Sunday, May 4, 2014
The Black Dinner
In the early fifteenth century, the Clan Douglas was consolidating power in the Kingdom of Scotland. They carried a lot of clout in the kingdom; so much so that the crown saw them as a threat to the stability of the realm. In 1440, the conflict between the crown and the Douglases came to a head over the control of King James II, who was only ten years old and therefore able to be controlled. Sir William Crichton, the Lord Chancellor of the Kingdom of Scotland and Sir Alexander Livingstone conspired to come up with a solution to the problem of the Douglases' rise to power. They invited William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas, and his younger brother David Douglas to a dinner with the boy king James II. When the food was to be brought out, they brought out instead the head of a black bull, a symbol of death. The Earl and his brother were dragged out to Castle Hill and given a mock trial. They were found guilty of treason and summarily beheaded there and then. This last meal for William and David Douglas became known as the Black Dinner.