The World of Grandpa Don

The Royal Line
Scotch Royalty
.

This page looks at our royal ancestors extending from  Kenneth MacAlpin who was born in  810AD to Matilda of Scotland who became Queen of England as the first wife of Henery I

This line of ancestors was confirmed in May of 2011. It consists of ancestors of my 9th Great Grandfather Gen James Cudworth

The relationships of the ancestors and the description of their lives were verified and taken from Wikipedia.

This is their story, as I know it.

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For a detailed chart see:
Relationship: Donald James Plefka to Kenneth I Macalpin

 

The Picts

Our earliest found ancestors in this Scotch line were of the Picts and so we begin with this historical note.

The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Celtic people living in ancient eastern and northern Scotland. We know something about where they lived and what their culture was like from the geographical distribution of brochs, Brythonic place name elements, and Pictish stones.

Picts are attested to in written records from before the Roman conquest of Britain to the 10th century, when they merged with the Gaels. They lived to the north of the rivers Forth and Clyde, and spoke the now-extinct Pictish language, which is thought to have been related to the Brythonic languages spoken by the Britons who lived to the south of them. Picts are assumed to have been the descendants of the Caledonii and other tribes that were mentioned by Roman historians or on the world map of Ptolemy. Pictland, also called Pictavia by some sources, gradually merged with the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata to form the Kingdom of Alba (Scotland). Alba then expanded, absorbing the Brythonic kingdom of Strathclyde and Bernician Lothian, and by the 11th century the Pictish identity had been subsumed into the "Scots" amalgamation of peoples.

Pictish society was typical of many Iron Age societies in northern Europe, having "wide connections and parallels" with neighboring groups. Archaeology gives some impression of the society of the Picts. While very little in the way of Pictish writing has survived, Pictish history since the late 6th century is known from a variety of sources, including Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, saints' lives such as that of Columba by Adomnán, and various Irish annals.

What the Picts called themselves is not known. The Latin word Picti first occurs in a panegyric written by Eumenius in AD 297 and is taken to mean "painted or tattooed people" As Sally M. Foster noted, "Much ink has been spilt over what the ancient writers meant by Picts, but it seems to be a generic term for people living north of the Forth-Clyde isthmus who raided the Roman Empire.  A Pictish confederation was formed in Late Antiquity from a number of tribes—how and why is not known. Some scholars have speculated that it was partly in response to the growth of the Roman Empire.

During the reign of Caustantín mac Áeda (900–943), outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than the kingdom of the Picts, but we do not know whether this was because a new kingdom was established or Alba was simply a closer approximation of the Pictish name for the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear suddenly, a process of Gaelicisation (which may have begun generations earlier) was clearly underway during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point, probably during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become fully Gaelicised Scots, and Pictish identity was forgotten. Later, the idea of Picts as a tribe was revived in myth and legend.

Also see Picts.

It is from these roots that our ancestors were born.

Our Ancestors

 

Kenneth MacAlpin  (810 - 13 February 858)
My 35th great grandfather.

Cináed mac Ailpín commonly Anglicised as Kenneth MacAlpin and known in most modern regnal lists as Kenneth I was king of the Picts and, according to national myth, first king of Scots, earning him the posthumous nickname of An Ferbasach, "The Conqueror". Kenneth's undisputed legacy was to produce a dynasty of rulers who claimed descent from him and was the founder of the dynasty which ruled Scotland for much of the medieval period.

Kenneth's origins are uncertain, as are his ties, if any, to previous kings of the Picts or Dál Riata. Among the genealogies contained in the Rawlinson B 502 manuscript, dating from around 1130, is the supposed descent of Malcolm II of Scotland. Medieval genealogies are unreliable sources, but many historians still accept Kenneth's descent from the established Cenél nGabráin, or at the very least from some unknown minor sept of the Dál Riata. The manuscript provides the following ancestry for Kenneth:

...Cináed son of Alpín son of Eochaid son of Áed Find son of Domangart son of Domnall Brecc son of Eochaid Buide son of Áedán son of Gabrán son of Domangart son of Fergus Mór ...

Leaving aside the shadowy kings before Áedán son of Gabrán, the genealogy is certainly flawed insofar as Áed Find, who died c. 778, could not reasonably be the son of Domangart, who was killed c. 673. The conventional account would insert two generations between Áed Find and Domangart: Eochaid mac Echdach, father of Áed Find, who died c. 733, and his father Eochaid.

Although later traditions provided details of his reign and death, Kenneth's father Alpin is not listed as among the kings in the Duan Albanach. Alpín mac Eochaid may refer to two persons. The first person is a presumed king of Dál Riata in the late 730s. The second is the father of Kenneth MacAlpin (Cináed mac Ailpín). The name Alpín is taken to be a Pictish one, derived from the Anglo-Saxon name Ælfwine; Alpín's patronymic means son of Eochaid or son of Eochu.

Compared with the many questions on his origins, Kenneth's ascent to power and subsequent reign can be dealt with simply. Kenneth's rise can be placed in the context of the recent end of the previous dynasty, which had dominated Fortriu for two or four generations. This followed the death of king Uen son of Óengus of Fortriu, his brother Bran, Áed mac Boanta "and others almost innumerable" in battle against the Vikings in 839. The resulting succession crisis seems, if the Pictish Chronicle king-lists have any validity, to have resulted in at least four would-be kings warring for supreme power.

