Somerled (died 1164), known in
Middle Irish as Somairle, Somhairle,
and Somhairlidh, and in
Old Norse as Sumarliði, was a
mid-12th-century warlord who, through marital alliance and military
conquest, rose in prominence and seized control of the Kingdom of the
Isles. Little is certain of Somerled's origins, although he appears to
have belonged to a Norse–Gaelic family of some substance. His
father, GilleBride, appears to have conducted a marriage alliance with
Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair, son of Alexander I of Scotland, and
claimant to the Scottish throne. Following a period of dependence upon
David I of Scotland,
Somerled first appears on record in 1153, when he
supported kinsmen, identified as the sons of Malcolm, in their
insurgence against the newly enthroned Malcolm IV of Scotland.
Following this unsuccessful uprising,
Somerled appears to have turned
his sights upon the kingship of the Isles, then ruled by his
brother-in-law, Godred Olafsson. Taking advantage of the latter's
Somerled participated in a violent coup d'état,
and seized half of the kingdom in 1156. Two years later, he defeated
and drove Godred from power, and
Somerled ruled the entire kingdom
until his death.
Somerled was slain in 1164 at the Battle of Renfrew, amidst an
invasion of mainland Scotland, commanding forces drawn from all over
his kingdom. The reasons for his attack are unknown. He may have
wished to nullify Scottish encroachment, but the scale of his venture
suggests that he nursed greater ambitions. On his death, Somerled's
vast kingdom disintegrated, although his sons retained much of the
southern Hebridean portion. Compared to his immediate descendants, who
associated themselves with reformed religious orders,
have been something of a religious traditionalist. In the last year of
his life, he attempted to persuade the head of the Columban monastic
community, Flaithbertach Ua Brolcháin, Abbot of Derry, to relocate
from Ireland to Iona, a sacred island within Somerled's sphere of
influence. Unfortunately for Somerled, his demise denied him the
ecclesiastical reunification he sought, and decades later his
descendants oversaw the obliteration of the island's Columban
monastery. Iona's oldest surviving building, St Oran's Chapel, dates
to the mid-12th century, and may have been built by
Somerled or his
Traditionally imagined as a Celtic hero, who vanquished Viking foes
and fostered a Gaelic renaissance, contemporary sources instead reveal
Somerled operated in, and belonged to, the same Norse-Gaelic
cultural environment as his maritime neighbours. By his wife,
Ragnhild, daughter of Olafr Godredsson, King of the Isles, a member of
the Crovan dynasty,
Somerled and his descendants claimed the Kingdom
of the Isles. A later medieval successor to this kingdom, the Lordship
of the Isles, was ruled by Somerled's descendants until the late 15th
century. Regarded as a significant figure in 12th-century Scottish and
Somerled is proudly proclaimed as a patrilineal ancestor
by several Scottish clans. Recent genetic studies suggest that
Somerled has hundreds of thousands of patrilineal descendants, and
that his patrilineal origins may lie in Scandinavia.
3 Kinship with the Scottish royal house
5 Conquest of the Isles
6 Rule and ecclesiastical patronage
11 See also
15 External links
The late fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century Book of Ballymote
Great Book of Lecan
Great Book of Lecan (right) contain versions of Somerled's
traditional pedigree.[note 1]
Somerled's career is patchily documented in four main contemporary
sources: the Chronicle of Holyrood, the Chronicle of Melrose, the
Chronicles of Mann, and the Carmen de Morte Sumerledi. The
chronicles of Holyrood and Melrose were originally compiled in the
late 12th century. As products of Scottish reformed monasteries,
these sources tend to be sympathetic to the cause of the Scottish
kings descended from Malcolm III of Scotland. The Chronicle of Mann
was first compiled in the mid-13th century, and concerns itself
with the history of the Crovan dynasty, a rival kindred of Somerled
and his descendants. For similar reasons, the aforementioned
sources and the Carmen de Morte Sumerledi, a late 12th-century Latin
poem by a Scottish cleric who witnessed Somerled's final invasion
against the Scots, are partisan accounts slanted against Somerled.
Irish annals are also useful sources of information, although
they usually only corroborate what is documented in other sources.
Later clan histories, such as the early modern History of the
MacDonalds and the Books of Clanranald, although unreliable as
historical narratives, contain a considerable amount of detailed
information. The late provenance and partisan nature of these
histories means that their uncorroborated claims, particularly those
concerning early figures such as
Somerled and his contemporaries, need
to be treated with caution. Another relevant source is a particular
charter, issued by Malcolm IV, King of Scotland (d. 1165) in 1160,
that briefly notes
Somerled in its dating clause.
Somerled's origins are masked in obscurity and myth. Although no
contemporary pedigree exists that outlines his ancestry, there are
over a dozen later medieval, early modern, and modern sources that
purport to outline Somerled's patrilineal descent. The names that
these sources give for his father (GilleBride) and paternal
grandfather (GilleAdamnan) appear to be corroborated in patronymic
forms recorded in the
Annals of Tigernach and the Annals of
Ulster.[note 2] The names in preceding generations, however,
become more unusual, and the more authoritative sources begin to
contradict each other. In consequence, two or three generations may be
the furthest that Somerled's patrilineal lineage can be traced with
any degree of accuracy.[note 3]
Somerled was almost certainly of
Norse–Gaelic ancestry, and nothing is known of his early
History of the MacDonalds and the Book of Clanranald
relate that his immediate ancestors were prominent in
being unjustly ejected by Scandinavians and Scots. Although these
specific claims concerning his ancestors cannot be corroborated,
Somerled's eventual marriage to a daughter of a reigning King of the
Isles, and the marriage of one of the former's immediate kinswomen to
the son of a King of Scotland, suggests that
Somerled belonged to a
family of considerable status.
Kinship with the Scottish royal house
The precise identity of Somerled's aforementioned kinswoman is
uncertain. The following pedigrees illustrate three possible ways in
which her marriage bound Somerled's family with a senior branch of the
Scottish dynasty. According to the Chronicle of Holyrood, the sons of
Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair (fl. 1134), son of Alexander I of Scotland
(d. 1124), were Somerled's "nepotes". This
Latin term could be
evidence that the mother of Malcolm's sons was either a sister, or a
daughter of Somerled; or
Somerled and Malcolm were maternal
1. The sons of Malcolm as maternal nephews of Somerled, descended from
the latter's sister.
2. The sons of Malcolm as maternal grandsons of Somerled, descended
from the latter's daughter.
