Category Archives: Clan Research

The Clan Sinclair and Henry St. Clair, Earl of Orkney (1371 AD to 1406 AD)

•     March 26, 1371 AD         Robert II, nephew of David II, becomes the first Stewart King (4-page 212)

•     1379 AD            William de Lask of Laskgaroune, Ellon, Aberdeenshire is the first
known specific Leask name appearing in Orkney in 1379. His first wife was Alicia de Rath, having no apparent issue. His second wife was Mariota de San Michelle. She is believed to be a descendant of Sir John de St. Michael. She had three children Thomas, Peter and William. Source: Sir Brian Chalmers Leask

•     1379 AD            Henry St. Clair of Rosslyn becomes the first Sinclair Earl of Orkney in 1379 when King Haakon VI Magnusson granted the Orcadian Earldom to him. He is William Sinclair’s (St. Clair) son. Henry will serve as Chief Justice of Scotland and Admiral of the Seas. He was given Shetland as part of the Earldom. King Hakon must have thought highly of him and his qualities as a future earl and faithful vassal. His mother was daughter of the Earl Malise of Stratherene and Orkney, and had married into the Sinclair family. One of the terms of Henry’s installation was “The Earl shall not build castles or other fortifications in the Islands without the King’s consent.” (11-page 25)

•     1380 AD           Henry builds Kirkwell Castle despite the prohibition against it (11-page 25)

•     1380 AD             Willelmi de Lask, the elder, lord of that ilk (believed to be the same William Lesk who was the first clan chief, or his son) “…bequeathed a pound of wax yearly to the altar of the Holy Rood in the church of St. Mary of Ellon, …and from his land of Logy, near Ellon, a stone of wax yearly, for lights to be burned on all Sabbath and feast days for ever on the tomb of himself and his wives Alice de Rath, and Mariot de St. Michael …and 12 silver pennies yearly from aforesaid land…for preparation of aforesaid wax…” The contract was witnessed by Alexander, Bishop of Aberdeen at Logy, 1380. The records continue “The ancient lords of Lask (or Leask), in Slains must have had some attachment towards the Church in Ellon. When the Session Records open, more than 200 years after this time William of Lask (Laysk) of that ilk and his tenants ware found as regular attendants in Ellon at the Reformed Church.” (i,j,k)

•     October 9, 1388 AD        Toma de Lask domino eiusdem (Thomas Leask, lord of that Ilk) appears as a witness to a charter dated October 9, 1388, at Aberdeen, by Johannes de bona Villa dominus de Balhelvy (John Bonevile, Lord of Balhelvy Boneville) to Johanni Fraser domino de Forglen (John Fraser, Lord of Forglen) of his two towns of Ardhendrachtis (now Ardendracht), in the parish of Cruden, and the earldom of Buchan, co Aberdeen. (m) Other witnesses include Thomas Hay-constable of Scotland, Alexander Fraser-Sheriff of Aberdeen, John Keith-Lord of Inverugie, and Andrew Turing-Lord of Foveran. (n)

•     January 8, 1388/89 AD           Toma de  Lask domino eisudem (Thomas Leask of that ilk-2nd Chief) appears as a witness to a charter, dated at Forglen, co Aberdeen, January 8, 1388/89, by Johannes de Boneville (John Boneville), son and heir of the late John Boneville of Balhelvy Boneville, to John Fraser, lord of Forglen, of the lands of Balhelvy, Boneville, Colynstoun, Ardendrachtys, Blaretoun, Many and Achlochery, co Aberdeen. (o)

•     March 18, 1389/90 AD             Thomas de Lask (2nd Chief) appears as Thomam de Lask in a precept of sasine, dated March 18, 1389/90 by William de Camera (Chalmers or Chambers), lord of Fyndon (now Findon), to Thomas Kynidy of the lands of Athquhorthy (now Auchorthies, Parish of Inverurie, co Aberdeen) in which he is designated baillie of Fyndon. (p)
•     1390 AD        Thomas de Lask or Laysk, second Clan Chief, was baillie of the barony fo Fyndon, 1390. (q)

•     May 10, 1390 AD         As Thomas de Lask dominus eiusdem (Thomas de Lask, lord of that ilk) had a charter dated May 10, 1390, from Henry Brogan (de Brogane), Lord of Achlowne, now Achlowne, Parish of Foverane, co Aberdeen (r), to Thomas granting him half of Henry Brogan’s lands of Achlowne Moness. now Minnies, Parish of Foveran (s), and Touyhafe (Tillveve) in the barony of King Edward, co Aberdeen. (u) Thomas Leask (2nd Chief) was granted a confirmation, dated at Aberdeen, co Aberdeen October 21, 1391, by James Lindsay, lord of Buchan, of the above mentioned charter to him of Auchloun by Henry Brogan. (v)

•     May 10, 1390 AD         The other half of the Brogan lands were granted by charter, dated May 10, 1390, by said Henry Brogan, to his father, John Fothes (de Fothes) (w), who was granted a charter of confirmation by James Lindsay, Lord of Buchan, dated October 21, 1391. (x)

•     1391 AD             In 1391, Thomas de Laysak (Lethe or Lask), a knight, (believed to be the second clan chief) witnessed a charter by Henry St. Clair, who became Earl of Orkney in 1379 when King Haakon VI granted the Orcadian Earldom to William Sinclair’s son Henry Sinclair (St. Clair). According to Brian Chalmers Leask, Thomas Leask’s son-James de Cragy or Jamis of Leask married Prince Henry’s daughter.

•     April 23, 1391 AD         In Kirkwall (Kirkwaw), Orkney on April 23, 1391 Thomas de Laysak (Lask), a knight (believed to be the second Leask clan chief), among others, witnessed a charter that transfers lands in Auchdale and Newberg to David Sinclair from Henry St. Clair, who became Earl of Orkney in 1379 when King Haakon VI granted the Orcadian Earldom to William Sinclair’s son Henry Sinclair (St. Clair). (aa)

•     1391-1398 AD               Nevin Sinclair believes the reason so many people signed the 1391 document is that the gathering was to plan Prince Henry’s trip to America. Some claim Thomas joined Prince Henry on his voyage to the new world with about 300 of Prince Henry’s men in 12 ships. Nevin Sinclair claims he believes Thomas transferred from Aberdeen to Orkney to accompany Prince Henry to the new world. Sir Brian Chalmers Leask says both Prince Henry and Sir Thomas de Lask were Knight’s Templar and therefore that they were both on a crusade. (ab)

•     August 20, 1392 AD           By a charter, dated August 20, 1392, Thomas Lask and John Fothes, son of Alan Fothes, granted the whole of the former Brogan lands to David Fleming, son of Malcolm Fleming, lord of Biggar, co Lanark. (y)

•     August 28, 1392 AD           As Thomas de Lask, he is a witness to the consent by Alicia Brogan, wife of Henry Brogan, of the instrument of renunciation of Christian Brogan, sister of Henry Brogan, and to the renunciation of Alicia’s own right of terce in the lands of Auchloun. (z)

•     June 2, 1398 AD           Nevin Sinclair claims Prince Henry St. Clair (Sinclair) landed in Nova Scotia, having sailed from Orkney. With Prince Henry was hundreds of his men in twelve ships. They also are believed to have stopped in Labrador, Massachusetts, and to Newport, Rhode Island. Nevin Sinclair believes it is likely that Thomas de Lask was on the trip. It is claimed they left traces of the voyage in Nova Scotia, Massachusetts (The tomb of the Chief of Clan Gunn) and Newport, Rhode Island (The Tower on the Green near the Tennis Center).

•     1400s AD           English attacks on Orkney and Orcadian fishermen are recorded from early in the 1400s. Prince Henry St. Clair dies at Kirkwell in one of these battles. (10-page 150) Henry St. Clair is succeeded by his son Henry II who spent little or no time in the Islands. He serves until 1420 AD. (11-page 25)

•     September 14, 1402 AD           Homildon (Humbleton) Hill (near Wooler): The Percy’s on behalf of Henry VI of England defeated the Scots led by the Earl of Douglas. (2 page 81-85)

 

The Bruce Kings (1284 AD to 1371 AD)

•     February 5, 1284 AD      The infant Princess Margaret, The Maid of Norway is acknowledged as heir presumptive to the Scottish throne.1

•     1284-1328 AD                  Henry Cheyne continues as bishop of Aberdeen.2

•     March 19, 1286 AD         Alexander III, King of Scotland dies while riding his horse at night. As a result Margaret, the 3 year old daughter of Eric, King of Norway, who was to marry Edward I of England’s son, Edward II, was to become queen. (11-page 25)3 The death of King Alexander III at age 44 is dated March 18, 1286 AD.4

•     April 28, 1286 AD          In 1286 AD at an assembly (parliament) at Scone about April 28, 1286 the nobility first swore fealty to the heir. In order to implement these promises a provisional government was set up that included six wardens or ‘Guardians’ comprising two earls (Alexander Comyn earl of Buchan, Duncan earl of Fife), two bishops (William Fraser of St Andrews, Robert Wishart of Glasgow) and two Barons (John Comyn of Badenoch and James Stewart). The two Comyns and William Fraser were deemed to represent the Balliol interests. James Stewart was linked to the Bruces by marriage and Robert Wishart was a Stewart ally and represented the Bruce interest. The loyalties of Duncan, earl of Fife were less certain, but he was known to be an enemy of close Comyn associate, Hugh de Abernethy.((April 28, 1286-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 96.))

•     September 1286 AD       Further evidence of Bruce’s disregard for the Guardians’ authority occurs in September 1286 AD when he made a bond with associates at Turnberry. This Turnbury pact, which involved Robert the Bruce-lord of Annadale (the elder), his son Robert Bruce-earl of Carrick, James Stewart (the Guardian), his brother John Stewart of Jedburg, Walter Stewart-earl of Menteith and his sons Patrick-earl of Dunbar, Angus Macdonald-lord of Islay and his son, was an agreement to support Richard de Burgh-earl of Ulster, and Thomas de Clare against their enemies. The pact involved saving oaths of allegiance to the English king and whoever should be king and whoever should be king of Scotland ‘by reason of the blod of lord Alexander, king of Scotland according to the ancient customs hitherto approved and used in the Kingdom of Scotland’. This oath has been interpreted as an indication of a diliberate bid by the Bruces for the Scottish throne. This is perhaps reading too much into the oath. Yet Robert the Bruce had apparently been recognized by ‘ancient custom’ as heir to Alexander II in 1238 and the vague oath taken at Turnberry did leave open a possible Bruce Claim, given the uncertainty of succession in September 1286 when either the Maid of Norway or a child of Queen Yolande could be heir. More importantly, the fact that such apact of family and factional, if not national, intent (and with an uncertain military objective) could take place and that a member of the committee of Guardians was involved, was certainly an ‘ugly defiance of the “community of the realm”‘.5

•     1286-1290 AD              The Bruce family appears to oppose the guardians or at least Comyn interests and to be disruptive. Most of the disruption occurred in the south-west. The extent of this disruption can be found in the accounts of the sheriffdoms of Dumfries, Wigtown and Edinburgh, controlled by Comyns or Comyn allies and in the account of the justicar of Galloway. The Comyns had been the hereditary sheriffs of Wigtown since around 1263 OR 1264 AD. The Sinclairs (St Clairs) continued to hold the sheriffdoms of Edinburgh and Linlithgow in the period 1286-89 AD with William Sinclair (who had been made a guardian by 1279 AD of Alexander, heir to the throne. William Sinclair also held the sheriffdom of Dumfries before 1290 AD. William Sinclair was also the justicar of Galloway by 1287. Another family long associated with the Comyns, the Cheynes, held the sheriffdoms of Elgin and Kincardine in the period prior to 1290 AD, while the Mowats continued to control Cromarty and the Meldrum Family held the sheriffdom of Aberdeen. The Moray family, generally supporters of the Comyn family in the thirteenth century, held the sheriffdom of Ary through Andrew de Moray by 1288, and the sheriffdom of Perth through Malcolm de moray in 1288. The sheriffdom of Perth was then in the hands of Nicholas de Hay who was in the Comyn party in 1291. Patrick de Graham held the she riffdom of Sterling by 1289, the Lochore family held the sheriffdom of Fife by 1289 and the Earl of Buchan follower David de Bethun held the sheriffdom of Forfar by 1290. All were supporters of the Comyn family.6

•     July 10, 1289 AD           Alexander Comyn, earl of Buchan, leader of the Comyn party died shortly after July 10, 1289 AD, having been involved in Scottish politics for almost 50 years.7 John Comyn becomes the earl of Buchan and leader of the Comyn party.8

•     1290 AD           William de Laskereske in 1290 is listed on the Ragman Roll, de Ragements. A legate of Scotland compelled all clergy to give a true account of their benefices, that they might be taxed at Rome accordingly. Subsequently it was applied to four great roles of parchment recording acts of fealty and homage done by the Scots nobility to Edward I of England in 1296. (9)

•     February 20, 1290        Edward I grants Anthony Bek, bishop of Durham, the custody of the lands and tenements in Cumberland and Northumberland which had formerly been held by the king of Scotland.9

•     July 18, 1290            The Treaty of Birgham is signed.10 The treaty stipulated that the Scottish realm was to remain ‘separate and divided from England according to its rightful boundaries, free in itself and without subjection’, and that its rights, laws, liberties and customs were ‘wholly, freely, absolutely, and without subjection’. That was the intention anyway. But Edward I’s negotiators added the ominous words: ‘Saving always the right of our lord king, and of any other whomsoever, that has pertained to him…before the time of the present agreement, or which in any just way ought to pertain to him in the future.’ And King Edward, on ratifying the treaty, insisted on appointing the new Bishop of Durham (Anthony Bek) as his ‘lieutenant’ in Scotland on behalf of the royal pair, and required the Scottish Guardians to obey the bishop (in the event, the appointment seems to have been largely ignored in Scotland.)11

•     August 8, 1290 AD        John Comyn-secular leader of the political community in Scotland, Anthony Bek, Robert Wishart-bishop of Glasgow and two English representatives serve on the Anglo-Scottish commission to negotiate marriage between the Maid and the future Edward II.12

•     September 1290 AD        Margaret, the Maid of Scotland, who was to be married to Edward II of England, son of Edward I, dies in Orkney on the way to Scotland, to become queen.13

•     October 6, 1290 AD       William Fraser, bishop of St Andrews, wrote to Edward I informing him that rumors of Margaret’s death had brought political instability to Scotland and the bishop asked Edward I for his intervention to prevent war. He pointed out that Robert the Bruce, the elder, and his supporters the earls of Mar and Atholl, had come to Perth and were gathering a large armed force. His letter added the recommendation that “If Sir John Balliol comes to your presence we advise you to take care so to treat with him that in any event your honor and advantage be preserved…”14

•     November 6, 1290 AD       It was clear the dominant Comyn party had decided to back the claims to the Scottish throne of John Balliol, John Comyn’s brother-in-law. Some contact had already been made between the Comyn party and the English by November 1290 AD, when Anthony Bek, Edward I’s influential advisor, came to an agreement with John Balliol. On November 6, 1290, at Gateshead, Balliol issued a charter as ‘heir to the kingdom of Scotland’ granting Bek the manors of Wark in Northumberland and Penrith in Cumberland together with all the other lands held by King Alexander in Cumberland. The overseeing role of Edward I was already in evidence as the grant was conditional on the English king’s ratification. No doubt the Comyn’s were aware of winning Bek and the English king over to their side.15

•     Winter 1290-1291 AD        In the winter of 1290-1291, the elder Bruce had asked Edward I to support him as the choice of ‘the Seven Earls’. He had tried to destroy by force the stranglehold the Comyns had on political power in 1286 AD, but the years 1286 to 1288 AD had shown that he had an insufficiently broad power-base. Thus, the urgent appeals by both the Bruce and Comyn parties gave Edward I every reason to believe that his intervention was welcome and that he could take this opportunity to insist on his recognition as lord superior of Scotland.16

•     June 1291 AD          By early June of 1291 AD all the claimants (the thirteen ‘Competitors’) agreed that Edward was the rightful overlord and that they would abide by his judgment on the succession. Further, they agreed that the English king should have possession of the land and especially the royal castles. Control of the Scottish government by the political community of the realm was gradually being forfeited in unusual and difficult circumstances-It was surely the responsibility of the Guardians, if anyone, to relinquish the kingdom and its castles.17

•     June 11, 1291 AD         The Guardians resigned their very authority to be reappointed by the English king. They were no longer elected by the community but were appointed by King Edward. The composition of the Guardians was changed too with an English Baron-Brian fitz Alan, lord of Bedale, added to their number.18

•     June 12, 1291 AD            On June 12, 1291 Edward agreed the decision between the ‘Competitors’ would be made by Edward I in Scotland. He also promised to restore both kingdom and castles to the rightful king within two months of the decision being made.19

•     June 13, 1291 AD           At Upsettleinton, opposite Norham, the Guardians and other magnates swore fealty individually to king Edward I. These leading nobles included the four Guardians including John Comyn of Badenoch, two other members of the Comyn family (John Comyn, earl of Buchan and William Comyn of Kirkintilloch), John Balliol and two members of the Bruce family (Robert Bruce of Annandale and Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick). There then followed a general swearing of fealty at Perth, Ayr, Inverness and Galloway. In his capacity as Guardian, John Comyn of Badenoch together with Brian fitz Alan and the bishop of St Andrews organized the general swearing in at Perth.20

•     November 7, 9 1292 AD         On November 7, 1292 Robert Bruce, the Competitor, realizing that his claim to the Scottish throne was going to be unsuccessful, resigned it to his son Robert Bruce Earl of Carrick. On November 9, 1292 Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick surrendered his earldom of Carrick to his son, the future king of Scotland, Robert, aged 18.21

•     November 17, 1292 AD          In the great hall in Berwick Castle, Edward formally accepts the decision of the auditors and selects John Balloil as the next King of the Scots.22 Robert Bruce of Annandale and the former earl of Carrick refuse to do homage to King John Balloil.23

•     December 1292          Already by December 1292 AD Edward was expressing the forcible viewpoint that he could hear whatever pleas might be brought to him; that he could, if necessary, summon the Scottish king himself; and as far as appeals were concerned, he would not be bound by any previous promises or concessions which he made.((December 1292-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 134.))

