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.