Somerled, King of the Hebrides

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Somhairle mac Gillebride, Ri Innse Gall

Also Known As: "Somerled", "Sumarliði", "Somhairle", "Sorley", "R1a1", "Somerled //", "Somerled Of The Isles", "Local King (Regulus) Of Argyll", "Sumarlioi"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Morvern, Argyll (Argyleshire), Scotland
Death: Died in Renfrew, Scotland
Place of Burial: Abbey of Saddell, Kintyre, Argule, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Gillebride mac Gille Adomnan and NN Sigurdsdattir
Husband of Elfrica (Rachel); N.N., Unknown Wife or Mistress of Somerled; Ragnhildr Óláfsdóttir; N.N. Bisset and N.N., a Lowland woman
Father of Somhairle Og mac Somairle, King of Kintyre and of the Hebrides; Gilliecolum mac Somairle; Ragnall mac Somhairle, Lord of the Isles; Angus of Bute; Bethóc ingen Somairle and 6 others
Brother of N. Gillebridedatter, of the Isles

Occupation: Lord of the Isles, 1st Lord of the Isles; eighth Thane/Regulus/Lord of Argyll, lord of Cantyre, lord of the Hebrides; Norse King of the Sudreys., Lord of Isles, Lord i Argyll, Skottland 1154-1164, kung på Isle of Man 1158-1164
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Somerled, King of the Hebrides

Somerled, Lord of Argyll

Married the daughter of King Olav of Man

Somerled, Thane of Argyll married Ragnhild (?), daughter of Olaf, King of Man and the Isles, in 1140. He died in 1164 at near Renfrew, Renfrewshire, Scotland, killed in action.1

Five children:

1. Dulgal (Dougall), ancestor of the Clan MacDougall: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_MacDougall

2. Reginald (Ragnald, Ragnvald), Lord of the Isles

3. Engus (Aonghus, Angus)

4. Olav

5. Gillecolan (Giles)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerled

Somerled (Old Norse Sumarliði, Scottish Gaelic Somhairle, commonly Anglicized from Gaelic as Sorley) was a military and political leader of the Scottish Isles in the 12th century who was known in Gaelic as ri Innse Gall ("King of the Hebrides"). His father was Gillebride of Clan Angus who had been exiled to Ireland. The name, a common one amongst the Vikings, means summer traveller and is a kenning for Viking.[1]

Somerled first appears in historical chronicles in the year 1140 as the regulus, or King, of Kintyre (Cinn Tìre) when he marries Raghnailt the daughter of Olaf (or Amhlaibh), King of Mann and the Isles. The year 1153 saw the deaths of two kings: David I of Scotland and Olaf of Mann. There was much confusion and discord as a result and Somerled took his chance - making offensive moves against both Scotland and Mann and the Isles, the latter having been inherited from Olaf by Somerled's brother-in-law, Goraidh mac Amhlaibh.

A summoning was sent to Somerled Dougal - Somerled's own son by his wife, the daughter of the Manx king - to move so he might be "King over the Isles". In 1156 Goraidh was defeated in battle against 80 ships of Somerled's fleet and the two enemies partitioned the isles between them. Goraidh kept the islands north of Ardnamurchan with Somerled gaining the rest. However, two years following this Somerled returned to the Isle of Man with 53 warships. He defeated Goraidh again and this time forced him to flee to Norway. Somerled's kingdom now stretched from the Isle of Man to the Butt of Lewis.

Thus both Viking and Scot formed one people under a single lord and came to share a single culture, one way of life - they were to become a powerful and noted race known as the Gall-Gaidheal, literally meaning 'Foreign-Gaels'. It was upon the seas their power was situated under the rule of the Kings of the Isles yet new enemies arose in the east. The Stuarts made inroads in the west coast and eventually Somerled assembled a sizeable army to repel them. He advanced to the centre of the Stewarts' own territory, to Renfrew, where a great battle was fought in 1164. Much confusion surrounds the manner of the battle, and indeed whether a battle occurred at all, but what is certain is that Somerled was assassinated, after which his army retreated from the area.

Following the death of Somerled several powerful lords emerged from within his kingdom. The lordship was contested by two main families; that of Somerled and his descendants and that of the descendants of Goraidh mac Amhlaibh. During the 12th and 13th centuries the Scandinavian world saw much change in methods of rule and administration which ultimately resulted in more strongly centralized, unified kingdoms such as Denmark and Norway. However, this did not happen in the Kingdom of the Isles, which was instead absorbed into the greater Kingdom of Scotland, albeit its place in that state and the loyalty of its inhabitants to the King of Scots would remain peripheral and temperamental for centuries to come.

In 2005 a study by Professor of Human Genetics Bryan Sykes of Oxford led to the conclusion that Somerled has possibly 500,000 living descendants - making him the second most common currently-known ancestor after Genghis Khan. [1] [2] [3] Sykes's research led him to conclude that Somerled was a member of the Y-DNA R1a1 Haplogroup, often considered the marker of Viking descent among men of deep British or Scottish ancestry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_R1a_(Y-DNA)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_MacDougall

-------------------------------

In fiction

Somerled is the central character of Nigel Tranter's novel Lord of the Isles (1983).

References

   * MacDonald, R. Andrew The Kingdom of the Isles: Scotland's Western Seaboard c.1100–c.1336 (Tuckwell Press, 1997) ISBN 1-898410-85-2
   * MacPhee, Kathleen Somerled:Hammer of the Norse (NWP, 2004) ISBN 1-903238-24-2
   * Murray, W.H. (1973) The Islands of Western Scotland. London. Eyre Methuen.
   * Stiùbhart, Domhnall Uilleam Rìoghachd nan Eilean (Clò Hallaig, 2005) ISBN 0-9549914-0-0
   * Williams, Ronald The Lords of the Isles (Chatto & Windus, 1997) ISBN 1-899863-17-6

Notes

  1. ^ Murray (1973) p.168.

---------------------------------

The designation Lord of the Isles (Scottish Gaelic: Triath nan Eilean or Rí Innse Gall), now a Scottish title of nobility, emerged from a series of hybrid Viking/Gaelic rulers of the west coast and islands of Scotland in the Middle Ages, who wielded sea-power with fleets of galleys. Although at times nominal vassals of the King of Norway and/or of the King of Scotland, the island chiefs remained functionally independent for many centuries. Their territory included the Hebrides, (Skye and Ross from 1438), Knoydart, Ardnamurchan, and the Kintyre peninsula. At their height they were the greatest landowners and most powerful Lords in the British Isles following the Kings of England and Scotland.

