MORAY, THOMAS RANDOLPH
, 1st Earl of
(d. 1332), Scottish warrior and statesman, was the only son of Thomas Randolph of Nithsdale, who had been chamberlain of Scotland, and through his mother Lady Isabel Bruce he was nephew to King Robert the Bruce. Randolph joined Bruce after the murder of the Red Camyn, and was present at his coronation in 1306. In June of that year he was captured by Aymer de Valence in a fight at Methven, and saved his life by becoming Edward's man. He joined in the hunt for Bruce, but in 1308 he was captured by Sir James Douglas and imprisoned. He began by defying his uncle, but presently made his submission, becoming the friendly rival of the exploits of Sir James Douglas and the confidant of Bruce's plans. In 1312 or 1314 the Scottish king made him earl of Moray and lord of Man and Annandale, while the estates held from Edward I. were confiscated. By a brilliant feat of arms he captured and destroyed Edinburgh Castle early in 1314, scaling the rock by a path pointed out by a certain William Francois who had made use of it in a love intrigue. On the eve of Bannockburn Randolph was posted in a wood in charge of the van with orders to prevent the English from throwing cavalry into Stirling. On the approach of a body of three hundred English horse under Sir Robert Clifford, Sir Henry de Beaumont and Sir Thomas Gray, Randolph came out of cover, and his spearmen, drawn up in a square, were vainly attacked on all sides by the English, who were driven to retreat on the appearance of Sir James Douglas with reinforcements; these, however, took no share in the action, the site of which is still known as Randolph's Field. The next day found Randolph in command of the centre of the Scottish battle. He shared in Edward Bruce's expedition to Ireland in 1315, and returned to Scotland in 1317 with Robert Bruce. With Sir James Douglas Randolph was closely allied and the two were associated in a series of brilliant exploits. In 1318 they seized the town of Berwick by escalade; being aided by the treachery of one of the burgesses, Simon of Spalding, and reinforced by Bruce they became masters of the castle some months later. In the next spring they made a raid on the northern English counties, laying waste the country as far as York, where they hoped to seize the English queen. They routed the militia hastily raised by William de Melton, archbishop of York, in a fight known as the “ Chapter of Myton” because of the number of clerics who fell in the battle. Edward II., who was laying siege to Berwick, sought in vain to intercept them on their return journey. Later in the year the two Scottish nobles again raided England, and at length Edward II. signed a truce for two years. In 1322 Moray shared in Douglas's exploit at Byland Abbey. In the next year he was one of the Scottish ambassadors charged to conclude a truce with England, and was further sent to Avignon to persuade the pope to acknowledge
Bruce's claims by addressing him as king of Scotland. In the spring of 1326 he was again in France, when he concluded an offensive and defensive alliance between France and Scotland. The death of Bruce in 1329 made Moray regent of Scotland and guardian of the young king David II. in accordance with enactments made by the Scottish parliaments of 1315 and 1318. He died at Musselburgh on the 20th of July 1332, while preparing to resist an invasion by the English barons. Allegations of poisoning are made both by Barbour and Wyntoun, but without substantial grounds.
Moray married Isabel, daughter of Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll. His son Thomas, the 2nd earl, was killed at the battle of Dupplin in 1332; his second son John, the 3rd earl, was killed at Neville's Cross in 1346. The earldom then became extinct and the estates passed to their sister Agnes (c. 1312—1369), countess of Dunbar and March, known as "Black Agnes," and celebrated for her gallant defence of Dunbar Castle in 1337 and 1338. (See March, Earls of.)