•     December 26, 1292 AD            King John Balloil does homage to King Edward I in most unambiguous terms24

•     January 2, 1293             King Edward I forced an important concession from King John who ‘solemnly freed Edward from all obligations and promises which the English king might have entered into with the Guardians and responsible men of the Scottish realm, declaring null and void any written evidence of such promises and explicitly annulling the Treaty of Birgham.((January 2, 1293-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 134.))

•     January 6, 1293 AD          King Edward I overrules decisions of the Guardians in Berwick demonstrating his right to hear appeals and overrule the Guardians25

•     1294 AD            King Edward I summoned the King of Scots as well as his magnates to serve him in France. The English king failed to understand that the Scottish nobility in government, chiefly the Comyns and their supporters, now represented the political community of the Scottish realm and this came before other responsibilities. In this respect, duty to the Scottish realm came before responsibility to the English king as it had for Earl Alexander in 1282 AD.26

•     1294 AD         In the summer of 1294 AD, King John Balliol failed to prevent Master Thomas Dalton of Kirkcudbright, Robert Bruce the elder’s candidate, from becoming the Bishop of Gallway.27

•     1294 AD          Before December of 1294, the Scots were freed ‘from any oaths extracted from them under duress by the absolution of the pope.28

•     1295 AD          Between March and May of 1295 AD, the Scots negotiated an alliance with the French.29

•     July 5, 1295 AD           King John addressed letters to Philip IV appointing four persons to negotiate in France regarding John Balliol’s son, Edward, and a relative of Philip. The four were the experienced William Fraser, bishop of St Andrews, Matthew Crambeth bishop of Dunkeld, John de Soules and Ingreram de Umpharaville. A treaty with france followed on October 23, 1295 AD.30

•     1295 AD          A parliament held a Sterling took the government out of King John Balliol’s hands and given to a ‘Council of Twelve’.  It was decreed that King John could do no act by himself.31 The Council of Twelve was composed of four bishops, four earls and four barons. The four bishops were probably William Fraser of St Andrew, Robert Wishart of Glasgow, Matthew Crambeth of Dunkeld, and Henry Cheyne of Aberdeen. The four earls were probably John Comyn earl of Buchan, Donald earl of Mar, Malise earl of Strathearn, and John de Strathbogie earl of Atholl. The four barons were probably John Comyn of badenoch, James Stewart, Alexander de Balliol, and Geoffrey de Mowbray. This Council was still dominated by the Comyn family, relatives and associates.32

•     Autumn 1295 AD           Tensions between the English and Scottish governments became more obvious in the Autumn of 1295, although it is difficult to understand whether news of the French alliance or the judicial appeal to King Edward I by MacDuff, a younger son of the late Duncan earl of Fife. MacDuff complained that he had not received justice in King John Balliol’s court concerning his inheritance of the lands of Creich and Rires. (Duncan earl of Fife had been murdered by Hugh de Abernethy, a prominent Comyn supporter.)33

•     October 1995 AD         It seems Edward I of England was preparing for action against Scotland by October 1295 AD.  On October 16, 1295 AD, he issued orders to English Sheriffs that all lands and goods of King John and all those Scotsmen ‘who remain in Scotland’ should be taken into the English Kings hands. At the same time he demanded that the castles and towns of Berwick, Roxburgh and Jedburgh should be handed over until the end of the French war. Robert Bruce, lord of Annandale who had done homage to the English king earlier in the year was permitted to keep the castle of Carlisle.34

•     March 24, 1296 AD         Patrick earl of March and Dunbar, Gilbert de Uphraville earl of Angus, Robert Bruce the younger, earl of Carrick, as well as Robert Bruce the elder had don homage to Edward I and promised to ‘serve him well and loyally against all mortal men on March 24, 1296 AD.35

•     March 26, 1296 AD          John Comyn, earl of Buchan set out with a military force on March 26 to attack Carlisle where Robert the Bruce senior was in charge of the garrison. Joining the earl of Buchan were six other earls of Scotland and John Comyn the younger, the Guardian’s son from the Badenoch line.36

•     March 30, 1296 AD          The English army which had gathered around Berwick butchered over 11,000 people.37

•     April 5, 1296 AD               King John Balliol formally renounced his homage to Edward in a defiant letter which certainly reflected the views of the political community of the realm better than his own actions.38

•     April 27, 1296 AD           The first phase of the Scottish wars took a decisive turn when the Scots army trying to relieve the siege of the town of Dunbar were routed by English troops and those Scots within the castle surrendered. Scottish casualties were estimated at 10,000 dead. This was followed by the surrender to the English of the Scottish castles of Roxburgh, Edinburgh and Sterling.39

•     July 8, 1296 AD         After Edward I marched through Scotland via Perth, Montrose, Banff, and Elgin receiving fealty from Scottish nobles and knights. On July 8, 1296 AD, in a humiliating ceremony at Montrose, John Balliol formally resigned his kingdom to Edward I and had his royal arms stripped from his tabard in public, humiliating circumstances.40

•     July and August 1296 AD         King Edward progressed round Scotland visiting royal centers such as Aberdeen, Banff and Elgin which had been under Comyn control and sent commissions to ‘search the district of Badenoch’ the lordship of the senior Comyn branch. This was to be followed by the swearing of fealty to Edward by every freeholder in Scotland. His takeover of the Scottish government was demonstrated clearly by his removal of the Stone of Destiny, the most precious symbol of Scottish monarchy, from Scone abbey to Westminster abbey as well as by the seizure of other Scottish muniments and government records.41

•      August 8, 1296 AD         Before King Edward I left Scotland, a parliament was held in Berwick on August 28, at which a compilation was made of nearly 1,500 earls, lords, bishops, and leading burgesses who swore fealty to him and formally recorded their homage to him as King of Scotland. This document has come to be known as the ‘Ragman Role’ from the tangle of ribbons, which hung from the seals of the signatories.42

•     1296 AD                             The earliest reference to Leask or a related spelling appeared in 1296 in a document (the so called Ragman Role) recording the name of William de Laskereske, which confirmed his recognition of Edward I (on pain of forfeiture of his lands). (d) It was spelled Lafkerefke (f = s). He was listed as ‘del county fyf’ (fyf = fife) (e)

•     1296 AD                                 The removal of the mainstays of the Scottish government, especially the Comyns, to England was part of the same plan. John Comyn, lord of Badenoch, and John Comyn earl of Buchan, who with Donald earl of Mar, submitted at the same time as John Balliol, were sent to England and ordered to stay south of Trent. Many of the allies of the Comyn family and other leaders were imprisoned in England. (12-pages 161, 162)

•     1296-1303 AD                     Edward I had not achieved a total military victory over Scottish forces in 1296 or 1303 AD. The north of Scotland, Comyn dominated territory, was largely out of English control between 1297 and 1303 AD. To attempt a total military conquest in Scotland, a large permanent English presence and new English fortifications, similar to those built north of Wales in the 1270s and 1280s, would be needed. In 1300 Edward was ‘not in a financial position to build new fortifications in Scotland on a scale that he had done in Wales. The commutation of provisional sentences of exile into large fines based on value of land rents showed his financial priorities. The Comyns has a network of castles throughout Scotland but especially dominating the main communication lines across northern Scotland. It was sensible for Edward to influence the Comyns and use these castles for his own interests instead of building new structures. (12-page 190)

•     1297 AD                              John Comyn, lord of Badenoch and John Comyn earl of Buchan were freed in exchange for their promise to join Edwards Flanders campaign in 1297 AD. (12-page 189)

•     Early 1297 AD                  The revolt of the MacDougalls, led by Alexander’s son Duncan, who had not sworn homage to Edward began in early 1297. Edward I presumably thought that with Alexander MacDougall of Argyll having done homage to him and being a prisoner in Berwick castle, the MacDougalls would not cause problems. He did not understand that by appointing their enemy Alexander MacDonald of Islay in April of 1296 as baille in the sheriffdoms of Lorn, Ross and the Isles (formerly under the control of Alexander MacDougall of Argyll) he would provoke the MacDougalls to revolt. Besides the MacDougalls were as closely linked by marriage to the Comyns as the Balliols were and the MacDougalls had been given the responsibilities for the north-west by the Comyn led government. (12-page 164)

•     May to July 1297 AD      Further significant resistance to Edward I’s administration came from another of Scotland’s ‘government’ families, the Morays. A successful revolt in the north was led by Andrew Moray, son of Andrew de Moray of Petty who had been justicar of Scotia during the Balliol kingship (to 1296) and was an important prisoner in the Tower of London. The younger Alan, who had escaped from his imprisonment in Chester, had soon recaptured the English-held castles in the north, including Inverness, Urquhart, Banff, Elgin and Aberdeen between May and June of 1297. (12-page 165)

•     July 1297 AD                     James Stewart played a significant role in the revolt in the south, which soon ended ignominiously with the surrender at Irvine in early July of 1297. This revolt also involved Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick and Bishop Wishart. The Stewarts had lost control of Kintyre because of King Edward appointed Alexander MacDonald of Islay as baillie of Kintyre formerly under James Stewart’s jurisdiction.43

•     1297 AD to 1304 AD       The brother of John Comyn earl of Buchan, Alexander Comyn of Buchan, was married to William Latimer of an English noble family. He was one of Edward I’s consistent servants having served Edward’s cause as sheriff of Aberdeen from around 1297 to 1304 AD. He must have been at least partly condoned by John Comyn, earl of Buchan.44

•     September 11, 1297 AD         Sterling: William Wallace defeated an English army led by John de Warenne at Sterling Bridge. (2 page 47-52) Moray had been able to gather a large infantry force in the north (probably using the Comyn patronage network) and join Wallace for the battle of Sterling Bridge (12-page 167)

•     July 22, 1298 AD              Falkirk: William Wallace was defeated by Edward I because of the treachery of two barons, the Earls of Angus and Dunbar and others of the Scottish nobility. (2 page 53-57) The Comyns and their accomplices forsook the field during the battle. They have been accused of treachery. Robert Bruce earl of Carrick fought on the English side at Falkirk. (12-page 168, 169)

•     1298 AD                               The new guardianship of 1298 was a joint one between John Comyn the younger and Robert Bruce earl of Carrick. The view that the Comyns were traitors to Wallace at Falkirk is at odds with the fact the Scottish political community appointed John Comyn the younger as a Guardian in 1298 after Falkirk. Though Robert Bruce, the earl of Carrick’s father had fought at Falkirk on the English side, the earl was in Ayrshire at the time of Falkirk and set fire to Ayr to prevent its use by the English. The joint Guardianship was obviously a compromise. (12-pages 169, 170)

•     1299 AD                              John Comyn, earl of Buchan becomes justicar of Scotia. (12-page 124)

•     August 19, 1299 AD        At the council of magnates in Peebles on August 19, 1299 AD John Comyn the younger ‘leapt at the earl of Carrick and seized him by the throat, and the earl of Buchan turned on the bishop of St Andrews, showing the friction that had developed between the parties. (12-page 170)

•     May 1301 AD                    John de Soules was appointed a new sole Guardian on behalf of John Balliol.45
Summer 1301 AD           John Balliol was released from papal custody. It appeared that he would soon return to Scotland to reassume the kingship. (12-page 171)

•     February 1302 AD          Robert the Bruce defects to Edward I. Edward consolidated this defection by arranging a marriage alliance between Elizabeth de Burg and Robert the Bruce earl of Carrick, a member of one of King Edward’s chief magnate families. (12-page 172)46

•     May 1303 AD                   Having been defeated in July 1302 by a Fleming army Phillipe the Fair signed a peace treaty with England from which Scotland was excepted.47

•     May 1303 AD                   King Edward I arrived with his main army in May 1303. Castles and strongholds fell all over Scotland.48Edwards campaign concentrated on the center of Comyn power, northeastern Scotland. (12-page 176)

•     February 9, 1304 AD     John Comyn of Badenoch, the Red Comyn surrendered to Edward on behalf of the Community of Scotland. One member of Scottish nobility seems to have been active throughout: Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick.49 (12-page 186) He had been an ally of Edward I since early 1302, actively participating in Edward’s summer campaign of 1303, commanding a garrison at Aye castle in 1303 and early 1304, and sending large siege weapons to help the English in the assault on Sterling, The capture of which set the seal on the English military victory in July 1304 AD. (12-page 185) It was John Comyn who led the negotiations for Scotland’s wholesale submission to Edward I. (12-page 176)

•     1304 AD                             As part of the submission of 1304 AD, the Scots had to agree to the Ordinances of Edward regarding settlement of Scotland. (12-page 191)

•     March 29, 1304 AD       The lands of the Comyn Earls of Buchan were granted to Henry de Percy by Edward I. (12-page 189)

•     May 1304 AD                  With the exception of the castles at Slains and Balvenie, the lands of the earl of Buchan were restored to the Comyns by Edward I. (12-page 189)

•     1305 AD                            According to the 1305 Ordinances a council of 21 Scots, four bishops, four abbots, five earls, eight barons were to act as a council for King Edward’s new lieutenant of Scotland, John of Brittany. This council would act alongside the chancellor, chamberlain and the justiciars. Pairs of justiciars, one Englishman and one Scotsman, would be responsible for four areas: Lothian, Galloway, the area between the Forth and the Mounth, and the area beyond the Mounth. In the ordinance of 1305 eighteen Scots were named sheriff and only two Englishmen. The sheriffs were to be appointed or removed by the lieutenant or the chamberlain. These ordinances were designed to transfer power from the Scottish king to Englishmen. This settlement was forestalled by Bruce’s murder of John Comyn in 1306. Generally names which had dominated Scottish Government in this period: Comyn, Stewart, Moray later joined by Bruce and Soules were not involved in Key executive posts like justiciars or sheriffdoms. Previously the justiciarships had been the virtual preserve of the Comyns. (12-page192)

•     1305 AD                            Reginald Cheyne, who had already shown his loyalty to Edward I after 1296 AD was appointed as the Scottish co-justiciars beyond the Mounth. The Cheyne family had long been associated with the Comyns. Appointed to serve as the English co-justiciars beyond the Mounth was John de Vaux who had been present in John Comyn’s council at the 1304 submission. A review of the sheriffdoms shows there is a return to local families who held the offices under the Guardians. A number were prominent members of Comyn’s council at the time of the 1304 submission. The Comyns had retained their vast landed inheritance but lost political power, i.e. decision-making authority at the center of government, though through their associates they retained local administrative influence especially in the north. It does appear the Comyn’s lost control of Aberdeen as a reprimand. Alexander Comyn of Buchan was replaced as sheriff of Aberdeen by Norman Leslie, a loyal supporter of Edward I. (12-pages 192-194)

•     February 1305 AD           In the February parliament of 1305, Leslie appealed to the king against the forfeiture of his lands by John Comyn as Guardian and the granting of these lands to Philip de Mowbray, a close Comyn associate. (12-page 193)

•     June 11, 1305 AD            Robert Bruce made a secret alliance with Bishop Lamberton, promising ‘to be one another’s counsel in all their business and affairs at all times and against all individuals’. (12-page 196)

•     1305 AD                             Wallace was captured by John de Menteith and later executed in London by King Edward I on August 23, 1305. (12-page 194) (4-695)

•     February 10, 1306 AD    Robert the Bruce murdered John Red Comyn, in Greyfriers’ church at Dumfries. (12-page 184)

•     1306 AD                              Bruce is crowned King of Scots

•     April 5, 1306 AD              King Edward I appoints Aymer de Valence, Comyn’s brother-in-law as his special Lieutenant in Scotland with wide ranging powers against Bruce particularly in the East. (12-page 199)

•     1306 AD                              Bruce defeated at Battle of Methven

•     1307 AD                              Bruce emerges from hiding and starts a comeback

•     1307 AD                              Edward I died

The Bruce Kings (1306 AD to 1371 AD)

•     March 26, 1306 AD         Robert The Bruce was inaugurated as King of The Scots at Scone50December, 1307 (A)        Siloch: King Robert the Bruce defeated a joint English Scottish force led by John Comyn, Earl of Buchan (1 page 67-70 )

•     December 31, 1307 AD   Inverurie: King Robert the Bruce defeats John Comyn (actual date is disputed) (1 page 70)

•     May 23, 1308 AD (A)      Barra: King Robert the Bruce defeated a joint English Scottish force led by John Comyn, Earl of Buchan. (1 page 70-73)

•     May, 1308 AD?                 John Comyn is defeated at Inverurie in May 1308. He flees south leaving his patrimony to be ravaged in what is known as the herschip of Buchan, as Robert the Bruce destroys the visible evidence of the Comyns power in the north. A terrible example is made of this district, the people who supported the Comyn family and the people sympathetic to King John. Those who can seek new patrons or flee. (1-page 74-76)

•     July 1308 AD                     King Robert the Bruce captures Aberdeen

•     1308-14 AD?                      Sir Gilbert Hay is granted the Comyn castle at Slains on the coast of Buchan and is made High Constable of Scotland. (12-page 206)

Battle of Rosslyn

•     June 24, 1314 AD             Bannockburn: Robert the Bruce defeated Edward I giving Scotland its independence. Henry St. Clair and Gilbert de la Hay fight on his side in the battle. (2 page 59-67)

•     1314 AD                              The Clan Hay records indicate their original lands were in Perthshire and Midlothan. It was only after Bannockburn (1314 AD) they were given Comyn lands in Aberdeenshire including Slains in Aberdeenshire. Sir Gilbert de la Hay was named the first High Constable of Scotland in recognition for that service.

•     April 6, 1320 AD             Magnus V signed the Scottish Declaration of Independence at Arbroath with Henry St. Clair, Gilbert de la Hay and others.

•     1331 AD                             Earls of Stratherne replace the Earls of Angus as the Earls of Orkney. (11-page 24)

•     November 24, 1331 AD         David II (aged 7) crowned at Scone. He reins 1329-71.

•     1333-1345 AD               Malise II, father in law of William Sinclair ruled Orkney and Cathiness.

•     July 19, 1333 AD          Halidon Hill (near Berwick): Sir Arcibald Douglas tried to relieve Berwick, but lost to Edward III of England at Halidon Hill. (2 page 69-72)

•     November, 1335 AD           (A) Culblean: King David II defeated David of Strathbogie and followers of the Earl of Athol. (1 page 78-88)

•     1341 AD In 1341-1346         David II, son of Robert the Bruce, granted William Lesk a Charter of Confirmation of the lands of Leaskgoroune in Aberdeenshire. (William is believed to be the first Clan Chief of the Leasks in Slains Parish, Aberdeen.) (g,h)

•     October 13, 1346 AD           Neville’s Cross Junction: King David II was defeated and captured by an English army led by the Archbishop of York. (2 page 73-80)

•     1357 AD                           King David II is released by the English and restored as King (2)

•     February 23, 1371 AD        King David II dies suddenly on the eve of his wedding to Agnes Dunbar, sister of the Earl of March51


  1. February 5, 1284-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 105. 

  2. 1284-1328-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 70. 