Background

The west coast and islands of present-day Scotland formed part of the territories of the Northern Picts. They were invaded by Gaelic tribes from Ireland starting perhaps in the 4th century, who settled amongst the Picts and whose language eventually predominated. In the 7th and 8th centuries this area, like others, suffered raids and invasions by Vikings from Norway, and the islands became known to the Gaels as Innse-Gall, the Islands of the Strangers. Around 875, Norwegian jarls, or princes (literally "earls"), came to these islands to avoid losing their independence in the course of King Harald Fairhair's unification of Norway, but Harald pursued them and conquered the Hebrides as well as Man, Shetland and Orkney. The following year, the people of the Isles, both Gael and Norse, rebelled. Harald sent his cousin Ketil Flatnose to regain control, but Ketil then declared himself King of the Isles. Scotland and Norway would continue to dispute overlordship of the area, with the jarls of Orkney at times seeing themselves as independent rulers.

In 973, Maccus mac Arailt, King of the Isles, Cináed II, King of Scots, and Máel Coluim, King of Strathclyde formed a defensive alliance, but subsequently the Scandinavians defeated Gilledomman of the Isles and expelled him to Ireland. The Norse nobleman Godred Crovan became ruler of Man and the Isles, but he was deposed in 1095 by the new King of Norway, Magnus Bare Leg. In 1098, Magnus entered into a treaty with King Edgar of Scotland, intended as a demarcation of their respective areas of authority. Magnus was confirmed in control of the Isles and Edgar of the mainland. Lavery cites a tale from the Orkneyinga saga, according to which King Malcolm III of Scotland offered Earl Magnus of Orkney all the islands off the west coast navigable with the rudder set. Magnus then allegedly had a skiff hauled across the neck of land at Tarbert, Loch Fyne with himself at the helm, thus including the Kintyre peninsula in the Isles' sphere of influence. (The date given falls after the end of Malcolm's reign in 1093).

Founding of the dynasties

Somerled, Gilledomman's grandson, seized the Isles from the King of Mann in 1156 and founded a dynasty that in time became the Lords of the Isles. He was both Gael and Norseman: his contemporaries knew him as Somerled Macgilbred, Somhairle or in Norse Sumarlidi Höld ('Somerled' means "summer wanderer", the name given to the Vikings). He took the title ri Innse Gall (King of the Hebrides) as well as King of Mann.

After Somerled's death in 1164 three of his sons divided his kingdom between them:

  • Aonghus (ancestor of the McRuari or McRory)
  • Dughall (ancestor of Clan MacDougall)
  • Ragnald, whose son Donald Mor McRanald would give his name to Clan Donald, which would contest territory with the MacDougalls....

----------------------------

Foundation for Medieval Genealogy described Somerled and his sister, parents unknown/not documented in primary sources:

http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/SCOTTISH%20NOBILITY.htm

Chapter 9. ARGYLL

Arregaithel or Argyll was previously the kingdom of Dalriada in the west of Scotland. It was added as a province in the 10th century and at that time covered the whole western coast of Scotland as far north as Caithness. It is unclear whether the rulers of the province originally used the title Mormaer or were throughout referred to as Lord. Following the defeat of Somerled Lord of Argyll in 1164, it was nearly three centuries before James II King of Scotland created the earldom of Argyll, with Colin Campbell Lord Campbell as 1st Earl of Argyll, in 1457. He and his descendants are outside the scope of this work.

Brother and sister, parents not known:

1. SOMERLED (-killed in battle 1164). Lord of Argyll. He acquired control of the Western Isles and assumed the title King of the Isles. The Chronicle of Melrose records that Somerled Lord of Argyll landed at Renfrew in 1164, after 12 years of rebellion against Malcolm IV King of Scotland, with a large army from Ireland but was defeated and killed with his son[351].

m --- of Man, illegitimate daughter of OLAV King of Man & his mistress ---. The name of Somerled´s wife is not known. The Chronicon Manniæ et Insularum records that “Olavus filius Godredi Crovan” had many concubines by whom he fathered “filios tres…Reignaldum, Lagmannum et Haraldum et filias multas”, adding that one daughter married “Sumerledo regulo Herergaildel”[352]. Somerled & his wife had five children:

a) DULGAL . The Chronicon Manniæ et Insularum names “Dulgallum, Reginaldum, Engus et Olavum” as the four sons of “Sumerledo regulo Herergaildel” and his wife the daughter of Olav King of Man[353].

b) REGINALD . The Chronicon Manniæ et Insularum names “Dulgallum, Reginaldum, Engus et Olavum” as the four sons of “Sumerledo regulo Herergaildel” and his wife the daughter of Olav King of Man[354]. The Chronicon Manniæ et Insularum records that Engus, son of Somerled, defeated his brother Reginald in 1192[355].

- LORDS of the ISLES.

c) ENGUS (-killed 1210). The Chronicon Manniæ et Insularum names “Dulgallum, Reginaldum, Engus et Olavum” as the four sons of “Sumerledo regulo Herergaildel” and his wife the daughter of Olav King of Man[356]. The Chronicon Manniæ et Insularum records that Engus, son of Somerled, defeated his brother Reginald in 1192, adding in a later passage that Engus was killed in 1210[357].

d) OLAV . The Chronicon Manniæ et Insularum names “Dulgallum, Reginaldum, Engus et Olavum” as the four sons of “Sumerledo regulo Herergaildel” and his wife the daughter of Olav King of Man[358].

e) GILLECOLAN (-killed in battle 1164). The Chronicle of Melrose records that he was killed in battle with his father[359].

2. --- . Her parentage and marriage are confirmed by the Chronicle of John of Fordun (Continuator - Annals) which records the rebellion of "Sumerled kinglet of Argyll and his nephews the sons of Malcolm Macheth" in the first year of the reign of King Malcolm IV[360]. Her marriage date is estimated assuming that it is correct that her husband was imprisoned from 1134, before which his two children must have been born. There would be no such restriction on the date if Malcolm son of King Alexander I and Malcolm MacHeth were two different persons as suggested by Duncan[361]. m ([1130]) MALCOLM MacEth, [illegitimate son of ALEXANDER I "the Fierce" King of Scotland & his mistress ---] ([1105/15]-23 Oct 1168). He was created Earl of Ross in 1162 or before.

