MALE Máel Coluim mac Donnchada (Malcolm III)

King of Scotland (Alba), ca. 1058-1093.

Máel Coluim (Malcolm) III killed king Mac Bethad mac Findláech (the famous Macbeth) in battle, probably in August 1057, and he succeeded to the kingship when he killed Macbeth's stepson Lulach in battle in the following March (probably 1058). Malcolm's date of accession is discussed in detail in the Commentary section. Malcolm III was killed in battle by the Normans in England on 13 November 1093 [see below]. [For the nickname of "Canmore" commonly given to him, see Duncan (2002), 51-2]

Date of Birth: Say 1030×5?
Place of Birth: Unknown.
The Annals of Tigernach state that his father, who became king in 1034, was killed in 1040 at a premature/untimely age ["Donncadh mac Crínan, aird-rí Alban immatura etate a suis occissus est." AT s.a. 1040]. Thus, if we estimate that Malcolm was born in the range 1030×5, that should not be off by too many years.

Date of Death: 13 November 1093.
Place of Death: Alnwick, near the river Alne, in Northumbria.
Places of Burial: Tynemouth, then Dunfermline.
Malcolm was killed by the Normans under Robert, earl of Northumbria [ASC(E) s.a. 1093 (year only); "Mael Coluim m. Donnchadha airdri Alban & Etbard a mc do marbadh do Francaibh." AU s.a. 1093]. John of Worcester places the battle on the day of the festival of St. Brice (13 November) ["Rex Scottorum Malcolmus, et primogenitus filius suus Eadwardus, cum multis aliis, in Northymbria, die festivitatis S. Bricii [13 Nov.], a militibus Rotberti Northymbroroum comitis occisi sunt." John Worc. s.a. 1093 (2: 31-2); similarly, Sim. Durh., c. 174 (2: 221)]. Simeon of Durham places the battle near the river Alne ["... sed juxta flumen Alne perimitur cum primogenito suo Eadwardo, quem hæredem regni post se disposuerat." Sim. Durh., c. 174 (2: 222)], and Geoffrey Gaimar at Alnwick ["A Alnewic fu la bataille," Gaimar 6117)]. Malcolm was buried for many years at Tynemouth, but his body was later removed to Dunfermline by his son Alexander ["... humatusque multis annis apud Tinemuthe, nuper ab Alexandro filio Scotiam ad Dunfermelin portatus est." Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 250 (2: 309)].

Father: Donnchad mac Crínáin (Duncan I), d. 14×15 August 1040, king of Scotland.
["... Dauíd fili Maelcolaim, filíí Donnchada qui fuit nepos Malcolaim ..." Genealogy of William the Lion, Poppleton MS, KKES 256; Regnal Lists "B", "F", "I", "K". KKES 263, 276, 284, 289; other sources described above making Malcolm son of Duncan]

Mother: Suthen.
["Malcolin filius Doncath <mater eius Suthen vocatur> xxxvij annis et viij mensibus et interfectus in Inveralden et sepultus in Dunfermelin." Regnal List "I", KKES 284 <words in angle brackets written above "Doncath">]


(1) Ingibjorg Finnsdóttir, d. 18 February before 1058?, widow of Þorfinnr Sigurðarson (Thorfinn), jarl of Orkney.
["Íngibjörg jarla-móðir giptist [eptir andlát Þorfinns jarls] Melkólmi Skota-konúngi, er langháls var kallaðr. Þeirra son var Dungaðr Skota-konúngr, faðir Vilhjálms hins ágæta manns." Orkneyínga Saga, c. 39, Dasent-Vigfusson (1887-), 1: 60; ("Ingibiorg Earls'-mother married [after the death of earl Thorfinn] Malcolm, the Scottish king, who was called Long-neck. Their son was Duncan, the Scottish king, the father of William, the nobleman.") ESSH 2: 4]. Ingibjorg is sometimes erroneously called the daughter of Thorfinn. According to the Orkneyínga Saga, she was a daughter of Finnr Arnasson, a Norwegian Viking ["Þorfinnr jarl átti Íngibjörgu jarla-móður; hón var dóttir Finns Árnasonar." Orkneyínga Saga, c. 37, Dasent-Vigfusson (1887-), 1: 58]. Although Thorfinn is often stated to have died around 1065, there is no good evidence for his date of death, and he could have died considerably earlier. This makes the marriage of Malcolm and Ingibjorg difficult to date. However, Duncan has noted the obituary of an Ingeberga comitissa under 18 February in the Liber Vitae of Durham, who is difficult to identify with anyone else ["[XII. kal. Mart.] Ingeberga comitissa" Obit. Eccles. Dunelm., Lib. Vit. Durham, 141; Duncan (2002), 42-3]. If this is Malcolm's wife, the title of comitissa suggests that Ingibjorg died before Malcom became king. [Spelling note: The "o" in Ingibjorg's name should be an "o-hook" (an "o" with a small right-facing hook attached at the bottom), but it is represented here as an ordinary "o" because I was unable to get the desired letter to display correctly.]