Kenneth's reign is dated from 843, but it was probably not until 848 that he defeated the last of his rivals for power. The Pictish Chronicle claims that he was king in Dál Riata for two years before becoming Pictish king in 843, but this is not generally accepted. In 849, Kenneth had relics of Columba, which may have included the Monymusk Reliquary, transferred from Iona to Dunkeld. Other than these bare facts, the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba reports that he invaded Saxonia six times, captured Melrose and burnt Dunbar, and also that Vikings laid waste to Pictland, reaching far into the interior.

The reign of Kenneth also saw an increased degree of Norse settlement in the outlying areas of modern Scotland. Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland, the Western Isles and the Isle of Man, and part of Ross were settled; the links between Kenneth's kingdom and Ireland were weakened, those with southern England and the continent almost broken. In the face of this, Kenneth and his successors were forced to consolidate their position in their kingdom, and the union between the Picts and the Gaels, already progressing for several centuries, began to strengthen. By the time of Donald II, the kings would be called kings neither of the Gaels or the Scots but of Alba.

Kenneth died from a tumour on 13 February 858 at the palace of Cinnbelachoir, perhaps near Scone. The annals report the death as that of the "king of the Picts", not the "king of Alba". The title "king of Alba" is not used until the time of Kenneth's grandsons, Donald II (Domnall mac Causantín) and Constantine II (Constantín mac Áeda).

We no nothing of Keneth's wife but he left at least two sons, Constantine and Áed, who were later kings, and at least two daughters. One daughter married Run, king of Strathclyde, Eochaid being the result of this marriage. Kenneth's daughter Máel Muire married two important Irish kings of the Uí Néill. Her first husband was Aed Finliath of the Cenél nEógain. Niall Glúndub, ancestor of the O'Neill, was the son of this marriage. Her second husband was Flann Sinna of Clann Cholmáin. As the wife and mother of kings, when Máel Muire died in 913, her death was reported by the Annals of Ulster, an unusual thing for the male-centred chronicles of the age.

 

Constantine I Scotland  (Died 877AD)
He was my 34th great grandfather

Causantín or Constantín mac Cináeda  was a king of the Picts. He is often known as Constantine I, in reference to his place in modern lists of kings of Scots, though contemporary sources described Causantín only as a Pictish king. A son of Cináed mac Ailpín ("Kenneth MacAlpin"), he succeeded his uncle Domnall mac Ailpín as Pictish king following the latter's death on 13 April 862. It is likely that Causantín's (Constantine I) reign witnessed increased activity by Vikings, based in Ireland, in Northumbria and in northern Britain. He died fighting one such invasion.

Viking activity in northern Britain appears to have reached a peak during Causantín's reign. Viking armies were led by a small group of men who may have been kinsmen. Among those noted by the Irish annals, the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle are Ívarr—Ímar in Irish sources—who was active from East Anglia to Ireland, Halfdán—Albdann in Irish, Healfdene in Old English— and Amlaíb or Óláfr. As well as these leaders, various others related to them appear in the surviving record.[7]

Viking activity in Britain increased in 865 when the Great Heathen Army, probably a part of the forces which had been active in Francia, landed in East Anglia. The following year, having obtained tribute from the East Anglian King Edmund, the Great Army moved north, seizing York, chief city of the Northumbrians. The Great Army defeated an attack on York by the two rivals for the Northumbrian throne, Osberht and Ælla, who had put aside their differences in the face of a common enemy. Both would-be kings were killed in the failed assault, probably on 21 March 867. Following this, the leaders of the Great Army are said to have installed one Ecgberht as king of the Northumbrians. Their next target was Mercia where King Burgred, aided by his brother-in-law King Æthelred of Wessex, drove them off.

While the kingdoms of East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria were under attack, other Viking armies were active in the far north. Amlaíb and Auisle (Ásl or Auðgísl), said to be his brother, brought an army to Fortriu and obtained tribute and hostages in 866. Historians disagree as to whether the army returned to Ireland in 866, 867 or even in 869. Late sources of uncertain reliability state that Auisle was killed by Amlaíb in 867 in a dispute over Amlaíb's wife, the daughter of Cináed. It is unclear whether, if accurate, this woman should be identified as a daughter of Cináed mac Ailpín, and thus Causantín's sister, or as a daughter of Cináed mac Conaing, king of Brega. While Amlaíb and Auisle were in north Britain, the Annals of Ulster record that Áed Findliath, High King of Ireland, took advantage of their absence to destroy the longphorts along the northern coasts of Ireland. Áed Findliath was married to Causantín's sister Máel Muire. She later married Áed's successor Flann Sinna. Her death is recorded in 913.

In 870, Amlaíb and Ívarr attacked Dumbarton Rock, where the River Leven meets the River Clyde, the chief place of the kingdom of Alt Clut, south-western neighbour of Pictland. The siege lasted four months before the fortress fell to the Vikings who returned to Ireland with many prisoners, "Angles, Britons and Picts", in 871. Archaeological evidence suggests that Dumbarton Rock was largely abandoned and that Govan replaced it as the chief place of the kingdom of Strathclyde, as Alt Clut was later known. King Artgal of Alt Clut did not long survive these events, being killed "at the instigation" of Causantín son of Cináed two years later. Artgal's son and successor Run was married to a sister of Causantín.

Amlaíb disappears from Irish annals after his return to Ireland in 871. According to the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba he was killed by Causantín either in 871 or 872 when he returned to Pictland to collect further tribute. His ally Ívarr died in 873.