  3. March 19, 1286-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 106. 

  4. March 19, 1286-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 70. 

  5. September 1286 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 97-98. 

  6. 1286-1290-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 96-99. 

  7. July 10, 1289-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 103. 

  8. July 10, 1289-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 108. 

  9. February 20, 1290-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 104. 

  10. July 18, 1290-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 104. 

  11. July 18, 1290-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 111. 

  12. August 8, 1290-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 108. 

  13. September 1290-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 108, 103-104. 

  14. October 6, 1290-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 108. 

  15. November 6, 1290-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 109. 

  16. Winter 1290-1291-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 100. 

  17. June 1291-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 111. 

  18. June 11, 1291-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 112. 

  19. June 12, 1291-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 111. 

  20. June 13, 1291-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 112. 

  21. November 7,9, 1292-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 122. 

  22. November 17,1292-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 117. 

  23. November 17, 1292-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 122. 

  24. December 26, 1292-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 129. 

  25. January 6, 1293-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 133. 

  26. 1294-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 138. 

  27. 1294-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  28. 1294-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  29. 1295-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  30. July 5, 1295-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  31. 1295-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  32. 1295-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 140. 

  33. Autumn 1295, 1289-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 123, 141. 

  34. October 1995-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 141. 

  35. March 24, 1296-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 158. 

  36. March 26, 1296-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 142,143. 

  37. March 30, 1296-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 157. 

  38. April 5, 1296-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 142. 

  39. April 27, 1296-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 157. 

  40. July 8, 1296-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, pages 121, 157. 

  41. July and August 1296-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 161. 

  42. August 8, 1296-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 123. 

  43. July 1297-<i>Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314</i>, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 164, 165. 

  44. 1297 to 1304-<i>Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314</i>, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 190. 

  45. May 1301-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 148. 

  46. February 1302-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 149. 

  47. May 1303-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 149. 

  48. May 1303-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 150. 

  49. February 9, 1304-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 150. 

  50. March 26, 1306-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 167. 

  51. February 23, 1371-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 208. 

Edward I and Scottish Independence (1284 AD to 1306 AD)

•     February 5, 1284 AD          The infant Princess Margaret, The Maid of Norway is acknowledged as heir presumptive to the Scottish throne.1

•     1284-1328 AD        Henry Cheyne continues as bishop of Aberdeen.2

•     March 19, 1286 AD             Alexander III, King of Scotland dies while riding his horse at night.   As a result Margaret, the 3 year old daughter of Eric, King of Norway, who was to marry Edward I of England’s son, Edward II, was to become queen.3 The death of King Alexander III at age 44 is dated March 18, 1286 AD.4

•     April 28, 1286 AD               At an assembly (parliament) at Scone about April 28, 1286 the nobility first swore fealty to the heir. In order to implement these promises a provisional overnment was set up that included six  wardens or ‘Guardians’ comprising two earls Alexander Comyn earl of Buchan, Duncan earl of Fife), two bishops (William Fraser of St  Andrews, Robert Wishart of Glasgow) and two Barons (John Comyn of Badenoch and James Stewart). The two Comyns and William Fraser were deemed to represent the Balliol interests. James Stewart was linked to the Bruces by marriage and Robert Wishart was a Stewart ally and represented the Bruce interest. The loyalties of  Duncan, earl of Fife were less certain, but he was known to be an enemy of close Comyn associate, Hugh de Abernethy.5

•     September 1286 AD           Further evidence of Bruce’s disregard for the Guardians’ authority       occurs in September 1286 AD when he made a bond with associates at Turnberry. This Turnbury pact, which involved Robert the Bruce-lord of Annadale (the elder), his son Robert Bruce-earl of Carrick, James  Stewart (the Guardian), his brother John Stewart of Jedburg, Walter Stewart-earl of Menteith and his sons Patrick-earl of Dunbar, Angus Macdonald-lord of Islay and his son, was an agreement to support Richard de Burgh-earl of Ulster, and Thomas de Clare against their enemies. The pact involved saving oaths of allegiance to the English king and whoever should be king and whoever should be king of Scotland ‘by reason of the blod of lord Alexander, king of Scotland according to the ancient customs hitherto approved and used in the Kingdom of Scotland’. This oath has been interpreted as an indication of a deliberate bid by the Bruces for the Scottish throne. This is perhaps reading too much into the oath. Yet Robert the Bruce had apparently been recognized by ‘ancient custom’ as heir to Alexander II in 1238 and the vague oath taken at Turnberry did leave open a possible Bruce Claim, given the uncertainty of succession in September 1286 when either the Maid of Norway or a child of Queen Yolande could be heir. More importantly, the fact that such a pact of family and factional, if not national, intent (and with an uncertain military objective) could take place and that a member of the committee of Guardians was involved, was certainly an ‘ugly defiance of the “community of the realm”‘.6

•     1286-1290 AD The Bruce family appears to oppose the guardians or at least Comyn interests and to be disruptive. Most of the disruption occurred in the south-west. The extent of this disruption can be found in the accounts of the sheriffdoms of Dumfries, Wigtown and Edinburgh, controlled by Comyns or Comyn allies and in the account of the justicar of Galloway. The Comyns had been the hereditary sheriffs of Wigtown since around 1263 OR 1264 AD. The Sinclairs (St Clairs) continued to hold the sheriffdoms of Edinburgh and Linlithgow in the period 1286-89 AD with William Sinclair (who had been made a guardian by 1279 AD of Alexander, heir to the throne. William Sinclair also held the sheriffdom of Dumfries before 1290 AD. William Sinclair was also the justicar of Galloway by 1287. Another family long associated with the Comyns, the Cheynes, held the sheriffdoms of Elgin and Kincardine in the period prior to 1290 AD, while the Mowats continued to control Cromarty and the Meldrum Family held the sheriffdom of Aberdeen. The Moray family, generally supporters of the Comyn family in the thirteenth century, held the sheriffdom of Ary through Andrew de Moray by 1288, and the sheriffdom of Perth through Malcolm de moray in 1288. The sheriffdom of Perth was then in the hands of Nicholas de Hay who was in the Comyn party in 1291. Patrick de Graham held the sheriffdom of Sterling by 1289, the Lochore family held the sheriffdom of Fife by 1289 and the Earl of Buchan follower David de Bethun held the sheriffdom of Forfar by 1290. All were supporters of the Comyn family.7

•     July 10, 1289 AD         Alexander Comyn, earl of Buchan, leader of the Comyn party died shortly after July 10, 1289 AD, having been involved in Scottish politics for almost 50 years.8 John Comyn becomes the earl of Buchan and leader of the Comyn party.9

•     1290 AD         William de Laskereske in 1290 is listed on the Ragman Roll, de Ragements. A legate of Scotland compelled all clergy to give a true account of their benefices, that they might be taxed at Rome accordingly. Subsequently it was applied to four great roles of parchment recording acts of fealty and homage done by the Scots nobility to Edward I of England in 1296.10

•     February 20, 1290        Edward I grants Anthony Bek, bishop of Durham, the custody of the lands and tenements in Cumberland and Northumberland which had formerly been held by the king of Scotland.11

•     July 18, 1290        The Treaty of Birgham is signed.12 The treaty stipulated that the Scottish realm was to remain ‘separate and divided from England according to its rightful boundaries, free in itself and without subjection’, and that its rights, laws, liberties and customs were ‘wholly, freely, absolutely, and without subjection’. That was the intention anyway. But Edward I’s negotiators added the ominous words: ‘Saving always the right of our lord king, and of any other whomsoever, that has pertained to him…before the time of the present agreement, or which in any just way ought to pertain to him in the future.’ And King Edward, on ratifying the treaty, insisted on appointing the new Bishop of Durham (Anthony Bek) as his ‘lieutenant’ in Scotland on behalf of the royal pair, and required the Scottish Guardians to obey the bishop (in the event, the appointment seems to have been largely ignored in Scotland.)13

•     August 8, 1290 AD         John Comyn-secular leader of the political community in Scotland, Anthony Bek, Robert Wishart-bishop of Glasgow and two English representatives serve on the Anglo-Scottish commission to negotiate marriage between the Maid and the future Edward II.14

•     September, 1290 AD        Margaret, the Maid of Scotland, who was to be married to Edward II of England, son of Edward I, dies in Orkney on the way to Scotland to become queen.15

•     October 6, 1290 AD        William Fraser, bishop of St Andrews, wrote to Edward I informing him that rumors of Margaret’s death had brought political instability to Scotland and the bishop asked Edward I for his intervention to prevent war. He pointed out that Robert the Bruce, the elder, and his supporters the earls of Mar and Atholl, had come to Perth and were gathering a large armed force. His letter added the recommendation that ‘If Sir John Balliol comes to your presence we advise you to take care so to treat with him that in any event your honor and advantage be preserved…”16

•     November 6, 1290 AD        It was clear the dominant Comyn party had decided to back the claims to the Scottish throne of John Balliol, John Comyn’s brother-in-law. Some contact had already been made between the Comyn party and the English by November 1290 AD, when Anthony Bek, Edward I’s influential advisor, cane to an agreement with John Balliol. On November 6, 1290, at Gateshead, Balliol issued a charter as ‘heir to the kingdom of Scotland’ granting Bek the manors of Wark in Northumberland and Penrith in Cumberland together with all the other lands held by King Alexander in Cumberland. The overseeing role of Edward I was already in evidence as the grant was conditional on the English king’s ratification. No doubt the Comyn’s were aware of wining Bek and the English king over to their side.17

•     Winter 1290-1290 AD         In the winter of 1290-1291 AD the elder Bruce had asked Edward I to support him as the choice of ‘the Seven Earls’. He had tried to destroy by force the stranglehold the Comyns had on political power in 1286 AD, but the years 1286 to 1288 AD had shown that he had an insufficiently broad power-base. Thus the urgent appeals by both the Bruce and Comyn parties gave Edward I every reason to believe that his intervention was welcome and that he could take this opportunity to insist on his recognition as lord superior of Scotland.18

•     June 1291 AD         By early June of 1291, all the claimants (the thirteen ‘Competitors’) agreed that Edward was the rightful overlord and that they would abide by his judgment on the succession. Further, they agreed that the English king should have possession of the land and especially the royal castles. Control of the Scottish government by the political community of the realm was gradually being forfeited in unusual and difficult circumstances-It was surely the responsibility of the Guardians, if anyone, to relinquish the kingdom and its castles.19

•     June 11, 1291 AD        The Guardians resigned their very authority to be reappointed by the English king. They were no longer elected by the community but were appointed by King Edward. The composition of the Guardians was changed, too, with an English Baron-Brian fitz Alan, lord of Bedale, added to their number.20

•     June 12, 1291 AD        On June 12, 1291 Edward agreed the decision between the ‘Competitors’ would be made by Edward I in Scotland. He also promised to restore both kingdom and castles to the rightful king within two months of the decision being made.21

•     June 13, 1291 AD        At Upsettleinton, opposite Norham, the Guardians and other magnates swore fealty individually to king Edward I. These leading nobles included the four Guardians including John Comyn of Badenoch, two other members of the Comyn family (John Comyn, earl of Buchan and William Comyn of Kirkintilloch), John Balliol and two members of the Bruce family (Robert Bruce of Annandale and Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick). There then followed a general swearing of fealty at Perth, Ayr, Inverness and Galloway. In his capacity as Guardian, John Comyn of Badenoch together with Brian fitz Alan and the bishop of St Andrews organized the general swearing in at Perth.22

•      November 7, 9 1292 AD        Robert Bruce, the Competitor, realizing that his claim to the Scottish throne was going to be unsuccessful, resigned it to his son Robert Bruce Earl of Carrick. On November 9, 1292 Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick surrendered his earldom of Carrick to his son, the future king of Scotland, Robert, aged 18.23

•     November 17, 1292 AD         In the great hall in Berwick Castle, Edward formally accepts the decision of the auditors and selects John Balloil as the next King of the Scots.24 Robert Bruce of Annandale and the former earl of Carrick refuse to do homage to King John Balloil.25

•     December 1292        Already by December 1292 AD Edward was expressing the forcible viewpoint that he could hear whatever pleas might be brought to him; that he could, if necessary, summon the Scottish king himself; and as far as appeals were concerned, he would not be bound by any previous promises or concessions which he made.26

•     December 26, 1292 AD        King John Balloil does homage to King Edward I in most unambiguous terms.27

•     January 2, 1293         King Edward I forced an important concession from King John who ‘solemnly freed Edward from all obligations and promises which the English king might have entered into with the Guardians and responsible men of the Scottish realm, declaring null and void any written evidence of such promises and explicitly annulling the Treaty of Birgham.28

•     January 6, 1293 AD         King Edward I overrules decisions of the Guardians in Berwick demonstrating his right to hear appeals and overrule the Guardians.29

•     1294 AD         King Edward I summoned the King of Scots as well as his magnates to serve him in France. The English king failed to understand that the Scottish nobility in government, chiefly the Comyns and their supporters, now represented the political community of the Scottish realm and this came before other responsibilities. In this respect duty to the Scottish realm came before responsibility to the English king as it had for Earl Alexander in 1282 AD.30

•     1294 AD         In the summer of 1294 AD, King John Balliol failed to prevent Master Thomas Dalton of Kirkcudbright, Robert Bruce the elder’s candidate, from becoming the Bishop of Gallway.31

•     1294 AD         Before December of 1294, the Scots were freed ‘from any oaths extracted from them under duress’ by the absolution of the pope.32

•     1295 AD         Between March and May of 1295 AD, the Scots negotiated an alliance with the French.33

•     July 5, 1295 AD         King John addressed letters to Philip IV appointing four persons to negotiate in France regarding John Balliol’s son, Edward, and a relative of Philip. The four were the experienced William Fraser, bishop of St Andrews, Matthew Crambeth bishop of Dunkeld, John de Soules and Ingreram de Umpharaville. A treaty with france followed on October 23, 1295 AD.34

•     1295 AD         A parliament held a Sterling took the government out of King John Balliol’s hands and given to a ‘Council of Twelve’. It was decreed that King John could do no act by himself.35 The Council of Twelve was composed of four bishops, four earls and four barons. The four bishops were probably William Fraser of St Andrew, Robert Wishart of Glasgow, Matthew Crambeth of Dunkeld, and Henry Cheyne of Aberdeen. The four earls were probably John Comyn earl of Buchan, Donald earl of Mar, Malise earl of Strathearn, and John de Strathbogie earl of Atholl. The four barons were probably John Comyn of badenoch, James Stewart, Alexander de Balliol, and Geoffrey de Mowbray. This Council was still dominated by the Comyn family, relatives and associates.36

•     Autumn 1295 AD        Tensions between the English and Scottish governments became more obvious in the Autumn of 1295, although it is difficult to understand whether news of the French alliance or the judicial appeal to King Edward I by MacDuff, a younger son of the late Duncan earl of Fife. MacDuff complained that he had not received justice in King John Balliol’s court concerning his inheritance of the lands of Creich and Rires. (Duncan earl of Fife had been murdered by Hugh de Abernethy, a prominent Comyn supporter.)37

•     October 1295 AD        It seems Edward I of England was preparing for action against Scotland by October 1295 AD. On October 16, 1295 AD he issued orders to English Sheriffs that all lands and goods of King John and all those Scotsmen ‘who remain in Scotland’ should be taken into the English Kings hands. At the same time he demanded that the castles and towns of Berwick, Roxburgh and Jedburgh should be handed over until the end of the French war. Robert Bruce, lord of Annandale who had done homage to the English king earlier in the year was permitted to keep the castle of Carlisle.38

•     March 24, 1296 AD        Patrick earl of March and Dunbar, Gilbert de Uphraville earl of Angus, Robert Bruce the younger, earl of Carrick, as well as Robert Bruce the elder had don homage to Edward I and promised to ‘serve him well and loyally against all mortal men on March 24, 1296 AD.39

•     March 26, 1296 AD        John Comyn, earl of Buchan set out with a military force on March 26 to attack Carlisle where Robert the Bruce senior was in charge of the garrison. Joining the earl of Buchan were six other earls of Scotland and John Comyn the younger, the Guardian’s son from the Badenoch line.40

•     March 30, 1296 AD        The English army which had gathered around Berwick butchered over 11,000 people.41

•     April 5, 1296 AD        King John Balliol formally renounced his homage to Edward in a defiant letter which certainly reflected the views of the political community of the realm better than his own actions.42

•     April 27, 1296 AD        The first phase of the Scottish wars took a decisive turn when the Scots army trying to relieve the siege of the town of Dunbar were routed by English troops and those Scots within the castle surrendered. Scottish casualties were estimated at 10,000 dead. This was followed by the surrender to the English of the Scottish castles of Roxburgh, Edinburgh and Sterling.43

•     July 8, 1296 AD        After Edward I marched through Scotland via Perth, Montrose, Banff, and Elgin receiving fealty from Scottish nobles and knights. On July 8, 1296 AD, in a humiliating ceremony at Montrose, John Balliol formally resigned his kingdom to Edward I and had his royal arms stripped from his tabard in public, humiliating circumstances.44

•     July and August 1296 AD        King Edward progressed around Scotland in July and August 1296 AD, visiting royal centers such as Aberdeen, Banff and Elgin which had been under Comyn control and sent commissions to ‘search the district of Badenoch’ the lordship of the senior Comyn branch. This was to be followed by the swearing of fealty to Edward by every freeholder in Scotland. His takeover of the Scottish government was demonstrated clearly by his removal of the Stone of Destiny, the most precious symbol of Scottish monarchy, from Scone abbey to Westminster abbey as well as by the seizure of other Scottish muniments and government records.45

•     August 8, 1296 AD         Before King Edward I left Scotland, a parliament was held in Berwick on August 28, at which a compilation was made of nearly 1,500 earls, lords, bishops, and leading burgesses who swore fealty to him and formally recorded their homage to him as King of Scotland. This document has come to be known as the ‘Ragman Role’ from the tangle of ribbons, which hung from the seals of the signatories.46