(2) 1070×1, St. Margaret, d. 16 (?) November 1093, daughter of Eadweard "the Exile".
Simeon of Durham places the marriage in 1070 ["Cujus Eadgari sororem Margaretam rex Malcolmus, consensu propinquorum illius, matrimonio sibi junxit, foeminam regali prosapia nobilem, ..." Sim. Durh., c. 156, s.a. 1070 (2: 192)]. The account of the Worcester ("D") manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, placed under the year 1067, is clearly retrospective, and appears to cover the events of several years [ASC(D) s.a. 1067]. Other sources mention the marriage, but do not give a date [e.g., "Margareta, quam Malcolmus rex Scottorum legitimo matrimonio duxit" Wm. Malmes.,
Gesta Regum, c. 228 (1: 278); "Malcolmus ... Edgarum præcipue, cujus sororem, pro antiqua memoria nobilitatis, jugalem sibi fecerat." ibid., c. 249 (2: 308); "Hac occasione actum est ut Margareta regis Malcolmi nuptiis traderetur, ..." Ailred of Rievaulx, Genealogia Regum Anglorum, PL 195: 735]. Freeman has a detailed discussion of the date of the marriage, where he argues that Simeon's information is accurate, and the marriage should be placed in 1070 or 1071 [Freeman (1870-9), 4: 783-7].


by Ingibjorg Finnsdóttir:

MALE Donnchad (Duncan) II, d. 1094, king of Scotland, 1094.
Duncan II is stated by Orkneyínga Saga to be Ingibjorg's son [see above]. He is called an illegitimate son of Malcolm by William of Malmesbury ["Dunecanum, filium Malcolmi nothum" Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 400 (2: 476)]. At the death of Malcolm III in 1093, his brother Domnall (Donald) Bán became king but in 1094 was deprived of the throne by his nephew, Malcolm's son Duncan II [ASC(E) s.a. 1093; John Worc., s.a. 1093 (2: 32)]. Later in 1094, the Scots deprived Duncan of his life at Donald's instigation, and Donald became king again [ASC(E) s.a. 1094; "Interim Scotti regem suum Dunechan, et cum eo nonnullos, suasu et hortatu Dufenaldi, per insidias peremerunt, et illum sibi regem rursus constituerunt." John Worc., s.a. 1094 (2: 35); "Donnchadh m. Maelcoluim ri Alban do marbadh o brathrib fein <.i. o Domnall & o Etmond> per dolum" ("Donnchad son of Mael Coluim, king of Scotland, was treacherously killed by his own brothers <i.e., by Domnall and Edmond>.") AU s.a. 1094 <words in angle brackets interlined>; "Donnchad mc. Mail Coluim, rí Alban, ocisus est o Domnall mc. Donnchada. In Domnall sin dano do gabáil rige Alban iar sein." AI s.a. 1094].

