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Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray
Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray (d. 1332) was an important figure in the Scottish Wars of Independence. He is usually described as a nephew of Robert the Bruce although their exact relationship is uncertain. The traditional view is that his mother was a daughter of the first marriage of Countess Marjorie of Carrick , who was mother of King Robert by her second marriage, but recently this view has been questioned. The term "nephew", like "cousin", could be used rather loosely in those days, although there are no grounds for believing that he was Bruce's illegitimate son.
Randolph supported Bruce in his initial coup when he proclaimed himself king and was crowned at Scone, but abandoned him after the English victory at the Battle of Methven. Later, fighting for the English, he was captured and brought before the king, who he taunted for his alleged cowardice in adopting a guerrilla tactics instead of standing and fighting in pitched battle.
However, he was persuaded to change sides again, and went on to become one of the king's most important lieutenants, eventually being made Earl of Moray. The fact that he was allowed to resume his allegiance to Scotland would seem to support the existence of familial ties to the King. In 1314, just a few months before the Battle of Bannockburn, he carried out a daring attack on Edinburgh Castle, one of the few castles in Scotland still in English hands. The castle stands on top of an apparently impregnable rock, but Randolph was informed by the son of a Governor about a path up the rock, which he led his men up one night to capture the castle. He played an important role in the Scottish victory at Bannockburn, where he commanded one of the four schiltrons of the Scottish infantry.
Thomas Randolph is said to have married Isabel Stewart, a kinswoman of Walter Stewart who married Marjorie Bruce and whose son Robert II became the first Stewart king. Three of Thomas Randolph“s children succeeded him to the earldom of Moray. Thomas Randolph, 2nd Earl of Moray died shortly after him at the Battle of Dupplin Moor. John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray died in 1346, after which the earldom was inherited by his sister Agnes Dunbar, 4th Countess of Moray, and then her second son John Dunbar, 5th Earl of Moray .
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