Highland Clan Warfare in Scotland Part I: The Stewart’s, MacDonald’s, and James I of Scotland
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius
“Clan chief Robert Stewart once ruled Scotland and effectively did so because he gave his 4 sons control of his empire. Stewart’s son Walter became the Earl of Caithness (pronounced “kayth- ness”) in the north, Alexander became the Earl of Buchan, (pronounced “byuu-kan”) Robert became the Earl of Albany, (pronounced “all-ban-ee”) and another son named Robert became the Earl of Carrick (pronounced “kah-rik”).
When Stewart died, all 4 sons fought for the Scottish throne as each believed they were the rightful next of kin. In 1396, in a field just outside of Perth, Scotland, the Cameron and the Chattan clan arrived to settle a bitter feud over land rights. This was not a typical Medieval battle however as none of the participants wore armor, having only their bodies, a broad sword, and axe to protect themselves. The battle commences when each side has an equal number of soldiers, at which point a battle Royal melee begins. The Chattan clan was down by one person, and the Cameron clan refused to remove one of their fighters to level the playing field.
The person judging the contest is the eldest of Stewart’s sons, Robert III. A local blacksmith volunteers to fight if he is granted a pension for life if he lives and receives prayers if not. This fight to the death was Robert III’s idea, an exercise to demonstrate that he alone could control the clans and by extension of that, Scotland.
38 clan members now lay dead, with the last surviving Cameron dropping weapon and fleeing for his life. This battle fooled no one however as discontent with Robert III was growing, despite his public relations propaganda stunt to demonstrate his legitimacy as monarch.
Robert III’s wife Annabella devised a plan to force cohesion once again, as her son David had come of age to help his father outwit his devious brothers. Annabella describes David as a clever young man with more intelligence than his uncles. Annabella plans to leverage David to unite the Stewart family by having them focus upon a new target; the common enemy of the MacDonalds.”