In 875, the Chronicle and the Annals of Ulster again report a Viking army in Pictland. A battle, fought near Dollar, was a heavy defeat for the Picts; the Annals of Ulster say that "a great slaughter of the Picts resulted". In 877, shortly after building a new church for the Culdees at St Andrews, Causantín was captured and executed (or perhaps killed in battle) after defending against Viking raiders. Although there is agreement on the time and general manner of his death, it is not clear where this happened. Some believe he was beheaded on a Fife beach, following a battle at Fife Ness, near Crail. William Forbes Skene reads the Chronicle as placing Causantín's death at Inverdovat (by Newport-on-Tay), which appears to match the Prophecy of Berchán. The account in the Chronicle of Melrose names the place as the "Black Cave," and John of Fordun calls it the "Black Den". Causantín was buried on Iona.

Again, there is no record of a wife but Causantín's son Domnall and his descendants represented the main line of the kings of Alba and later Scotland.

 

Donald II of Scotland (died 900)
He was my 33rd great grandfather

Domnall mac Causantín anglicised as Donald II was King of the Picts or King of Scotland (Alba) in the late 9th century. He was the son of Constantine I (Causantín mac Cináeda). Donald is given the epithet Dásachtach, "the Madman", by the Prophecy of Berchán.

Donald became king on the death or deposition of Giric (Giric mac Dúngail), the date of which is not certainly known but usually placed in 889. The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba reports:

Doniualdus son of Constantini held the kingdom for 11 years [889–900]. The Northmen wasted Pictland at this time. In his reign a battle occurred between Danes and Scots at Innisibsolian where the Scots had victory. He was killed at Opidum Fother [modern Dunnottar] by the Gentiles.

It has been suggested that the attack on Dunnottar, rather than being a small raid by a handful of pirates, may be associated with the ravaging of Scotland attributed to Harald Fairhair in the Heimskringla. The Prophecy of Berchán places Donald's death at Dunnottar, but appears to attribute it to Gaels rather than Norsemen; other sources report he died at Forres.  Donald's death is dated to 900 by the Annals of Ulster and the Chronicon Scotorum, where he is called king of Alba, rather than king of the Picts. He was buried on Iona.

The change from king of the Picts to king of Alba is seen as indicating a step towards the kingdom of the Scots, but historians, while divided as to when this change should be placed, do not generally attribute it to Donald in view of his epithet. The consensus view is that the key changes occurred in the reign of Constantine II (Causantín mac Áeda), but the reign of Giric has also been proposed.

The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba has Donald succeeded by his cousin Constantine II. Donald's son Malcolm (Máel Coluim mac Domnall) was later king as Malcolm I. The Prophecy of Berchán appears to suggest that another king reigned for a short while between Donald II and Constantine II, saying "half a day will he take sovereignty". Possible confirmation of this exists in the Chronicon Scotorum, where the death of "Ead, king of the Picts" in battle against the Uí Ímair is reported in 904. This, however, is thought to be an error, referring perhaps to Ædwulf, the ruler of Bernicia, whose death is reported in 913 by the other Irish annals.

As is typical for this culture ther is no record of Donald's wife.

 

Malcolm I of Scotland  (c. 900–954)
My 32nd great grandfather.

Máel Coluim mac Domnaill (anglicised Malcolm I) was king of Scots (before 943 – 954), becoming king when his cousin Causantín mac Áeda abdicated to become a monk. He was the son of Domnall mac Causantín.

Since his father was known to have died in the year 900, Malcolm must have been born no later than 901. By the 940s, he was no longer a young man, and may have become impatient in awaiting the throne. Willingly or not—the 11th-century Prophecy of Berchán, a verse history in the form of a supposed prophecy, states that it was not a voluntary decision that Constantine II abdicated in 943 and entered a monastery, leaving the kingdom to Malcolm.

Seven years later, the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba says:

[Malcolm I] plundered the English as far as the River Tees, and he seized a multitude of people and many herds of cattle: and the Scots called this the raid of Albidosorum, that is, Nainndisi. But others say that Constantine made this raid, asking of the king, Malcolm, that the kingship should be given to him for a week's time, so that he could visit the English. In fact, it was Malcolm who made the raid, but Constantine incited him, as I have said.

Woolf suggests that the association of Constantine with the raid is a late addition, one derived from a now-lost saga or poem.

He died in the shield wall next to his men.

In 945, Edmund of Wessex, having expelled Amlaíb Cuaran (Olaf Sihtricsson) from Northumbria, devastated Cumbria and blinded two sons of Domnall mac Eógain, king of Strathclyde. It is said that he then "let" or "commended" Strathclyde to Máel Coluim in return for an alliance. What is to be understood by "let" or "commended" is unclear, but it may well mean that Máel Coluim had been the overlord of Strathclyde and that Edmund recognised this while taking lands in southern Cumbria for himself.

The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba says that Máel Coluim took an army into Moray "and slew Cellach". Cellach is not named in the surviving genealogies of the rulers of Moray, and his identity is unknown.

Máel Coluim appears to have kept his agreement with the late English king, which may have been renewed with the new king, Edmund having been murdered in 946 and succeeded by his brother Edred. Eric Bloodaxe took York in 948, before being driven out by Edred, and when Amlaíb Cuaran again took York in 949–950, Máel Coluim raided Northumbria as far south as the Tees taking "a multitude of people and many herds of cattle" according to the Chronicle. The Annals of Ulster for 952 report a battle between "the men of Alba and the Britons [of Strathclyde] and the English" against the foreigners, i.e. the Northmen or the Norse-Gaels. This battle is not reported by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and it is unclear whether it should be related to the expulsion of Amlaíb Cuaran from York or the return of Eric Bloodaxe.

The Annals of Ulster report that Máel Coluim was killed in 954. Other sources place this most probably in the Mearns, either at Fetteresso following the Chronicle, or at Dunnottar following the Prophecy of Berchán. He was buried on Iona. Máel Coluim's sons Dub and Cináed were later kings.