•     1296 AD        The earliest reference to Leask or a related spelling appeared in 1296 in a document (the so called Ragman Role) recording the name of William de Laskereske, which confirmed his recognition of Edward I (on pain of forfeiture of his lands).47 However, the booklet: The Leasks by Madam Leask of Leask published in 1980 states on page 2,3 that the name Leask is missing from the ragman role. It was spelled Lafkerefke (f = s). He was listed as ‘del county fyf’ (fyf = fife)48

•     1296 AD        The removal of the mainstays of the Scottish government, especially the Comyns, to England was part of the same plan. John Comyn, lord of Badenoch, and John Comyn earl of Buchan, who with Donald earl of Mar, submitted at the same time as John Balliol, were sent to England and ordered to stay south of Trent. Many of the allies of the Comyn family and other leaders were imprisoned in England.49

•     1296-1303 AD        Edward I had not achieved a total military victory over Scottish forces in 1296 or 1303 AD. The north of Scotland, Comyn dominated territory, was largely out of English control between 1297 and 1303 AD. To attempt a total military conquest in Scotland, a large permanent English presence and new English fortifications, similar to those built north of Wales in the 1270s and 1280s, would be needed. In 1300 Edward was ‘not in a financial position to build new fortifications in Scotland on a scale that he had done in Wales. The commutation of provisional sentences of exile into large fines based on value of land rents showed his financial priorities. The Comyns has a network of castles throughout Scotland but especially dominating the main communication lines across northern Scotland. It was sensible for Edward to influence the Comyns and use these castles for his own interests instead of building new structures.50

•     1297 AD        John Comyn, lord of Badenoch and John Comyn earl of Buchan were freed in exchange for their promise to join Edwards Flanders campaign in 1297 AD.51

•     Early 1297 AD        The revolt of the MacDougalls, led by Alexander’s son Duncan, who had not sworn homage to Edward began in early 1297. Edward I presumably thought that with Alexander MacDougall of Argyll having done homage to him and being a prisoner in Berwick castle, the MacDougalls would not cause problems. He did not understand that by appointing their enemy Alexander MacDonald of Islay in April of 1296 as baille in the sheriffdoms of Lorn, Ross and the Isles (formerly under the control of Alexander MacDougall of Argyll) he would provoke the MacDougalls to revolt. Besides the MacDougalls were as closely linked by marriage to the Comyns as the Balliols were and the MacDougalls had been given the responsibilities for the north-west by the Comyn led government.52

•     May to July 1297 AD        Further significant resistance to Edward I’s administration came from another of Scotland’s ‘government’ families, the Morays. A successful revolt in the north was led by Andrew Moray, son of Andrew de Moray of Petty who had been justicar of Scotia during the Balliol kingship (to 1296) and was an important prisoner in the Tower of London. The younger Alan, who had escaped from his imprisonment in Chester, had soon recaptured the English-held castles in the north, including Inverness, Urquhart, Banff, Elgin and Aberdeen between May and June of 1297.53

•     July 1297 AD        James Stewart played a significant role in the revolt in the south, which soon ended ignominiously with the surrender at Irvine in early July of 1297. This revolt also involved Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick and Bishop Wishart. The Stewarts had lost control of Kintyre because of King Edward appointed Alexander MacDonald of Islay as baillie of Kintyre formerly under James Stewart’s jurisdiction.54

•     1297 AD to 1304 AD        The brother of John Comyn earl of Buchan, Alexander Comyn of Buchan, was married to William Latimer of an English noble family. He was one of Edward I’s consistent servants having served Edward’s cause as sheriff of Aberdeen from around 1297 to 1304 AD. He must have been at least partly condoned by John Comyn, earl of Buchan.55

•     September 11, 1297 AD        Sterling: William Wallace defeated an English army led by John de Warenne at Sterling Bridge.56

•     July 22, 1298 AD        Falkirk: William Wallace was defeated by Edward I because of the treachery of two barons, the Earls of Angus and Dunbar and others of the Scottish nobility.57 The Comyns and their accomplices forsook the field during the battle. They have been accused of treachery. Robert Bruce earl of Carrick fought on the English side at Falkirk.58

•     1298 AD        The new guardianship of 1298 was a joint one between John Comyn the younger and Robert Bruce earl of Carrick. The view that the Comyns were traitors to Wallace at Falkirk is at odds with the fact the Scottish political community appointed John Comyn the younger as a Guardian in 1298 after Falkirk. Though Robert Bruce, the earl of Carrick’s father had fought at Falkirk on the English side, the earl was in Ayrshire at the time of Falkirk and set fire to Ayr to prevent its use by the English. The joint Guardianship was obviously a compromise.59

•     1299 AD         John Comyn, earl of Buchan becomes justicar of Scotia.60

•     August 19, 1299 AD        At the council of magnates in Peebles on August 19, 1299 AD John Comyn the younger leapt at the earl of Carrick and seized him by the throat, and the earl of Buchan turned on the bishop of St Andrews, showing the friction that had developed between the parties.61

•     May 1301 AD        John de Soules was appointed a new sole Guardian on behalf of John Balliol.62

•     Summer 1301 AD        John Balliol was released from papal custody. It appeared that he would soon return to Scotland to reassume the kingship.63

•     February 1302 AD        Robert the Bruce defects to Edward I. Edward consolidated this defection by arranging a marriage alliance between Elizabeth de Burg and Robert the Bruce earl of Carrick, a  member of one of King Edward’s chief magnate families.64

•     May 1303 AD         Having been defeated in July 1302 by a Fleming army Phillipe the Fair signed a peace treaty with England from which Scotland was excepted.65

•     May 1303 AD        King Edward I arrived with his main army in May 1303. Castles and strongholds fell all over Scotland.66 Edward’s campaign concentrated on the center of Comyn power, northeastern Scotland.67

•     February 9, 1304 AD        John Comyn of Badenoch, the Red Comyn surrendered to Edward on behalf of the Community of Scotland. One member of Scottish nobility seems to have been active throughout: Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick.68 He had been an ally of Edward I since early 1302, actively participating in Edward’s summer campaign of 1303, commanding a garrison at Aye castle in 1303 and early 1304, and sending large siege weapons to help the English in the assault on Sterling, The capture of which set the seal on the English military victory in July 1304 AD.((Feb 9, 1304 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 185.)) It was John Comyn who led the negotiations for Scotland’s wholesale submission to Edward I.69

•     1304 AD        As part of the submission of 1304 AD, the Scots had to agree to the Ordinances of Edward regarding settlement of Scotland.70

•     March 29, 1304 AD        The lands of the Comyn Earls of Buchan were granted to Henry de Percy by Edward I.71

•     May 1304 AD        With the exception of the castles at Slains and Balvenie, the lands of the earl of Buchan were restored to the Comyns by Edward I.72

•     1305 AD        According to the 1305 Ordinances a council of 21 Scots, four bishops, four abbots, five earls, eight barons were to act as a council for King Edward’s new lieutenant of Scotland, John of Brittany. This council would act alongside the chancellor, chamberlain and the justiciars. Pairs of justiciars, one Englishman and one Scotsman, would be responsible for four areas: Lothian, Galloway, the area between the Forth and the Mounth, and the area beyond the Mounth. In the ordinance of 1305, eighteen Scots were named sheriff and only two Englishmen. The sheriffs were to be appointed or removed by the lieutenant or the chamberlain. These ordinances were designed to transfer power from the Scottish king to Englishmen. This settlement was forestalled by Bruce’s murder of John Comyn in 1306. Generally names which had dominated Scottish Government in this period: Comyn, Stewart, Moray later joined by Bruce and Soules were not involved in Key executive posts like justiciars or sheriffdoms.   Previously the justiciarships had been the virtual preserve of the Comyns.73

•     1305 AD        Reginald Cheyne, who had already shown his loyalty to Edward I after 1296 AD was appointed as the Scottish co-justiciars beyond the Mounth. The Cheyne family had long been associated with the Comyns. Appointed to serve as the English co-justiciars beyond the Mounth was John de Vaux who had been present in John Comyn’s council at the 1304 submission. A review of the sheriffdoms shows there is a return to local families who held the offices under the Guardians. A number were prominent members of Comyn’s council at the time of the 1304 submission. The Comyns had retained their vast landed inheritance but lost political power, i.e. decision-making authority at the center of government, though through their associates they retained local administrative influence especially in the north. It does appear the Comyns lost control of Aberdeen as a reprimand. Alexander Comyn of Buchan was replaced as sheriff of Aberdeen by Norman Leslie, a loyal supporter of Edward I.74

•     February 1305 AD        In the February parliament of 1305, Leslie appealed to the king against the forfeiture of his lands by John Comyn as Guardian and the granting of these lands to Philip de Mowbray, a close Comyn associate.75

•     June 11, 1305 AD        Robert Bruce made a secret alliance with Bishop Lamberton, promising ‘to be one another’s counsel in all their business and affairs at all times and against all individuals’.76

•     1305 AD        Wallace was captured by John de Menteith and later executed in London by King Edward I on August 23, 1305.77

•     February 10, 1306 AD        Robert the Bruce murdered John Red Comyn, in Greyfriers’ church at Dumfries.78

•     1306 AD        Bruce is crowned King of Scots.

•     April 5, 1306 AD        King Edward I appoints Aymer de Valence, Comyn’s brother-in-law as his special Lieutenant in Scotland with wide ranging powers against Bruce particularly in the East.79

•     1306 AD        Bruce defeated at Battle of Methven.

•     1307 AD       Bruce emerges from hiding and starts a comeback.

•     1307 AD        Edward I died.


  1. Feb 5, 1284 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 105. 

  2. 1284-1328 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 70. 

  3. March 19, 1286-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 25. Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson,page 106. 

  4. March 19, 1286 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 90. 

  5. April 28, 1286 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 96. 

  6. September 1286 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 97-98. 

  7. 1286-1290 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 96-99. 

  8. July 10, 1289 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 103. 

  9. July 10, 1289 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 103, 108. 

  10. 1290 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998. 

  11. Feb 20, 1290 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 104. 

  12. July 18, 1290 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 104. 

  13. July 18, 1290 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 111. 

  14. August 8, 1290 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 108. 

  15. September, 1290 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 103-104, 108. 

  16. October 6, 1290 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 108. 

  17. Nov 6,1290 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 109. 

  18. Winter 1290 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 109. 

  19. June 1291 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 111. 

  20. June 11, 1291 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 112. 

  21. June 12, 1291 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 111. 

  22. June 13, 1291 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 112. 

  23. Nov 7,9 1292 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 122. 

  24. Nov 17, 1292 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 117. 

  25. Nov 17,1292 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 122. 

  26. Dec 1292 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 134. 

  27. Dec 26, 1292 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 129. 

  28. January 2, 1293 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 134. 

  29. Jan 6, 1293 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 133. 

  30. 1294 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 138. 

  31. 1294 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  32. 1294 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  33. 1294 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  34. July 5, 1295 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  35. 1295 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 139. 

  36. 1295 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 140. 

  37. Autumn 1295 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 123, 141. 

  38. October 1295 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 141. 

  39. March 24, 1296 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 158. 

  40. March 26, 1296 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 142, 143. 

  41. March 30, 1296 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 157. 

  42. April 5, 1296 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 142. 

  43. April 27, 1296 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 157. 

  44. July 8, 1296 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, pages 121, 157. 

  45. July and August 1296 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 161. 

  46. Aug 8, 1296 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 123. 

  47. 1296 AD- www.clan-leask.co.uk/leaskhis.html#origins and www.rampartscotland.com/ragman/blragman_index.html. 

  48. The 2000 names contained in the 1296 verson of the ragman role are listed alphabetically on the web site www.rampantscotland.com/ragman/blragman as they are listed in book published by the Bannatyne Club in Edinburgh in 1834. The website explains that at that time “s” was written as “f,” that “counte meant county, and that “fyf” meant Fife. 

  49. 1296 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 161, 162. 

  50. 1296-1303 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 190. 

  51. 1297 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 189. 

  52. Early 1297 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 164. 

  53. May to July 1297 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 165. 

  54. July 1297 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 164, 165. 

  55. 1297 to 1304 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 190. 

  56. September 11, 1297-Famous Scottish Battles, by Philip Warner, Barnes & Noble Books, 1975, 1996, pages 47-52) Moray had been able to gather a large infantry force in the north (probably using the Comyn patronage network) and join Wallace for the battle of Sterling Bridge. ((Sept 11, 1297 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 167. 

  57. July 22, 1298 AD-Famous Scottish Battles, by Philip Warner, Barnes & Noble Books, 1975, 1996, pages 53-57. 

  58. July 22, 1298 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 168, 169. 

  59. 1298 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 169, 170. 

  60. 1299 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 124. 

  61. Aug 19,1299 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 170. 

  62. May 1301 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 148. 

  63. 1301 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 171. 

  64. Feb 1302 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 172. Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 149. 

  65. May 1303 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 149. 

  66. May 1303 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 150. 

  67. May 1303 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 176. 

  68. Feb 9, 1304 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 150. Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 186. 

  69. Feb 9, 1304 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 176. 

  70. 1304 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 191. 

  71. March 29, 1304 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 189. 

  72. May 1304 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 189. 

  73. 1305 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 192. 

  74. 1305 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 192-194. 

  75. Feb 1305 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 193. 

  76. June 11, 1305 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 196. 

  77. 1305 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 194. Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 695. 

  78. Feb 10, 1306 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 184. 

  79. April 5, 1306 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 199. 

The Rise of Normans and the Clan Comyn (1066 AD to 1284 AD)

•     1066 AD          Robert de Comyn arrives in England with William the Conqueror and was given lands in Northumberland. The name Comyn (or Cumming, Cummin) is of Norman origin derived from Comines near Lisle on the French/Belgium border.1

•     1066 AD          St. Clairs (Sinclairs) arrive in England with William the Conqueror and fight at the Battle of Hastings. Sometime afterwards, William the Seemly St. Clair settles in Scotland. His name appears on the roles of king Malcolm Canmores court. He is the son of Comtede St. Clair, a relative of William the Conqueror.

•     1069-1071 AD          Malcolm III marries Margaret, sister to the Saxon heir of the English throne, sometime between 1069-1071 AD2

•     1070 AD          Some of the Norman nobles in the north of England were upset with the distribution of Saxon lands and rebelled. Duke William took an Army north and wasted the northern counties. As a result many Norman nobles fled north and were granted lands over the border by Malcom III (Canmore) of Scotland.

•     1072 AD          William invades Scotland; Malcolm III submits and gives hostages. He agrees not to harbor the English kings’ enemies (The Abernethy Treaty).3

•     1079 AD          Malcom III again invades England but at Falkirk agrees to renew the terms of the Abernethy Treaty and a border was agreed.4

•     1084 AD          The earliest record of Leask of de Lask as a name in Orkney appears to be 1084. The earliest evidense of the owners of the Udal lands is given in the Uthel Book. It records parcels of land on the Island of Papa Westray (Papey), Orkney. There were 16 parcels in all not owned by the Church and the Earl of Orkney. Most of these 16 parcels were owned by the Leasks and Howiesons. It is assumed by Sir Brian Chalmers Leask of Aglath that these are these parcels were owned by the de Lask family of Aberdeenshire.5

•     November 13, 1093          Malcolm Canmore dies with his son Edwardin an ambush by the Norman Earl of Northumbria, Robert de Mowbray.6

•     1093 AD          Donald III, Malcolm’s younger brother Donald Ban becomes king.7

•     1093 AD          Duncan II, son of Malcolm by Ingibjorg of Orkney seizes the throne.8

•     1094 AD          Duncan II is murdered.9

•     1097 AD          Edgar, Malcolm’s eldest surviving son by Margaret becomes king with the backing of an English army sent by King William Rufus.10

•     1100s AD         St Boniface Church (Papa Westray) has its origins in the 12th Century, though it has been much altered and extended, especially by the construction of a private burial-enclosure in the chancel. In the graveyard lies a fine twelfth century hogback tombstone made of red sandstone, and with three rows of roof tiles. Depicted on either side. St Boniface is likely to be an old foundation: it has been suggested as the seat of the Pictish bishopric of Orkney and two early Christian Cross slabs were discovered here earlier this century, one may now be seen in Tankerness House Museum in Kirkwall, and the other is in the National Museum in Kirkwall. Recent excavations have revealed both Iron Age and Pictish settlement in the vicinity. Traces of a large round house inhabited in the 6th century BC were uncovered. The Church of St Boniface was in use in the 1920s.11

•     1102-1168 AD          The first Recorded Bishop of Orkney is William the Old who served for 66 years.12

•     1101-1144 AD           Family tradition has it that a Leask was on the second crusade hence the reason for the crescent being adopted as a crest on the Coat-of-Arms. There are no known records extant.13 (Sir Brian Chalmers Leask of Aglath)

•     1107 AD          Alexander I (Edgar’s brother) succeds to the throne on Edgar’s death.14

•     1121 AD          William Comyn is a clerk in the English chancery for Henry I.15

•     1124 AD          David I becomes King of Scotland.16

•     1124 AD          William Comyn comes north with King David I (1124-1153), who appoints him Chancellor of Scotland. His nephew, Richard Cumming, married the granddaughter and heiress of Canmore’s Brother, the blinded King Donald Ban (1193-97).17

•     1126-1127 AD (O) Harrald, Earl of Orkney is granted the Earldom of Caithness by King David I of Scotland.

•     1136 AD          Kali Kilsson, a nephew of St Magnus became Earl of Orkney taking the name Earl Rofnvald after Earl Rofnvald Brusason, whom he admired.18

•     1136 AD          Willam Comyn becomes Chancellor of Scotland for David I.19

•     1138 AD          Harald Maddadsson becomes Earl of Orkney as a five year old boy. Born in Scotland, he grew up in Orkney. He was descended from both Norwegian and Scottish aristocrats. His first wife was the daughter of the Scottish noble, the Earl of Fife. (Earl Fergus?) He split control of the Earldom of Orkney with Earl Rognvald, the founder of St Magnus Cathedral. For rest of his life he was torn between allegience to the Scottish and Norwegian crowns.20 It has been argued that the political activities of Harald Maddadsson led to the Scotish crown coming north to consolidate power in Sutherland and Caithness.21

•     1138 AD          William Cumin participated in the invasion by David I of northern England in 1138, and was captured when the Scottish army was defeated at the battle of the Standard near Northhallerton. His grandson is later given lands in Roxburghshire by King David I of Scotland.22

•     1142-1152 AD          Before 1152 AD, Richard Cumin receives his first recorded landed grants from the Scottish Royal Family in Scotland in Pebleshire from Earl Henry, the son of David I.23

•     1151 AD          King Eystein, King of Norway raids Aberdeen, perhaps punishment for Aberdeen’s support of Earl Harald of Orkney. Aberdeen seems to have played a role in the high politics of the north.24

•     1152 AD          The Bishopric of Orkney becomes part of Norway’s see of Nidaros.