3. The sons of Malcolm as maternal half-nephews of Somerled, descended
from the latter's mother.
Mid-12th-century depiction of David I, and his grandson, Malcolm IV.
Earlier that century, Somerled's family appears to have bound itself
in marriage to an opposing branch of the Scottish royal house.
Somerled's first appearance in contemporary sources occurs in
1153.[note 4] In May of that year, the reigning David I, King of
Scotland died, and was succeeded by his twelve-year-old grandson,
Malcolm IV, son of Henry, Earl of Northumberland (d. 1152). Less
than six months later
Somerled emerges into recorded history: the
Chronicle of Holyrood states that he rose in rebellion that November,
allied with his aforementioned nepotes, against the recently
inaugurated king. A further account of this rising may also be
preserved in the Carmen de Morte Sumerledi, which recounts Somerled's
devastating sack of Glasgow, its cathedral, and surrounding
countryside. As noted above, the father of Somerled's nepotes was
Malcolm, illegitimate son of Alexander. As a son of David's elder
brother and royal predecessor, this Malcolm represented a lineally
senior branch of the Scottish royal house. Succession by
primogeniture was not an established custom in 12th-century Scotland,
and surviving sources reveal that Alexander's heirs received
substantial support for their claims to the throne. The remarkable
haste with which Malcolm IV succeeded his grandfather further
exemplifies the perceived risk that David's line faced from rival
royal claimants.[note 5] Kinship with the sons of Malcolm, members
of the royal derbfine, gave
Somerled a serious stake in the contested
royal succession, and his participation in the insurrection of 1153
was likely undertaken in this context.[note 6]
Contemporary sources reveal that, during the first third of the 12th
century, Malcolm and David had bitterly struggled for control of the
Scottish kingdom, before Malcolm was finally captured and
imprisoned in 1134. The chronology of Malcolm's capture, and the
rising of his sons in league with Somerled, suggests that an alliance
between Malcolm and Somerled's family may date from prior to his
capture, possibly in about the 1120s. Surviving charter evidence
reveals that, on at least two occasions before about 1134, David
temporarily based himself at Irvine in Cunningham, a strategic
coastal site from where Scottish forces may have conducted seaborne
military operations against Malcolm's western allies. Aelred of
Relatio de Standardo reveals that David received English
military assistance against Malcolm. This source specifies that a
force against Malcolm was mustered at Carlisle, and notes successful
naval campaigns conducted against David's enemies, which suggests that
Malcolm's support was indeed centred in Scotland's western coastal
periphery. By the mid 1130s, David had not only succeeded in
securing Malcolm, but also appears to have gained recognition of his
overlordship of Argyll.
Somerled or his father acknowledged David's dominance
may exist in the capture of Malcolm itself, as Ailred's Relatio de
Standardo indicates that treachery contributed to Malcolm's
downfall. Furthermore, this chronicle reveals that men from the
Isles and Lorne or
Argyll formed part of the Scottish army at the
Battle of the Standard, when David was defeated by the English, near
Northallerton in 1138. This could also indicate that Somerled
himself campaigned in David's service; on the other hand, it could
be evidence that
Somerled merely provided mercenary forces for the
Scots. There may be further evidence that David regarded himself
as overlord of Argyll. One charter, dating to between 1141 and 1147,
records that David granted
Holyrood Abbey half the teind of his
portion of "cain" (see below) from
Kintyre and Argyll. This
particular charter is the earliest Scottish administrative document
concerning Argyll. The word "cain" is ultimately derived from the
Gaelic cáin, and refers to a payment (although not every payment)
of tribute due to a lord. It appears to concern a regular payment of
produce or foodstuffs, raised not only from a lord's personal
possessions, but also from more remote regions that acknowledged his
overlordship. Cain should not be confused with conveth or wayting, the
rights of a lord to hospitality for himself and his retinue.
Another charter, dating from between 1145 and 1153, records that he
Urquhart Priory the teind of his portion of cain from Argyll,
and his pleas and revenues from there. A later charter, dating
from between 1150 and 1152, records that David granted the other half
the teind of his cain from
Kintyre to Dunfermline Abbey.
This latter charter includes the caveat "in whatever year I should
receive it", which may suggest that whatever control David had
Argyll at the time of the first charter had eroded by the
time of the latter. Thus, Somerled's rise to power may have taken
place sometime between 1141 and 1152. Although David may well have
Argyll as a Scottish tributary, the ensuing career of
Somerled clearly reveals that the latter regarded himself a fully
One consequence of David's westward consolidation appears to have been
a series of marital alliances conducted by the rulers of Argyll,
Galloway, and the Isles. By about 1140, not only had
Ragnhild, illegitimate daughter of Olafr Godredsson, King of the Isles
(d. 1153), but Olafr was wed to a daughter of Fergus, Lord of Galloway
(d. 1161). Olaf himself appears to have enjoyed amicable relations
with Stephen, Count of Boulogne and Mortain (d. 1154), which may
indicate that Olafr supported Stephen as King of England after
1135. The marital binding of Olafr with dependants of David
roughly coincided with the latter's endeavour to establish control of
Cumbria after 1138, and may have formed part of a Scottish strategy to
isolate Olafr from an English alliance, to project Scottish authority
into the Irish Sea, and to draw Olafr into David's sphere of
influence. Although support from the rulers of
Scotland may well have strengthened Olaf's position in the Isles, and
the Chronicle of Mann portrays his reign as one of peace, other
sources vaguely refer to mainland depredations wrought by Wimund,
Bishop of the Isles (fl. c. 1130–c. 1150). The bloodshed attributed
to the latter, a shadowy figure who appears to have violently sought
the inheritance of the
Mormaer of Moray in the late 1140s, suggests
that Olafr may have struggled to maintain authority throughout his
expansive island-kingdom. Olafr sent his son, Godred Olafsson, to
Norway in 1152, where he rendered homage to Inge I of Norway; this
could be evidence that there was anxiety over the succession to the
kingship of the Isles. The following year, only weeks after
David's death, Olafr was assassinated by the Dublin-based sons of his
brother. Although Godred was able to return, avenge the murder of
his father, and succeed to the kingship, the events of 1153 appear to
have destabilised the entire region. The after-effects saw Godred,
Fergus, and likely
Somerled himself, involve themselves in conflicts
Conquest of the Isles
Lewis chess piece depicting the armament of a Norse warrior roughly
contemporaneous to Somerled.[note 7]
In 1154, war broke out in Ireland between Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn,
King of Cenél nEógain (d. 1166) and Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair, King
of Connacht (d. 1156), as the two rivals renewed their struggle for
domination over the island. In one particular clash, recorded in
the Annals of the Four Masters, a savage sea-battle was fought near
Inishowen, where Toirdelbach's forces encountered Muirchertach's
mercenary fleet, mustered from Galloway, Arran, Kintyre, Mann, and
"the shores of Scotland" (which possibly refers to
Argyll and the
Hebrides). The ensuing conflict saw Toirdelbach's Connachtmen
crush Muirchertach's mercenaries, and the losses suffered by the
forces supplied by Godred appear to have undermined the latter's
authority in the Isles. Possibly about two years later, although
the chronology of events within the relevant sources is unclear,
Godred appears to have suffered another setback, when he
unsuccessfully attempted to secure control of the Kingdom of
Dublin.[note 8] In 1156, Malcolm's son, Donald, was captured and
imprisoned by the Scots. With this event likely marking the
collapse of the insurrection of his nepotes,
Somerled appears to have
abandoned their cause, and shifted his focus towards the deteriorating
situation in the Isles, where disaffected elements appear to have
taken root against not only Godred's rule, but also Muirchertach's
influence in the region.