 

Kenneth II of Scotland (before 954 – 995)
My 31st great grandfather.

Cináed mac Maíl Coluim  anglicised as Kenneth II, and nicknamed An Fionnghalach, "The Fratricide";  was King of Scots (Alba). The son of Malcolm I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill), he succeeded King Cuilén (Cuilén mac Iduilb) on the latter's death at the hands of Amdarch of Strathclyde in 971.

The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba was compiled in Kenneth's reign, but many of the place names mentioned are entirely corrupt, if not fictitious. Whatever the reality, the Chronicle states that "[h]e immediately plundered [Strathclyde] in part. Kenneth's infantry were slain with very great slaughter in Moin Uacoruar." The Chronicle further states that Kenneth plundered Northumbria three times, first as far as Stainmore, then to Cluiam and lastly to the River Dee by Chester. These raids may belong to around 980, when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records attacks on Cheshire.

In 973, the Chronicle of Melrose reports that Kenneth, with Máel Coluim I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill), the King of Strathclyde, "Maccus, king of very many islands" (i.e. Magnus Haraldsson (Maccus mac Arailt), King of Mann and the Isles) and other kings, Welsh and Norse, came to Chester to acknowledge the overlordship of the English king Edgar the Peaceable. It may be that Edgar here regulated the frontier between the southern lands of the kingdom of Alba and the northern lands of his English kingdom. Cumbria was English, the western frontier lay on the Solway. In the east, the frontier lay somewhere in later Lothian, south of Edinburgh.

The Annals of Tigernach, in an aside, name three of the Mormaers of Alba in Kenneth's reign in entry in 976: Cellach mac Fíndgaine, Cellach mac Baireda and Donnchad mac Morgaínd. The third of these, if not an error for Domnall mac Morgaínd, is very likely a brother of Domnall, and thus the Mormaer of Moray. The Mormaerdoms or kingdoms ruled by the two Cellachs cannot be identified.

The feud which had persisted since the death of King Indulf (Idulb mac Causantín) between his descendants and Kenneth's family persisted. In 977 the Annals of Ulster report that "Amlaíb mac Iduilb [Amlaíb, son of Indulf], King of Scotland, was killed by Cináed mac Domnaill." The Annals of Tigernach give the correct name of Amlaíb's killer: Cináed mac Maíl Coluim, or Kenneth II. Thus, even if only for a short time, Kenneth had been overthrown by the brother of the previous king.

Adam of Bremen tells that Sweyn Forkbeard found exile in Scotland at this time, but whether this was with Kenneth, or one of the other kings in Scotland, is unknown. Also at this time, Njal's Saga, the Orkneyinga Saga and other sources recount wars between "the Scots" and the Northmen, but these are more probably wars between Sigurd Hlodvisson, Earl of Orkney, and the Mormaers, or Kings, of Moray.

The Chronicle says that Kenneth founded a great monastery at Brechin.

Kenneth was killed in 995, the Annals of Ulster say "by deceit" and the Annals of Tigernach say "by his subjects". Some later sources, such as the Chronicle of Melrose, John of Fordun and Andrew of Wyntoun provide more details, accurately or not. The simplest account is that he was killed by his own men in Fettercairn, through the treachery of Finnguala (also called Fimberhele or Fenella), daughter of Cuncar, Mormaer of Angus, in revenge for the killing of her only son.

The Prophecy of Berchán adds little to our knowledge, except that it names Kenneth "the kinslayer", and states he died in Strathmore.

Kenneth's son Malcolm II (Máel Coluim mac Cináeda) was later king of Alba. Kenneth may have had a second son, named either Dúngal or Gille Coemgáin. Sources differ as to whether Boite mac Cináeda should be counted a son of Kenneth II or of Kenneth III (Cináed mac Duib).

 

 

Malcolm II of Scotland (died 25 November 1034)
He was my 30th great grandfather

Máel Coluim mac Cináeda  known in modern anglicized regnal lists as Malcolm II; was King of the Scots from 1005 until his death. He was a son of Cináed mac Maíl Coluim; the Prophecy of Berchán says that his mother was a woman of Leinster and refers to him as Máel Coluim Forranach, "the destroyer".

To the Irish annals which recorded his death, Máel Coluim was ard rí Alban, High King of Scotland. In the same way that Brian Bóruma, High King of Ireland, was not the only king in Ireland, Máel Coluim was one of several kings within the geographical boundaries of modern Scotland: his fellow kings included the king of Strathclyde, who ruled much of the south-west, various Norse-Gael kings of the western coasts and the Hebrides and, nearest and most dangerous rivals, the Kings or Mormaers of Moray. To the south, in the Kingdom of England, the Earls of Bernicia and Northumbria, whose predecessors as kings of Northumbria had once ruled most of southern Scotland, still controlled large parts of the south-east.

Malcolm II was born to Kenneth II of Scotland. He was grandson of Malcolm I of Scotland. In 997, the killer of Causantín mac Cuilén is credited as being Cináed mac Maíl Coluim. Since there is no known and relevant Cináed alive at that time (Cináed mac Maíl Coluim having died in 995), it is considered an error for either Cináed mac Duib, who succeeded Causantín, or, possibly, Máel Coluim himself, the son of Cináed II. Whether Máel Coluim killed Causantín or not, there is no doubt that in 1005 he killed Causantín's successor Cináed III in battle at Monzievaird in Strathearn.

