Alexander "the Glorious", III, King of Scotland

Male 1241 - 1286  (44 years)

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  • Name Alexander "the Glorious"   [1, 2, 3
    Suffix III, King of Scotland 
    Nickname the Glorious 
    Born 4 Sep 1241  Roxburgh, , Roxburgh, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Mar 1286  , , Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I15357  Alger
    Last Modified 15 Feb 2017 

    Father Alexander, II, King of Scotland,   b. 24 Aug 1198, Haddington, , East Lothian, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Jul 1249, Isle of Kerrera, , , Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years) 
    Mother Marie de Coucy,   b. 1218,   d. 1285  (Age 67 years) 
    Family ID F53058  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Margaret Plantagenet, Queen of Scotland,   b. 29 Sep 1240, Windsor, , Berkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Feb 1275, , , Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 34 years) 
    Married 26 Dec 1251  York, , Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Alexander and Margaret were married at York Minster.
     1. Unknown,   b. Abt 1260,   d. Abt 1283  (Age ~ 23 years)
     2. Margaret,   b. Abt 1260,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Unknown,   b. Abt 1264,   d. 1281  (Age ~ 17 years)
    Last Modified 15 Feb 2017 
    Family ID F4662  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Yolette De Dreaux,   b. Abt 1251,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 1285 
    Last Modified 31 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F4664  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Alexander III succeeded his father as King of Scotland in 1249 when he was just a child and reigned until 1286. Alexander experienced only one threat to his kingdom in 1263. The aged King Hakon of Norway brought a great Viking fleet south to punish Scotland for its encroachments into the Norse domains on the Hebrides. These expansions of the Scottish kingdom by warfare could have been avoided if the Vikings had accepted Alexander's offers to buy the islands.

      Hakon's own royal flagship was massive, with 37 pairs of oars and 296 men on board. A total force of between 160 to 200 ships gathered, with up to 20,000 men on board. The fleet left Norway on 5 Jul 1263, sailed to Shetland then made its way to Kintyre, which quickly submitted, and to Rothesay Castle, which refused to submit and was captured and plundered.

      Hakon anchored his fleet at Arran's Lamiash Bay in early September and began negotiations with Alexander, who was based at Ayr. But Alexander began to spin out the negotiations, makeing hakon impatient.

      Hakon then moved his fleet to the Cumbraes and sent a raiding party of 60 ships up river to Loch Long where they terrorized the islands and countryside. On their return, the ships were caught in the storm of 30 Sep which struck hakon's fleet and 10 of the ships were wrecked.

      Four of the Cumbrae ships were blown ashore and joined with reinforcements to fight the Battle of Largs in a howling gale. Norse Sagas say there were 500 mounted knights in the Scots army and many foot soldiers. The Vikings retreated to their ships and rejoined the fleet.

      On the following day, 3 Oct, the Vikings collected their dead, the Scots having left the battlefield. The stranded ships were later burned.

      Hakon had delayed too long in the Orkneys and in Skye, and Alexnader III put off engaging battle until the October storms broke and did most of the work for him. Hakon's fleet, the largest host ever to have left Norway, was destroyed off Largs, with little loss on the Scottish side. Hakon died at Kirkwall, Orkney, on his way home.

      The Hebrides submitted to Scottish rule and Alexander III's daughter, Margaret, went to Norway as the bride of the new King, Eric. Alexander captured the Isle of Man for the Scots without a fight, then took Islay.

      Norway sued for peace and the Treaty of Perth was signed in 1266, with the Vikings holding on to Orkney and Shetland.

      Alexander's wife was Margaret, the daughter of Henry III, King of England. Margaret died in 1275 and Alexander remarried in 1285. The following year when his young wife was staying at Kinghorn, Alexander made a night journey from south of the Forth to see her.

      It was a day of torrential rain and storm. At the "Queen's ferry" on the south side of the Firth, boatmen tried to dissuade the king from the crossing. But he insisted. On the north side of the Firth, Alexander mounted a fresh horse for the coastal ride towards the port of Kinghorn from where he would turn inland. As he approached Kinghorn at a gallop along the cliff top, the ground, saturated by the heavy rain gave way under the horse's hooves and the great King and his mount went over the cliffs of the Forth and were killed.

      Ref: "The Story of Scotland" by Janet R. Glover - p. 60
      "Edward II" by H.F. Hutchison - p. 21
      "The Highlander" - Nov/Dec 86 - p. 64, 66
      "The Highlander" - May/Jun 89 - p. 22

      Ref: "The Highlander" - Sep/Oct 1993 - p. 24

      The last native lord of Galloway, Alan, died in 1234. After Alan's death, the illegitimate son of his deceased brother tried with the help of Irish and Scottish Galloglaigh (professional Gaelic warriors) to keep control of the province, but eventually his efforts failed. Alexander II of Scotland and his successor, Alexander III, brought Galloway under greater Crown control by hand-picking key administrative officials, but Galloway retained its own Gaelic laws until 1426.

      Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Alger Family Historian - e-mail:

  • Sources 
    1. [S13] Alger files - Web site print-outs, - 16 Sep 2004 (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S302] Alger files - Kelsch, Rosalia E. A., Rosalia E. A. Kelsch, Family group record for Henry III, King of England and Eleanor, Queen of England - undated (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S304] Descendants of William the Conqueror, Freer, Alan, A.C.I.B., ( : 2008), accessed 15 Feb 2017), p. 2 (Reliability: 3).

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