In the same year,
Somerled is recorded to have participated in a coup
d'état against his brother-in-law, as the Chronicle of Mann relates
that, Thorfinn Ottarsson, one of the leading men of the Isles,
produced Somerled's son Dugald (d. after 1175), as a replacement to
Godred's rule. As a grandson of Olaf, and the son of a man with
the enterprise and power to confront Muirchertach, Dugald was
evidently favoured by a significant number of leading Islesmen,
disillusioned with Godred's rule; Somerled, therefore, appears to have
taken full advantage of the situation to secure his eldest son a share
in the kingdom. Somerled's stratagem does not appear to have
received unanimous support, since the chronicle relates that, as
Dugald was conducted throughout the Isles, the leading Islesmen were
made to render pledges and surrender hostages to him. Following an
inconclusive but bloody sea-battle, possibly fought off Mann the
following January, the chronicle records that
Somerled and Godred
divided the kingdom between themselves.[note 9] According to the
History of the MacDonalds,
Somerled had previously aided Godred's
father in military operations (otherwise unrecorded in contemporary
sources) against the "ancient Danes north of Ardnamurchan".[note
10] Together with its claim that Olaf had also campaigned on North
Uist, this source may be evidence that the partitioning of the Isles
between Godred and
Somerled can be viewed in the context of Somerled
taking back territories that he had helped secure into Olaf's
kingdom. There is reason to suspect that portions of the Isles had
previously fallen under the influence of the Earls of Orkney, before
being reclaimed by the Kings of Isles during this period.
At about the time of the partitioning of the Isles, Malcolm IV was
Malcolm MacHeth (d. 1168), and restored the latter as
Earl of Ross, an investiture which may have been a consequence of
Somerled's threatening territorial expansion. After the partition,
Somerled and Godred appear to have agreed to a truce. However,
about two years later in 1158, the chronicle records that Somerled
launched a second assault upon Godred, and drove him from the kingdom
altogether. From this date until his death,
Somerled ruled the
entire Kingdom of the Isles, and may well have exerted some degree of
influence in Galloway. The Chronicle of Melrose and the Chronicle
of Holyrood record that Malcolm IV launched military operations in
Galloway in about 1160, with the latter chronicle specifying that the
king subdued his "confederate enemies". The exact identity of
these enemies is unknown, but the chronicles may document a Scottish
victory over an alliance between
Somerled and Fergus.[note 11]
Before the end of the year, Fergus had retired to Holyrood Abbey,
and a charter records that
Somerled had come into the king's
peace. The precise occasion on which
Somerled was reconciled with
Malcolm IV may have been the king's Christmas feast, held at
that year. This occasion may well have been the origin of the
epithet "sit-by-the-king", accorded to
Somerled in the Carmen de Morte
Sumerledi. Although the concordat between Malcolm IV and Somerled
may have taken place after the Scottish king's subjugation of Somerled
and Fergus, another possibility is that the agreement was concluded
Somerled had aided the Scots in their overthrow of Fergus.
Rule and ecclesiastical patronage
Latin title "regulo Herergaidel" ("Lord of Argyll") accorded to
Somerled in the Chronicle of Mann, in an entry concerning his marriage
to Ragnhild.[note 12]
According to the Chronicle of Mann,
Somerled and Ragnhild had four
sons: Dugald (fl. 1175), Ranald (fl. 1192), Angus (d. 1210), and
Olaf. The Chronicle of Mann, Orkneyinga saga, and later tradition
preserved in the 18th-century Books of Clanranald, reveal that the
Somerled and his descendants to the kingship in the Isles
rested upon Ragnhild's descent from the Crovan dynasty. The
founder of this Norse-Gaelic kindred was Ragnhild's paternal
grandfather, Godred Crovan, King of Dublin and the Isles (d.
1095).[note 13] Although no acta from Somerled's reign survive, he
would have likely been styled in
Latin rex insularum (king of the
Isles), a charter style borne by one of his descendants (Ranald). This
style appears to have been derived from the same title borne by the
Crovan dynasty, and was a precursor to the
Latin dominus insularum
(Lord of the Isles), a title borne by several of Somerled's and
Ragnhild's later descendants. The
Latin rex insularum was a
translation of the Gaelic rí Innse Gall, a title accorded to Kings of
the Isles since the late 10th century. A record illustrating the
zenith of Somerled's military might is preserved as an entry in the
Annals of Ulster. The entry, which outlines his final foray, states
Somerled commanded forces drawn from Argyll, Kintyre, the Isles,
and Dublin. It is not improbable that this massive host also
included men from Galloway, Moray, and Orkney.
From about 1160 to 1164,
Somerled disappears from the historical
record, and little is known of his activities. In 1164, the
Annals of Ulster
Annals of Ulster reveal that he attempted to persuade Flaithbertach Ua
Brolcháin, Abbot of Derry (d. 1175) to relocate to Iona. As head
of the Columban monastic community, a network of religious houses once
centred on Iona, Flaithbertach's removal to the island would have
placed the community's leadership within the heart of Somerled's
sphere of influence. Although Somerled's stratagem was met with
significant opposition, particularly from Muirchertach,
Flaithbertach's secular overlord, the proposed move suggests that
Somerled nursed ambitions beyond the Isles in northern Ireland.