by Margaret of England:
Several sources list some or all of the eight children of Malcolm and Margaret ["Margareta, quam Malcolmus rex Scottorum legitimo matrimonio duxit. Hæc, numerosa prole foecunda, habuit filios Edgarum et Alexandrum qui post patrem regnaverunt in Scotia successione continua; nam senior, Edwardus, in bello cum patre occubuit; junior, David, mansuetudine et sapientia celebris, rex Scotiæ modo habetur: filias, Matildem quam nostro seculo rex Henricus, Mariam quam Eustachius junior comes Bononiæ, uxores duxerunt." Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 228 (1: 278); "Ex qua sex filios suscepit, Eadwardum, Eadmundum, Eadgarum regem, et Alexandrum regem, Ethelredum, David regem, et duas filias, Mahtildam Anglorum reginam, et Mariam, quam Eustachius comes Bononiæ in conjugium accepit." Sim. Durh., c. 156 (2: 192); "... filios suos: Edgarum et Alexandrum et David ..." OV viii, 22 (3: 397); "Duas filias: Edith et Mariam, ..." ibid (3: 399); "Anno autem M.lxvij. desponsata est ei Margareta gloriosa regina, ex qua genuit vi. filios, scilicet Edwardum, Edmundum, Edelredum, Edgarum, Alexandrum, David, duas filias, scili[cet] Matildam reginam Anglorum, et Mariam comitissam Boloniæ." Chron. Melrose, 51-2; "ex ea sex filios, scilicet, Edwardum qui obiit sine herede, Edmundum qui obiit sine herede, Edeldredum qui obiit sine herede, Edgarus qui regnavit, et obiit sine herede, Alexander qui regnavit [et] sine herede obiit. David qui regnavit et duxit Matildam Comitissam Huntingdon neptem Willelmi Regis Anglie filiam Ivette que fuit filia Lamberti de Louns Comitis. ... De predictus et Malcolmo et Margareta exierunt Matildis et Maria. Matildis vero nupsit Henrico primo Regi Anglie ..." Chronicle of Huntingdon, Skene (1867), 210-1]. Eadweard, Eadmund, Eadgar, Alexander, and David appear to have been born in that order. The order of birth of the other three children is unclear, although Eadgyth/Matilda seems to have been older than Mary.

MALE Eadweard (Edward), d. 13×15 November 1093.
The eldest son of Malcolm and Margaret, Edward fell in the battle in England in which his father was killed [ASC(E) s.a. 1093; John Worc. s.a. 1093 (2: 31-2); Sim. Durh., c. 174 (2: 222); AU s.a. 1093; see above under the death of Malcolm]. A folio inserted in the Chronicle of Melrose would indicate that he was pierced by a lance and survived the battle by two days ["Anno vero regni fui xxxvij. interemtus est in Anglia idus Novembris, et filius ejus primogenitus Edwardus lancea ibidem perforatus est, qui xvij. kal. Decembris fatis cessit." Chron. Melrose s.a. 1057 (added sheet), p. 52].

MALE Eadmund (Edmund), d. after 1094.
Reports on Edmund vary. According to William of Malmesbury, Edmund was guilty, along with his uncle Domnall (Donald) Bán, of the death of his brother Duncan II, and died in chains ["Solus fuit Edmundus Margaretæ filius a bono degener; qui, Duvenaldi patrui nequitiæ particeps, fraternæ non inscius necis fuerit, pactus scilicet regni dimidium: sed captus, et perpetuis compedibus detentus, ingenue poenituit; et ad mortem veniens, cum ipsis vinculis se tumulari mandavit, professus se plexum merito pro fratricidii delicto." Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 400 (2: 477); (Translation: "Edmund was the only son of Margaret who fell away from the good. For he, taking part in his uncle Donald's wickedness, was not innocent of his brother's death, bargaining indeed for half the kingdom. But he sincerely repented, when he was captured and kept in fetters for life; and when he came to die, directed that he should be entombed in those chains, declaring that he was deservedly punished for the crime of fratricide.") SAEC 119]. An interpolation regarding Edmund in the Poppleton Manuscript is more positive ["Edmundus uero frater earum uir strenuissimus et in dei seruicio dum uitam ageret presentem ualde denotus apud Montem Acutem in quadam uidelicet cella Cluniaccensi que ibi sita est requiescit humatus." Poppleton MS, KKES 255 (Translation: "And Edmund their brother [i.e., of Matilda and Mary], a man most vigorous and in God's service, and very devout throughout his present life, rests buried in Montague, that is, in a certain Cluniac church which is situated there.") ESSH 2: 55].