--------------------

King of the Isles

--------------------

andra namn för Somerled var Somerled of Argyll and MacGillebride, Somhairle Mor King of Argyll.

--------------------

Somerled, Thane of Argyll1

M, #24565, d. 1164

Last Edited=29 Oct 2005

    Somerled, Thane of Argyll married Ragnhild (?), daughter of Olaf, King of Man and the Isles, in 1140. He died in 1164 at near Renfrew, Renfrewshire, Scotland, killed in action.1
    Somerled, Thane of Argyll gained the title of Thane of Argyll.1 In 1158 he acquired the Southern Isles or Sudreys by conquest.1 He gained the title of King Somerled of the Sudreys recognised by the King of Norway.1 He fought in the camapign against Malcolm IV, King of Scotland in 1164.

Children of Somerled, Thane of Argyll and Ragnhild (?)

   * Angus, Lord of Bute and Arran+ d. 12101
   * Ranald, Lord of the Isles+ d. 12071
   * Dougal (?) 1
   * Gillicallum (?) d. 11641
   * Olav (?) 1
   * Gall Macsgillin (?) 1
   * Beatrix (?) 1

Citations

  1. [S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 449. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

Somerled (Old Norse Sumarliði, Scottish Gaelic Somhairle, commonly Anglicized from Gaelic as Sorley) was a military and political leader of the Scottish Isles in the 12th century who was known in Gaelic as ri Innse Gall ("King of the Hebrides"). His father was Gillebride of Clan Angus who had been exiled to Ireland. The name, a common one amongst the Vikings, means summer traveller and is a kenning for Viking.[1]

Somerled first appears in historical chronicles in the year 1140 as the regulus, or King, of Kintyre (Cinn Tìre) when he marries Raghnailt the daughter of Olaf (or Amhlaibh), King of Mann and the Isles. The year 1153 saw the deaths of two kings: David I of Scotland and Olaf of Mann. There was much confusion and discord as a result and Somerled took his chance - making offensive moves against both Scotland and Mann and the Isles, the latter having been inherited from Olaf by Somerled's brother-in-law, Goraidh mac Amhlaibh.

A summoning was sent to Somerled Dougal - Somerled's own son by his wife, the daughter of the Manx king - to move so he might be "King over the Isles". In 1156 Goraidh was defeated in battle against 80 ships of Somerled's fleet and the two enemies partitioned the isles between them. Goraidh kept the islands north of Ardnamurchan with Somerled gaining the rest. However, two years following this Somerled returned to the Isle of Man with 53 warships. He defeated Goraidh again and this time forced him to flee to Norway. Somerled's kingdom now stretched from the Isle of Man to the Butt of Lewis.

Thus both Viking and Scot formed one people under a single lord and came to share a single culture, one way of life - they were to become a powerful and noted race known as the Gall-Gaidheal, literally meaning 'Foreign-Gaels'. It was upon the seas their power was situated under the rule of the Kings of the Isles yet new enemies arose in the east. The Stuarts made inroads in the west coast and eventually Somerled assembled a sizeable army to repel them. He advanced to the centre of the Stewarts' own territory, to Renfrew, where a great battle was fought in 1164. Much confusion surrounds the manner of the battle, and indeed whether a battle occurred at all, but what is certain is that Somerled was assassinated, after which his army retreated from the area.

Following the death of Somerled several powerful lords emerged from within his kingdom. The lordship was contested by two main families; that of Somerled and his descendants and that of the descendants of Goraidh mac Amhlaibh. During the 12th and 13th centuries the Scandinavian world saw much change in methods of rule and administration which ultimately resulted in more strongly centralized, unified kingdoms such as Denmark and Norway. However, this did not happen in the Kingdom of the Isles, which was instead absorbed into the greater Kingdom of Scotland, albeit its place in that state and the loyalty of its inhabitants to the King of Scots would remain peripheral and temperamental for centuries to come.

In 2005 a study by Professor of Human Genetics Bryan Sykes of Oxford led to the conclusion that Somerled has possibly 500,000 living descendants - making him the second most common currently-known ancestor after Genghis Khan. [1] [2] [3] Sykes's research led him to conclude that Somerled was a member of the Y-DNA R1a1 Haplogroup, often considered the marker of Viking descent among men of deep British or Scottish ancestry.

   * MacDonald, R. Andrew The Kingdom of the Isles: Scotland's Western Seaboard c.1100–c.1336 (Tuckwell Press, 1997) ISBN 1-898410-85-2
   * MacPhee, Kathleen Somerled:Hammer of the Norse (NWP, 2004) ISBN 1-903238-24-2
   * Murray, W.H. (1973) The Islands of Western Scotland. London. Eyre Methuen.
   * Stiùbhart, Domhnall Uilleam Rìoghachd nan Eilean (Clò Hallaig, 2005) ISBN 0-9549914-0-0
   * Williams, Ronald The Lords of the Isles (Chatto & Windus, 1997) ISBN 1-899863-17-6

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Murray (1973) p.168.

--------------------

King Somerled II Of Morven was from. He was King of Argyll, Kintyre, Bute, Arran, etc. Parents: Gillebridge II Of Morven.

Spouse: Ragnhild Olafsdatter. King Somerled II Of Morven and Ragnhild Olafsdatter were married in 1140. Children were: King Reignald Somerledsson.

Somerled

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Somerled (Old Norse Sumarliði, Scottish Gaelic Somhairle, commonly Anglicized from Gaelic as Sorley) was a military and political leader of the Scottish Isles in the 12th century who was known in Gaelic as ri Innse Gall ("King of the Hebrides"). His father was Gillebride of Clan Angus who had been exiled to Ireland. The name, a common one amongst the Vikings, means summer traveller.[1]

Somerled first appears in historical chronicles in the year 1140 as the regulus, or King, of Kintyre (Cinn Tìre) when he marries Raghnailt the daughter of Olaf (or Amhlaibh), King of Mann and the Isles. The year 1153 saw the deaths of two kings: David I of Scotland and Olaf of Mann. There was much confusion and discord as a result and Somerled took his chance - making offensive moves against both Scotland and Mann and the Isles, the latter having been inherited from Olaf by Somerled's brother-in-law, Goraidh mac Amhlaibh.