These ambitions came to nothing with his death later that year.
Compared to his immediate descendants, who associated themselves with
reformed monastic orders from the continent,
Somerled appears have
been something a religious traditionalist. His attempt to restore the
Columban leadership to
Iona starkly contrasted with the actions of his
descendants, who oversaw the obliteration of the island's Columban
monastery, and founded a Benedictine monastery in its place.
St Oran's Chapel, the oldest intact building on Iona, may have been
built by Somerled, Ranald, or members of the Crovan dynasty.
Somerled or Ranald could have founded Saddell Abbey, a
rather small Cistercian house, situated in the traditional heartland
of Somerled's later descendants. This, now ruinous monastery, is
the only Cisterian house known to have been founded in the Scottish
Highlands. Surviving evidence from the monastery itself suggests
that Ranald was the founder. However, evidence that
the founder may be preserved in a 13th-century French list of
Cistercian houses which names a certain "Sconedale" under the year
1160. One possibility is that, while
Somerled may have begun the
planning a Cistercian house at Saddell, it was Ranald who first
endowed it. However, Somerled's attempt to relocate the Columban
Iona in 1164, when Cistercians were already established
in the Isles, may be evidence that he found newer reformed orders of
continental Christianity unpalatable. Furthermore, the ecclesiastical
patronage of his immediate descendants reveals that they were not
averse to such orders, which may suggest that Ranald was indeed the
monastery's founder. Although 19th century tradition claimed that
Somerled was buried at the abbey, he is more likely to have been laid
to rest on Iona, as claimed in 17th century tradition. The oldest
intact building on
Iona is St Oran's chapel. Certain Irish influences
in its architecture indicate that it dates to about the mid-12th
century. The building was used as a mortuary by later descendants of
Somerled's son Ranald, and either Ranald or
Somerled may have built
19th century illustration of the seal of Walter FitzAlan, depicting a
mounted knight, armed with a pennoned lance and shield.
Somerled's forces may have fought those of Walter at the Battle of
Somerled died in a seaborne invasion of Scotland, which
culminated in the disastrous Battle of Renfrew, fought near Renfrew,
against forces led by Herbert, Bishop of
Glasgow (d. 1164), and
Baldwin of Biggar, Sheriff of Lanark (fl. 1160s). The invasion
appears to have been well-planned. The Chronicle of Melrose
describes Somerled's invasion force as vast, and the Chronicle of
Mann numbers it at 160 ships, although the accuracy of such a
precise count is contentious given the propensity of mediaeval
chroniclers to exaggerate their figures. Both these chronicles
record that his forces landed at Renfrew, where they engaged the
Scots, suffering "innumerable" casualties at the hands of a much
smaller force. According to the Carmen de Morte Sumerledi,
although Somerled's forces were vastly superior to those he
encountered, he fell in the outset of battle, against a hastily
gathered force of local levies led by the Bishop of Glasgow.
Although later tradition, preserved in the History of the MacDonalds
and the Book of Clanranald, maintained that
Somerled fell by
treachery, contemporary sources indicate that he more likely fell
in battle.[note 15] The Carmen de Morte Sumerledi, written by an
eyewitness, records that
Somerled was "wounded by a [thrown] spear and
cut down by the sword", and states that a priest severed his head and
delivered it into the bishop's hands. Several sources also state
that a son of
Somerled was slain in the battle, with the Annals of
Tigernach identifying him as GilleBride.[note 16][note 17]
It is uncertain why
Somerled launched his attack upon the Scots.
The early 1160s saw a period of Scottish consolidation in the maritime
region between the Lennox and Cowal, and along the
eastern[clarification needed] coast of the
Firth of Clyde
Firth of Clyde towards
Galloway. David may well have begun the infeftment[clarification
needed] and settlement of this coastal district decades earlier, to
counter the seaborne threat that the rulers of
Argyll posed during the
dynastic challenges of the 1130s. By the 1160s, some of the
greatest Scottish magnates had taken root in the region, and some of
them may have begun to extend their influence into southern
the Islands of the Clyde. The catalyst for Somerled's invasion,
therefore, may have been the encroachment of Scottish influence into
his own sphere of hegemony. The target of his invasion appears to
have been Renfrew, the centre of the family of Walter FitzAlan,
Steward of Scotland, and Somerled's forces may well have engaged
those of Walter—possibly even led by the steward himself. The
precise chronology of Walter's westward expansion is not known for
certain, but he and
Somerled likely had conflicting ambitions in the
Somerled may have sought to eliminate or reduce
this perceived threat, the massive scale of his seaborne assault
suggests that he may have nursed even greater ambitions. With an
increasingly ill and possibly incapacitated king upon the Scottish
throne, the real motivation behind Somerled's last operation may well
have been sheer opportunism.
Map of the divided Kingdom of the Isles, about 1200. The lands of
Godred's descendants, bordering those of Somerled's descendants.
In the wake of Somerled's demise, his once vast sea-kingdom
fragmented, as various would-be successors vied for dominance.
Although Dugald may have held onto the kingship for a short
while, before the end of the year the Chronicle of Mann records
that his maternal uncle, Ragnvald Olafsson, violently seized control
of Mann and gained the kingship. Immediately afterwards, Godred
arrived in the Isles after almost a decade in exile, defeated his
brother Ragnvald with Norwegian assistance, and secured himself upon
the throne. In time, Godred appears to have regained most of the
Hebrides and Skye. The Hebridean territories lost to Somerled
in 1156, however, appear to have been retained by the latter's
descendants. It is more than likely that this domain was divided
amongst his surviving sons, although contemporary sources are silent
on the matter. The precise allotment of lands is unknown.
Although the division of lands amongst later generations of
descendants is known, such boundaries are unlikely to have existed
during the chaotic 12th century. The territory of Somerled's surviving
sons may have stretched from Glenelg in the north to the Mull of
Kintyre in the south—possibly with Angus ruling the
northernmost region, Dugald centred in Lorne (with possibly the bulk
of the inheritance), and Ranald in
Kintyre and the southern
Although the Scots may have originally welcomed the collapse and
reordering[clarification needed] of Somerled's sea-kingdom, his
death triggered decades of instability in the region, and the
Norwegian intervention on Godred's behalf signalled that Scotland was
not the only external power with interests in the region. The
void left by Somerled's death was soon seized upon by Walter and his
succeeding son, Alan, who continued their family's westward expansion.
