Challenge: Roxburgh remains the capital of Scotland or one of its chief cities

Something that has fascinated me for a long time and our Scottish members might be able to answer well... I'll admit, I got the idea from this episode of Time Team.

Back in the Middle Ages, Roxburgh was one of the most developed Scottish cities, and for a fairly long time, it was a flourishing de facto royal capital (particularly during the reign of David I.). However, after Berwick-upon-Tweed was annexed for good by the Kingdom of England, some of the trade routes that Roxburgh relied upon for its prosperity and growth that were linked to Berwick got blocked due to the annexation. Furthermore, the city also became closer distance-wise to the Scottish-English borders, making it potentially more vulnerable. It entered a gradual decline, as power and wealth started flowing off to other developing Scottish cities and towns. By the 16th century, it was virtually a ruin and the last stalwart inhabitants had left it behind. Thus came the end of a once promising future city.

What would it take to make Roxburgh survive as a city (up to the present day, if possible) ?

What would it take to make Roxburgh one of the most important cities of Scotland in earlier centuries (and a quaint historical city/attraction nowadays) ?

Was Roxburgh doomed to become irrelevant, decline and then disappear ? Or are there enough plausible PODs to avert this ?

I'd be really interested in hearing your ideas. :) :cool:
 
My good sir, you've just inspired me to keep Roxburgh as the capital in my own TL. As to this, I would say the best way would be simply to keep England weaker; more civil wars, more division, maybe even a collapse of the country altogether. As to specifics, I couldn't point to any. Either that, or just keep England disinterested in northern expansion!
 
Now we just need some Dunfermline love to keep that as the de facto capital past the 15th century. ;)
 
Well, any specific suggestions for the POD(s) ? I'm sure we can think of something. Having Berwick somehow remain as part of Scotland might be a start...
 
Bernicia (that bit of Northumbria north of the Tees) is never reconnected to England by Aethelstan and his successors. Perhaps the Kingdom of York proves even more troublesome than OTL to reconquer and hold. keep that area in unrest long enough, and even by the time of Canute, Bernicia will probably be considered as Scottish as Berwick OTL. Not perfect and doesn't stop someone such as Edward I or Edward III seizing it later but it may keep Roxburgh as Scottish Capital for longer.
 
Here is an illustrative photo of the town of Roxburgh* being menaced by fire




*Wrong Roxburgh, but I do like the picture all the same and wanted an excuse to post it
 
Bernicia (that bit of Northumbria north of the Tees) is never reconnected to England by Aethelstan and his successors. Perhaps the Kingdom of York proves even more troublesome than OTL to reconquer and hold. keep that area in unrest long enough, and even by the time of Canute, Bernicia will probably be considered as Scottish as Berwick OTL. Not perfect and doesn't stop someone such as Edward I or Edward III seizing it later but it may keep Roxburgh as Scottish Capital for longer.
Hmmm... That's too early a POD and could cause quite a few butterflies on its own.
 
Roxburgh was never likely to remain as Capital as Scotland developed unless something very bad happened.

In the middle ages, almost every Scottish dwelling was small, overcrowded and dirty with the main purpose being local trade. Roxburgh was initially big as a defensive stronghold. Berwick would be a better bet as Scottish Capital as it's location on the coast could have enabled trade to grow more easily. Roxburgh sole asset was its defensive position.

It's no surprise that Edinburgh(near the Forth and in an excellent defensive position), Dunfermline(on the forth and south of Fife which was until 1603 the Royal playground)and Perth(on the Tay, being far enough north to be secure from attack) were capitals at one point or another.

Berwick could be a southern version of Edinburgh with a wee bit of imagination and the right pod.

Berwick would be doable. Roxburgh? Sorry, I can't think of a good enough pod to manage it.
 
The point of the POD is not necessarily to keep it as a capital forever, but to keep it an important city (or at least town) and prevent most of its worst decline. It's enough if it remains a minor player, but still an important enough town. And, you know, it doesn't become a ghost town, for starters...

In any case, I like some of the issues you've raised with how to pull off the POD in the longer run.
 
Roxburgh as the military-political center, and Berwick as its port. The two are both on Tweed so transport isn't going to be difficult. It's not impossible for a Beijing-Tianjin model to develop on the two.
Why have a political centre for the nation which is going to be overrun every few years and is not efficient for trade? Also, the Borders were notoriously difficult to govern with raids and counter raids from each side of the border. Trade Caravans travelling the 30 miles from Berwick to Roxburgh would be under constant risk of robbery.

Really, the best chance you have of this happening is Northumbria being retained by Scotland after it was annexed by David I. By doing this, you take away the border issues. The problem with this is that while you solve that problem, you take away the importance of Roxburgh as a border stronghold. It would allow Berwick to grow though and through that have Roxburgh naturally grow? That way you could, conceivably get somewhere about the size of OTL Perth. I'd forget Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Dundee size etc. though as the land wasn't good enough.
In any case, I like some of the issues you've raised with how to pull off the POD in the longer run.
Hope the above helps.
 
Wasn't Roxburgh actually under English occupation for a decade or two during the Plantagenet period?
It might have been, given how Berwick had been contested and fought over for a long time. It would be only natural that Roxburgh got captured at least once, for a certain amount of time.

It can be kept alive, it can even thrive. I'm simply saying that a city with a population over 50,000 or so is a very tough ask.
Well, I did say in the first post that it might remain a culturally important city to the ATL present, but it doesn't exactly need to be a metropolis. A city of 10 000 - 20 000 that is seen as something of a town-sized museum and popular place for history/culture lovers is all I ask. Not another Glasgow or Edinburgh.
 
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