A summoning was sent to Somerled Dougal - Somerled's own son by his wife, the daughter of the Manx king - to move so he might be "King over the Isles". In 1156 Goraidh was defeated in battle against 80 ships of Somerled's fleet and the two enemies partitioned the isles between them. Goraidh kept the islands north of Ardnamurchan with Somerled gaining the rest. However, two years following this Somerled returned to the Isle of Man with 53 warships. He defeated Goraidh again and this time forced him to flee to Norway. Somerled's kingdom now stretched from the Isle of Man to the Butt of Lewis.

Thus both Viking and Scot formed one people under a single lord and came to share a single culture, one way of life - they were to become a powerful and noted race known as the Gall-Gaidheal, literally meaning 'Foreign-Gaels'. It was upon the seas their power was situated under the rule of the Kings of the Isles yet new enemies arose in the east. The Stewarts made inroads in the west coast and eventually Somerled assembled a sizeable army to repel them. He advanced to the centre of the Stewarts' own territory, to Renfrew, where a great battle was fought in 1164. Much confusion surrounds the manner of the battle, and indeed whether a battle occurred at all, but what is certain is that Somerled was assassinated, after which his army retreated from the area.

Following the death of Somerled several powerful lords emerged from within his kingdom. The lordship was contested by two main families; that of Somerled and his descendants and that of the descendants of Goraidh mac Amhlaibh. During the 12th and 13th centuries the Scandinavian world saw much change in methods of rule and administration which ultimately resulted in more strongly centralized, unified kingdoms such as Denmark and Norway. However, this did not happen in the Kingdom of the Isles, which was instead absorbed into the greater Kingdom of Scotland, albeit its place in that state and the loyalty of its inhabitants to the King of Scots would remain peripheral and temperamental for centuries to come.

In 2005 a study by Professor of Human Genetics Bryan Sykes of Oxford led to the conclusion that Somerled has possibly 500,000 living descendants - making him the second most common currently-known ancestor after Genghis Khan. [1] [2] [3]

Head of State of the Isle of Man

Preceded by

Godred V King of Mann and the Isles

1158 - 1164 Succeeded by

Ragnald III

-------------------- http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~whosyomama/3/15262.htm

Somerled was born around 1113 in Morven, Argyleshire. He was the son of Gillebride Mac Gille Adomnan and a Viking woman. Although there is some contention on his ancestry, his father was apparently either of the Royal line of Dalriada, Gall Gael (which is Cruithni or Pict) or both. Somerled's name means 'summer wanderer', a name used by his contemporaries to describe the Vikings. For Somerled, it was a name that prophecized his life -and the combination of bloodlines, at least in Somerled's case, proved itself powerful, as he later forged a permanent spot for himself in the history of the Isles and Scotland.

Sometime in Somerled's early youth, the Lochlans and the Fingalls (Clans or tribes) expelled Somerled's family from their home. They took refuge in Ireland, where Gillebride managed to persuade the Colla (an Irish tribe) to assist him in the recovery of his possessions or holdings. A large force of approximately 500 men accompanied the family home. The mission was a failure, however, and his father either died in the battle or soon afterwards.

Somerled lived for a while in the caves of his homeland, fishing and hunting for his survival. Slowly he grew into manhood and became, according to the accounts; "A well tempered man, in body shapely, of a fair and piercing eye, of middle stature and quick discernment." During this period of his life several things happened in quick succession which made Somerled a man of stature.

In one story, Somerled put himself at the head of the inhabitants of Morven and attacked the Norwegians. He was successful, and recovered his family's lands at the same time. He then was master of Morven, Lochaber and northern Argyle. Soon after this he conquered the southern portions and pronounced himself Thane or Regulus of Argyle. This happened at about the same time as David the First's war with the Norwegians, which took place in 1135, so Somerled may have received these lands in a grant from the King.

His newfound power greatly increased his standing, but it also drew the attention of his neighbors, the Vikings in the Isles (the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Man and that general area). Somerled, however, still did not have the force required to take on the Olaf the Red, the Viking Lord of the Isles. Instead he chose to woo his enemy for the hand of his daughter, Ragnhild. Eventually he succeeded (some say by trickery) in obtaining Olaf's daughter's hand and the two were married in approximately 1140.

For the next fourteen years Somerled and Ragnhild lived in relative peace and started raising a family. Raginald gave him three sons, Dugall, Reginald, and Angus. These sons joined his son by a previous marriage, Gillecallum.

In 1154, Olaf (Olave in some stories) was murdered by his nephews who quickly took control of the northern half of the Kingdom of the Isles. Olaf's son, Godfred (or Godfrey) heard of the events and returned from Norway, quickly regaining possession of the entire Kingdom. But Godfrey was a tyrant, and the Islemen soon revolted against his leadership. Some of the chieftans of the Isles appealed to Somerled for help. He joined them and defeated Godfrey, in the process taking the southern half of the Kingdom for himself. About two years later Godfrey and Somerled again went to war, this time Somerled was using new ships with a rudder and Godfrey was defeated again. Somerled became King of the Isles in about 1156.

At about the same time, Somerled was also campaigning in Scotland to a small degree and this in combination with his new title as King of the Isles drew the attention of its King. King Malcolm IV of Scotland was concerned over Somerled's growing power and dispatched an army to Argyle. In 1160, after a battle the two Kings reached an understanding and there was again peace. This peace was short lived however, as in late 1163, after being continually insulted by Malcolm and his ministers, Somerled led an army against Scotland.

The King of the Isles sailed up the Clyde with 164 galleys and 15,000 troops to Greenock. He landed at the Bay of St. Lawrence and marched on Renfrew. There are two popular stories about what occurred in Scotland. In one version, a bribed nephew murdered Somerled and the army of the Isles dispersed and went home. In the other version of the story, battle was joined between the Scots and the men of the Isles and Somerled was killed. His son Gillecallum, his heir, also died during the battle. Now without a leader, the army from the Isles dispersed and went home. In either case Somerled died in Scotland in very early 1164.

Somerled is generally credited with breaking the power of the Vikings in the Isles as his descendants remained Kings of the Isles for centuries after his death. One of Somerled's grandsons, a Donald, is also considered the ancestor of the Clan Donald, for his sons were the first to carry the name MacDonald.