Internal conflict wracked Somerled's descendants in the decades
following his death. Locked in conflict with his brother Angus, Ranald
appears to have forged an alliance with Alan to gain the upper hand.
Either through this alliance, or through the exploitation of the
internal conflict amongst Somerled's descendants, the steward's family
appears to have secured Bute by about 1200.
An early coat of arms borne by one of Somerled's descendants,
featuring a galley (or lymphad).[note 18]
Somerled is known to have had at least five sons and a
daughter.[note 19] GilleBride, who was slain in battle with his
father, was likely a product of an early unknown marriage. Olaf
is only named in the Chronicle of Mann. Angus defeated his
brother Ranald in 1192; after that the latter disappears from record
altogether. Nothing further is known of Angus, other than his defeat
and death, together with his sons (and the extinction of his line) at
the hands of Ranald's sons in 1210. Dugald is last recorded in 1175,
whilst in the company of his sons in England. Bethoc, Somerled's
daughter, was prioress of
Iona Nunnery. Both Dugald and Ranald
left powerful descendants. From Dugald descended the 13th-century
Lords of Argyll, and Clan MacDougall. From Ranald descended the Lords
of the Isles, Clan Donald, Clan MacRory, and Clan MacAlister.
Since the early 2000s, several genetic studies have been conducted on
men bearing surnames traditionally associated with patrilineal
descendants of Somerled. The results of one such study, published in
2004, revealed that five chiefs of Clan Donald, who all traced their
patrilineal descent from Somerled, were indeed descended from a common
ancestor.[note 20] Further testing of men bearing the surnames
MacAlister, MacDonald, and MacDougall, found that, of a small sample
group, 40% of MacAlisters, 30% of MacDougalls, and 18% of MacDonalds
shared this genetic marker. These percentages suggest that
Somerled may have almost 500,000 living patrilineal
descendants.[note 21] The results of a later study, published in
2011, revealed that, of a sample of 164 men bearing the surname
MacDonald, 23% carried the same marker borne by the clan chiefs. This
marker was identified as a subgroup of haplogroup R1a, known to
be extremely rare in Celtic-speaking areas of Scotland, but very
common in Norway. Both genetic studies concluded that Somerled's
patrilineal ancestors originated in Scandinavia.
Somerled Rex Insularum, a 19th-century stained glass depiction of
Somerled, at Armadale Castle.
Over the years, there have been disparate interpretations of
Somerled's life and career. Traditional accounts, such as those
expounded in popular histories, clan histories, and 19th century
Somerled as something of a Celtic hero: a man who
liberated Scotland from the clutches of invading Scandinavians,
founded an independent kingdom, and initiated a Gaelic
renaissance. Such portrayals, founded upon uncritical acceptance
of the narratives within early modern sources, are contrary to the
evidence preserved in contemporary sources. Although early modern
sources and some later histories portray Somerled's rise in the Isles
in xenophobic terms of Celt versus Scandinavian, modern historical
Somerled in the same cultural environment as his
rival brother-in-law, Godred.
Until recently, modern scholarship, heavily influenced by 19th-century
historiographical perceptions of ethnicity, has placed Somerled's
conflicts with the Scots in the context of supposed native Celtic
conservatism against the spread of foreign feudalisation.[note
22] More recent scholarship, however, has emphasised the remarkable
receptiveness of natives to so-called feudal customs introduced into
northern Britain during this period. The consistent
misidentification of Malcolm, his brother-in-law, with Malcolm
MacHeth, has been interpreted as evidence that
Somerled backed the
cause of a supposed native anti-feudal movement. The more recent
realisation that this brother-in-law was instead a son of Alexander I,
however, places Somerled's conflict with the Scottish crown in the
context of participation in the continuous inter-dynastic insurrection
faced by David I and his descendants, rather than a clash between pro-
and anti-feudal partisans. As such, marital affiliations lay
behind many of Somerled's recorded actions.
History of the Outer Hebrides
Scotland in the High Middle Ages
^ These particular pedigrees concern Somerled's great-great-great
grandson, John MacDonald,
Lord of the Isles
Lord of the Isles (d. 1387), and trace his
lineage back to Colla Uais.
^ The record in the latter source may refer to a lineal ancestor,
rather than an actual father. The historicity of GilleBride is
further corroborated by the 17th and 18th century accounts of an
inscription on the gravestone of Somerled's daughter.
^ Many of the sources trace Somerled's lineage to Fergus Mór, a
legendary king of Dál Riata; and more trace Somerled's line further
back to Colla Uais, a legendary Irish king. With the exception of
these figures, and other somewhat legendary figures who are listed as
Somerled's earliest ancestors, the historicity of the other men in the
traditional lineage beyond his grandfather cannot be corroborated.
Solam appears as Somerled's great-grandfather in the more
authoritative sources, which suggests that his placement may well be
accurate. Solam's name is rather unusual, although not unattested
for other individuals in other sources; as such, its occurrence in
Somerled's traditional lineage could be evidence of its accuracy.
^ A misplaced entry in the
Annals of the Four Masters
Annals of the Four Masters places
Somerled's death in 1083, about 81 years too early. This entry has
led some historians to state that Somerled's father, GilleBride, was
the son of GilleAdamnan, the son of another GilleBride, the son of
^ The exact date when David was buried is uncertain. However, the
chronology preserved by lists of Scottish kings suggests that Malcolm
IV was inaugurated only three days after David's death—too short a
time for the latter's body to have been conveyed from Carlisle to
Dunfermline Abbey, a journey of almost 150 miles (240 km).
^ The regular misidentification of this Malcolm with Malcolm MacHeth
has plagued historians until recently. In Gaelic society, a
derbfine was a kin-group of men patrilineally descended from a common
ancestor in[clarification needed] four generations. Members of a
royal derbfine appear to have been potential royal candidates,
although the precise prerequisites for eligibility for kingship are
Lewis chessmen consist of pieces from at least four different
sets. They were likely crafted in Norway in the 12th and 13th
centuries, and were found in the early 19th century in a hoard on
Lewis. Although the hoard appears to have been deposited in the
early 13th century, some of the pieces may have arrived in the Isles
as a result of Godred's journey to Norway in 1152, possibly as a gift
between kings, or from the
Archbishop of Nidaros
Archbishop of Nidaros to the Bishop of the
Isles. The pictured piece, likely a warder, is armed with sword,
helmet, and kite shield.