•     1152 AD          Bishop William the Old of Orkney accompanied Earl Rognvald, and many of his friends on a crusade to the Holy Land leaving 19 year old Harald Maddadarson to look after the earldom in the Earldom in their absence. Among the Orkneymen who took part in the two year visit to the Mediterranean were the Earls poets Thorgeir Safakoll and Thorbjorn the Black, as well as Oddi Glumsson the Little and Armod, who were Icelanders. The story of their visit is a highlight of the Orkneyinga Saga.25

•     1153 AD          Malcolm IV becomes king of Scotland on the death of David I, his grandfather.26

•     1160 AD          William de la Haye (a Norman) arrives about 1160. He became the Butler of Scotland, later marrying a Celtic Heiress. His son David Hay later marries into an ancient family of Strathearn.

•     1162 AD          The Sinclairs (St. Clair) receive land in Lothian by 1162.

•     1165 AD          William the Lion becomes King of Scotland.27

•     1170 AD          William bestows the office of justicar of Lothian on Richard Cumin . The office of justicar was an important one. The justicar was the leading judicial officer of the crown in his area and an increasingly significant administrative adviser to the king. Before 1200, the justicar was responsible for determining crown pleas, except for the most significant ones, and for dispensing justice evenly. There were three justicars: Scotia, Lothian and Galloway.28

•     July 1174 AD          King William is captured by the English at Alnwick after he mounted an invasion of Northumbria.29

•     1176 to 1198 AD        Harrald II Maddadsson, Earl of Orkney, ruled half of Cathiness with the aid of King William of Scotland.30

•     1179 AD          Charter for Aberdeen, granted at Perth, by King William.

•     1180s AD       Earl Harald Maddadsson supports the Macwilliam family who unsuccessfully mounted a challenge to the Scottish King.31

•     1194 AD          Earl Harrald II Maddadsson lost the Shetlands for supporting the claim of Sigrud, the son of Magnus of Sweden, instead of King Sverre (Sverrir) of Norway. In 1184, civil war raged in Norway. A group of islanders known as the Eyjarskeggjar (Island Beardies) objected to the rule of King Sverrir. Supported by Earl Harald, they collected forces in Orkney and went to Norway where they were defeated in the bloody battle of Florvag and nearly all were killed. Earl Harald made his peace with a furious King Sverrir, however as a result, Shetland remained separate and was not reunited with Orkney until the rule of Prince Henry Sinclair.32 The loss occurred in about 1194.33

•     1200s AD?          The Chapel of Leask located on the land of Leask, in Slains, dates back to the earliest of times. The ruins of the present building believed to have been constructed in the 12th Century stand on the ruins of an ancient chapel. It is thought to be built on the ruins of a Columbian Oratory that dates back to the 6th Century. It was dedicated to St Adamnan.34

•     1202 AD          King William, the Lion invaded Caithness taking the Earl’s eldest son hostage, mutilating him until he died.35

•     1205 AD          William Cumyn’s promotion to justicar of Scotia was the first sign of a deliberate royal policy to involve the family in the consolidation of royal authority in the north. A Comyn served as justicar of Scotia no fewer than 66 of the 100 years between 1205 and 1304.36

•     1206 AD          Earl Harald II Maddadsson dies and is succeded by his son Jon Haraldsson and ruled until he was killed in Thurso in 123037 and his son David who died in 1214.38

•     1211 AD           Guthred, son of Donald MacWilliam landed in Ross in January 1211 to lead a rebellion in Ross and Moray.39

•     1211-1212 AD          In his capacity as justicar, William Comyn and the Earl of Athol led the army of 4,000 into Ross to suppress the rebellion of Guthred, son of Donald MacWilliam. The army included representatives of the two families claiming the earldom of Mar, Malcolm son of Earl Morgrund and Thomas Durward.40

•     1212 AD          William Cumin (Comyn) marries Lady Marjorie, heiress of the Earl of Buchan, Fergus, becoming the first Anglo-Norman Earl of Scotland. (Marjore, daughter of Earl Fergus was his second wife) Earl Fergus was the last Celtic Earl of Buchan and William the first Norman earl in Scotland. Earl Fergus held court at Ellon, his ‘caput’ located very near the land of Leask. As a result Earl William was in possession of Slains and Cruden (on the south-east coast of Buchan); Fechil (in Ellon parish); Tarves (west of Ellon); Old Meldrum (south-west of Tarves); Rattray (on the coast between Peterhead and Fraserburg); Strichen (inland west of Rattray); Deer (south of Strichen) and Turrif (west of Deer).41 From Richard Cumin’s time the families closely attached to Comyns either through affinity or feudal connection were the Bonekil , Ridel and Umphraville families. Land owning Families in William Comyn’s circle included the Grahams, the Mowats, the Boscos, the Pauntons, the Prats, the Sinclairs, and the Wardroba Families. William Comyn maintained ties with the sons of former Earls of Buchan: William of Slains, Robert de Montfort, John son of Uhtred and Cospatric Macmadethyn.42

•     December 4, 1214 AD          King Willam the Lion dies at Sterling after a 49 year rule. (4-page 87) His son Alexander II becomes king and rules to 1249 AD.43

•     1220-1250s AD          The Comyn Family, the Bisset family and the Durward family are in competition and conflict. The Durwards had been known as the de Lundin family previously.44

•     1231 AD          Earl Jon is killed in a drunken brawl in a cellar in Thurso.45

•     1231 AD          The Scottish Earls of Angus become the Earls Orkney until around 1320 AD.46

•     1233 AD          On the death of Earl William Comyn, leadership of the Comyn’s passed to Walter Comyn, second son of Earl William by his first marriage47

•     1234 AD          Walter Comyn becomes Earl of Menteith on marriage to Isabella, daughter and heiress of Maurice, third Earl of Menteith.48

•     1238 AD          Joan, sister to King Henry III of England and the wife of Alexander II, King of Scotland dies. Allexander II marries a French noblewoman, Marie de Coucy leading Henry III to fear a French Scottish alliance.49

•     1242 AD          From a Comyn viewpoint, 1242 AD marks a challenge to Comyn control. Newcomers like the Bissits were ingratiating themselves with the royal family. The Bissits and the Comyns were rival landowners in both Mar and Moray. The Comyn rise to the forefront of the Scottish aristocracy, so strongly supported by the Scottish monarchy, was threatened when two earldoms, Angus and Athol, slipped from their control. John Comyn, earl of Angus died that year, and when his relative, Patrick of Atholl, heir to the earldom of Atholl died in 1242 AD under suspicious circumstances, removing that earldom from Comyn influence, it was inevitable there would be a strong family reaction. Two members of the Bissit family, Walter and John Bissit were suspected by the Comyns in the death of Patrick of Atholl. The harrying of Walter Bissit’s lands at Aboyne by Alexander Comyn, heir to Buchan, and John Comyn (son of Richard Comyn), ‘a keen fighter and a most outstanding participant in all knightly encounters’ was perhaps a hot headed reaction by two members of the Comyn family to the loss of a relative of a similar age.50

•     1242 AD          The Bissets ask for help from Henry III.51

•     1243 AD          As the Comyns continue to build and strengthen castles along the English Scottish border, Walter Bissit becomes firmly established in English Royal service.52

•     1244 AD          King Henry III of England and King Alexander II of Scotland act to curb Comyn power. Alexander II replaces Comyn allies Robert Mowat and Philip de Melville with Allan Durward as Justicar of Scotia. Allan Durward replaces Walter Comyn as chief advisor to Allexander II. Allan Durward forms a totally non-Comyn Government. (12-page 45) The Comyns still counted on the families listed in 1212 but added the del Hay, de Soules, de Erth (Airth), Mountfichets (Muschets) and de Valoniis families to their supporters.53

•     August 1244 AD          No doubt the words of the Bissits easily fed Henry’s fears and provoked his march to the Scottish English border. Large English and Scottish armies confront each other. Walter Bissit and his heirs were granted land in Nottinghamshire until their Scottish lands could be recovered.54

•     1244 AD          Alexander, son of William Comyn did not become Earl of Buchan until 1244 AD.55

•     July 6, 1249 AD          King Alexander II dies and his son Alexander III becomes king on July 13, 1249 at the age of seven.56

•     1249-51 AD          Though Durward was still in power, the Comyn party, led by Walter Comyn are the dominant political force in Scotland.57

•     1251 AD          The Comyns are placed in power by Henry III of England and the Durwards are forced into exile.58

•     September 4, 1255 AD          The Comyn government is replaced by a council of 15, appointed by Henry III of England and Alexander III of Scotland. The team was led by Patrick Earl of Dunbar and Alan Durward once more becomes justicar of Scotia. Walter de Lindsay becomes chamberlain and Walter de Moray (of Bothewell) becomes justicar of Lothian.59

•     1257 AD          Walter Comyn kidnaps the King at Kinross and thus regains control of the government.60

•     September 1258 AD          A compromise is agreed to that is documented by the record of the English baronial council in November of 1258 AD61

•     November 1258 AD          The English baronial council records a compromise council of ten with four key members of the Comyn party (Walter Comyn-earl of Menteith, Alexander Comyn-earl of Buchan, William-earl of Mar, and Gamelin-bishop of St Andrews) and four members of the Durward party (Alan Durward, Alexander Stewart, Robert Meyners (Menzies) and Gilbert de Hay). The naming of Queen Marie and her new husband John of Acre as the other two members can be seen as a sop to Henry III, giving the impression that Alexander III’s minority still continued.62

•     November 1258 AD          Walter Comyn, earl of Meneith, dies in late October or early November as a result of a fall from his horse.63

•     1258 AD          Earl Alexander, earl of Buchan, was recognized as head of the Comyn party and as leader of the governing community of Scotland.64

•     1260 AD to 1286 AD          Alexander III takes the initiative, denying royal patronage to disruptive barons and promotes a junior branch of Comyn family: Comyn’s of Kilbride and new men in the royal cycle such as Simon Fraser, Reginald Cheyne, Thomas Randolf and Hugh Berkeley. As a result, the Comyn power declines. (12-page 67) However the Comyn family dominated political and public offices, royal missions and witness lists to royal charters. From 1258 to 1289 AD Alexander Comyn, earl of Buchan holds the office of justicar of Scotia when he died. The Comyn family also dominated the offices of sheriff in Scotland during that period.65

•     1260s AD          Earl Alexander of Buchan and Alexander Stewart played a leading part in the defense of the country against the Norwegian threat during the 1260s.66) In the 1260s, he also served as Sheriff of Wigtown67

•     1260 AD          The progress of the Stewarts to the forefront of the political stage after 1260 AD was confirmed by their presence on the list of thirteen earls and 25 Barons who in 1284 AD swore loyalty to uphold the succession of Margaret of Norway to the Scottish throne.68

•     1263 AD          King Hakon of Norway made and expediton to the West with the aim of reviving and consolidating Norwegian power.69

•     October 2, 1263 AD          Battle of Largs-Scots defeat the Vikings who were attempting to revive and consolidate Norwegian power. The battle takes place on the Ayershire coast. Orkneymen were involved in the expedition. As a result of the defeat, Norwegian power declined in Scotland.70

•     December 15/16, 1263 AD          King Haakon of Norway dies on Orkney during the winter after his defeat in Scotland.71

•     1264 AD          William de St Clare (or Sinclair) was sheriff of Edinburg, Lithithgow, and Haddington. A son may have been sheriff of Dumfries by 1290 AD.72

•     1264 AD          Earl Alexander, together with William earl of Mar and Alan Durward, was ordered to follow up on the defeat of the Norwegians by suppressing those Scots who had encouraged and supported the King of Norway in the Western Isles.73

•     May 23, 1264 AD          Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester (England) dies and leaves vast English estates to his daughter, Elizabeth, co-heiress of his estate. She was the wife of Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan. The breakup of this vast estate was a slow process not settled until May 22, 1277. There was still an echo of a dispute in 1279.74

•     1264-1266 AD          Reginal Cheyne was sheriff of Kincardine. Either he or his son was sheriff of Kincardine by 1290. Both were frequently on the royal witness list.75

•     1267-1269 AD          Reginal Cheyne was chamberlain76

•     1272 AD          Edward I becomes king of England.77

•     1272 AD          The Bruce family acquires an earldom by marriage.78

•     1275 AD          Earl Alexander, Earl of Buchan was one of the leaders of the kings expedition against the Isle of Mann79

•     1276 AD          Earl Alexander, Comyn was among 178 tenants-in-chief summoned to meet the king at Worcester and fight for Edward I, King of England, against the Welsh. Most of the leading nobility in Scotland, including the Balliols, Comyns and Bruces, had previously acknowledged their feudal obligations to the kings of England as English landowners. Certainly Earl Alexander was concerned about his wife’s pending inheritance of vast English estates from Robert de Quincy. It was certainly in Earl Alexander’s interest to acknowledge his commitments to King Edward I. At this time, rather than serve he paid scutage of 50 marks (one-third two knights fees).80

•     May 22, 1277 AD          The inheritance of Elizabeth, Earl Alexander’s wife is settled, and she receives her inheritance.81

•     1282 AD          Having been summoned to serve King Edward again in 1282 AD, Earl Alexander emphasized in his letter to King Edward he regretted he was unable to serve personally against the Welsh, but he sent his son Roger to serve in his stead.82

•     July 1, 1282          Alexander III, King of Scotland wrote Edward I, King of England to excuse the temporary absence of Alexander Comyn, earl of Buchan, Constable and Justicar of Scotland whom he had dispatched on important business to the remote parts of the Scottish islands. His duty to the Scottish King came first83

•     1282 AD          Henry Cheyne named bishop of Aberdeen.84


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  3. 1072 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 66. 

  4. 1079 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 68. 

  5. 1084 AD-Leask’s Genealogical Guide to Some Australian Families and their Antecedents and Genealogies, compiled and edited by Brian Chalmers Leask, Kt. T., 1979, page 332. 

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  13. 1101-1144 AD-Leask’s Genealogical Guide to Some Australian Families and their Antecedents and Genealogies, compiled and edited by Brian Chalmers Leask, Kt. T., 1979, page 333. 

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  77. 1272 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 694. 

  78. 1272 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 85. 

  79. 1275 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 79. 

  80. 1276 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, pages 136-137. 

  81. May 22, 1277 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 137. 

  82. 1282 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 137. 

  83. July 1, 1282 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 137. 

  84. 1282 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, page 70. 

Thorfinn II, MacBeth and Malcolm Canmore (1014 AD to 1066 AD)

•     1014 AD          At the age of five, Thorfin Siguroarson, one of the sons of Earl Sigurd Hloovisson, and like David I one of the grandsons of King Malcolm of Scotland, was named Earl of Caithness and Sutherland by King Malcom. He fought his way to control Orkney by 1030 AD. By the time he died he had extended his realm deep into the heart of Scotland.1

•     1014 AD          Thorfinn II the Great (1014-1065), Earl of Orkney, had complete control of Orcadia. His maternal grandfather, Malcolm II (1005-33) of Scotland, granted him the dignity of Earl and the revenues of Caithness. His men spread over the whole conquered country, says the Orkneyinga Saga, and burnt every hamlet and farm, so not a cot remained. Every man they found they slew; but the old men and women fled to the deserts and the woods, and filled the country with lamentation. (Many were made slaves.) After, the Earl Thorfinn returned to his ships, subjugating the country everywhere in his progress. The Norwegian conquest appears to have effected a most important change in the character of the population and language of the eastern lowlands of the North of Scotland. The original population must in some way have given way to a Norwegian one, and, whatever may have been the original language, we find after this one of a decidedly Teutonic character prevailing in the district, probably introduced along with the Norse population. His wife was Ingeborg. He raided beyond the river Tay, as far south as Fife. His daughter, Ingeborg, married Malcolm III (Canmore). The son of Malcolm III and Ingeborg became Duncan II (1094-97?) of Scotland.2

•     1017 AD          Knut (Cnut) the Great, King of Norway and Denmark married Emma, daughter of Richard I of Normandy, widow of King Aethelred. Emma was the cousin of Walderne, Lord of St. Clair.3

•     1018 AD          Malcolm II defeats the Northumbrians at Carham; death of Owain the Bald, last native king of Strathclyde.4

•     1018 AD          Cnut becomes King of Denmark on the death of Harald5

•     1034 AD          Death of Malcolm II, Accession of Duncan I6

•     1033(?) AD    Duncan I (1033-40) becomes king. He is the grandson of Malcolm II. His son was Malcolm III (Canmore).  Duncan I, in 1033, desiring to extend his dominions southwards, attacked Durham, but was forced to retire with considerable loss. His principal struggles were however with his powerful kinsman, Thorfinn, whose success was so great that he extended his conquests as far as the Tay.7

•     August 14, 1040 AD          Duncan’s last battle in which he was defeated was in the neighborhood of Burghead (Torfness), near the Moray Firth8 by Thorfin9 ; and shortly after this, on the 14 August, 1040, he was assassinated in Bothgowanan-which in Gaelic is said to mean “the smith’s hut”, by his kinsman the Maramor Macbeda or MacBeth who becomes King. He may have been the first to invite Norman knights to join him.10

•     1050 AD          Earl Thorfinn, of Orkney, journeyed to Rome where he had an audience with the Pope.11

•     1050 AD          MacBeth, who may have been Thorfin’s half brother, makes a pilgimage to Rome. It is not clear if MacBeth and Thorfin were allies or rivals.12

•     1054 AD          Malcolm Canmore, son of Duncan, invades scotland with the help of the English. He defeats MacBeth’s forces, probably at Dunsinane.13

•     April 25, 1057 AD          Malcom III (1057-1094), known as Canmore, was crowned at Scone. (April 25, 1057 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 55.)) Malcolm, who had lived in England during most of MacBeth’s reign, married the Earl of Orkney, Thorfin the Mighty’s daughter, Ingioborg.14

•     August 15, 1057 AD      (A) Lumphanan: Malcolm III (Canmore) defeated and slew the Reigning King, MacBeth (1040-57).15 Battle thought to be fought at Essie, Aberdeenshire.16

1058-1093 AD          Malcolm III (Malcolm Canmore) reins from 1058 to 1093. MacBeth was slain by Mcduff, Thane of Fife, in revenge for the cruelties he had inflicted on the family, at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire in the year 1066, although according to Skene (Chronicles) it was August 1057.17

•     1058 AD          King Lulach (MacBeth’s stepson) is slain at the Battle of Essie by Malcolm III Canmore.18

•     1058 AD          Malcolm’s first wife Ingioborg dies having provided Malcolm with several children, including Duncan. Duncan later became Duncan II.19

•     1061 AD          Malcolm III invades Northumbria.20

•     1064(1065) AD          Thorfinn, Earl of Orkney, died in 1064, and his extensive possessions in Scotland did not revert to his descendants, but to the native chiefs, who had the original right to possess them. These chiefs appear to have been independent of the Scottish sovereign and to have caused Malcolm III no small amount of trouble. A Considerable part of Malcom III’s reign was spent endeavoring to bring these chiefs into subjection. Before Malcolm III’s death all but Orkney acknowledged him as King.21

•     1066 AD          Thorfinn’s sons (and no doubt a contigent of Orcadian troops) fought with the Norsemen led by Norwegian King Harald III Hardrada (Hardraada), a claimant to the English throne, against the English (Saxons) under Harold II who defeat the Norse at Stamford Bridge. Shortly afterwards the victorious English are defeated at the Battle of Hastings by William the Conqueror who, with his Normans seized the English throne. King Harald III dies in Orkney.22

 


  1. 1014 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 54. 

