Early Dundee - David, Earl of Huntingdon.

When Alexander III (1249-1286) tragically fell of his horse and was killed at Kinghorn in 1286, events were set in motion that would prove a watershed in Scottish History and destroy the hitherto friendly relations between Scotland and England and lead to centuries of mistrust and enmity that still exist today.
Alexander's only heir was his grand-daughter - Margaret the Maid of Norway, a girl of only about 6 or 7 years of age, (She was the Daughter of King Eric II of Norway and Margaret, daughter of King Alexander III of Scotland, who died in childbirth). Tragically on her way to Scotland from Norway to claim the throne, the young Margaret died. This threw the whole Scottish succession into turmoil. To find a successor to the throne, they had to go back to the Line of William I (William the Lion, King of Scots 1165-1214) and particularly to his brother - Prince David, Earl of Huntingdon.

David, Earl of Huntingdon (1152-1219)

Brother to King William I (the Lion) (1144-1219) He gained the title Earl of Huntingdon in 1165 when his brother ascended the throne and passed the title to him. The Huntingdon title had come from Maud, Countess of Huntingdon, who married David I of Scotland in 1112 and had subsequently been passed down through the Scottish Royal line to David.
David, Earl of Huntingdon was an influential Scottish Prince, friend of King Richard the Lionheart, it is said that he carried one of the great Ceremonial Swords at Richard's coronation in Westminster Abbey in July 1189. Also, as some early historians claim he accompanied King Richard on the third crusade to the Holy Land, whether or not David, Earl of Huntingdon did, is a matter of dispute. The early Dundee legend has it that David, on his return from the Holy Land was ship-wrecked of the coast of Egypt, taken prisoner by the Turks and sold as a slave to a Venetian merchant and carried to Constantinople, on discovering David's high rank, the merchant gave him his liberty and the means to get him home. After many adventures including another ship-wreck of the coast of Norway - in the midst of the Tempest, vowed to build a church to the honour of the Virgin Mary if he returned safely to his home country - he at last arrives in the Tay, beside Dundee at the rock near to St Nicholas Chapel, in gratitude he called Dundee - 'Deidonum' - God's Gift.    

David and Dundee

In 1190 William I King of Scots, granted his Brother, David, superiority over Dundee and its Harbour, possibly as a wedding gift in 1190, or maybe in return for helping his Brother keep the peace in Eastern Scotland, Earl David was also granted extensive estates on both sides of the Tay, - Dundee, the 'Royal' shire of Longforgan, extensive areas of the Carse of Gowrie and parts of North Fife including Lindores. He also had many other estates in both England and Scotland.
In 1190 he endowed Lindores Abbey at Newburgh and also in his own town of Dundee (Meo Burgi de Dundie) he endowed and dedicated a new Church to the Virgin Mary - St Mary's in the Fields. Through Earl David's patronage the burgh prospered, the town had a rich agricultural hinterland which attracted traders to its markets, the harbour was improved and this allowed the Dundee Fleet to expand thus encouraging merchant adventurers to settle in the town and trade with England, Scandinavia, the Low Countries and the Baltic.
Dundee is mentioned in one of the earliest trade documents between England and Scotland, signed by King John of England in 1190, this allowed Dundee ships exemption from harbour dues at English ports (including those held in France), with the exception of London.   

The Line of Succession.

It is therefore from David, Earl of Huntingdon's line that the two main claimants of the throne of Scotland, after the death of the Maid of Norway, come from - Baliol and Bruce.   
Earl David had seven children, the two who were most involved with the succession being: -

  1. Margaret of Huntingdon (the eldest daughter) who married Alan, Lord of Galloway, they had two daughters - one of which was DEVORGUILLA of Galloway, she married John de Baliol. It was their son who became King John Baliol (crowned 1292). Incidentally it was Devorguilla who provided the endowment for the foundation of for a College at Oxford in 1282 - still named Baliol College. She also founded the Franciscan Monastery in Dundee (the gardens of which are now the Howff graveyard). She inherited Dundee from her mother and after her death in 1290, passed them to her son King John Baliol.
  2. Isobel of Huntingdon (the youngest daughter) who married Robert Bruce, 4th Lord of Annandale, it was their grandson Robert, Earl of Carrick, who became the famous King Robert the Bruce.  

It is said that both these daughters of David, Earl of Huntingdon were born in Dundee.
Dundee and its lands were inherited by both Margaret and Isobel. Therefore Dundee came under the superiority of both the Baliol and Bruce families.