^ The chronology within the Chronicle of Mann is notoriously suspect
in places. This source places Godred's dealings in Dublin in the third
year of his reign. Irish sources may well corroborate the chronicle's
account, although they appear to date the Dublin episode to 1162.
For further information, see the following article: Godred
Olafsson § King of Dublin?.
^ The Chronicle of Mann dates this conflict to the night of the
Epiphany. The battle has been variously interpreted to have been
fought in either January 1156, or January 1157. The chronology
presented in the article follows that latter interpretation.
Whatever the year, the weather conditions must have been particularly
good to permit a naval battle in January.
^ In the Book of Clanranald, the term "Danes" loosely refers to
^ There is reason to suspect that Fergus and
Somerled may have been
related, possibly as close as brothers or cousins. The name of
Somerled's father and his (possibly) eldest son was GilleBride, whilst
Fergus' (possibly) eldest son appears to have borne this name as
Somerled and Fergus were indeed related, Fergus' rise to
Galloway may have taken place in the context of David's
successful military actions against Malcolm's western allies; which
may have marginalised Somerled's family. The Roman de Fergus, a
Arthurian romance largely set in southern Scotland, tells
the tale of a knight who may represent Fergus himself. The name of
the knight's father in this source is a form of the name Somerled,
which has led to the supposition that this was also the name of
Fergus' father. On the other hand, this character's name may
suggest that he instead represents
Somerled himself, rather than
Fergus' father. Whatever the case, the character has no special
role in the romance.
^ In an entry outlining Somerled's final foray of 1164, years after he
had acquired the kingship of the Isles, the Chronicle of Melrose
Latin "regulus Eregeithel". The
is also a title accorded to Fergus, and appears to betray a biased
outlook from contemporary Scottish sources. The authors of these
sources may well have wished to downplay the regal status of these
^ Godred Crovan's place at the apex of the two dynasties who contested
the kingship of the Isles in the 12th and 13th centuries suggests that
he is the same Godred proclaimed as a significant ancestor in two
13th-century poems concerning descendants of Somerled. As such, Godred
Crovan may be the basis of Godfrey MacFergus, a genealogical figure
who appears in later sources outlining Somerled's patrilineal
^ It is also possible that
St Oran's chapel
St Oran's chapel was erected by members of
the Crovan dynasty: either Somerled's brother-in-law Godred, who was
buried on the island in 1188, or Godred's father (and Somerled's
History of the MacDonalds specifies that
Somerled was stabbed to
death by his nephew, Maurice MacNeill, whereas the Book of Clanranald
Somerled was killed by his page. Such traditions are
sometimes crafted to explain deaths of heroic figures, imagined by
later generations to have been almost invincible in battle. The
tradition of treachery was popularised by Nigel Tranter's 1983 novel
Lord of the Isles.
^ According to the 14th century Scottish chronicler John of Fordun,
Somerled was slain with a son named GilleCallum. Fordun's
GilleCallum may well be a mistake for GilleBride.
Orkneyinga saga gives a very confused account of Somerled, and
appears to have conflated him with another man. The saga's narrative
relates that he was slain by
Sweyn Asleifsson in about 1156.
^ This coat of arms is that of Alexander MacDougall, Lord of Argyll
(d. 1310), which appears in the early 14th century Balliol Roll. The
coat of arms is blazoned: Or, a galley Sable with dragon heads at prow
and stern and flag flying Gules, charged on the hull with four
portholes Argent. It is the only known example of the painted
arms of the MacDougall Lords of Lorne. The earliest correctly
painted coat of arms of a MacDonald dates to the mid-15th century, and
is blazoned: Or, an eagle displayed
Gules surmounting a lymphad Sable
within a double tressure flory counterflory Gules. The galley
appears to have been a symbol of the kings of the Crovan dynasty. Its
later use in Scottish heraldry, as a totemic heraldic charge, likely
alludes to the power of old Norse dynasties.
^ Early modern tradition accords several more sons to Somerled,
although the historicity of these late and unsupported claims is
contentious. The Book of Clanranald identifies one in Gaelic as
"Gall mac Sgillin", a name which is similar to that of
MacScelling, the leader of Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn's aforementioned
mercenarial fleet, routed near
Inishowen in 1154. Two other sons,
"Sommerled" and "Gillies", are assigned to
Somerled in the History of
^ The five chiefs were: Macdonald of Macdonald, Macdonald of Sleat,
Macdonald of Clanranald, MacDonell of Glengarry, and McAlester of Loup
and Kennox. All five trace their patrilineal descent from Somerled's
^ The sum was arrived at by estimating that there are about 2,000,000
male MacDonalds worldwide; so about 400,000 of these MacDonalds likely
carry this particular genetic marker. In regard to Somerled, the
significant number of his genetic descendants illustrates the tendency
for native families in a particular district to be displaced by
younger branches of an unrelated chiefly lineage. After several
generations, even these branches would tend to be displaced by more
recent offshoots of the chiefly line. By this process, over time, many
of the district's lower social class would be patrilineally descended
from the chiefly line. The vast territorial power of Clan Donald
may explain the percentage disparity between the surnames MacAlister,
MacDonald, and MacDougall. Historically, the most powerful clans
attracted smaller clans as dependants. As surnames came to be borne by
Scots in the late Middle Ages, many dependants adopted the surnames of
powerful chiefs, whether they were related or not. In contrast to
Clan Donald, less powerful and expansive clans like Clan MacAlister
would have attracted fewer unrelated men to adopt their chief's
surname. Probably because of this, many more MacAlisters than
MacDonalds are patrilineally descended from chiefly lineages.
^ A historiographical framework coalesced in the 19th and early 20th
centuries based on contrasting supposed Celtic and non-Celtic
stereotypes. Celts were assumed to have been conservative and
backward, whilst non-Celts were assumed to have been progressive,
industrious, and intolerant to native customs. Nineteenth-century
Celtists—historians and antiquarians who sympathised with the native
medieval Scots—presented the 11th and 12th centuries as a period of
an epic clash of cultures; where native Celts, and Celtic
institutions, gave way before the advancement of non-Celtic customs,
and inevitable modernisation. So modern historians have tended to
treat medieval Scottish law, kingship, lordship, and religion in the
context of ethnic opposition—Celtic versus non-Celtic.
^ a b Munch; Goss 1874, pp. 60–61.
^ a b McDonald 1997, p. 40.
^ Anderson, AO 1922a, pp. xli–xlii, xliii–xlv.
^ McDonald 1997, pp. 40–41.
