The Go­van Stones are a fan­tas­tic as­set for the city

Evening Times - - NEWS -

of David. He was just 12 and suf­fered a se­ries of re­volts against his rule through­out his teenaged years, mostly by Mor­maers, the equiv­a­lent of earls, in­clud­ing some from his own fam­ily. Only Don­n­chad (Dun­can) the Mor­maer of Fife seems to have been a wholly loyal re­gent and he died in 1154, a year af­ter young Mal­colm was crowned at Scone.

Mal­colm does seem to have had some com­pe­tent re­gents and ad­vi­sors in­clud­ing Wal­ter fitz Alan. Mal­colm comes down to us as Mal­colm the Maiden, called so be­cause he never mar­ried, but in re­al­ity he was a brave if sickly young man who per­son­ally led the ex­pe­di­tion to pacify Gal­loway and bring it un­der his con­trol.

In 1164 Glas­gow and indeed the King­dom of Scot­land faced its great­est threat in the per­son of Somerled, the King of the Isles.

This leg­endary warrior of Norse-Gaelic des­cent had al­ready raided Glas­gow and may have burned its church, but in 1164 his am­bi­tions were much greater as shown by the size of the army with which he ar­rived on the Clyde, all trans­ported in bir­linns, ships that gave him com­plete con­trol of the west coast of Scot­land.

An­cient sources such as the Chron­i­cles of Holyrood and Mel­rose and the fa­mous Latin poem the Song of the Death of Somerled tell us what hap­pened next. The lat­ter text says the King of the Isles “sud­denly landed with an im­mense com­pany of fol­low­ers, and threat­ened to de­stroy the whole king­dom.”

He reck­oned with­out Wal­ter fitz Alan and the Bishop of Glas­gow, Her­bert of Selkirk, who ral­lied the lo­cal troops in prepa­ra­tion for the in­va­sion.

There’s a great deal of myth and leg­end about the Bat­tle of Ren­frew, but there’s no doubt that in Oc­to­ber, 1164, Somerled and his son Gilla Brigte or Gilla Colum were both killed and their forces scat­tered and pur­sued ruth­lessly.

The Song of the Death of Somerled states: ‘Wounded by a spear, killed by a sword, Somerled died; His son was con­sumed by the rag­ing sea, and with him many thou­sands of es­cap­ing wounded.’

Glas­gow was saved, but Bishop Her­bert died that year – in­trigu­ingly, he died around the time of the Bat­tle so was he mor­tally wounded? – and af­ter Bishop Enguer­rand there came the era of Bishop Jo­celin who was de­ter­mined to make Glas­gow a burgh and build it up as a dioce­san cen­tre. Hence the build­ing of Glas­gow Cathe­dral.

Jo­celin en­larged the ex­ist­ing stone church ded­i­cated to St Kentigern but some­time in 1195 the church was rav­aged by a fire. Jo­celin de­cided to go the whole hog and build a proper Cathe­dral which was ded­i­cated in July 1197.

Jo­celin did much more for Glas­gow. From King Wil­liam the Lion some­time be­tween 1175 and 1178 he ob­tained burgh sta­tus for Glas­gow, greatly ad­vanc­ing the stand­ing of the town as he also cre­ated a weekly mar­ket – the first such burgh mar­ket in Scot­land.

Of great im­port to the peo­ple of Glas­gow, then and now, Jo­celin some­time in the early 1190s per­suaded King Wil­liam to al­low Glas­gow an an­nual fair, and to this day the Glas­gow Fair is still a hol­i­day time.

Hav­ing made Glas­gow a burgh and built its Cathe­dral, Jo­celin died on March 17, 1199.

That Glas­gow would even­tu­ally be­come a city is in no short mea­sure due to him.

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