MALE Eadgar (Edgar), d. 6×13 January 1107, king of Scotland, 1097-1107.
In 1097, with the support of king William II Rufus of England, Edgar's uncle Eadgar Ætheling led an army that drove out Domnall (Donald) Bán and put Edgar on the throne of Scotland [ASC(E) s.a. 1097; "Post hæc clitonem Eadgarum ad Scottiam cum exercitu misit, ut in ea consobrinum suum Eadgarum, Malcolmi regis filium, patruo suo Dufenaldo, qui regnum invaserat, expulso, regem constitueret." John Worc., s.a. 1097 (2: 41); Sim. Durh., c. 179 (2: 228)]. He died in January 1107 (with varying reports on the exact date), being succeeded by his brother Alexander I ["IDus Iañr." [13 Jan.] ASC(E) s.a. 1107; "Eadgarus rex Scottorum VIII. idus Januarii obiit, cui Alexander frater suus successit." [6 Jan.] John Worc. s.a. 1107 (2: 55); "... vi. Idus Januarii ..." [8 Jan.] Sim. Durh., c. 186 (2: 238); "... vj. idus Januarij ..." [8 Jan.] Chron. Melrose s.a. 1107; Chron. Robert de Torigny, s.a. 1107, MGH SS 6: 483; "VI. idus Januar. O' Ædgarus rex Scottorum" [8 Jan.] Obit. Eccles. Dunelm., Lib. Vit. Durham, 140; "v. idus Januarii. O' Edgarus rex Scottorum" [9 Jan.] Obit. Minor. Eccles. Dunelm., Lib. Vit. Durham, 149]. The Annals of Ulster place his death as the last event listed for 1106 [AU s.a. 1106].

MALE Alexander I, d. 23×6 April 1124, king of Scotland, 1107-24;
m. Sybil, d. 12 or 13 July 1122,
daughter of Henry I, king of England.
Alexander succeeded his brother Edgar as king of Scotland in 1107. He married married an illegitimate daughter of king Henry I of England, named Sybil, who died 12 or 13 July 1122 ["Edgaro fatali sorte occumbente, Alexandrum successorem Henricus affinitate detinuit, data ei in conjugium filia notha." Wm. Malmes.,
Gesta Regum, c. 400 (2: 476); "Sibilla regina Scottorum, filia Henrici regis, subita morte decedit iv. idus Julii." [12 July] Sim. Durh. s.a. 1122 (2: 265); "... Alexander regnavit, et filiam Henrici, regis Anglorum, ex concubina uxorem duxit." OV viii, 22 (vol. 3, p. 400); "Sibilla regina Scotiæ obiit iij. idus Julij." [13 July] Chron. Melrose s.a. 1122; "IIII. id. Jul. O' Sibilla regina Scottorum" [12 July] Obit. Eccles. Dunelm., Lib. Vit. Durham, 144; "iii. idus Julii. Sibilla regina Scottorum" [13 July] Obit. Minor. Eccles. Dunelm., Lib. Vit. Durham, 151]. Alexander I died on 23, 25, or 26 April, probably in 1124 (although some sources give 1123 or 1125), being succeeded by his brother David I ["ix kl. Mai." [23 Apr. 1124] ASC(E) s.a. 1124; AU s.a. 1124; "Alexander rex Scottorum, VII. kal. Maii, obiit." [25 Apr. 1123] John Worc., s.a. 1123 (2: 78); "Anno MCXXIIII. Alexander rex Scottorum obiit vi. kal. Maii, cum regnasset xviii. annis, et tribus mensibus. Cui frater ejus David succedens, ..." [26 Apr. 1124] Sim. Durh., c. 210, s.a. 1124 (2: 275); "Anno M.c.xxiiij. Alexander rex Scottorum obiit vij. kalendas Maij, cui successit frater ejus Dauid." [25 Apr. 1124] Chron. Melrose s.a. 1124; "Mortuo Alexandro rege Scotorum, successit ei David frater eius, ..." [1125] Chron. Robert de Torigny, s.a. 1125, MGH SS 6: 488; "Anno ab incarnatione Domini MºCºXXºVº, Alexander, rex Scotorum, vita exivit, et David, frater ejus, regni gubernacula suscepit." [1125] OV viii, 22 (vol 3, p. 403); "VII. kl'. Maii ... Alexander rex Scottorum, et soror ejus Matildis regina Anglorum" [25 Apr.] Obit. Eccles. Dunelm., Lib. Vit. Durham, 143; "vii. kal. Maii. O' Alexander rex Scottorum" [25 Apr.] Obit. Minor. Eccles. Dunelm., Lib. Vit. Durham, 150].

