Scottish Rulers, 850-1625

By Ann Morrison Fisher

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Much of the information in this is from Sir Bernard Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage, 52d edition, London, 1890. Burke's says that because there was still some obscurity over the succession of kings of the Picts and Dalriadic Scots, he would begin with Kenneth, "a King of Scottish race." However, other books claim that his mother was a princess of the Picts, so he reigned over them in her right.
  • KENNETH I MacAlpin was the first Scot to rule both Scots and Picts, reigned 850-860.
  • DONALD, his brother, reigned 860-864.
  • CONSTANTINE I, son of Kenneth I, reigned 864-877. Killed in battle w. Danes.
  • AEDH, brother of Constantine, reigned 1 year, said "slain by his people."
  • EOCHA, son of Run, King of Strathclyde, whose mother was Constantine's sister; CIRIC or Grig, son of Dungail, being associated with him. Together reigned 878-889.
  • DONALD, son of Constantine I, reigned 889-900, killed in Danish invasion.
  • CONSTANTINE II, son of Aedh, reigned 42 years, "harassed by the ravages of the Northmen, retired, in 942, to the Monastery of St. Andrews."
  • MALCOLM I, son of Donald, reigned 942-954.
  • INDULPH, son of Constantine II, reigned 954-962.
  • DUBH, son of Malcolm I, reigned 962-967.
  • CUILEAN, son of Indulph, reigned 967-971.
  • KENNETH II, son of Malcolm I, reigned 971-995.
  • CONSTANTINE III, son of Cuilean, reigned 995-997.
  • KENNETH III, son of Dubh, reigned 997-1004, killed at Monzievaird by Malcolm II
  • MALCOLM II, son of Kenneth II, reigned 1005-1034. 2 daughters (Bethoc who married Crinan, Abbot of Dunkeld, & mother of his successor; and ?, who married Sigurd, Earl of Orkney, ancestress of the Sinclairs, Earls of Orkney).
  • DUNCAN I was the first general ruler, 1034. He was son of Crinan, Abbot of Dunkeld, & grandson of Malcolm II. Had 3 sons (Malcolm; Donald Bane; and Melmare, the ancestor of the Earls of Athole). In his reign the north & west of Scotland were conquered by Northmen under Thorfinn.
  • MACBETH, Mormaer of Moray, joining his fortunes to those of the invader, seized the kingdom in 1040 and killed Duncan. Reigned 1040-1051. Married Gruach, daughter of Bode (son of Kenneth III). His kingdom included country south and west of the Tay; Thorfinn ruled the rest. Slain by Duncan's son, Malcolm III MacDuncan at Lumphanan.
  • LULACH, son of Gilcomgar, Mormaer of Moray, descendant through his mother from Bode (son of Kenneth III). Made king by Macbeth's party, reigned 7 months. Killed in Essie in Strathbogie. Had son, Malsnechtan, & daughter, whose son Angus, succeeded in Earldom of Moray & was assassinated with Malcolm (natural son of Alexander I) in insurrection against David I, but defeated & killed 1130. Malcolm McEth, real or alleged son of Angus, headed another insurrection, defeated in 1137. 2 sons of Malcolm McEth joined with Somerled in insurrection of 1154.
  • MALCOLM III Ceanmor (Great Head), reigned 1058-1093. Killed at Alnwick in 1093. Buried at Tynemouth. Regained provinces from Thorfinn. First marriage was to Ingebiorge, widow of Thorfinn (Jarl of Orkney), had 2 sons: Duncan (King) and Donald who predeceased him. Second marriage was in 1070 to Margaret (sister of Edgar Atheling), had 8 children: Edward, (killed with father at Alnwick), Edmund, Ethelred (Abbot of Dunkeld and Earl of Fife), Edgar (King of Scotland), Alexander (King of Scotland), David (King of Scotland), Edith (aka Matilda who married Henry I of England in 1100), and Mary (married Eustace, Count of Boulogne). Malcolm's 2nd wife Margaret was a Saxon princess who had fled from the Normans. Queen Margaret introduced English language and English monastic customs. She was canonized, 1250. Her son Edgar, 1097, moved the court to Edinburgh. His brothers Alexander I and David I succeeded. Malcolm IV, the Maiden, 1153, grandson of David I, was followed by his brother, William the Lion, 1165, whose son was Alexander II, 1214. The latter's son, Alexander III, 1249, defeated the Norse and regained the Hebrides. When he died, 1286, his granddaughter, Margaret, child of Eric of Norway and grandniece of Edward I of England, known as the Maid of Norway, was chosen ruler, but died 1290, aged 8.
  • DONALD BANE, brother of Malcolm III, reigned 6 months, deposed by Duncan II
  • DUNCAN II, son of Malcolm by his first wife. Married Ethreda (daughter of Cospatrick, Earl of Northumberland). Their son, William, married Alice de Rumeli & had son William of Egremont who died under age. William FitzDuncan also had (either by previous marriage or illegitimate) son Donald Bane MacWilliam who, in 1181 headed insurrection against William the Lion. Guthred McWilliam, of the same line, headed a later insurrection. Duncan II reigned 6 months. Killed by Malfrida MacLoen, Earl of Mearns.
  • DONALD BANE resumed throne, joined with nephew EDMUND, son of Malcolm & Margaret. In 1097, through Edgar Atheling, Donald defeated, expelled from Scotland, Edmund to prison. Donald's granddaughter & heiress, Hextilda, married Richard Comyn, their descendant John Comyn (Black Comyn), competitor for crown 1291.
  • EDGAR, son of Malcolm & Margaret, reigned 1097-1107.
  • ALEXANDER I. reigned over Scotland north of Forth & Clyde. Brother David (Earl of Northumberland, trained in England) reigned in Lothian & Cumbria as Earl. Alexander married Sybilla (natural daughter of Henry I of England). Alexander's natural son, Malcolm, in 1130 led revolt of Gaelic population against David. Alexander died 4/24/1124 at Stirling.
  • DAVID I, brother of Alexander I. Married Matilda (widow of Simon de Senlis, daughter & heir of Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland, by Judith, niece of William the Conqueror) & had son. David died 5/24/1153.
  • JOHN BALIOL, 1292-1296. (Interregnum, 10 years).
  • ROBERT BRUCE (The Bruce), 1306-1329, victor at Bannockburn, 1314.
  • DAVID II, ruled 1329-1371, only son of Robert Bruce and his second wife Elizabeth de Burgh.
  • ROBERT II, 1371-1390, grandson of Robert Bruce and his first wife Isaballe of Mar, son of Marjorie Bruce and Walter, the Steward of Scotland, was called The Steward, first of the so-called Stuart line.
  • ROBERT III, son of Robert II, 1390-1406.
  • JAMES I, son of Robert III, 1406-1437.
  • JAMES II, son of James I, 1437-1460.
  • JAMES III, eldest son of James II, 1460-1488.
  • JAMES IV, eldest son of James III, 1488-1513.
  • JAMES V, eldest son of James IV, 1513-1542.
  • MARY, daughter of James V, born 1542, became queen when one week old; was crowned 1543. Married, 1558, Francis (son of Henry II of France, who became king 1559, died 1560). Mary ruled Scots 1561 until abdication, 1567. She also married (2) Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, and (3) James, Earl of Bothwell. Imprisoned by Elizabeth I, Mary was beheaded 1587.
  • JAMES VI, 1566-1625, son of Mary and Lord Darnley, became King of England on death of Elizabeth in 1603. Although the thrones were thus united, the legislative union of Scotland and England was not effected until the Act of Union, May 1, 1707.

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