  2. 1014 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  3. 1017 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  4. 1018 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 694. 

  5. 1018 AD-The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, page 9. 

  6. 1034 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 694. 

  7. 1033? AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  8. Aug 14, 1040 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998. 

  9. 1040 AD- A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 40. 

  10. Aug 14, 1040 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, pages 52-53. 

  11. 1050 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones,1998, page 119. 

  12. 1050 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 40. 

  13. 1054 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 40. 

  14. 1057 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 40. 

  15. Aug 15, 1-57 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, pages 52-60. 

  16. Aug 15, 1057 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01. 

  17. 1058-1093 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, pages 54-57. 

  18. 1058 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 56. Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 694. Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01. 

  19. 1058 AD- A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 40. 

  20. 1061 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 694. 

  21. 1064(1065) AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  22. 1066 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones, 1998, page 115. Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314, Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997. 

Scotland Emerges (900 AD to 1014 AD)

•     900 AD          Consantine II becomes king and rules ‘Scotland’ until 943 AD.1

•     902-3 AD      In the third year of Constantine son of Aed, the Norse plundered
Dunkeld and all Albania.2

•     903-04 AD          The Norse were slaughtered in Strathearn. The Irish Annals record that ‘Ivor O’Ivor’ was slain by the men of Fortren, with great slaughter around him. The battle is not mentioned in the Brechin Chronicle nor the Annals of Ulster. It is recorded in some detail under the year 909 AD in the Irish Annals transcribed by Duald MacFirbis.3

•     910 AD          Einar’s sons Arnkell and Erlend rule Orkney jointly until they are
killed in battle in England (941 AD).4 They are killed with Eric Bloodax in the battle5 of Stainsmore, Yorkshire (Saxon victory over the Norse in 954 AD.6

•     934 AD          Athelstan -King of Wessex, invaded Scotland, reaching as far as Dunnotar. He takes the son Constantines, King of Scotland, as a hostage.7

•     937 AD          The Scots, and an army of Irish and Northumberland Norsemen under Olaf Gothfrithsson, and Britons led by Owen of Strathclyde, marched south. They are defeated by Athelstan at Brunanburg. The location of this battle has been sited at Burnswark or Birrenswark in Dumfriesshire. Athelstan makes Erick Bloodax Earl of Northumbria.8

•     937 AD          Constantine II and his allies are defeated at Brunanburh.9

•     943 AD          Constantine II resigns and Malcolm I becomes King of Scotland.10

•     945 AD          Edmund-King of Wessex, successor to Athelstan, invaded Cumbria and granted it to Malcolm.11

•     946 AD          Edmund is assassinated.12

•     948 AD          Malcolm plundered the English as far as the Tees, taking men and cattle.13

•     950 AD          Malcolm captured Northumberland, but the men of Moray took the opportunity to rise in rebellion.14

•     950 AD          Thorfin becomes sole ruler (950-53) after a period of disputed succession.15

•     954 AD          Battle of Stainmore, Yorkshire (Saxons defeat Norse).16 Orkneymen are reported to have died in this battle along with Eric Bloodaxe.17

•     954 AD          King Malcolm I is slain at Fodresart (Near Stonehaven, probably at Fetteresso or Fordoun) Indulf , son of Constantine II becomes King.18

•     954-962 AD          Sometime between 954 AD and 962 AD a party of Vikings from Orkney led by the sons of King Eric Blood-Axe raided the Buchan coast but were defeated by the natives. The exact site of the battle is unknown but one account would suggested that it was on the slopes of Aldie Hill at Cruden.1920

•     962 AD          Battle of the Bauds, Cullen Bay-near Moray21 Moray men defeat the Danes. (also dated as 961)22

•     966 AD          King Dubh is slain at Forres in Moray.23 The battle is also dated as 967.24

•     968 AD          Thorfin is succeeded by his sons Arnfinn, Havard Ljot, and Holdve.25 Arnfinn, Havard and Ljot are each married to Ragnhild, daughter of Eric Bloodax. She intrigues to get each of them killed in turn.26

•     970 to 974 AD (O)          Ljot and Skuli were the 11th & 12th Earls of Orkney. Skuli had his occupancy of Cathiness and Sutherland ratified by the Scottish King, but Skuli was eventually killed in the battle of Loth (a corruption of Ljot) in Sutherland.27

•     974-980          Holdver rules as Earl of Orkney.28

•     980 AD          Sigurd II ‘the stout’ (980-1014), Earl of Orkney, Holdver’s son, extends Norway’s influence in Scotland as far south as the river Tay. Thorfinn, a son, had a Scottish princess for a mother.29

•     995 AD          Sigrid II is forced to convert to Christianity by Olaf Trygvesson.30 Though there were Christian communities at this time in the Orkneys and Shetland as evidenced by the names ‘Papey’ given by the Norse to several islands, Christianity seems to have waned under the early Norsemen. It is likely that Sigrid’s mother and wife were already Christians.31

•     988 AD          Svein Forkbeard becomes King of Denmark, replacing Harold Bluetooth. He rules until 1014 AD. (Sueno?)32

•     995 AD          Kenneth II is murdered at Fettercairn.33

•     1004 AD         Gamrie (Gardenstown) was attacked by a party of Norsemen who were in search of provisions for their fleet which was storm-bound. These raiders were defeated and the skulls of three of their leaders was built into the walls of a church that was then under construction.34

•     1005 AD         Malcolm II (1005-34) of Scotland begins his reign.35

•     1005 AD         The Vikings launch another raid. Though Vikings had raided during the reign of Kenneth, and Sigrud II had raided as far south as the Tay, Malcolm II had no warning of this Viking invasion and therefore their landing was unopposed. “It was some days before the Scottish soldier appeared, and meanwhile Vikings did their pleasure on the helpless country. They spread themselves over the rich Province of Moray, slaughtering in city and hamlet, making room with their merciless swords for their own wives and children who were to follow them across the ocean” The initial attempts by Malcolm II to drive them out were unsuccessful, and as a result their influence and control spread.36

•     1005 AD         Murtlach: The bloody day of Murtlach (Mortlatch also placed in 1010) brought a change in the outlook, although it did not entirely dispel the danger that hung over the country. King Malcolm II, who had retreated into Mar, worked night and day to save the monarchy. His efforts were rewarded with a more numerous and better disciplined host than earlier. The men of Angus and Mearns, the warlike citizens of Aberdeen and other towns, the yeomen of Fife, rallied to the standard of their king at his great crisis, burning to do battle against the invader of their homes. The two hosts joined battle at Murtlach. With the death of Kenneth, thane of the Isles, Grim, thane of Strathen, and Dunbar, thane of Lothan, the Scots fell back. They were not beaten but retreated to stronger ground. There they defeated the Vikings.37

•     1008 AD          2nd Battle at Forres38 Malcolm II defeated by the Norse.39

•     1009-1012 AD          Danish raids continue. Kinloss & Nairn raided in 1009.40

•     1010 AD          Malcolm II defeats a Norse Army at Dufftown, securing his northern border. Malcolm’s daughter Bethoc marries Sigurd the Stout, Earl of Orkney.41

•     1012 AD          Battle of Cruden Bay: A large force of Danes under the command of Canute, later King Canute, landed at Cruden in about 1012 AD where he was defeated42 by an army lead by King Malcolm II. The peace treaty which was made following this battle had the following terms:43 The Vikings had to evacuate the Northeast of Scotland.44
The Danes as well as the Scots were to receive a decent and honorable burial. (It is said the name Cruden derives from Chroch Dain, Croja Danorum, Croya Dain or Crushain which means slaughter of the Danes.45 The Danes are reputed to have had a castle one mile to the west of Slains in a area called Ardendraught prior to the battle.46

•     1014 AD          Earl Sigrid (Sigrid II) Hlodvisson (the Stout) whose mother was an Irish princess, gathered a force from as far a field as Brittany, the Ilse of man, and Kintire, Argile and the Western Isles, to join with Orcadians and Shetlanders in an alliance with Irish Norsemen under King Sitric of Dublin. Their goal was to fight in Ireland to reduce the power of the Irish King Brian Boru who was extending his influence into Norse territories. Sigrud died in the resulting significant battle of Clontarf with his raven banner wraped around him.4748

•     February 3, 1014 AD          Swein, king of Denmark ended his days on Candlemas, February 3, and the fleet all chose Cnute as King. He becomes king of England in 1016 AD and King of Denmark in 1018 AD on the death of his brother.49

•     1014 AD          Harald, brother of Cnute, becomes King of Denmark on the death of Svein Forkbeard.50 He rules until 1018 AD.51


  1. 900 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  2. 902-3 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 142. 

  3. 902-3 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 142. 

  4. 910 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  5. 910 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000. 

  6. 910 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000. 

  7. 934 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 35. 

  8. 934 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 35. 

  9. 937 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 694. 

  10. 934 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 35. 

  11. 945 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, pages 35-36. 

  12. 946 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 36. 

  13. 948 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 36. 

  14. 950 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 36. 

  15. 950 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01 

  16. 954 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000. 

  17. 954 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 36. 

  18. 954 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 35-36. A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, pages 35-36. 

  19. 954-962 AD-Vikings in the North-East of Scotland, Bob Watt, http://Viking.no/e/info-sheets/Scotland/ne-scotl.htm. 

  20. 954-962 AD-Some Dates in the History of Cruden, http://www.danielsd.demon.co.uk.cruden.htm. 

  21. 954 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 37. 

  22. 962 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01). 

  23. 954 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 37. 

  24. 962 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett, www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html,12/4/01. 

  25. 968 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  26. 968 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  27. 970-974 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  28. 974-980 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  29. 980 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  30. 968 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  31. 995 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones,1998, page 118. 

  32. 988 AD-The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, page 9. 

  33. 954 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 37. 

  34. 1004 AD-Vikings in the North-East of Scotland, Bob Watt, http://Viking.no/e/info-sheets/Scotland/ne-scotl.htm. 

  35. 1005 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  36. 954 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 38. Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  37. 954 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, pages 38-39. 

  38. 1008 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett, www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html, 12/4/01. 

  39. 1008 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 39. 

  40. 1009-1012 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01). 

  41. 1010 AD-A Wee Guide to MacBeth and Early Scotland, Charles Sinclair, Martin Coventry, 1999, page 39. 

  42. 1012 AD-A Parish History-Saint Mary-on-the-Rock, http://freespace.virgin.net/gerald.stranraer-mull/parish/history.htm. 

  43. 954 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998. 

  44. 1012 AD-Famous Scottish Battles, by Philip Warner, Barnes & Noble Books, 1975, 1996.) During the lifetime of King Malcolm and King Sueno of Denmark neither country would wage war on the other, ((1012 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01). 

  45. 1012 AD-Vikings in the North-East of Scotland, Bob Watt, http://Viking.no/e/info-sheets/Scotland/ne-scotl.htm. Some Dates in the History of Cruden, http://www.danielsd.demon.co.uk.cruden.htm. 

  46. 1012 AD-Some Dates in the History of Cruden, http://www.danielsd.demon.co.uk.cruden.htm. 

  47. 995 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones,1998, pages 114-115. 

  48. 1014 AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 20. 

  49. Feb 3, 1014 AD-The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, pages 160,162. 

  50. 1014 AD-The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, page 9. 

  51. 1014 AD-The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, page 162. 

The Viking Challenge (780 AD to 900 AD)

•     780 AD          The Norse period in Orkney lasted from 780 AD to around 1500 AD. The date 780 AD does not refer to any special event, but few archaeological finds go further back.1

•     782 AD          Sometime before 782 AD Constantine, son of Fergus became King of the Picts north of Mounth. On the Death of Black Talorgan, in 782 AD Constantine extended his power over most of the Southern Picts.2 It is likely that Talorgan, son of Drostan was the Black Talorgan. The Mounth usually refers to the range of Mountains that extends eastward from the spine of Britain and reaches to the sea between Aberdeen and Stonehaven. The Irish Annals, refered to Black Taolargg (or Talorgan) as King of the Picts ‘this side of the Mounth’, viewed the mountain from the west.3

•     786 AD          First Viking Raids known.4

•     787 AD          The first recorded appearance of Vikings in England.5

•     789 AD          Constantine, son of Fergus, one of the greatest Pictish Kings defeats Conall son of Taidg in a battle among Picts.6 As a result Constantine extended his power over all Picts.7

•     June 8, 793          Vikings raid the Lindifarne monastery.8

•     794 AD          Viking raids begin in North Eastern Scotland and last until about 1150.9

•     795 AD          The monastery at Iona is plundered by the Vikings.10

•     800 AD         About 800 AD the first period of Norse colonization of Orkney begins.11 Today Orkney is well known for its Scandinavian heritage, but the exact mechanisms by which the Norsemen became established in the Islands are unclear. Though some researchers have suggested that the Picts living in Orkney were conquered, there is considerable archeological evidence that suggests the Norsemen and the Picts lived relatively peacefully together in Orkney, and that the Picts gradually became absorbed into the Norse population. The truth is probably a mixture of both, but we will never know for sure. In the past it has been suggested that quite different Norse house styles and goods can be shown to replace old Pictish dwellings on several sites (e.g. Buckquoy in Birsay). However, in other places, the two house styles appear to have been more similar and at first the material goods of the people often retain the traditional, Pictish styles suggesting a more gradual blending.12

•     800 AD          The first Norse grave finds reach back to about 800 AD. This indicates it is possible that Norse raiders used the islands as a base. During most of the 8th Century, Pictish Orkney seems to have been a stable, rather complacent province of Pictland, until lightening struck with the sudden appearance of the Vikings and their superior maritime technology. The mainland Picts seem to have been more interested in horses than in ships, and in changed circumstances, the Orkney Picts may have felt under threat. In old Russia, the Slavs invited the Swedes known as the Rus, to help them thru a critical period. The same thing may have happened in Orkney. It is possible to imagine Norse sailors being invited as mercenaries for general protection and staying on to be the new military aristocracy. They may have married local women which might explain the blending of Norse and native (Orcadian-Pictish) culture.13

•     802 AD           Vikings plunder Ionia.14

•     806 AD           Vikings plunder Ionia and kill 68 monks.15

•     807 AD           Conall was probably a Scottish rather than a Pictish King who ruled over the western part of Pictland. He was finally defeated and killed by Connal son of Aed in 807 AD in Kintyre.16

•     809 AD          Constantine son of Fergus was a ruler of Dalriada, as was Castintin son of Uurguist. They were kings of the Picts.17 Constantine became King of Dalriada as a result of the death defeat of resignation of Conall mac Aed in either 809 or 810 AD.18 Unlike Oengus, son of Fergus, Constantine was recognized as King of Dalriada by the Scots themselves.19

•     820 AD          Constantine died around 820 AD, having ruled for between 35 and 45 years. Constantine and his brother Oengus II styled themselves as Kings of Fortren. The Irish Annals refer to their army as the men of Fortren.20

•     820 AD          Oengus II, King of Dariada, Constantine’s successor, appeared in Pictland as as Unuist, son of Uurguist. His son Eoganan (or Uen), ruled over both Picts and Scots till he died in 839 AD. These Kings appear to have been of Dalriadic origin, though they ruled Pictland from Fortenviot, inside Pictish Territory.21

•     839 AD          Vikings invade the Pictish heartland of Fortriu. Tribute was paid to the Vikings.22 Two sons of the Pictish king Oengus died in that battle23

•     840 AD          Papay (Papa Westray) was an important Christian Center in late Pictish times. It may also have been the site of Orkney’s first bishopric. Around the year 840 AD, when quite a young man, the Irish St Findan was captured by Vikings, but he managed to escape from them during a stopover in Orkney, probably in South Wick, between Papay and the Holm. He made it ashore and met the men who came to his aid and took them to a bishop whose seat was nearby. (Papa Westray?) St Findan stayed with him for two years. Norwegian sources also mention an early Bishop in Orkney.24 The Norsemen must have considered the entire Island a church estate as they called it Papey (Papa Westray). The same name was given by the Norsemen to islands in Shetland as well as to Papa Stronsey. The Norsemen seem to have left these islands alone for some time, as no pagan graves have yet been found on them. Thus, at the time of St Findan’s stay with the bishop, Orkney may already have been a Norse territory. The placenames support the idea that there was no early Norse takeover in Papay. The place name pattern is unusual for Orkney. As Dr. Hugh Marwick points out, there are no names ening in –garth, -ston, -by, or -bister. Nor do we find any name derived from varda or viti for beacon. No tradition of a beacon is remembered and perhaps there never was one. The island may not have had a strategic enough location, or as a religious community it might have been exempt. Though the Norse settlement may have been late in coming, the Farm Holland points to the Island being part of the Earl’s Administration system from at least the 11th Century. The Farm Holland lies at the center of the fertile agricultural area, with easy access to a landing place for boats. The place names Nouster and Skennist also point in that direction. Nouster is derived from naustar-the plural form of naust meaning boatshed or commonly in Orkney a berth on the beach. At Skennist, we can still find a row of seven boat nousts. Skennist derives from skeida-naust skeid meaning a large warship, a fast-sailing long ship.25

