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 Saint David I of Scotland

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PostSubject: Saint David I of Scotland   Saint David I of Scotland EmptyTue Oct 28, 2008 4:38 pm

Saint David I of Scotland

St. David was born about 1080, the youngest of the six sons of King Malcolm Canmore and his queen, St Margaret [who was a descendant of the Hungarian Agatha]. In 1093 he was sent to the Norman court in England, where he remained for some years. When his brother Alexander succeeded to the Scottish throne in 1107, David became prince of Cumbria, and by his marriage in 1113 to Matilda, widow of the earl of Northampton, he became earl of Huntingdon. In 1124 he succeeded his brother as King David I.

St Aelred of Rievaulx was in his earlier years master of the household to David, with whom he kept up a close friendship, and after the king's death he wrote an account of him. In it he speaks of David's reluctance to accept the crown; of the justice of his rule; of his alms-giving and his accessibility to all; of his efforts to maintain concord among the clergy; of his personal piety; and in general of the great work he did for the consolidation of the kingdom of Scotland. Aelred's only criticism was of his failure to control the savagery and rapacity of his troops when he invaded England, on behalf of his niece Matilda against Stephen. For this David was very contrite, and is said to have looked on his defeat at the Battle of the Standard and elsewhere and the early death of his only son as just retribution.

It was afterwards complained that King David's benefactions to the Church impoverished the crown - James I was among his critics. For not only did he found the royal burghs of Edinburgh, Berwick, Roxburgh, Stirling and perhaps Perth, but he also established the bishoprics of Brechin, Dunblane, Caithness, Ross and Aberdeen and founded numerous monasteries. Among them were the Cistercian houses of Melrose, Kinloss, Newbattle and Dundrennan, and Holyrood itself for Augustinian canons.

St Aelred gives a circumstantial account of David's death at Carlisle on May 24, 1153. On the Friday he was anointed and given viaticum, and then spent much time in praying psalms with his attendants. On Saturday they urged him to rest, but he refused, preferring to spend his time in contemplation. And so he continued to pray; and at dawn of Sunday he passed away peacefully as if he slept.

St David had helped to endow Dunfermline Abbey, founded by his father and mother, and he had peopled it with Benedictine monks from Canterbury. There he was buried, and at his shrine his memory was venerated until the Reformation. The cultus of St David was recognized after the Reformation among Protestants by the insertion of his name in the calendar of Laud's Prayer-book for Scotland, 1637.

A H. Dunbar "Scottish Kings" (1906)

"For my part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity: The throne is a glorious sepulchre."
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