The Founder of Saddell Abbey - Somerled

One of the most important and least well-known figures in Scottish history, Somerled was born around 1113 in Argyleshire. Of mixed parentage, his father was a Gaelic chieftain, Gillebride Mac Gille Adomnan, and his mother was Norse. Although there is some contention on his ancestry, his father was apparently a descendant of the Royal line of Dalriada, whose dynasty had abandoned their ancestral heartland to the Vikings when Kenneth MacAlpin had moved his powerbase east to the ancient Pictish capital of Scone in the mid-9th century.

By the time of Somerled's birth, the Vikings had long been in control of all of the northern and western isles of Scotland, and great swathes of the mainland too. It is Somerled who is credited with defeating the Vikings and establishing the great Gaelic power that became the Lordship of the Isles.

Somerled had four sons, Dugall, Reginald, and Angus by his second wife, the daughter of the Norse King of Man, and the eldest by his first marriage, Gillecallum. Dugall gave his name to the Clan MacDougall, and Reginald's son Donald gave his name to the clan MacDonald.

The time of the Lordship brought a flourishing of Gaelic culture the equal of any court in Britain, if not Europe, which lives on to this day. Professional poets and musicians composed and performed original works alongside skilled and knowledgeable physicians, scholars, lawyers and artisans.

Somerled's success in the west brought him into conflict with the Scottish crown and was ultimately to lead to his death in 1164. In late 1163, the King of the Isles sailed up the Clyde with 164 galleys and 15,000 troops to Greenock. There are two legends about what occurred after he landed. In one version, a bribed nephew murdered Somerled and the army of the Isles dispersed and went home. In the other version of the story, battle was joined between the Scots and the men of the Isles and Somerled was killed along with his son and heir, Gillecallum. It is said that the army of the Isles returned to their homeland where they buried their dead chieftain in the abbey church that he had founded at Saddell in Kintyre.

The History of Saddell Abbey

The story of Saddell Abbey is the story of the Lordship of the Isles and of the great monastic adventure which swept across Europe from the 11th century. These two historical movements were to came together in a quiet wooded valley on the east coast of Kintyre in the year 1148 to create the little monastic church that has survived, ruinous but still upstanding, over eight and a half centuries down to the present day.

The monks who built Saddell Abbey were not the first to settle in Kintyre, however. In the years following St Columba's foundation of the monastery on Iona in A.D. 563, missions were sent out throughout Scotland and new monasteries were established as far north as the lands of the Picts and as far south as Lindisfarne in the Kingdom of Northumberland. There were probably several monastic settlements on Kintyre, but little is known about them, or whether any survived the Viking raids which began in the Hebrides in 798. The decision by the kings of Dalriada to move Columba's relics to Kells in Ireland and Dunkeld in Pictland in 849 marked the end of Iona's pre-eminence and the beginning of Norse power in the area. While there is no evidence for an early Christian settlement at Saddell, the name itself is Norse for 'sandy dale', and indicates that Vikings probably lived there for a time.

The monastery on Iona survived the Viking attacks, and when the ancient Celtic monastic way of life was finally ended it was not to be at the hands of pagan warriors, but by a new form of monasticism which had begun in Italy during the 6th century. The creator of this new way was St Benedict who founded the famous monastery of Monte Cassino and there composed a rule for his monks which, over the following centuries, was to become the basis of all monastic life in western Christendom.

The arrival of the white monks at Saddell was just one small part of an explosive revival of monasticism throughout Europe at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries. The roots of this revival can be traced to the early 10th century, when the abbey of Cluny in Burgundy was founded. The monks there adopted a strict way of life based on St Benedict's Rule, but with even greater emphasis than before on physical denial. On entering this new, reformed order a Benedictine monk had to renounce the world, surrender all his private property and vow to stay in the monastery until he died.

This new and quite extreme monastic philosophy struck a chord with the men of Europe and they flocked to join the monasteries to live this radical and austere Christian existence. Indeed, it was feared by some at the time that the human race itself would come to an end should so many young men continue to choose to live the celibate life of a monk. The three most popular of these new orders were the Carthusians, or black monks, the Tironensians, or grey monks, and the Cistercians, or white monks. The community at Saddell Abbey were members of the Cistercian order.

The Cistercians were to flourish in Britain for over four hundred years. In their heyday, when the reputation of the white monks was at its peak, its houses formed part of the greatest ecclesiastical organization ever seen and they were patronized by kings, bishops and aristocracy.

The Cistercian order was founded in 1098 when a monk called Robert, the abbot of a prosperous monastery in Burgundy, left with a group of brothers to found a new monastery in the wild local forests. Robert was uncomfortable with the wealth and prosperity which his old monastery had acquired, and, like so many Christians of his time, he chose to follow a simpler way of life. The place where they settled was called Citeaux, which, in the Latin language that the monks used, gave them their name, the Cistercians.

The success of the order led to new, daughter houses being founded, and eventually there were to be more than 700 Cistercian abbeys spread throughout Europe. The Cistercians' first foundation in Scotland was at Melrose in 1136, and another 10 were to be founded, including the small abbey in Saddell Glen in Kintyre.

Saddell Abbey owes its foundation to two men - the Hebridean warrior-king Somerled and St Malachy of Armagh. It was during a pilgrimage to Rome in 1139 that Malachy, the bishop of Armagh, visited the great Cistercian monastery at Clairvaux in France. Inspired by his experience there, on his return he founded the first reformed monastery in Ireland at a place he called Mellifont, the 'fountain of honey'.

The foundation of Saddell Abbey came during St Malachy's final journey to Rome in 1148. His biographer wrote that he left Mellifont and

"...in the morning he went on board, and the same day, after a prosperous crossing, came into Scotland. On the third day he reached a place which is called The Green Lake; which he had caused to be prepared that he might found an abbey there. And leaving there some of his sons, our brothers, as a convent of monks and abbot, he bade them farewell and set out."

Although all of the documents have been lost, it would appear that for the original foundation at Saddell St Malachy supplied the monks from Ireland, and Somerled provided the land to build upon. After his death, his son Reginald continued to support both the community at Saddell and the new Benedictine foundation at the old Celtic site on Iona.

The life of a Cistercian monk was vividly described by Aelred, the abbot of the great English abbey of Rievaulx: "Our food is scanty, our garments rough, our drink is from the stream and our sleep often upon our book. Under our tired limbs there is but a hard mat; when sleep is sweetest, we must rise at bell's bidding. Self-will has no place; there is no moment for idleness or dissipation."