•     841-2 AD          Kenneth son of Alpin founds his kingdom.26 Kenneth mac Alpin was also known as Cinaed mac Alpin.27

•     843-4 AD          Kenneth mac Alpin becomes King of the Picts.28 Nothing is known of his father Alpin, and it is likely that Kenneth fought his way from an obsure background to gain control of the Picts and Scots.29

•     848-9 AD          The Danes laid waste to Pictiva, as far as Clunie and Dunkeld.30

•     858 AD          The Irish Annals record Kenneth mac Alpin’s death in 858 AD, having ruled 16 years. That would place his accession in 841 or 842 AD. The Brechin Chronicle states Kenneth mac Alpin ‘ruled Pictivia’ for 16 years and that before he came to Pictivia (antequam veniret Pictaviam), he held the kingdom of Dalriada for 2 years. It may have taken Kenneth (Cinioch, Ciniod, Kinat) about 8 years to reunite Dalriada and all the provinces of the Picts by either diplomatic means or on the field of battle. Reportedly, Kenneth invaded ‘Saxonia’ six times, burnt Dunbar, to the ground and also captured Melrose. Military activity in the seventh year of his rein seems to have been concentrated in the South East, perhaps south of the Forth.31

•     860 AD          Norse earldom established in Orkney and Shetland.32

•     860s AD        Thorstein the Red of Caithness and Sutherland raids the northeast of Scotland, and the Earls of Orkney raid from Orkney by sea.33

•     865-66 AD    In the third year of Constantine, son of Kenneth, Amlaebh (Olaf) and his people laid waste to Pictiva.34

•     866 AD          Battle of Fortrenn-King Olaf of Dublin, in alliance with the Scotish Vikings, defeated the Picts and took hostages.35 The event is recorded in the Irish Annals. ‘Amlaebh and Anisle went to Fortrenn with the Galls (foreigners) of Erin and Alban, and laid waste all Cruithentuaith, and carried off hostages.’36

•     870 AD         The Vikings storm Dumbarton Castle.37

•     871 AD          The Irish Annals record that in 871 AD ‘Amlaebh and Imar came again from Alban to Athcliath (Dublin), having a great number of prisioners, both Britons, Albans and Saxons.’ The Brechin Chronicle’ goes on to record another attack in the third year of Constantine’s rein, in which Amlaebh is defeated by Constantine.38

•     872-882 AD          Harald I Fairhair completes conquest of his western districts at the battle of Harfrsfjord according to medieval historians. (Modern historians place the battle 10 years later.) Harald’s conquests and taxation system led many chiefs and their followers to emigrate to the British Isles.39

•     871 AD          King of Norway, King Harald I Fairhair of Norway went to Orkney to settle with the Vikings living there once and for all. These Vikings would raid in Norway during the summer and use Shetland and Orkney as their winter base. King Harald was accompanied by his friend Rognvald, Earl of More in Western Norway and Father of Hrolf, the first Duke of Normandy, and ancestor to William the Conqueror. Harald gave Rognvald the Earldom in compensation for the loss of a son during the campaign against the Orkney Vikings40

•     871 AD          Rognvald turns over the Earlship of Orkney over to his brother Sigurd I (871-882 AD).41 Sigurd I forms an alliance with Thorstein the Red. They conquered all of Caithness and large parts of Moray and Ross. Sigurd I defeats Maelbrighte of Ross by treachery, but dies as a result of an infected leg. Some claim this happened around 905 AD42 not 882 AD.43

•     876 AD          At Dollar, in the fourteenth year of the rein (876-77 AD) of Constantine there was a battle between the Danes and the Scots. This was recorded in the Irish Annals as between the Picts and the Dugalls (black foreigners). The final entry in the ‘Brechin Chronicle’ for this rein records the Norse plundering in Pictiva for a whole year.44

•     882 AD          Sigurd I turns the Earldom over to his son Guttorn (882-883 AD) who dies after one year.45 Others place the year of this event at 905-906 AD.46

•     883 AD          Hallad becomes Earl of Orkney. He abdicates about two years later.47

•     885 AD          The Siege of Paris by the Vikings occurs.48

•     885 AD          Rognvald’s son Einar, becomes Earl of Orkney. He ruled till 910 AD. He was also known as Tor-Einar. He revenged the murder of his father by sacrificing to Odin, the culprit Halfdan, son of King Harald Fairhair of Norway. The Sinclairs claim to be descended from him “…because his descendants assumed the name of Sinclair when Prince Henry became Jarl of Orkney.”49

•     889-900 AD          The Norse laid waste to Pictiva during the reign of Donald son of Constantine. There was a battle at Innisibsolian between the Danes and the Scots, and another at Donottar.50

•     890 AD          Vikings storm Donnottar Castle.51

•     900 AD          It appears Maes Howe (Maeshowe) may have been modified by the Norse. There is evidence that the bank surrounding the site may have been rebuilt in the 9th Century. Perhaps, the site was used by a Norse Chieftain as a burial site.52

•     900 AD          King Donald slain at Dunfoeder. (Dunnottar Castle)53


  1. 780 AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 19. 

  2. 782 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 105. 

  3. 782 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 101. 

  4. 786 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01). 

  5. 787 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01). 

  6. 789 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 102. 

  7. 789 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 108. 

  8. 793 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 173. 

  9. 794 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 33. 

  10. 795 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 49. 

  11. 800 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  12. 800 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones, 1998, page 112. 

  13. 800 AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 19. 

  14. 802 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 49. 

  15. 806 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 49. The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 104. 

  16. 807 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 102. 

  17. 809 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 18. 

  18. 809 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 105. 

  19. 809 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 106. 

  20. 820 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, pages 102, 107. 

  21. 820 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 18. 

  22. 839 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 34. 

  23. 820 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 18. 

  24. 840AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, pages 89-90. 

  25. 840AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, pages 90-91. 

  26. 841-2 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 107. 

  27. 841-2 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000-page 40. 

  28. 843-4 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. 

  29. 843-4 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, pages 17,18. 

  30. 848-9 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 141. 

  31. 858 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, pages 107-109. 

  32. 860 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  33. 860s AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, pages 34-35. 

  34. 865-66 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 141. 

  35. 866 AD-Grampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 34. 

  36. 866 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 141. 

  37. 870 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  38. 871 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 141. 

  39. 872-882 AD-Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314 Alan Young, Tuckwell Press, 1997, Vol IV page 898. The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 20. 

  40. 871 AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 20.)

    •     871 AD          King of Norway, King Harald I Fairhair of Norway establishes Earldom in Orkney: Rognvald becomes the first Earl of Orkney about 871 AD. Rognvald was the father of Rollo-1st Duke of Normandy, an ancestor of the St. Clairs of Normandy and a cousin of William the Conqueror. ((871 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  41. 871 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  42. 871 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  43. 871 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  44. 876 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 142. 

  45. 882 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  46. 882 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  47. 883 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  48. 885 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  49. 883 AD-Earls of Orkney, http://clansinclairusa.org.htm, 6/18/01. 

  50. 889-900 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 142. 

  51. 890 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  52. 900 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones, 1998, pages 44-46. 

  53. 900 ADGrampian Battlefields (The Historic Battles of Northeast Scotland from 84 AD to 1745), Peter Marren, Mercat Press, 1993, 1998, page 35. 

Age of Conflict: Picts, Dalriadan Scots, Britons & Anglo-Saxons (551 AD to 779 AD)

•     558 AD     Gabran dies. He is the first King of Dalriada to conduct expeditions to the east of his territory outside Dalriada. After his death, a ‘forced withdrawal’ is reported from the territory of Bridei mac Maelcon. A version of the history of Dalriada appears in the Irish Annals. The three main versions are the Annals of Innisfallen, the Annals of Tigernach and the Annals of Ulster. They have some material in common but not always in the same order.1

•     563 AD     St. Columba in his 42nd year leaves for Scotland (He was an scion of the Ui Neill royal family in Ireland (an O’Neil Prince in Ireland).2

•     565 AD     About 565 AD, St Columba visited the Pictish King Bridei mac Maelchon at his court near Inverness, and met the Orkney King who was a subservient to the main Court. St Columba was concerned about the safety of one of his hermits who was looking for a site to settle in the north and it is recorded he asked Bridei to command the Orcadian King to ensure the hermits well being in Orkney.3 Adomnan reported Bridei had hostages from the King of Orkney at the time of St Columba’s mission to Bridei’s court.4 St Columba’s mission to Bridei’s court was to gain safe conduct for his friend Cormac’s mission to Orkney.5

•     565 AD     The Picts were seafarers and sailed to nearby islands on both peaceful and aggressive missions. Warriors and battle scenes appear on many of their carvings, and there is evidence that warfare came to be a fundamental element in life. Though the King of Orkney was powerful at home he appears to have been subservient to the King in Inverness. In 565, the Orcadians at the court of Bridei were described as hostages. Yet in Orkney, the settlement evidence from this time indicates the old broach defenses were allowed to fall into disrepair, and that people moved away from the safety of villages to the countryside. There seems to have been some stability for the common people even in a time of uncertainty and aggression.6

•     575 AD     A convention is held in the presence of St Columba to discuss the relationship of the Irish Dalriada and the then King of Scottish Dalriada, Aedan mac Gabrain and to the Northern Ui Neill’s leader, Aed, son of Ainmire (overlord of northern Ireland).

•     580 AD     Cormac, friend of St Columba, makes a missionary journey to Orkney.7

•     581 AD     Aedan mac Gabrain visits Orkney whose Pictish king had sent hostages to Bridei mac Maelcon.8

•     584 AD     Bridei dies at the Battle of Asreth in Circinn.9

•     June 9, 597 AD     St Columba dies.10

•     600 AD (circa)      Corinie, Aberdeenshire: Aiden defeated by the Picts.11

•     600 AD     A coalition of Britons under King Mynyddog of Gododdin was slaughtered by Northumbrians at Catterick in Deiran territory in 600 AD or slightly earlier. Only one soldier survived the battle.12

•     603 AD     Aethelfrith, the King of Northumbria at the Battle of Degsastan defeated Aedan of the Scots, working perhaps in alliance with the Britons of Strathcyde. Aethelfrith extended Northumbrian territory as far as the Firth of Forth.13

•     605 AD     Bernicia becomes part of Northumbria by 605 AD.14 Bernicia and Deira are fused into one. The Angles take over Rheged, penetrate into Galloway and advance into Pictland.15 King Ethelfrid (Aethelfrith) of Bernicia unites Bernicia and Daira to form Northumbria.16

•     617 AD     Pagen King Penda of Mercia and Christian King Cadwalla of Wales defeat King Edwin at Hatfield Chase and devastate Northumbria.17

•     617 AD     Northumbria was divided between Deira in the south and Bernicia in the north. The ruler of Deira triumphed over the Bernicians whose king was Aethelfrith. Aethelfirth’s sons were exiled. Some went to Ireland and some went to Pictland. One son, Eanfrith, married a Pictish princess. Eanfrith returned to Bernicia to become King. He was killed on a visit to Mercia during a visit shortly thereafter.18

•     October 12, 633 AD      King Edwin of Northumbria is killed and his army is destroyed by the army led by King Penda of Mercia and Cadwallon of Wales.19

•     637 AD     Oswald, nephew of Edwin, comes to power in Northumbria20 and invites Ionia to send a bishop to establish the Christian religion in Northumbria. Aidan is sent and he is given land at Lindisfarne to establish a mission.21

•     638 AD     The Anglicans capture Edinburgh, marking the end of the kingdom of Goddodin.

•     642 AD     Oswald is slain and Oswy succeeds him as king of the Northumbrians.22

•     664 AD     Synod of Whitby, held by King Oswy, brings and end to the Ionian tradition in Northumbria.23 Bishop Colman of the Celtic Church returned to Ionia with many of the Irish Clergy who left Northumbria.24

•     668 AD (circa)      Oswiu (Oswy), brother of Oswald, son in law of Edwin, extended Northumbrian Territory with the conquest of part of Dalriada and Pictland. Oswiu had succeeded his brother Oswald. Oswald who had succeeded Eanfrith had united Bernica and Deira, prior to Oswiu extending Northumbrian territory. Free Pictland was ruled by Gartnait and his successor Drest. The Southern Picts were ruled by the Angles (Northumbrians) for thirty years.25

•     668 AD (circa)      Drest stirred up a revolt which was put down by the Northumbrians under their King Ecgfrith. He is said in The Life of St Wilfrid by Eddius Stephanus to have made a bridge of Pictish corpses over two rivers so his army could cross.26 Stephanus vividly describes the battle.27

•     670 AD     Oswy dies.28

•     672 AD     Drest, King of the Picts, is deposed and replaced by Bridei mac Bili.29

•     673 AD     The monastery of Applecross was founded around 673 AD by St Maelrubha from Bangor in Ireland.30

•     675-754 AD      St Boniface became known as the Apostle of Germany31 It is suggested by some that an early Bishop had his seat at St Boniface in Papa Westray; nearby is the chapel dedicated to St Tredwell.32 See also 840 AD for information on St Tredwell and St Findan.

•     681 AD     King Bridei devastates Orkney, though the precise nature of the destruction is subject to debate between Scholars. Orkney was also involved its own right in warfare with Ulster and the Ulster Scots who were settling as the people of Dal Riada in Argyll.33

•     682 AD     Bridei mac Bile campaigned widely and successfully, raising a fleet and destroying the growing power of the Orkneys.34

•     May 20, 685 AD      Nechtansmere (Northumbrian Invasion of Scotland, Dunnichen Moss near Forfar, in Angus Scotland King Bridei mac Bili) of the Picts defeats Oswy’s son Egfrith and the Northumbrians35 Egfrith is also called Ecgfrith.36

•     693 AD     Bridei mac Bili dies having reclaimed Pictland from the Northumbrians.37

•     698 AD     Brude son of Derile, king of the Picts, defeats the Northumbrians, killing their leader Bertred son of Bernith.38

•     704 AD     St Adomnan dies.39

•     706 AD     Nechton mac Derelei becomes King of the Picts. He ends the conflict with Northumbria and opened up Pictland to Anglican influence. It was during his reign the Roman Catholic Church became established and Pictland followed the Roman Catholic calculation of when Easter occurred.40

•     706 AD?     St Tredwell, whose Latin name, was Triduana, was known to the Norsemen as Trollhaena. She was a Scottish saint who is surrounded by shadowy legend. According to one version, she awakened the passion of King Nechtan of the Picts who sent messengers to tell her how much he admired the beauty of her eyes. She then committed the astonishing act of tearing out her eyes, and skewering them on a twig for the messengers to take back to the King. Perhaps it was not a senseless action on her part after all: she realized that this was her only chance of securing her personal freedom. Surrounded by the best Farming land in Papay (Papa Westray) is the Lock of St Tredwell. On a small holm that today is connected to the shore, are the remains of St Tredwell’s Chapel, built on the site of an earlier broch. It is not clear what St Tredwell’s connection with Papay was, but some believe that she was buried there. St Tredwell was associated with the blind and those who suffered from eye afflictions. Over the years many came to the site to pray in hopes their eyesight would be restored. The Orkneyinga Saga tells the story of Bishop Jon of Caithness who, blinded by Earl Harold Maddadarson’s knife in 1201, had his sight restored after praying to St Tredwell. The skeleton of a woman was actually found on the site of St Tredwell’s chapel during an excavation in the 19th Century.41

•     709 AD     A second expediton against Orkney by the Picts is implied.42

•     711 AD      The Anglians triumph over the Picts at Manaw. After the battle Nechton came to an accord with the old enemy which secured his nations southern frontier for many years. The new friendship was reinforced by Nechton’s pragmatic acceptance of Northumbrian advice to alter the Easter observance in the Pictish church from the Celtic to the Roman practice.43

•     711 AD      Nechton requires the churches in Pictland to follow the Roman tonsure and date for Easter.44

•     713 AD      The latter part of Nechton’s reign was marked by a long and bitter struggle for power between the king and three rivals. The first signs of trouble began in 713 AD and did not end until the victory of King Oengus I over his rivals Drest in 729 AD.45

•     715 AD      Orkney is Christianized from Northumbria. Eight churches are dedicated to St Peter, with each church standing on the site of a former broch.46

•     717 AD      Nechton expelled the ‘family of Iona’ across the spine of Britain as part of his support of the Roman Church.47

•     721 AD     An ‘episcopus Scotiae Pictus’ is reported to have attended a council in Rome. It is not known if he was a Pict by birth or if his diocese was in Pictland.48

•     724 AD     Necton abdicates to enter a monastery.49

•     726 AD     Nechton’s successor Drust was deposed by Alpin also known as Elpin.50

•     728 AD     Oengus defeats Elpin at Monidcroib (possibly Montcreiff) and at Castle Credi.51

•     729 AD     Oengus I (Onuist or Angus) mac Fergus fights a series of battles between 728 AD and 729 AD, culminating in the battle at Monith Carno52 Called Monitcarno or Cairn o’Mount, located high up in a mountain pass that served as an important link between Northern and Southern Picts, Nechtan’s (Nechton’s) army suffers a crushing defeat.53

•     729 AD     Oengus meets and kills Drust in the final battle of the Civil war that started in 724 AD at Dromadarggblathmig.54

•     731 AD     Oengus’s son Brude made a successful sortie into Dalriada.55

•     732 AD     Nechtan (Nechton), son of Derile dies peacefully.56

•     733 AD     When Oengus’s son Brude is seized while in sanctuary, Oengus has the excuse he needs to take advantage of Dalriada’s internal divisions and to launch a massive strike right at the heart of Scottish territory.

