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Encyclopedia > St. Margaret of Scotland


Saint Margaret of Scotland (circa 1045 - 1093), Edgar Atheling's sister, married King Malcolm Canmore.

The daughter of the English prince Edward the Exile or "Edward Outremer", son of Edmund Ironside, Margaret was probably born in Hungary. The provenance of her mother Agatha is disputed: certainly related to the kings of Hungary, she was either a descendant of Emperor Henry III or a daughter of Yaroslav I of Kiev.

When her uncle, King Edward the Confessor, died in 1066, she was living in England where her brother, Edgar Atheling, had decided to make a claim to the vacant throne. After the conquest of England by the Normans, the widowed Agatha decided to leave Northumberland with her children and return to the Continent, but a storm drove their ship to Scotland where they sought the protection of King Malcolm Canmore. The marriage of Malcolm and Margaret soon took place and was followed by several invasions of Northumberland by the Scottish king, probably in support of the claims of his brother-in-law Edgar. These, however, had little result beyond the devastation of the province.

Far more important were the effects of this alliance upon the history of Scotland. A considerable portion of the old Northumbrian kingdom had been reduced by the Scottish kings in the previous century, but up to this time the English population had little influence upon the ruling element of the kingdom. Malcolm's marriage undoubtedly improved the condition of the English to a great extent, and under Margaret's sons, Edgar, Alexander I and David I, the Scottish court practically became anglicized.

Margaret died on 16 November, 1093, four days after her husband and her eldest son Edward, who were killed in an invasion of Northumberland. She rebuilt the monastery of Iona, and was canonised in 1251 by Pope Innocent IV on account of her great benefactions to the Church.

The Roman Catholic church formerly marked the feast of Saint Margaret of Scotland on June 10, but the date was transferred to November 16 in the liturgical reform of 1972.

See Chronicles of the Picts and Scots (Edinburgh, 1867) edited 1876, by W. F. Skene; and W. F. Skene, Celtic Scotland (Edinburgh).

Original text from 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. (with minor corrections)

Acta SS., II, June, 320; CAPGRAVE, Nova Legenda Angliae (London, 1515), 225; WILLIAM OF MALMESBURY, Gesta Regum in P.L., CLXXIX, also in Rolls Series, ed. STUBBS (London, 1887-9); CHALLONER, Britannia Sancta, I (London, 1745), 358; BUTLER, Lives of the Saints, 10 June; STANTON, Menology of England and Wales (London, 1887), 544; FORBES-LEITH, Life of St. Margaret. . . (London, 1885); MADAN, The Evangelistarium of St. Margaret in Academy (1887); BELLESHEIM, History of the Catholic Church in Scotland, tr. Blair, III (Edinburgh, 1890), 241-63.

  • Article from University of Pittsburg (http://www.pitt.edu/~eflst4/MofScotland.html)
  • newadvent.org article (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09655c.htm)
  • Article from an individual's page (http://www.angelfire.com/mi/RedBearsDream/StMargScot.html)



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