This volume explores the formative period when Scotland acquired the characteristics that enabled it to enter fully into the comity of medieval Christendom. These included a monarchy of a recognizably continental type, a feudal organization of aristocratic landholding and military service, national boundaries, and a body of settled law and custom. By the end of the 13th century Scotland had a church based on territorial dioceses and parishes, centres of learning including monastic houses representing the main orders of western Europe, and thriving urban communities whose economic power counterbalanced that of the aristocracy. How and to what effect these characteristics were acquired are the main subjects of this book.
Geoffrey Barrow was Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography, University of Edinburgh, 1979-92, where he is currently Professor Emeritus.