John of Fordun writes that Máel Coluim defeated a Norwegian army "in almost the first days after his coronation", but this is not reported elsewhere. Fordun says that the Bishopric of Mortlach (later moved to Aberdeen) was founded in thanks for this victory over the Norwegians

Malcolm II demonstrated a rare ability to survive among early Scottish kings by reigning for twenty-nine years. He was a clever and ambitious man. Brehon tradition provided that the successor to Malcolm was to be selected by him from among the descendants of King Aedh, with the consent of Malcolm’s ministers and of the church. Ostensibly in an attempt to end the devastating feuds in the north of Scotland, but obviously influenced by the Norman feudal model, Malcolm ignored tradition and determined to retain the succession within his own line. But since Malcolm had no son of his own, he undertook to negotiate a series of dynastic marriages of his three daughters to men who might otherwise be his rivals, while securing the loyalty of the principal chiefs, their relatives. First he married his daughter Bethoc to Crinan, Thane of The Isles, head of the house of Atholl and secular Abbot of Dunkeld; then his youngest daughter, Olith, to Sigurd, Earl of Orkney. His middle daughter, Donada, was married to Findláich, Mormaer of Moray, Thane of Ross and Cromarty and a descendant of Loarn of Dalriada. This was risky business under the rules of succession of the Gael, but he thereby secured his rear and, taking advantage of the renewal of Viking attacks on England, marched south to fight the English. He defeated the Angles at Carham in 1018 and installed his grandson, Duncan, son of the Abbot of Dunkeld and his choice as Tanist, in Carlisle as King of Cumbria that same year.

Máel Coluim died in 1034, Marianus Scotus giving the date as 25 November 1034. The king lists say that he died at Glamis, variously describing him as a "most glorious" or "most victorious" king. The Annals of Tigernach report that "Máel Coluim mac Cináeda, king of Scotland, the honour of all the west of Europe, died." The Prophecy of Berchán, perhaps the inspiration for John of Fordun and Andrew of Wyntoun's accounts where Máel Coluim is killed fighting bandits, says that he died by violence, fighting "the parricides", suggested to be the sons of Máel Brigte of Moray.

Perhaps the most notable feature of Máel Coluim's death is the account of Marianus, matched by the silence of the Irish annals, which tells us that Donnchad I became king and ruled for five years and nine months. Given that his death in 1040 is described as being "at an immature age" in the Annals of Tigernach, he must have been a young man in 1034. The absence of any opposition suggests that Máel Coluim had dealt thoroughly with any likely opposition in his own lifetime.

Tradition, dating from Fordun's time if not earlier, knew the Pictish stone now called "Glamis 2" as "King Malcolm's grave stone". The stone is a Class II stone, apparently formed by re-using a Bronze Age standing stone. Its dating is uncertain, with dates from the 8th century onwards having been proposed. While an earlier date is favoured, an association with accounts of Máel Coluim's has been proposed on the basis of the iconography of the carvings.

On the question of Máel Coluim's putative pilgrimage, pilgrimages to Rome, or other long-distance journeys, were far from unusual. Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Cnut and Mac Bethad have already been mentioned. Rognvald Kali Kolsson is known to have gone crusading in the Mediterranean in the 12th century. Nearer in time, Dyfnwal of Strathclyde died on pilgrimage to Rome in 975 as did Máel Ruanaid uá Máele Doraid, King of the Cenél Conaill, in 1025. 

 

Bethóc (Died c1054)
She was my 29th great grandmother.

Bethóc ingen Maíl Coluim meic Cináeda was the eldest daughter of Máel Coluim mac Cináeda, King of Scots, who had no known sons.

Princess Bethóc married Crínán, Abbot of Dunkeld. The first son of this marriage was Donnchad I, who ascended to the throne of Scotland in 1034. Early writers have asserted that Máel Coluim also designated Donnchad as his successor under the rules of tanistry because there were other possible claimants to the throne.

In this period, the Scottish throne still passed in Picto-Gaelic matrilineal fashion, from brother to brother, uncle to nephew, and cousin to cousin. Duncan I's accession is thus noteworthy for being the beginning the transition to the evolving Anglo-Norman system of primogeniture.

 

King Duncan I of Scotland (ca. 1001 – 14 August 1040)
My 29th great grandfather

Donnchad mac Crinain,  anglicised as Duncan I, and nicknamed An t-Ilgarach, "the Diseased" or "the Sick"; was king of Scotland (Alba) from 1034 to 1040. He is the historical basis of the "King Duncan" in Shakespeare's play Macbeth.

He was son of Crínán, hereditary lay abbot of Dunkeld, and Bethoc, daughter of king Malcolm II of Scotland (Máel Coluim mac Cináeda).

Unlike the "King Duncan" of Shakespeare's Macbeth, the historical Duncan appears to have been a young man. He followed his grandfather Malcolm as king after the latter's death on 25 November 1034, without apparent opposition. He may have been Malcolm's acknowledged successor or tánaise as the succession appears to have been uneventful. Earlier histories, following John of Fordun, supposed that Duncan had been king of Strathclyde in his grandfather's lifetime, between 1018 and 1034, ruling the former Kingdom of Strathclyde as an appanage. Modern historians discount this idea.

An earlier source, a variant of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba (CK-I), gives Duncan's wife the Gaelic name Suthen. Whatever his wife's name may have been, Duncan had at least two sons. The eldest, Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) was king from 1058 to 1093, the second Donald III (Domnall Bán, or "Donalbane") was king afterwards. Máel Muire, Earl of Atholl is a possible third son of Duncan, although this is uncertain.