The choice of location of a new monastery was crucial to the Cistercians. Hidden in the quiet of the countryside, the monks could concentrate without distraction on their search for spiritual union with God. Aelred may have thought the physical life of a Cistercian monk was tough, but he described spiritual life in the abbey as "everywhere peace, everywhere serenity and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world".' Today, over eight centuries after the first monks arrived from Ireland, it is still easy to see why the quiet, pastoral Glen Saddell was a perfect match for the Cistercian philosophy.

From its foundation until the mid-15th century the Cistercian life at Saddell continued without much notice in national history. It was probably always a small community, on a confined site, with modest buildings. As such, however, it probably fulfilled the Cistercian ideal better than any other abbey in Scotland, and maybe in Europe as a whole.

This is not to say that Saddell Abbey was not an important site. As the first foundation of the reformed religious orders in the area which was soon to become the Lordship of the Isles it marked the change from the old Celtic form of monasticism to the new European one, and, more broadly, the beginning of a new, powerful and fertile period in the culture and history of the Gaelic Western Highlands and Islands.

Created and supported by the Lords of the Isles, it is no surprise that Saddell Abbey died when its patrons had their lands and their powers taken from them by the Scottish crown. On the 1st of January 1508, fifteen years after the final forfeiture of the Lordship of the Isles, King James IV granted the lands of Saddell to the bishop of Argyll and gave him a licence to build a castle there. The construction of the castle marked the end of religious life at Saddell Abbey - after 360 years of worship, the Opus Dei was to be heard no more.

It is possible that at this point in time the abbey may have been abandoned to decay into a forgotten ruin and to disappear into history, a footnote only to the crushing of the Lords of the Isles and the victory of the Scottish crown. But Saddell possesses another memory from the days of the Lordship, an artistic treasure which shows us today how just truly important a place it was and how wealthy and sophisticated its patrons were - the collection of magnificent sculpted stones that once marked the resting places of great lords and churchmen in and around the abbey church.

Throughout the Lordship as a whole, more than six hundred of these richly carved crosses, grave-slabs, and effigies have survived to the present day, with probably many more lost in antiquity. It used to be believed that all of these stones were made on Iona, but now we know that it was the location of just the largest of four or five 'schools' of carving in the region in the 14th and 15th centuries. One of the most important of these workshops was located in Kintyre, and modern experts now believe that it was based at Saddell Abbey.

Of the collection of twelve carved stones at Saddell there is one cross, six graveslabs and five effigies - portraits in stone of the men they commemorated. Today at Saddell Abbey you can stand face to face with three great warriors from the time of the Lordship. You can see the armour they wore, the swords they wielded and the ships that they sailed in. Better than any song or saga, these stone carvings show us just how powerful the fighting men of the Lordship were, just why it took the Scottish crown so long to bring them under its control and why they felt the need to build such a strong castle in this seemingly quiet, peaceful glen. The Saddell stones are witness to all of these things and much more besides.

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Clan Donald is one of the oldest, and probably the largest and most and probably the largest and most famous of all the Highland clans. Its Celtic heritage goes back into antiquity, beyond the 6th Century AD, to the great clans in what today is Ireland, Conn of the 100 Battles, Cairfre Raida, founder of Dal Raida in Antrim, Eire, and Colla Uathais. Our Viking heritage goes back to Ingiald "Ill-Ruler" and Olaf "Tree-Hewer" in 7th Century Sweden and Norway. All of these traditional blood lines came together in the 12th Century. Somerled MacGillebride MacGilladamnan, the historic founder of Clann Domhnaill. Our ancestors were regarded as the heads of the ancient race of Conn, and the lineal heirs of the kings of the Dalriadic Scots. Clan Donald, greatest and largest of the Highland Clans, begins it's recorded history with Somerled, a descendant of Conn of the Hundred Battles and Clan Colla. Somerled's defeat of the Norse King of Man in 1156 gained independence for southwestern Scotland that survived for over four centuries.

When the fortunes of the Clan were at the lowest ebb, there arose a savior in the person of one of the most celebrated of Celtic heroes, Somerled, the son of Gillebride. He was living with his father in the caves of Morven and is described in an ancient chronicle as "A well tempered man, in body shapely, of a fair and piercing eye, of middle stature and quick discernment." His early years were passed in hunting and fishing; "his looking glass was the stream; his drinking cup the heel of his shoe; he would rather spear a salmon than spear a foe; he cared more to caress the skins of seals and otters than the shining hair of women.

At present he was as peaceful as a torch or beacon - unlit. The hour was coming when he would be changed, when he would blaze like a burnished torch, or a beacon on a hilltop against which he wind is blowing." But when the Isles' men, over whom his ancestors had ruled, were in dire need of a leader Somerled came forward in his true character. A local tradition in Skye tells that the Islesmen held a council at which they decided to offer Somerled the chiefship, to be his and his descendants forever.

They found Somerled fishing, and to him made their offer. Somerled replied, "Islesmen, there is a newly run salmon in the black pool yonder. If I catch him, I will go with you as your Chief; if I catch him not, I shall remain where I am." The Islemen, a race who believed implicitly in omens, were content, and Somerled cast his line over the black pool. Soon after a shining salmon leapt in the sun, and the skilful angler had the silvery fish on the river bank. The Islemen acclaimed him their leader, and as such he sailed back with them "over the sea to Skye," where the people joyously proclaimed that the Lord of the Isles had come. Such a tradition in Skye. Other accounts say that the scene of Somerled's first achievements was in Morven, and his conquest of the Isles later.

Somerled, Rex Insularum, took his place as a leader of men, from whom descended a race of Kings, a dynasty distinguished in the stormy history of the Middle Ages, who ranked themselves before the Scottish Kings.

The young hunter uprose a mighty warrior, who with dauntless courage and invincible sword struck terror into the hearts of his foes. Nor did he depend along on his matchless courage. In one of his first encounters with the Norse invaders he made full use of that "quick discernment" ascribed to him by the early chronicler. It happened that while on a small island with a following of only one hundred Islemen, he was surrounded by the whole Norwegian fleet, and, realizing that his small force was utterly inadequate to resist their attack, conceived a clever stratagem to deter the norsemen from landing on the island. Each of his men was ordered to kill a cow, and this having been done, and the cows skinned, Somerled ordered his little force to march round the hill on which they lay encamped; which having been done, in full view of the enemy, he then made them all put on the cowhides to disguise themselves, and repeat the march round the hill. He now ordered his men to reverse the cowhides, and for a third time march round the hill, thus exhibiting to the Norsemen the appearance of a force composed of three divisions. The ruse succeeded, for the enemy fleet withdrew.

