Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Bravehearts? Scotland's alliances during Middle Ages prove they can stand alone, says Manchester historian

Bravehearts? Scotland's alliances during Middle Ages prove they can stand alone, says Manchester historian

| By Liam Geraghty

Scotland’s alliances during the Middle Ages proves they could stand alone, a Manchester University historian has claimed, as the country prepares to vote on the historic independent referendum.

After months of campaigning that pitted Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond against politicians from Westminster, the country will vote whether they are opting to leave the UK.

And Dr Siobhan Talbott believes Scotland’s Auld Alliance with France in the 13th century shows that, from a historical point-of-view, the country has what it takes to standalone.

“They were allied against England. If England would attack either France or Scotland then the other would defend them,” said Dr Talbott, who works in Manchester University’s School of History.

“It has been suggested that this ended in 1560. But my research suggests it went beyond this and they continued an alliance into the 17th century and up until the union with England in 1707.”

Beginning in 1295 after a treaty signed by John Balliol and Philip IV of France against Edward I of England, the alliance played a pivotal role in a number of conflicts, including the Hundred Years’ War.

And it could even still be intact today, claimed Dr Talbott in her 2011 research on the ‘oldest alliance in the world’.

Previously, historians had argued the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh, along with Scotland’s conversion to Protestantism, ended the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France.

But Dr Talbott believes that some French troops remained in Scotland and there is no reference to ending the Alliance in the text.

The alliance even outdates the United Kingdom.

The Acts of Union that joined the two kingdoms of Scotland and England were passed on May 1, 1707.

When the parliaments of England and Scotland ratified the 1706 Treaty of Union, the United Kingdom of Great Britain was born.

Wales had previously joined forces with England in 1592, with Ireland following suit at the start of the 19th century before the southern part of the country left in 1922.

But Dr Talbott insists that Scotland had already proven that it could be a separate nation from their neighbours south of Hadrian’s Wall.

And when results come in from today’s vote, Scotland could be fending for itself once more.

“I think the same thing happened to Scotland in 1707. I don’t think Scotland was forced into a union then and she was perfectly capable of standing on her own because of her allies,” she said.

“Looking at the different contributions from Britain, although England has always been the biggest country, Scotland has always had her own allies, achievements and economical power.

“I think that the union came out because Scotland was not economically dependent. But a lot has changed.”

And more could change if Scotland votes ‘Yes’ on independence and alters the face of the United Kingdom.

With up to 97% of the populace registered to vote, more than four million Scots could cast a vote – making the referendum once of the busiest voting days in the country’s history.

Image courtesy of Paramount, via YouTube, with thanks.