The early period of Duncan's reign was apparently uneventful, perhaps a consequence of his youth. Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findláich) is recorded as having been his dux, today rendered as "duke" and meaning nothing more than the rank between prince and marquess, but then still having the Roman meaning of "war leader". In context — "dukes of Francia" had half a century before replaced the Carolingian kings of the Franks and in England the over-mighty Godwin of Wessex was called a dux — this suggests that Macbeth may have been the power behind the throne.

In 1039, Duncan led a large Scots army south to besiege Durham, but the expedition ended in disaster. Duncan survived, but the following year he led an army north into Moray, Macbeth's domain, apparently on a punitive expedition against Moray. There he was killed in action, at Bothganowan, now Pitgaveny, near Elgin, by the men of Moray led by Macbeth, probably on 14 August 1040. He is thought to have been buried at Elgin before later relocated to the Isle of Iona.

 

Malcolm III of Scotland (died 13 November 1093)
He was my 27th great grandfather.

Máel Coluim mac Donnchada called in most Anglicised regnal lists Malcolm III, and in later centuries nicknamed Canmore, "Big Head", either literally or in reference to his leadership, "Long-neck"; , was King of Scots. He was the eldest son of King Duncan I (Donnchad mac Crínáin). Malcolm's long reign, lasting 35 years, preceded the beginning of the Scoto-Norman age. He is the historical equivalent of the character of the same name in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Malcolm's Kingdom did not extend over the full territory of modern Scotland: the north and west of Scotland remained in Scandinavian, Norse-Gael and Gaelic control, and the areas under the control of the Kings of Scots did not advance much beyond the limits set by Malcolm II (Máel Coluim mac Cináeda) until the 12th century. Malcolm III fought a succession of wars against the Kingdom of England, which may have had as their goal the conquest of the English earldom of Northumbria. These wars did not result in any significant advances southwards. Malcolm's main achievement is to have continued a line which would rule Scotland for many years, although his role as "founder of a dynasty" has more to do with the propaganda of his youngest son David, and his descendants, than with any historical reality.

Malcolm's second wife, Margaret of Wessex, was later beatified and is Scotland's only royal saint. Malcolm himself gained no reputation for piety; with the notable exception of Dunfermline Abbey he is not definitely associated with major religious establishments or ecclesiastical reforms.

Malcolm's father Duncan I (Donnchad mac Crínáin) became king in late 1034, on the death of Malcolm II (Máel Coluim mac Cináeda), Duncan's maternal grandfather and Malcolm's Great-grandfather. According to John of Fordun, whose account is the original source of part at least of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, Malcolm's mother was a niece of Siward, Earl of Northumbria but an earlier king-list gives her the Gaelic name Suthen. Other sources claim that either a daughter or niece would have been too young to fit the timeline, thus the likely relative would have been Siward's own sister Sybil, which may have translated into Gaelic as Suthen.

Duncan's reign was not successful and he was killed by Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlaích) on 15 August 1040. Although Shakespeare's Macbeth presents Malcolm as a grown man and his father as an old one, it appears that Duncan was still young in 1040, and Malcolm and his brother Donalbane (Domnall Bán) were children. Malcolm's family did attempt to overthrow Macbeth in 1045, but Malcolm's grandfather Crínán of Dunkeld was killed in the attempt.

Soon after the death of Duncan his two young sons were sent away for greater safety — exactly where is the subject of debate. According to one version, Malcolm (then aged about 9) was sent to England, and his younger brother Donalbane was sent to the Isles. Based on Fordun's account, it was assumed that Malcolm passed most of Macbeth's seventeen-year reign in the Kingdom of England at the court of Edward the Confessor.

According to an alternative version, Malcolm's mother took both sons into exile at the court of Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney, an enemy of Macbeth's family, and perhaps Duncan's kinsman by marriage.

An English invasion in 1054, with Siward, Earl of Northumbria, in command, had as its goal the installation of one "Máel Coluim, son of the King of the Cumbrians". This Máel Coluim has traditionally been identified with the later Malcolm III. This interpretation derives from the Chronicle attributed to the 14th-century chronicler of Scotland, John of Fordun, as well as from earlier sources such as William of Malmesbury. The latter reported that Macbeth was killed in the battle by Siward, but it is known that Macbeth outlived Siward by two years. A. A. M. Duncan argued in 2002 that, using the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry as their source, later writers innocently misidentified "Máel Coluim" with the later Scottish king of the same name. Duncan's argument has been supported by several subsequent historians specializing in the era, such as Richard Oram, Dauvit Broun and Alex Woolf. It has also been suggested that Máel Coluim may have been a son of Owen the Bald, British king of Strathclyde perhaps by a daughter of Máel Coluim II, King of Scotland.

In 1057 various chroniclers report the death of Macbeth at Malcolm's hand, on 15 August 1057 at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth was succeeded by his stepson Lulach, who was crowned at Scone, probably on 8 September 1057. Lulach was killed by Malcolm, "by treachery", near Huntly on 23 April 1058. After this, Malcolm became king, perhaps being inaugurated on 25 April 1058, although only John of Fordun reports this.

The Orkneyinga saga reports that Malcolm married the widow of Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Ingibiorg, a daughter of Finn Arnesson. Although Ingibiorg is generally assumed to have died shortly before 1070, it is possible that she died much earlier, around 1058. The Orkneyinga Saga records that Malcolm and Ingibiorg had a son, Duncan II (Donnchad mac Maíl Coluim), who was later king.

Although he had given sanctuary to Tostig Godwinson when the Northumbrians drove him out, Malcolm was not directly involved in the ill-fated invasion of England by Harald Hardraade and Tostig in 1066, which ended in defeat and death at the battle of Stamford Bridge. In 1068, he granted asylum to a group of English exiles fleeing from William of Normandy, among them Agatha, widow of Edward the Confessor's nephew Edward the Exile, and her children: Edgar Ætheling and his sisters Margaret and Cristina. They were accompanied by Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria. The exiles were disappointed, however, if they had expected immediate assistance from the Scots.