MALE Æthelred, earl of Fife, abbot of Dunkeld.
[ESSH 2: 56, 73, and sources cited there]

MALE David I, d. 24 May 1153, king of Scotland, 1124-53;
m. Matilda,
daughter of Waltheof, earl of Northumbria.
David succeeded his brother Alexander I as king of Scotland in 1124. He married Matilda, daughter of earl Waltheof, and widow of Simon de Senlis ["Porro rex David, tradente rege Henrico, uxorem duxit Mathildam filiam Wallevi comitis et Judithæ quæ fuit neptis primi regis Willielmi, ..." Ailred of Rieulvaux, Genealogia Regum Anglorum, PL 195: 736; "Filiam quoque Guallevi comitis, et Judith, consobrinæ regis, uxorem duxit, binosque comitatus Northamtonæ et Huntendonæ, quos Simon Silvanectensis, comes, cum præfata muliere possederat, habuit." OV viii, 22 (vol. 3, p. 402)]. David died at Carlisle in 1153, being succeeded by his grandson Malcolm IV ["Eodem anno David rex Scotiæ apud Karlel pressus infirmitate ix. Kal. Junii obiit, ..." Sim. Durh. (cont. by John of Hexham), c. 26 (2: 330); "Decessit etiam David rex Scotie, ..." Chron. Robert de Torigny, s.a. 1152=1153, MGH SS 6: 502; "Anno M.c.liij. obiit Dauid rex Scottorum ix. kal. Junii, et Malcolmus nepos ejus xij. annorum puer, filii sui Henrici comitis filius, successit ei." Chron. Melrose s.a. 1153; "iii. id. Maii. O. David rex Scottorum" Obit. Eccles. Dunelm., Lib. Vit. Durham, 143; "ii. idus Maii. O' David rex Scottorum" Obit. Minor. Eccles. Dunelm., ibid., 150].

FEMALE Eadgyth/Matilda, d. 1 May 1118;
m. 11 November 1100,
Henry I, d. 2 December 1135, king of England, 1100-35.

FEMALE Mary, d. 31 May 1116;
m. 1102 Eustace III, count of Boulogne.
["Rex Anglorum Heinricus Mariam, reginæ sororem, Eustatio, Bononiensium comiti, nuptum tradidit." John Worc., s.a. 1102 (2: 51); also in Sim. Durh., c. 184, s.a. 1102 (2: 235); "Maria autem comítissa .ij. kal'. Iuníj, anno ab incarnacione domini .mº.cº.xvi. apud Bermundeseiam ex altera parte prefate urbis monasterio sancti Saluatoris in pace quíeuít ubi a domno Petreio ammirande sanctitatis uíro tunc priore eiusdem loci Duniacensis sed ad caritatem specialiter pertínentis gloriose sepulta est." Poppleton MS, KKES 255; "Mariam vero Eustachius, Boloniensis comes, conjugem accepit, ..." OV viii, 22 (vol. 3, p. 400)]

mother unknown (not Margaret):
Since the list of children of Malcolm and Margaret by several sources seems to be complete, these sons would not be by Margaret. They could be by Ingibjorg, or by an otherwise unknown earlier wife, or illegitimate.

MALE Domnall (Donald), d. 1085.
["... Domnall m. Maelcoluim ri Alban, ... suam uitam infeliciter finierunt." AU s.a. 1085; ESSH 2: 47, 160]

MALE Máel Coluim (Malcolm), fl. 1094.
Said to have witnessed a charter of his brother Duncan II in 1094 [ESSH 2: 26]. The fact that it was rare at this time to name a son after the father (among both the Scots and the Anglo-Saxons) might be considered a negative indicator regarding the existence of this son, but not a decisive one, as Malcolm could easily have been influenced by the Normans in this regard, among whom naming a son after the father was common. Assuming that the charter is genuine, there is no good reason to doubt Malcolm's existence.


The date of Malcolm's accession

We are concerned here with two main conflicts in the sources:

William of Malmesbury states that Siward of Northumbria, by the king's command, fought with Macbeth, king of the Scots, and deprived him of his life and kingdom, and that he installed Malcolm, son of the king of the Cumbrians, as king ["... Siwardum Northimbrensium, qui, jussu ejus cum Scottorum rege Macbetha congressus, vita regnoque spoliavit; ibidemque Malcolmum, filium regis Cumbrorum, regem instituit; ..." Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 196 (1: 236-7)]. The same event is mentioned by John of Worcester, but without the death of Macbeth (who instead is put to flight) ["Strenuus dux Northymbrorum Siwardus, jussu regis, cum equestri exercitu et classe valida Scottiam adiit, et cum rege Scottorum Macbeotha proelium commisit, ac multis millibus Scottorum, et Nortmannis omnibus, quorum supra fecimus mentionem, occisis, illum fugavit, et Malcolmum, regis Cumbrorum filium, ut rex jusserat, regem constituit." John Worc., s.a. 1054 (1: 212); similarly in Sim. Durh., c. 140 (2: 171)], and the Annals of Durham have a brief account ["Siwardus fugato Macbeth, posuit Malcolmum regem, ..." Ann. Dunelmenses, s.a. 1054, MGH SS 19: 508], as well as an account of how Siward had briefly dethroned Macbeth in 1046 ["Comes Siward cum magno exercitu venit Scotiam, et expulso rege Macbeoð alium constituit, set post eius discessum Macbeoð recuperavit regnum." ibid, s.a. 1046]. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions the fight between Siward and Macbeth but not the enthronement of Malcolm ["Her ferde Siward eorl mid miclum here on Scotland. ægðer ge mid scyphere & mid landfyrde. & feaht wið Scottas. & aflymde þone kyng Macbeoðen. ..." ASC(D) s.a. 1054 ("At this time earl Siward went with a great army into Scotland, with both a fleet and a land-force; and fought against the Scots, and put to flight the king Macbeth ...") SAEC 85; see also ASC(C) s.a. 1054]. The Irish annals report a large battle in 1054 which is probably this one, although Siward and Macbeth are not mentioned ["Cath eter firu Alban & Saxanu i torchradur tri mile do feraibh Alban & mile co leth do Saxanaibh im Dolfinn m. Finntuir." ("A battle between the men of Scotland and the English in which fell 3000 of the Scots and 1500 of the English, including Dolfin, son of Finntor.") AU s.a. 1054; see also ALC s.a. 1054; AT s.a. 1054 (more briefly)]. Dolfin is otherwise unknown. Stokes suggested that Finntor is an inversion of the name Thorfinn [ESSH 1: 593]. Of these sources, only William of Malmesbury places the death of Macbeth in this battle. The other sources either state that Macbeth fled or are silent on the matter. Thus, Freeman is undoubtedly right to suggest that William was wrong on this point of Macbeth's death [Freeman (1870-9), 2: 661-7]. This settles the first of the above conflicts in a satisfactory manner: Macbeth was defeated, but not killed, in 1054.

There is also the problem of the identity of the Malcolm who is described as filius regis Cumbrorum by both William of Malmesbury of John of Worcester. He has usually been identified with Malcolm III, which, if correct, would imply that Malcolm III reigned over a part of the kingdom (probably Cumbria) before he became sole king, and would further imply that his father Duncan I had been king of Cumbria [see the page of Duncan I]. However, it has been noted that the description "filius regis Cumbrorum" is unusual, and it has been suggested that Malcolm, filius regis Cumbrorum, was not Malcolm III, but a member of a still-surviving dynasty of Cumbria/Strathclyde [Duncan (2002), 40-1; Broun (2004), 133-5, 138]. The name Malcolm had been borne by a tenth century Strathclyde king. Although it is impossible to be certain on this matter, it seems likely that the Malcolm enthroned by Siward in 1054 was a Strathclyde king, and not Malcolm III.

Four of the major annals of Ireland, the Annals of Ulster, the Annals of Tigernach, the Annals of Loch Cé, and the Chronicon Scotorum, place the death of Macbeth in 1058 ["Mac Bethadh mac Findlaich, aird-rí Alban, do marbad do Mael Colaim mac Dondchada." AT s.a. 1058; similarly AU s.a. 1058, where Malcolm is wrongly called "Máel Sechlainn"; see also ALC s.a. 1058; CS s.a. 1056=1058]. All four of these sources place the death of Macbeth's stepson Lulach in an earlier entry in the same year ["Lulach m. Gilla Comgain airdrigh Alban do marbadh la Mael Coluim m. Donnchadha i cath." AU s.a. 1058; "Lulach, rí Alban, do marbad la Mael Coluim mac Donnchada per dolum." AT s.a. 1058; see also ALC s.a. 1058; CS s.a. 1056=1058]. However, the king lists routinely place Lulach after Macbeth [Poppleton MS, KKES 254, Regnal Lists "B", "D", "F", "I", "K", "N", KKES 263, 268, 276, 284, 288, 291]. One way out of this apparent contradiction would be to assume that Macbeth and Lulach died in the same year, but in the opposite order from that indicated by the annals. (The annals usually list events in order, but not always.) Another way out would be to assume that Macbeth was dethroned, succeeded by Lulach, and was then killed after the death of Lulach.