^ Anderson, AO 1922a, p. xliii.
^ a b McDonald 1997, p. 41.
^ Raven 2005, pp. 22–25; McDonald 1997, pp. 42–43, 47.
^ Woolf 2013, pp. 2, 4–5.
^ a b Sellar 2004.
^ Woolf 2005; McDonald 1997, p. 42; Sellar 1966: p. 124.
^ Woolf 2005; Sellar 1966: p. 129; Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 254; Mac
Carthy 1898: pp. 144–147; Stokes 1897, p. 195.
^ Woolf 2005; Sellar 1966: p. 129.
^ Sellar 1966: p. 129.
^ a b c d Woolf 2005.
^ Sellar 1966: p. 130.
^ McDonald 1997, p. 44; McDonald 1995, pp. 239–240.
^ McDonald 1997, pp. 44–45.
^ Sellar 2004; McDonald 1997, p. 47, 47 n. 22.
^ Woolf 2013, p. 3, n. 9; Woolf 2004, pp. 102–103; McDonald 1997,
^ Woolf 2013, pp. 2–3; Ross 2003, p. 184; Bouterwek 1863, p. 36.
^ Woolf 2013, p. 3, 3 n. 9; Woolf 2004, p. 102.
^ Woolf 2013, pp. 1–3; Sellar 2004.
^ Woolf 2005; Sellar 1966, p. 134, 134 n. 2; Anderson, AO 1922b, p.
254 n. 3; O'Donovan 1856, pp. 920–921.
^ Sellar 1966, p. 134, 134 n. 2.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 108–110.
^ Woolf 2013, pp. 2–3; Oram 2011, p. 72; Sellar 2004; Ross 2003, p.
184; Anderson, AO 1922b, pp. 222–223; Bouterwek 1863, p. 36;
Stevenson 1853, p. 73.
^ Woolf 2013, pp. 6–7.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 70–71.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 111–112.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 109–112.
^ Broun 2005, p. 80; Ross 2003, p. 184 n. 52.
^ Woolf 2013, p. 4; Oram 2011, pp. 111–112; Ross 2003, pp.
184–185; Oram 2001, pp. 929–930.
^ Woolf 2013, p. 3 n. 8; Oram 2011, pp. 66 n. 113, 111–112; Woolf
2002, pp. 232–233.
^ Ross 2003, pp. iv, 134, 149.
^ Warntjes 2004, pp. 377–381.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 66, 70-73; Ross 2003, pp. 174–183.
^ Oram 2011, p. 71; Ross 2003, p. 182; Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 183.
^ Oram 2011, p. 86.
^ Oram 2011, p. 88; Barrow 1999, pp. 62 (§ 17), 72–73 (§ 37);
Lawrie 1905, pp. 69–70 (§§ 84, 85), 333–334 (§§ 84, 85).
^ a b Oram 2011, p. 88.
^ a b Oram 2011, pp. 71–72; Ross 2003, pp. 182, 183; Anderson, AO
1908, pp. 193–194; Howlett 1886, p. 193.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 71–72, 87–88.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 87–88; McDonald 1997, p. 48; Anderson, AO 1908, p.
200; Howlett 1886, p. 191.
^ McDonald 1997, p. 48; Duncan 1996, p. 166.
^ McDonald 2000, pp. 177–178; McDonald 1997, pp. 48–49.
^ MacDonald 2013, p. 37; Oram 2011, p. 88; Woolf 2004, p. 102; Lawrie
1905, pp. 116–119 (§ 153), 383–386 (§ 153).
^ Anderson, AO 1922a, p. xviii.
^ Woolf 2004, p. 102.
^ Barrow 1999, p. xiii.
^ Oram 2011, p. 226; Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 97; Duncan
1996, pp. 152–154.
^ Oram 2011, p. 226.
^ MacDonald 2013, p. 37; Ross 2003, pp. 15–16; Barrow 1999, pp.
144–145 (§ 185); Lawrie 1905, pp. 167–171 (§ 209), pp. 417–419
^ MacDonald 2013, p. 37; Woolf 2004, p. 102; Lawrie 1905, pp.
204–205 (§ 255), 442 (§ 255).
^ MacDonald 2013, p. 37; Woolf 2004, p. 102.
^ Oram 2011, p. 87–88.
^ a b Oram 2011, pp. 88–89.
^ Oram 2011, p. 88; Oram 2000, pp. 71, 98 n. 98.
^ Oram 2004.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 103–104, 113.
^ a b c Oram 2011, pp. 113–114.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 113–114; Duffy 2004.
^ Caldwell, Hall & Wilkinson 2009, pp. 197–198.
^ Caldwell, Hall & Wilkinson 2009, pp. 165, 197–198.
^ Caldwell, Hall & Wilkinson 2009, p. 155.
^ Caldwell, Hall & Wilkinson 2009, p. 178.
^ Caldwell, Hall & Wilkinson 2009, pp. 161 fig. g, 194 tab 7,
^ Oram 2011, p. 120; Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 242; Simms
^ a b Oram 2011, p. 120; McDonald 1997: p. 55; Anderson, AO 1922b, pp.
226–227; O'Donovan 1856, pp. 1110–1113.
^ McDonald 1997: p. 55.
^ a b Oram 2011, p. 120.
^ Oram 2011, p. 120; Duffy 1992, pp. 126–128.
^ Duffy 1992, pp. 126–128.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 119–120.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 113–114, 119–120.
^ a b c Woolf 2013, p. 3; Oram 2011, pp. 113–114, 120–121; Forte,
Oram & Pedersen 2005, pp. 243–245; Woolf 2004, p. 104; Sellar
2004; Sellar 2000, p. 191; McDonald 1997: pp. 54–57; McDonald &
McLean 1992: pp. 8–9; Duncan & Brown 1956–1957: p. 196;
Anderson, AO 1922b, pp. 231–232, 239.
^ McDonald 1997: p. 58; McDonald & McLean 1992: p. 9; Duncan &
Brown 1956–1957: p. 196; Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 231.
^ Woolf 2004, p. 104; McDonald 1997: p. 56; McDonald & McLean
1992: p. 9.
^ McDonald 1997: p. 56 n. 48.
^ a b Raven 2005, p. 55. See also Woolf 2004, p. 103; Macphail 1914,
^ McDonald 1997: p. 47 n. 22.
^ a b Woolf 2004, p. 103.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 120–121, 223; Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 232.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 120–121.
^ Oram 2011, p. 121; Woolf 2004, p. 104.