In 1069 the exiles returned to England, to join a spreading revolt in the north. Even though Gospatric and Siward's son Waltheof submitted by the end of the year, the arrival of a Danish army under Sweyn Estridsson seemed to ensure that William's position remained weak. Malcolm decided on war, and took his army south into Cumbria and across the Pennines, wasting Teesdale and Cleveland then marching north, loaded with loot, to Wearmouth. There Malcolm met Edgar and his family, who were invited to return with him, but did not. As Sweyn had by now been bought off with a large Danegeld, Malcolm took his army home. In reprisal, William sent Gospatric to raid Scotland through Cumbria. In return, the Scots fleet raided the Northumbrian coast where Gospatric's possessions were concentrated. Late in the year, perhaps shipwrecked on their way to a European exile, Edgar and his family again arrived in Scotland, this time to remain. By the end of 1070, Malcolm had married Edgar's sister Margaret of Wessex, the future Saint Margaret of Scotland.

The naming of their children represented a break with the traditional Scots Regal names such as Malcolm, Cináed and Áed. The point of naming Margaret's sons, Edward after her father Edward the Exile, Edmund for her grandfather Edmund Ironside, Ethelred for her great-grandfather Ethelred the Unready and Edgar for her great-great-grandfather Edgar and her brother, briefly the elected king, Edgar Ætheling, was unlikely to be missed in England, where William of Normandy's grasp on power was far from secure. Whether the adoption of the classical Alexander for the future Alexander I of Scotland (either for Pope Alexander II or for Alexander the Great) and the biblical David for the future David I of Scotland represented a recognition that William of Normandy would not be easily removed, or was due to the repetition of Anglo-Saxon Royal name—another Edmund had preceded Edgar—is not known. Margaret also gave Malcolm two daughters, Edith, who married Henry I of England, and Mary, who married Eustace III of Boulogne.

While marching north, Malcolm was ambushed by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria, whose lands he had devastated, near Alnwick on 13 November 1093. There he was killed by Arkil Morel, steward of Bamburgh Castle. The conflict became known as the Battle of Alnwick. Edward was mortally wounded in the same fight. Margaret, it is said, died soon after receiving the news of their deaths from Edgar. The Annals of Ulster say:

Mael Coluim son of Donnchad, over-king of Scotland, and Edward his son, were killed by the French [i.e. Normans] in Inber Alda in England. His queen, Margaret, moreover, died of sorrow for him within nine days.

Malcolm's body was taken to Tynemouth Priory for burial. The king's body was sent north for reburial, in the reign of his son Alexander, at Dunfermline Abbey, or possibly Iona.

On 19 June 1250, following the canonisation of Malcolm's wife Margaret by Pope Innocent IV, Margaret's remains were disinterred and placed in a reliquary. Tradition has it that as the reliquary was carried to the high altar of Dunfermline Abbey, past Malcolm's grave, it became too heavy to move. As a result, Malcolm's remains were also disinterred, and buried next to Margaret beside the altar. 

For more information about my 27th great grandmother, St Margaret, Queen of Scotland, see Saint Margaret of Scotland.

 

Matilda of Scotland  (c. 1080 – 1 May 1118)
My 26th great grandmother

Matilda was born around 1080 in Dunfermline, the daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret. She was christened (baptised) Edith, and Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, stood as godfather at the ceremony. Queen Matilda, the consort of William the Conqueror, was also present at the baptismal font and served as her godmother. Baby Matilda pulled at Queen Matilda's headdress, which was seen as an omen that the younger Matilda would be queen one day.

The Life of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland was later written for Matilda possibly by Turgot of Durham. It refers to Matilda's childhood and her relationship with her mother. In it, Margaret is described as a strict but loving mother. She did not spare the rod when it came to raising her children in virtue, which the author presupposed was the reason for the good behaviour Matilda and her siblings displayed, and Margaret also stressed the importance of piety.

When she was about six years old, Matilda of Scotland (or Edith as she was then probably still called) and her sister Mary were sent to Romsey Abbey, near Southampton, where their aunt Cristina was abbess. During her stay at Romsey and, some time before 1093, at Wilton Abbey, both institutions known for learning, the Scottish princess was much sought-after as a bride; refusing proposals from William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, and Alan Rufus, Lord of Richmond. Hériman of Tournai claimed that William II Rufus considered marrying her. Her education went beyond the standard feminine pursuits. This was not surprising as her mother was a great lover of books and literate. Her daughters learned English, French, and some Latin, and were sufficiently literate to read St. Augustine and the Old and New Testaments.

In 1093, her parents betrothed her to Alan Rufus, Lord of Richmond, one of her numerous suitors. However, before the marriage took place, her father entered into a dispute with William Rufus. In response, he marauded the English king's lands where he was surprised by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria and killed along with his son, Edward. Upon hearing of her husband and son's death, Margaret, already ill, died on November 16. Edith was now an orphan. She was abandoned by her betrothed who ran off with a daughter of Harold Godwinson, Gunhild of Wessex. However, he died before they could be married.

She had left the monastery by 1093, when Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to the Bishop of Salisbury ordering that the daughter of the King of Scotland be returned to the monastery that she had left. She did not return to Wilton and until 1100, is largely unaccounted for in chronicles.

