the Scottish Wars of Independence, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Arbroath.

He is usually described as a nephew of Robert the Bruce [ Bain, Joseph, FSA (Scot)., "The Edwards in Scotland, 1296 - 1377", Edinburgh, 1901:61 & 66 ] 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 with the Christian name of Eleanor (d.1331) by whom he had a daughter, Isabel de Bruce, who married Thomas Randolph, Lord Chamberlain of Scotland. [ Weis, Fredk., Lewis, "et al", "The Magna Charta Sureties 1215", 5th edition, Baltimore, 2002: 50] [ Richardson, Douglas, "Plantagenet Ancestry", Baltimore, Md., 2004: 682]

Thomas, the future Earl of Moray, supported Bruce in his initial coup when he proclaimed himself king and was crowned at Scone, but abandoned him after the English victory at the Battle of Methven. Later, fighting for the English, he was captured and brought before the king, who he taunted for his alleged cowardice by engaging in guerrilla warfare instead of standing and fighting in pitched battle.

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 in 1313 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. The son of a former Governor knew about a path up the rock, which he had used to visit the town at night against his father's wishes, and tipped off the Scots. Randolph led his men up this path one night to capture the castle.

It is difficult to say exactly when Randolph was raised to the Earldom of Moray, but by 1315 he is "Thomas Ranulphi comes Morauie". [ Angus, William, 'Miscellaneous Charters 1315-1401' in "Miscellany of The Scottish History Society" volume five, Edinburgh, 1933:5]

He played an important role in the Scottish victory at Bannockburn, where he commanded one of the four schiltrons of the Scottish infantry.

On the death of Robert I the crown was inherited by his son David II, who was only a boy. 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 poisoned by the English, but this is now discounted. His successor as Guardian was Domhnall II, Earl of Mar. [Traquair, Peter "Freedom's Sword." Collins, 1998. ISBN 978-0004720791]

Thomas Randolph married Isabel, only daughter of Sir John Steward of Bonkill (killed at the battle of Falkirk, 1298), a brother of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland. [ Anderson, William, "The Scottish Nation", Edinburgh, 1867, vol.vii: 200.] [ Mackenzie, A.M., M.A., D.Litt., "The Rise of the Stewarts", London, 1935: 14n.] [ Simpson, David, "The Genealogical and Chronological History of the Stuarts", Edinburgh, 1713: 64-5.] They had several children, including:

* Thomas Randolph, 2nd Earl of Moray,
* John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray,
* Agnes Randolph, who married Patrick Dunbar, 9th Earl of Dunbar.
* Geilis (or Isabella) Randolph, wife of John de Dunbar of Derchester and Birkynsyde, parents of George, 10th Earl of Dunbar & March.


External links

* [ Electric Scotland biography]

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