Somerled prosecuted the war into the heart of the enemy's country; and having gained possession of the mainland domain of his forefathers, he took the title of Thane or Regulus of Argyll, determining to obtain possession of the Kingdom of Man and the Isles and thus form a Celtic Kingdom.

Olave the Red, then King of Man and the Isles, becoming alarmed at the increasing power of Somerled, arrived with a fleet in Storna Bay. The "quick discernment" of Somerled again proved equal to the occasion. He was desirous of obtaining the hand of Olave's daughter, Ragnhildis, in marriage, and went to meet the King of Man. Somerled wishing to remain unknown to Olave, said, "I Come from Somerled, Thane of Argyll, who promises to assist you in your expedition, provided you bestow upon him the hand of your daughter, Ragnhildis." Olave, however, recognized Somerled, and declined his request. Tradition says that Somerled was much in love with the fair Ragnhildis, and considering all is fair in love and war, agreed to the following plan to obtain her father's consent:

Maurice MacNeill, a foster brother of Olave, but also a close friend of Somerled, bored several holes in the bottom of the King's galley, making pins to plug them when the necessity arose, but meanwhile filled the holes with tallow and butter. When, next day, Olave put to sea, the action of the water displaced the tallow and butter, and the galley began to sink. Olave and his men in the sinking galley called upon Somerled for aid. who sent to his marriage with Ragnhildis. The promise was given, Olave found safety in Somerled's galley, Maurice MacNeill fixed the pins he had prepared into the holes, and, to the King's amazement, his galley proceeded in safety. The marriage of Somerled and Ragnhildis took place in the year >1140. In >1154, Olave was murdered by his nephews, who claimed half the Kingdom of the Isles. Godred, son of Olave, who was in Norway at the time, returned to the Isles, but his tyranny and oppression caused the Islesmen to revolt, and Somerled, joining forces with them, seized half the Kingdom of the Isles, and became Righ Innesegall, or King of the Isles, as well as Thane of Argyll. Later Somerled invaded the Isle of Man, defeated Godfrey, and became possessed of the whole Kingdom of Man and the Isles.

The power of Somerled, King of the Isles, now caused great anxiety on the neighboring mainland, and King Malcolm IV of Scotland dispatched a large army to Argyll. Somerled took up the challenge, and a hard fought battle left both sides too exhausted to continue hostilities. Peace was established between the King of Scotland and Somerled, but after suffering great provocation from Malcolm and his ministers, the King of the Isles again took up arms in >1164, and gathering a great host, 15,000 strong, with a fleet of 164 galleys, sailed up the Clyde to Greenock. He disembarked in the Bay of St. Lawrence, and marched to Renfrew, where the King of Scotland's army lay. The traditional version of what then occurred is, that feeling reluctant to join issue with the Highland host, and being numerically inferior, Malcom's advisers determined to accomplish the death of Somerled by treachery. They bribed a young nephew of Somerled, named Maurice MacNeill, to visit his uncle and murder him. MacNeill was admitted to Somerled's tent, and finding him off his guard, stabbed him to the heart. When Somerled's army learnt of the fate of their great leader, they fled to their galleys and dispersed.

Tradition tells of a dramatic episode that is said to have occurred when King Malcolm and his nobles came to view the corpse of their late powerful foe. One of the nobles kicked the dead hero with his foot. When Maurice MacNeill, the murderer, saw this cowardly action, the shame of his own foul deed came upon him . He denounced his past treachery, and confessed that he had sinned "most villainously and against his own conscience," being "unworthy and base to do so." He stabbed to the heart the man who had insulted the mighty Somerled, and fled. Through one Maurice MacNeill had Somerled won a bride, and at the hands of another Maurice MacNeill met his death.

With regal pomp and ceremony the body of the King of the Isles was buried In Iona's piles, Where rest from mortal coil the mighty of the Isles.

Family tradition, however, says that the Monastery of Saddel was the final resting place of the mighty founder and progenitor of the line of Princes that sat upon the Island throne, from whom descended the great Clan Donald.

Taken from History of the Clan McDonald: The Families of MacDonald, McDonald and McDonnell , By Henry Lee, New York, R. L. Polk and Company, INC. (Copyright 1920) -------------------- Somerled mac Gillebride, King of the Isles, was traditionally described as "a well-tempered man, in body shapely, of a fair piercing eye, of middle stature, and of quick discernment". He appears, indeed, to have been equally brave and sagacious, tempering courage with prudence, and, excepting in the last act of his life, distinguished for the happy talent, rare at any period, of profiting by circumstances, and making the most of success.

Somerled started out brooding on the misfortunes of his family, but then boldly put himself at the head of the inhabitants of Morven; he attacked the Norwegians, whom, after considerable struggle, he expelled. He made himself master of the whole of Morven, Lochaber, and northern Argyle; and not long afterwards added to his other possessions the southern districts of that country before 1135.

Somerled was granted the lands of Man, Arran, and Bute, which King David I gained by expelling the Norwegians in 1135. He acquired the western islands via a marriage to the daughter of Olaf the Red in 1140: He married Ragnhildis Ólafsdóttir in 1140.

Somerled was King of the Isles at Scotland between 1140 and 1164. He was King of Man between 1158 and 1164.

With 6,000 men Somerled helped the 1st High Steward of Scotland Walter fitz Alan Commander of the Household Knights to defeat a large force of Norsemen. He was wounded and killed at this battle of Renfrew, his son dying by his side.

See "My Lines"

( http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cousin/html/p372.htm#i7025 )

from Compiler: R. B. Stewart, Evans, GA

( http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cousin/html/index.htm ) -------------------- Enligt en Y-kromosonundersökning VID Oxfords Universitet AV genetikern Bryan Sykes HAR Somerled, grundaren AV clanen MacDonald sannolikt SINA rotter i Norge. Somerled Anses Vara en skiva Skottlands största krigare. Artikeln jag mig sminkad Publicerad 2003, SE This länk. (Http://www.electricscotland.com/history/articles/norse.htm).