After the mysterious death of William II in August 1100, his brother, Henry, immediately seized the royal treasury and crown. His next task was to marry and Henry's choice was Matilda. Because Matilda had spent most of her life in a convent, there was some controversy over whether she was a nun and thus canonically ineligible for marriage. Henry sought permission for the marriage from Archbishop Anselm, who returned to England in September 1100 after a long exile. Professing himself unwilling to decide so weighty a matter on his own, Anselm called a council of bishops in order to determine the canonical legality of the proposed marriage. Matilda testified that she had never taken holy vows, insisting that her parents had sent her and her sister to England for educational purposes, and her aunt Cristina had veiled her to protect her "from the lust of the Normans." Matilda claimed she had pulled the veil off and stamped on it, and her aunt beat and scolded her for this act. The council concluded that Matilda was not a nun, never had been and her parents had not intended that she become one, giving their permission for the marriage.

Matilda and Henry seem to have known one another for some time before their marriage — William of Malmesbury states that Henry had "long been attached" to her, and Orderic Vitalis says that Henry had "long adored" her character. It is possible that Matilda had spend some time at William Rufus's court and that the pair had met there. It is also possible Henry was introduced to his bride by his teacher Bishop Osmund. Whatever the case, it is clear that the two at least knew each other prior to their wedding. Additionally, the chronicler William of Malmesbury suggests that the new king loved his bride.

Matilda's mother was the sister of Edgar the Ætheling, proclaimed but uncrowned King of England after Harold, and, through her, Matilda was descended from Edmund Ironside and thus from the royal family of Wessex, which in the 10th century had become the royal family of a united England. This was extremely important because although Henry had been born in England, he needed a bride with ties to the ancient Wessex line to increase his popularity with the English and to reconcile the Normans and Anglo-Saxons.  In their children, the two factions would be united, further unifying the new regime. Another benefit was that England and Scotland became politically closer; three of Matilda's brothers became kings of Scotland in succession and were unusually friendly towards England during this period of unbroken peace between the two nations: Alexander married one of Henry I's illegitimate daughters and David lived at Henry's court for some time before his accession.

Matilda had a small dower but it did incorporate some lordship rights. Most of her dower estates were granted from lands previously held by Edith of Wessex. Additionally, Henry made numerous grants on his wife including substantial property in London. Generosity aside, this was a political move in order to win over the unruly Londoners who were vehement supporters of the Wessex kings.

After Matilda and Henry were married on 11 November 1100 at Westminster Abbey by Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury, she was crowned as "Matilda," a hallowed Norman name. By courtiers, however, she and her husband were soon nicknamed 'Godric and Godiva'. These two names were typical English names from before The Conquest and mocked their more rustic style, especially when compared to the flamboyance of William II.

She gave birth to a daughter, Matilda, born in February 1102, and a son, William, called "Adelin", in November 1103. As Queen, she resided primarily at Westminster, but accompanied her husband on his travels around England, and, circa 1106–1107, probably visited Normandy with him. Matilda was the designated head of Henry's curia and acted as regent during his frequent absences.

During the English investiture controversy (1103-07), she acted as intercessor between her husband and archbishop Anselm. She wrote several letters during Anselm's absence, first asking him for advice and to return, but later increasingly to mediate.

Matilda had great interest in architecture and instigated the building of many Norman-style buildings, including Waltham Abbey and Holy Trinity Aldgate. She also had the first arched bridge in England built, at Stratford-le-Bow, as well as a bathhouse with piped-in water and public lavatories at Queenhithe.

Her court was filled with musicians and poets; she commissioned a monk, possibly Thurgot, to write a biography of her mother, Saint Margaret. She was an active queen and, like her mother, was renowned for her devotion to religion and the poor. William of Malmesbury describes her as attending church barefoot at Lent, and washing the feet and kissing the hands of the sick. Matilda exhibited a particular interest in leprosy, founding at least two leper hospitals, including the institution that later became the parish church of St Giles-in-the-Fields. She also administered extensive dower properties and was known as a patron of the arts, especially music.

After Matilda died on 1 May 1118 at Westminster Palace, she was buried at Westminster Abbey. The death of her son, William Adelin, in the tragic disaster of the White Ship (November 1120) and Henry's failure to produce a legitimate son from his second marriage led to the succession crisis of The Anarchy.

After her death, she was remembered by her subjects as "Matilda the Good Queen" and "Matilda of Blessed Memory", and for a time sainthood was sought for her, though she was never canonized. Matilda is also thought to be the identity of the "Fair Lady" mentioned at the end of each verse in the nursery rhyme London Bridge Is Falling Down. The post-Norman conquest English monarchs to the present day are related to the Anglo-Saxon House of Wessex monarchs via Matilda of Scotland as she was the great-granddaughter of King Edmund Ironside, see House of Wessex family tree.

Matilda and Henry had issue

  1. Euphemia (July/August 1101), died young

  2. Matilda of England (c. February 1102 – 10 September 1167), Holy Roman Empress, Countess consort of Anjou, called Lady of the English

  3. William Adelin, (5 August 1103 – 25 November 1120), sometimes called Duke of Normandy, who married Matilda (d.1154), daughter of Fulk V, Count of Anjou.

  4. Elizabeth (August/September 1104), died young

This description of Matilda is from a poem of Marbod of Rennes:

"It causes pleasure to see the queen whom no woman equals in beauty of body or face, hiding her body, nevertheless, in a veil of loose clothing. Here alone, with new modesty, wishes to conceal it, but what gleams with its own light cannot be hidden and the sun, penetrating his clouds, hurls his rays." She also had "fluent, honeyed speech."

 

Our story continues in our royal line of ancestors at Plantagenet Kings

 

 
 

© Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
 Oct 14, 2013

 

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