Both of these explanations seem to be excluded by the nearly contemporary (but not entirely consistent) account of Marianus Scottus, writing apparently in the 1070's or 1080's ["Victor papa obiit 5. Kal. Ag. <Macfinlæg occiditur in Augusto. Lulag successit et occiditur in Martio; cui Moelcol successit.> Moelcoluim, filius Donchæd, regit Scottiam. <Donchad regnavit annis 5, hoc est a missa sancti Andreae ad eandem et insuper ad nativitatem sanctae Mariae. Inde Macfinlæg regnavit annis 17 ad eandem missam sanctae Mariae. Lulach a nativitate sanctae Mariae ad missam sancti Patricii in mense Martio regnavit. Inde Moelcoluim regnavit annis 20 usque ad missam sancti Patricii.>" Marianus Scottus, Chronicon, s.a. 1079=1057, MGH SS 5: 558 <Entries in angle brackets are in the margin>]. Pope Victor II died on 28 July 1057, confirming that 1057 is the correct date for this "annal". "Macfinlæg" is Macbeth (son of Findláech). It states that Macbeth was killed in August and succeeded by Lulach who then died in March. Fordun says that Macbeth was killed on 5 December 1056 ["... anno Domini MLVI, mense Decembri, die quinto." Fordun, v, 7 (p. 204)], that Lulach was killed on 3 April 1057, on Thursday of Easter week ["... ibidem casu Malcolmus obvium habens interfecit, anno Domini MLVII, tertia die mensis Aprilis, hebdomada Paschæ, feria quinta." ibid., v, 8 (p. 206)], and that Malcolm III was crowned on St. Mark's day, 25 April 1057 ["... eodem Aprili mense, die sancti Marci coronatus, ac eodem, videlicet, anno Domini millesimo LVII" ibid., v, 9 (p. 206)]. Both of these sources (of which I would regard Marianus as the more reliable [but see Duncan (2002), 49-51]) indicate that Macbeth was killed in the last half of one calendar year and that Lulach was killed in the first half of the next year. Thus, the four Irish annalistic accounts mentioned above must descend from a common original which inadvertently misdated the death of either Macbeth or Lulach by one year. But in what year did Macbeth die? In the Chroncion of Marianus, the annal proper for 1057 contains only the death of pope Victor II and the accession of Malcolm III. The marginal additions (some of which appear to have been written when Malcolm had recently completed the twentieth year of his reign) are chronological notes which do not belong to any one year. Taking the quoted material in isolation, it would appear that Marianus is placing the death of Lulach in March 1057 (since Lulach presumably died in Malcolm's year of accession). On the other hand, Marianus states that Malcolm's father Duncan was killed in Autumn on 14 August 1040 by Macbeth, and that the latter reigned for 17 years ["Donnchad rex Scotiae in autumno occiditur <19. Kal. Sept.> a duce suo Macbethad mac Finnloech, cui successit in regnum annis 17." Marianus Scottus, Chronicon, s.a. 1040, MGH SS 5: 557 (read qui for cui)]. This calculates out to a death date of August 1057 for Macbeth and thus March 1058 for Lulach. Thus, Marianus seems to imply 1057 as the date of Malcolm's accession in one place and 1058 in another. The date 1058 would also fit better with the Irish annals, for then we could assume that the date for Lulach in those annals is right, and that only the obituary of Macbeth has been misplaced. (If we accepted 1057 as the death date of Lulach, then we would have to assume that the Irish annals misplaced the obituaries of both Macbeth and Lulach, and by a different number of years.)

For what they are worth, the king lists seem to give a slightly earlier starting point for the reign of Malcolm, most giving 37 years plus several months: 37½ years plus 4 months in one list [Poppleton MS, KKES 254], 37 years and 8 months in two lists [Lists "F" and "I", ibid., 276, 284], 37 years and 6 months in another [List "K", ibid., 289], and an obviously corrupt reading of 30 years in one [List "N", ibid., 291]. Calculating from the death of Malcolm in November 1093, all but the last of these lists would lead to a starting point for Malcolm's reign somewhere in the first half of 1056. It is worth noting that the fraction of 8 months given by two of the lists calculates out to March for the beginning of Malcolm's reign, but that does not necessarily mean that we should push the date of Lulach's death back to March 1056. The figure of 37 years could go back to a common source that was already corrupt.