^ Woolf 2004, p. 104.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 118–119; Anderson, MO 1938, p. 189; Anderson, AO
1922b, pp. 244–245; Bouterwek 1863, pp. 40–41; Stevenson 1853, pp.
74, 129; Stevenson 1835, p. 77.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 118–119.
^ Woolf 2013, p. 5; Woolf 2004, p. 103.
^ Wenthe 2012, pp. 28, 33, 35–36; Hunt 2005, pp. 55–56.
^ Hunt 2005, pp. 55, 61; McDonald 2002, p. 116 n. 53; Oram 1988, pp.
^ Oram 1988, pp. 35–41.
^ Hunt 2005, p. 61 n. 26; McDonald 2003, p. 117.
^ Hunt 2005, p. 61 n. 26.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 118–119; Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 245; Stevenson
1835, p. 77 n. m.
^ Woolf 2013, pp. 4–5; Oram 2011, pp. 118–119; Forte, Oram &
Pedersen 2005, p. 245; Barrow 1994, pp. 222–223; McDonald &
McLean 1992: p. 12; Innes 1864: pp. 2, 51–52.
^ McDonald 1997, p. 61; Barrow 1994, pp. 222–223.
^ MacDonald 2013, p. 30 n. 51; McDonald 1997, p. 61; Anderson, AO
1922b, p. 256; Arnold 1885, pp. 386–388; Skene 1871, pp. 449–451.
^ Woolf 2013, p. 5.
^ McDonald 2000, p. 177; Sellar 2000, p. 189; Anderson, AO 1922b, pp.
254–255; Stevenson 1853, p. 130; Stevenson 1835, p. 79.
^ McDonald 2000, p. 178–179; McDonald 1997, pp. 58–60.
^ McDonald 2007, p. 116; Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 137.
^ Beuermann 2010, p. 102 n. 9; Woolf 2005.
^ Sellar 2000, p. 198.
^ Sellar 2004; Sellar 2000, p. 198.
^ Oram 2011, p. 128; Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 245; McDonald
1997, p. 67; Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 254; Mac Carthy 1898: pp.
^ McDonald 1997, p. 67.
^ Oram 2011, p. 128; McDonald 1997, p. 61.
^ Oram 2011, p. 128; Beuermann 2011, p. 5; Power 2005, p. 28.
^ a b c Oram 2011, p. 128.
^ Beuermann 2011, pp. 2–3, 5; Power 2005, pp. 28–30.
^ a b Sellar 2000: p. 203; Brown 1969: pp. 130–133.
^ Power 2005: p. 31.
^ McDonald 1995: p. 209.
^ McDonald 1997: p. 220; Brown 1969: p. 132; Anderson, AO 1922b: p.
247; Birch 1870: p. 361.
^ Brown 1969: p. 132.
^ McDonald 1997: p. 221; McDonald 1995: pp. 210–213.
^ Sellar 2004; McDonald 1997, p. 62.
^ Power 2005: p. 28; McDonald 1997: pp. 62, 246. See also Ritchie
1997: pp. 100–101.
^ Power 2005: p. 28.
^ Laing 1850, p. 126 (§ 769).
^ a b McDonald 2000, p. 184; Woolf 2004, pp. 104–105; McDonald 1997,
p. 66; Barrow 1981, p. 48.
^ Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 245.
^ a b Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 245; Anderson, AO 1922b, pp.
254–255; Stevenson 1853, p. 130; Stevenson 1835, p. 79.
^ a b McDonald 2007, p. 54; McDonald 2002, pp. 117–188 n. 76;
Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 255 n. 1.
^ McDonald 2002, pp. 117–188 n. 76.
^ a b Oram 2011, p. 128; Sellar 2004; McDonald 2002, p. 103; McDonald
1997, pp. 61–62; Anderson, AO 1922b, pp. 256–258; Arnold 1885, pp.
386–388; Skene 1871, pp. 449–451.
^ a b McDonald 2000, p. 169; McDonald 1997, pp. 61–62; Macphail
1914, pp. 9–10; Macbain & Kennedy 1894, pp. 154–155.
^ McDonald 2000, p. 169; McDonald 1997, pp. 61–62.
^ Roberts 1999, p. 96.
^ McDonald 1997, p. 62 n. 67.
^ McDonald 1997, p. 62; Anderson, AO 1922b, p. 254; Stokes 1897, p.
^ Sellar 2000, p. 195 n. 32; Skene 1871, pp. 256–257; Skene 1872,
pp. 251–252; Stevenson 1835, p. 79 n. d.
^ a b Sellar 2000, p. 195 n. 32.
^ Power 2005, p. 24; McDonald 1997, p. 71; Oram 1988, pp. 39–40;
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^ Oram 2011, p. 128; Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 245; Sellar
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^ a b Oram 2011, p. 127.
^ a b Oram 2011, p. 127; McDonald 2000: pp. 183–184.
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^ Oram 2011, p. 127; Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 245.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 128–129; Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, pp.
^ a b c Oram 2011, pp. 128–129.
^ Oram 2011, pp. 128–129; Anderson, AO 1922b, pp. 258–259; Munch;
Goss 1874, pp. 74–75.
^ Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 246; Sellar 2004; Duncan &
Brown 1956–1957, p. 197.
^ Sellar 2000, p. 195.
^ Duncan & Brown 1956–1957, p. 198.
^ Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, p. 246; Duncan & Brown
1956–1957, p. 198.
^ Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, pp. 246–248.
^ Forte, Oram & Pedersen 2005, pp. 246–247.
^ a b McAndrew 2006, p. 66; McAndrew 1999, p. 693.
^ McAndrew 2006, p. 66; McAndrew, Bruce A., Some ancient Scottish
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^ McDonald 1997, p. 69 n. 5; Macbain & Kennedy 1894, p. 157.
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^ McDonald 1997, p. 69 n. 5; Macphail 1914, p. 11.
^ Sellar 2004; Sellar 2000, p. 195 n. 32.
^ Sellar 2000, p. 195; Duncan & Brown 1956–1957, pp. 197–198.
^ Sellar 2000, p. 203.
^ Sellar 2011, p. 92; Sellar 2004.
^ a b Sykes 2004, pp. 220–221.
^ Sykes 2004, p. 222.
^ a b Sykes 2004, p. 224.
^ a b Sellar 2011, p. 93.
^ a b Sykes 2004, pp. 223–224.
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Somerled, lord of
Argyll (d.1164) @ People of Medieval Scotland,
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