•     734 AD     Oengus, King of the Picts made his first attack on the Scots in 734 AD, the year after the death of Echdach, son of Echach, a claimant to the throne in Dalriada.57 The Picts manage to break through to the west coast, thereby dividng the kingdom in two and putting themselves in an excellent position from which to organize an even more devastating campaign in 736 AD.58

•     736 AD     Oengus struck Dalriada again, laying waste to the land of Dalriada. In less than ten years Oengus made himself master of the whole of Scotland, north of the Forth-Clyde line. His kingdom then coincided broadly with the country known to the Romans as Cacedonia. This is the first time the area known as Calcedonia was under the rule of a single king.59

•     740 AD     Oengus blocks King Eadberht of Northumbria from invading Pictland.60

•     741 AD      Oengus gained control of Dalriada after several years of campaigning by 741 AD.61

•     741 AD      From around 741 AD, for about 100 years most of Dalriada was under the control of Pictland.62

•     750 AD      Oengus was apparently allied with Cuthred of Wessex and Aethelbald of Mercia against the Strathclyde Britons, but the alliance seems to have fallen apart because Cuthred fell out with Aethelbald and Oengus. The Britons retaliated against the Picts, who under the leadership of Oengus’s brother Talorcan were defeated and Talocan was killed in battle.63 In the Irish Annals, the battle is called the Battle of Catohic, and by the Britons it is recorded as the Battle of Mocetauc, which has been identified with Mugdock, between Milngavie and Strathblane, a few miles north of Glasgow.64

•     756 AD      Weakened by Talocan’s death and the defeat by the Britons, Oengus allied with the Northumbrians advances on Alt Clut, Dumbarton , Rock. The invading army was defeated and Oengus retreated to Pictland to die in 761 AD.65

•     761 AD      Oengus (Aengus), King of the Picts dies.66

•     768 AD     Ciniod, King of the Picts, defends his kingdom from the invading Dalriadan army. The Irish Annals record simply a battle in Fortren between Aedh and Cinaedh. Aedh Finn was the son of Echdach (Eochaid), King of Dalriada.67

•     775 AD     Cinaedh (Ciniod), King of the Picts died in 775 AD.68

•     778 AD     Aed died. He had won back independence for Dalriada sometime before his death.69


  1. 558 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 42. 

  2. 563 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000. A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  3. 565 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones, 1998, page 100. 

  4. 565 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 15. 

  5. 565 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 49. 

  6. 565 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones, 1998, page 111. 

  7. 580 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  8. 581 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 43. 

  9. 584 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 15. 

  10. 597 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 49. 

  11. 600 AD-Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01). 

  12. 600 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 138. Invaders of Scotland, Anna Richie & David J. Breeze, Historic Scotland, 2000, page 29. 

  13. 603 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 15. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, page 36. 

  14. 605 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 27 

  15. 605 AD-Invaders of Scotland, Anna Richie & David J. Breeze, Historic Scotland, 2000, page 29. 

  16. 605 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 89. 

  17. 617 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 142. 

  18. 617 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 16. 

  19. 633 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 90. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, page 41. 

  20. 637 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 154. 

  21. 637 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 91. 

  22. 642 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, pages 90,91. 

  23. 664 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 49. 

  24. 664 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 93. 

  25. 668 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 16. The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 92. 

  26. 668 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 16. 

  27. 668 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 94. 

  28. 670 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 90. 

  29. 672 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 16. 

  30. 673 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 27. 

  31. 675-754 AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 89. 

  32. 675-754 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones, 1998, page 101. 

  33. 681 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones, 1998, pages 99-100. The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 18. 

  34. 682 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 16. The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 18. 

  35. 685 AD-Famous Scottish Battles, by Philip Warner, Barnes & Noble Books, 1975, 1996, pages 20-32. Battles Fought in England, Scotland and Wales, compiled by Peter R. Hamilton-Leggett (www.argonet.co.uk/users/hamleg/bat.html-12/4/01). 

  36. 685 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 16. 

  37. 693 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 16. 

  38. 698 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 95. 

  39. 704 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 64. 

  40. 706 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, pages 16,17. 

  41. 706 AD?-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, pages 90-91. 

  42. 709 AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 19. 

  43. 711 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, pages 125-6. 

  44. 711 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 97. 

  45. 713 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 126. 

  46. 715 AD-The Islands of Orkney, Liv Kjorsvik Schei, 2000, page 18. 

  47. 717 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 97. 

  48. 721 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 27. 

  49. 724 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. 

  50. 726 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 98. 

  51. 728 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 134. 

  52. 729 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. 

  53. 729 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 98. 

  54. 729 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 99. 

  55. 731 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 127. 

  56. 732 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 99. 

  57. 734 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 100. 

  58. 734 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 126. 

  59. 736 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 100. 

  60. 740 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. 

  61. 741 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. 

  62. 741 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 44. 

  63. 750 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. 

  64. 750 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 101. 

  65. 756 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. 

  66. 761 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, pages 101,105. 

  67. 768 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 101. 

  68. 775 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 101. 

  69. 778 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 17. The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 104. 

Age of the Picts (364 AD to 550 AD)

•     364 AD        During the early Dark Ages the people of Scotland included the Britons who lived mostly south of the Forth-Clyde line, and the Scots and Picts who inhabited the area above it. Above the Forth-Clyde line lived the Picts. Without a doubt, the change in nomenclature from Caledonians and Maetae to Picts did not mean that new inhabitants moved into the area. Classical sources suggest that Pritani was the name the people of the Iron Age used to describe themselves. The Roman nickname for the people of the North was Picti or painted people, referring to the practice of painting or tattooing designs on their skin. The Picts were divided into the Dicalydones (north) and the Venturiones (south). The Venturiones somehow translated from the Maetae, which had originated as the Venicones of Ptolemeic times. Their territory became the basis of the later Pictish sub-kingdom of Forturiu, the first part of Pictland to be taken by Dalriada. Above the Strathclyde the Scots from the Irish Kingdom of Dal Riata lived. South of the Forth Clyde line the Votadini formed the British kingdom of Gododdin. Later, this and the Selgovae (who disappear as an identifiable group) were absorbed into the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria. Eventually, early in the eleventh century, the old territory of the Votadini was acquired by the medieval kingdom of Scotland. The fate of the British Novantae is harder to disentangle. They were organized into the Kingdom of Rheged. When this fell, the region came under Viking, Stratclyde and Northumbrian influence before it too was absorbed into an independent Scotland. The Domnonii formed the basis of Strathclyde, another British Kingdom of the dark ages, which eventually formed part of a united Scotland.1

•     364-365 AD     The Roman historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, identified Dicalydones, Verturiones, Scots, Attacotti and Saxons for the first time. These tribes caused problems on all Britain’s frontiers. To what extent they were working in collusions is not clear – the Saxon raids on the south are unlikely to have been connected.2

•     367-9 AD     Count Theodosius was sent to end the ‘barbarian conspiracy’ or the Picts allied with the Scots and Attacotti. Peace lasted about little more than 10 years. The extent of the conspiracy is hard to determine. They may have been blown out of proportion for political reasons.3

•     380 AD         Final Withdrawal of Roman forces from Scotland.4

•     382-90 AD   The Picts and the Scots invaded Britannia and were driven back by Magnus Maximus.5 These Pictish wars are mentioned by the monk Gildas writing in c. 540 AD. The Picts are also independently mentioned by the ‘Gallic Chronicler.’6

•     396-8 AD     The General, Stilicho, repulsed additional raids on the province by the Picts. These raids are attested to by the historian Claudian, and the Monk Gildas, each writing independently.7

•     400 AD         Ninian arrives in Galloway after having undergone some form of training in Rome. He had been invited to become Bishop of Whithorn (Galloway), from where he launched a mission among the Southern Picts. The implication of this is that when St Ninian arrived in the southwest he found a Christian community already in existence. He introduced the stone church.8

•     400 AD         St Ninian converts Southern Picts to Christianity after his return from Rome. The saint’s miracles are described in the 8th century account The Miracula Nynie Episcopi. The traditional view of St Ninian was that he was a fifth century figure sent out from Carlisle to minister to the already existing Christian community at Whithorn in Galloway. There is evidence for a Christian community at Whithorn. Later legends make him a contemporary of St Martin of Tours.9

•     400 AD         Angles begin to settle in Deira.10

•     407 AD         The last vestige of the Roman army is withdrawn by Constantine III, the western Emperor, in his unsuccessful attempt to bring the entire empire under his control.11

•     410 AD         Romans abandon Britain.12

•     429 AD         A battle is fought by the Britons against the Picts and the Saxons. The Britons win the battle under the leadership of the St Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre. The battle is described in the account of his life and in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People.13

•     449 AD         King Vortigern invites Angles to come to his kingdom and help fight the Picts. According to legend, their leaders were Hengest and Horsa.14

•     450 AD         The mercenaries turn against the Britons and fight King Vortigern.15 They create their own kingdom called Anglia.16

•     450s AD        The monk, Gildas, reports the Britons appealed to ‘Agitas Thrice Counsul’ who defeated the Picts. Agitas is usually identified with Aetius consul for the third time in 446. Aetius died in 454.17

•     478 AD         Drust, the legendary Pictish King of the 100 years and 100 battles dies in about 478 AD.18

•     485 AD?       King Nechtan of the Picts invites St Brigid to send representatives to receive a gift of land at Abernethy.19 St Patrick’s letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus written in the fifth Century refers to the ‘apostate Picts.’ To be apostate you must have been converted at some time. This suggests some Picts were converted in the 4th or 5th century. Candidates for this description are the Southern Picts living north of the Firth of Forth. Christian Cemeteries dated to the early 5th century exist at Catstane cemetery, Kirkliston, Midlothian. Other cemeteries with ‘long cists’ similar to that found at Catstane were also found at Lothian and Fife.20

•     501 AD         Reportedly, Fergus, son of Eric, dies. The Senchus fer Alban (Tradition of the Men of Scotland) copied in the 11th century from an earlier 7th century document provides a sort of Doomsday Book listing holdings in Argyll and providing a muster of land and sea forces. The Senchus reports that the colonization in Argyll was spearheaded by Fergus, son of Eric, the descendent of Ness (possibly a river goddess) who arrived with his brothers and established control before dying in 501. Fergus’s brothers are recorded to be Oengus and Loarn who established themselves at Lorn. Modern opinion favors the opinion that the sons’ of Fergus were invented to explain earlier migration that occurred before Fergus.21

•     547 AD         By 547, an Anglian chieftain by the name Ida established the Anglian settlement to rival the earlier Anglian Kingdom of Deira. The Anglican King Ida thrust his way far northward over the Humber, across the Tees and the Tyne, and establishes his royal seat at Bamberg22 in what had been Bernicia. It is near Lindisfarne. The two later merged to form Northumbria.23

•     550 AD         St Ninian comes to Whithorn (Galloway).24

•     550 AD         Bridei mac Maelcon becomes King of the Picts. He defeated the Scots and established peace between the Picts and the Scots for 15 years. Bridei’s stronghold was near the river Ness according to Adomnan in his life of St Columbia and has been located by others at Craig Phadrig, Inverness.25


  1. 364 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, pages 120-121. 

  2. 364-365 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  3. 367-9 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 11. 

  4. 380 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 182. 

  5. 382-90 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 11. 

  6. 382-90 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 13. 

  7. 396-8 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, pages 11, 13-14. 

  8. 400 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 108. 

  9. 400 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 24. 

  10. 400 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 182. 

  11. 407 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 64. 

  12. 410 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  13. 429 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 64. 

  14. 449 AD-The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, pages 29,30. 

  15. 450 AD-The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, pages 29,30. 

  16. 450 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 27. 

  17. 450s AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 15. 

  18. 478 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 64. 

  19. 485 AD?-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, pages 62-3. 

  20. 485 AD?-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, pages 62-65. 

  21. 501 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, pages 36-37. 

  22. 547 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 27. 

  23. 547 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, pages 116,140. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Translated and collated by Anne Savage, 2000, page 36. 

  24. 550 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  25. 550 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 15. 

Celt and Roman Influence (600 BC to 363 AD)

•     600 BC    Celts arrive in Britain.1

•     600 BC    Iron Age starts2

•     200 BC    Broch-building starts around 200 BC and ends by 200 AD3

•     55 BC       Julius Caesar begins his first expedition to Britain.4

•     43 AD       Emperor Claudius invades Britain.5  The territory immediately below the present border between England and Scotland belonged to the Brigantes, one of the more numerous of the ancient British tribes. In the area above this, marked by the Tynes-Tees line in the south and the Forth-Clyde isthmus in the north, lived four groupings: the Votadini in the east, the Novantae in the west, in the present Dumfries and Galloway Region, and the Selgovae between the two, controlling a large swathe of Southern Scotland from Eskdale to the Forth, with the Eildon Hills as their headquarters. The territory of the Damnonii included most of the triangle of land between the Forth-Clyde and Highland lines. Above this stretched the vast mountainous domain of the Calcedonians, the Epidii, the Maetae and other Highland tribes.6

•     43 AD       The Kings of the Orkneys seem to have sent Ambassadors to Claudius at the time of the conquest of Britain.7

•     50 AD       Broch of Gurness is in early stages of development.8

•     72 AD       The Romans advance into Scotland. It took a decade to reach the Forth-Clyde line where Agricola establishes a series of forts before advancing northward. Agricola built marching camps on Strathmore, and what were to be permanent forts at Strathcathro and Inchtuthil, Perthshire.9

•     78 AD       Agricola visits Orkney10. The name Orkney has Celtic Roots. It may suggest a tribe with a boar or young pig as its totem. The name was used by Irish historians in early writings and is used in a first century account by Dioderus Siculus. Tacticus used the name when he wrote about Agricola’s visit around 80 AD. Ptolomy uses the name on his maps.11

•     81 AD       Agricola begins his expedition into Calcidonia.12

•     84 AD       Mons Graupius: The Roman Governor Agricola defeated the Caledonians including the Taexali Tribe of Aberdeenshire. The battle may also have been fought near the Iron Age fort of Bennachie in Aberdeenshire-not far away from13

•     86 AD        Problems on the Danube result because Roman troops being pulled out of Britain and the fort at Inchtuthil, Perthshire is dismantled. Subsequently the north is left to its own devises.14

•     105 AD     As a result of a campaign to take over abandoned Roman forts and attack those still occupied, by about 105 AD the Romans had been pushed back to the line of the road known as Stanegate, running from Tyne to Solway Firth.15

•     122 AD     Work begins of Hadrian’s Wall.16

•     138 AD     Governor Lollius Urbius marched north in strength from the wall, seeking to reoccupy in the name of the Emperor, Antonius Pius, the territory lost to Rome 40 years earlier. Within seven17 years he had succeeded in restoring Roman power in most of the areas once occupied by Agricola.18

•     142 AD      The Antonine Wall was built by Antonius Pius across the Forth-Clyde line. It was 40 Roman miles long. It cut off the ancestral Picts from the south. The Wall was held until soon after the death of Pius in 161 AD.19 Construction may have continued till 80 AD20

•     155-200 AD    Romans retreat from Scotland.21

•     180 AD      Picts crossed the wall that separated them from the Roman Forts and did considerable damage cutting down a general and his troops according to Cassius Dio. At the end of the century the Northern tribes were bought off, but it did not buy peace for long.22 Dio Cassius in Dio’s Roman History wrote there were two main races north of the Antonine Wall, the Maeatae who lived close to the wall and the Caledonians beyond them to the north.23

•     208 AD      Septimius Serverus leads a punitive expedition into Pictland.24 He came with his sons Caracalla and Geta as the result of a request by the Governor of Britain to the Roman Emperor. Serverus died in York of illness in 211. His son Caracalla abandoned conquest of the north and left for Rome to take up his destiny as emperor. Shortly thereafter Hadrian’s Wall became the frontier of the province.2526

•     208 AD      Ptolemy, the Greek geographer, mentions four tribes inhabiting the country between the Firth of Forth and Moray Firth: the Caledonii, Vacomagi, Taezali and Venicones.27

•     210 AD      The British result once again. This leads to a second punitive campaign of particular ferocity in which Serverus’ son, Caracella was ordered to slaughter every Briton his army came across. As a result Caracella imposed terms upon the Caledonians and Maetae, these two tribes having absorbed all the lesser groups. As a result Roman and North Briton co-existed in relative harmony for almost a century.28

•     214 AD      Romans abandon Scotland29

•     250 AD      First Christians arrive in Scotland.30

•     296 AD      When Roman troops withdrew to the South to fight Allectus, the Northern Tribes hastily assemble their troops and raid deep into the undefended imperial province, reaching the great stronghold in Chester.31

•     297 AD       First reference to ‘Picti’ appears in 297 AD by the poet Eumenius. The Picts were not a new element in the population; ‘Picts’ (‘picti’-painted ones) was simply the Roman nickname for the tribal descendants of the indigenous Iron Age tribes of northern Scotland.32

•     305-6 AD   Constantius Chlorus campaigned against the ‘Calcedonians and other Picts’. In 315 Constantine the Great assumed the title of ‘Britannicus Maximus’, perhaps bestowed on him because of his successful campaigns in the north.33

•     300+?         Caipre Riata led a wave of colonization in Scotland 10 generations before Fergus son of Eric according to a legend from Ireland. Bede reports a certain Reuda (Riata?) colonized Argyll34

•     342 AD       Northerners attacked again, destroying all forts above and drawing the Emperor Constans across the channel to deal personally with the situation35

•     343 AD       Emperor Constans, son of Constantine the Great, campaigned against the Picts, and a people called the Areani (or Arcani), who seem to have served as spies for the north.36

•     360 AD       Picts now allied with the Scots of Ireland, harried the frontier areas and appear to have been driven back.37


  1. 600 BC-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  2. 600 BC-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  3. 200 BC-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  4. 55 BC-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  5. 43 BC-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  6. 43 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 86. 

  7. 43 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 7. 

  8. 50 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

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  10. 78 AD-A Timeline of Early Orcadian History, www.orkneyjar.com/history/timeline.htm, 6/18/01. 

  11. 78 AD-Orkney, A Historical Guide, © Caroline Wickham Jones,1998, page 99. 

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  14. 86 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 8. 

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  16. 122 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 181. 

  17. 138 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995. 

  18. 138 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 98. 

  19. 142 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, pages 8-9. 

  20. 142 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  21. 155-200 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 182. 

  22. 180 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  23. 180 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 29. 

  24. 208 AD-Famous Scottish Battles, by Philip Warner, Barnes & Noble Books, 1975, 1996, pages 22-23. 

  25. 208 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  26. Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 102. 

  27. 208 AD-The Age of the Picts, W. A. Cummins, 1995, reprinted by Barnes & Noble Books, 1998, page 29. 

  28. 210 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, pages 99-101. 

  29. 214 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, page 693. 

  30. 250 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 182. 

  31. 296 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 109. 

  32. 297 AD-Scotland, The Story of a Nation, ©Magnus Magnusson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000, pages 24, 693. 

  33. 305-6 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  34. 300+ AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 39. 

  35. 342 AD-Ancient Scotland, Stewart Ross 1991, Barnes & Noble, 1998, page 109. 

  36. 343 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9. 

  37. 360 AD-The Picts and the Scots, Lloyd And Jenny Laing, © 1993, published with corrections 1994, Reprinted 1994, 1995, page 9.