In conclusion, 1058 seems to be the likely date of Malcolm's accession, but it is difficult to rule out 1057.


AI = Séan Mac Airt, ed. & trans., The Annals of Inisfallen (MS. Rawlinson B. 503) (Dublin, 1944). See also the CELT website.

ALC = William M. Hennessy, ed. & trans., Annals of Loch Cé (Rolls Series 54, London, 1871). See also the CELT website.

ASC = Charles Plummer, Two of the Saxon Chronicles parallel, based on the earlier edition by John Earle, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1892-9). ASC(A) indicates the "A" manuscript of the chronicle, and similarly for the other manuscripts.

AT = Whitley Stokes, ed. & trans., ‘The Annals of Tigernach’, Revue Celtique 16 (1895), 374-419; 17 (1896), 6-33, 116-263, 337-420; 18 (1897), 9-59, 150-303, 374-91. See also the CELT website.

AU = Seán Mac Airt and Gearóid Mac Niocaill, eds., The Annals of Ulster (Dublin, 1983). See also the CELT website.

Broun (2004) = Dauvit Broun, "The Welsh identity of the kingdom of Strathclyde c. 900 - c. 1200", The Innes Review 55 (2004): 111-180.

Chron. Melrose = Joseph Stevenson, ed., Chronica de Mailros (Edinburgh, 1835).

CS = W. M. Hennessy, ed. & trans., Chronicum Scotorum (Rolls Series 46, London, 1866). See also the CELT website.

Dasent-Vigfusson (1887-) = George Webbe Dasent & Gudbrand Vigfusson, ed. & trans., Icelandic Sagas and other Historical Documents relating to the Settlements and Descents of the Northmen on the British Isles, 4 vols. (Rolls Series 88, London, 1887-).

Duncan (2002) = A. A. M. Duncan, The Kingship of the Scots, 842-1292 (Edinburgh, 2002).

ESSH = Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1922, reprinted Stamford, 1990). [Contains English translations of many of the primary records]

Fordun = William F. Skene, ed., Johannis de Fordun Chronica Gentis Scotorum (The Historians of Scotland, vol. 1, Edinburgh, 1871).

Freeman (1870-9) = Edward A. Freeman, The History of the Norman Conquest of England (5 vols. + index vol., Oxford, 1870-9).

John Worc. = Benjamin Thorpe, ed., Florentii Wigorniensis monachi chronicon ex chronicis, 2 vols., (London, 1848-9). (The work formerly attributed to Florence of Worcester is now generally attributed to John of Worcester.)

KKES = Marjorie Ogilvy Anderson, Kings and Kingship in Early Scotland (Edinburgh, Totowa, NJ, 1973).

Lib. Vit. Durham = Joseph Stevenson, ed., Liber Vitæ Ecclesiæ Dunelmensis (Surtees Society 13, London, 1841).

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

OV = Augustus le Prevost, ed. Orderici Vitalis Historiæ Ecclesiasticæ, 5 vols. (Paris, 1838-55); also available in Marjorie Chibnall, ed. & trans., The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1969-80). As I do not have easy access to all volumes of Chibnall's edition, citations here are given from Prevost's edition.

PL = P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, series Latina, 221 vols. (Paris, 1844-1859).

SAEC = Alan Orr Anderson, Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers (London, 1908, reprinted Stamford, 1991). [Similar to ESSH, but from English sources]

Sim. Durh. = Thomas Arnold, ed., Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia, 2 vols. (Rolls Series 75, 1882-5).

Skene (1867) = William F. Skene, Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots, and other Early Memorials of Scottish History (Edinburgh, 1867).

SP = Paul et al., eds., The Scots Peerage (Edinburgh 1904-14).

Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum = William Stubbs, ed., Willelmi Malmesbiriensis Monachi De gestis regum Anglorum. libri quinque; Historiæ Novellæ libri tres, 2 vols. (Rolls series 90, 1887-9). [I lack easy access to the more recent edition of William of Malmesbury's work edited by Mynors, Thomson, & Winterbottom.]

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 5 August 2001.

Major revision uploaded 20 June 2010.

Return to Henry Project home page

Go to Henry Project index page

Go to Henry II ancestor table