Somerled var den første Icke norske Kungen Eller Lorden över öarna, SOM Hade styrts AV Norska hövdingar Mellan 875 OCH 1140. Isles omfattar Hebriderna and Västra kusten AV Skottland. DET ATT Antas Harald Svartes son Gudröd Crovan äktade Ragnhild, dotter till Harald Hårdråde. Detta bekräftas VID ATT ETT AV Gudröd Crovans barnbarn (dotter AV Olof Bitling) blev kallad Ragnhild, HON blev Gift med Somerled AV Argyll. (Fra Skanke-slektens historie, sid 10, GVC Young, 1986)

Somerled Mac Gillabride, Född förgrunden 1140. Grundare AV-dynastin Lords of the Isles. Han var son till Gillibride (Gilbert) and Yxkullsgatan till Gillaegammon, SOM grundade kungariket Argathelia (Argyll). Död i Slaget vid Renfrew ÅR 1164. Sumerled, Lord av Argyll, och detta var orsaken till undergång för hela riket av öarna, ty han hade problem med sina fyra söner, Dugald, Reginald, Angus och Olave. (Familjen register över Bruces och Cumyns "tryckt Kinnard, Falköping, januari 1870)

Efter ETT ÅR sjöslag 1156 delades Söderöarna Jag Två Delar and Hebriderna bildade rike ETT EGET MED Islay SOM Centrum. (Nordisk Vikingaguide, sid 189, G. Lars Holmblad)

Grunderna för denna ogiltigförklaring var att Olof tidigare hade hållit en kusin till sin hustru som en konkubin och var därför, tekniskt sett, begår incest. Detta verkar en mycket fin utmärkelse för mediaval Gaeldom och requel till denna historia troligen förklarar den verkliga motivet. På släpps från sitt första äktenskap med Lauon, en dotter till en adelsman i Kintyre, gifte Olof Christina dotter till Ferchar earl av Ross. Lauon far är ingenstans nämns i våra källor, men det är troligt att han var Ruaídrí son till Rognvald son Somerled som regerade Kintyre i början trettonde århundradet. Ruaídrí verkar ha förlorat sin mark, och kanske hans liv, under den skotske kungen Alexander II: s expedition (s) i väster i 1221 och / eller 1222. Efter sin hänsyn till OLAF: s äktenskap med Christina, berättar krönikan oss att Laon syster, drottning till kung Rognvald, provocerade Rognvald son Godred att attackera sin farbror Olaf. Trots inledande nederlag, Olaf, med helf av jarlen Ferchar, övervann sin brorson. Denna incident är daterad till år 1223. Dating föreslår att det var en kollaps av Ruaídrí ställning i Kintyre som ledde Olof, nu baserad i norr, att söka en mer lämplig bundsförvant i Ferchar. Om denna tolkning av händelser är korrekt så bör vi se biskop Rognvald som verktyg i OLAF: s politik snarare än som en beskäftig reformator. Det skulle vara intressant att veta om Mac Ruaídrís tacka för sin senare styrkeposition på Garmoran och Long Island OLAF: s beskydd. "Henne långt vi Interessante antydninger OM slektstilhørighet för Lauon og Hennes Fores søster SOM tilbake til Somerled. Han var Gift med Ragnhild datter AV-Olav Gudrødson og Ingebjørg. Ingebjørg var igjen datter av Håkon Jarl In Orknøyene. (maj Teistevoll, Norge)

Under år 1156 var ett sjöslag utkämpades mellan Godred och Somerled under natten till Trettondagen av vår Herres, med stora slakten på båda sidor. Men när dagen ljus kom de gjorde fred och som fördelas mellan dem Konungariket öarna och från den dagen till detta rike har förblivit delat. Således var det rike öarna förstört från den tidpunkt då söner Somerled kommit i besittning av det. Under år 1158 kom Somerled att Man med femtiotre fartyg, gav sig i strid med Godred, satte honom på flykten, plundrade hela ön, och pensionärer. Men Godred korsade över till Norge, i syfte att be hjälp mot Somerled. Under år 1192 fanns det en tävling mellan söner Somerled, Reginald, och Angus, där många skadades och föll, men Angus fick seger. Under samma år var klostret i St Många av Rushen bort till Pouglas. Efter att ha legat där i fyra år munkarna återvände till Rushen. Under år 1210, var Angus, son till Somerled, dödade, med sina tre söner. Samma år gick John, kung av England, med en flotta på 50 fartyg, till Irland och dämpad det. Han skickade en del av armén, med en jarl av namnet Fulke, till Man. Detta gäller i femton dagar ödelades nästan hela ön, och ta emot gisslan återvände hem. King Reginald, dock, och hans stormän var frånvarande från Man på den tiden. (Chronicle of Man och Sudreys)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The grounds for this annulment were that Olaf had previously kept a first cousin of his wife as a concubine and was therefore, technically, committing incest. This seems an extremely nice distinction for mediaval Gaeldom, and the requel to this story probably explains the real motive. On being released from his first marriage to Lauon, a daughter of a nobleman in Kintyre, Olaf married Christina the daughter of Ferchar earl of Ross. Lauon's father is nowhere named in our sources, but it is likely that he was Ruaídrí son of Rognvald son of Somerled who ruled Kintyre in the early thirteenth century. Ruaídrí appears to have lost his lands, and perhaps his life, in the course of the Scottish king Alexander II's expedition(s) to the west in 1221 and/or 1222. Following its account of Olaf's marriage to Christina, the Chronicle tells us that Laon's sister, queen to king Rognvald, provoked Rognvald's son Godred into attacking his uncle Olaf. Despite initial discomfiture, Olaf, with the helf of earl Ferchar, overcame his nephew. This incident is dated to the year 1223. The dating would suggest that it was the collapse of Ruaídrí's position in Kintyre that led Olaf, now based in the North, to seek a more appropriate ally in Ferchar. If this interpretation of events is correct then we should see bishop Rognvald as the tool of Olaf's policy rather than as an officious reformer. It would be interesting to know whether the Mac Ruaídrís owed their later position of strength in Garmoran and the Long Island to Olaf's patronage." Her får vi interessante antydninger om slektstilhørighet for Lauon og hennes søster som føres tilbake til Somerled. Han var gift med Ragnhild datter av Olav Gudrødson og Ingebjørg. Ingebjørg var igjen datter of Håkon, jarl på Orknøyene. (May Teistevoll, Norge)

In the year 1156, a naval battle was fought between Godred and Somerled, during the night of the Epiphany of our Lord, with great slaughter on both sides. But when day light came they made peace, and shared between them the kingdom of the Isles, and from that day to this the kingdom has remained divided. Thus was the kingdom of the Isles ruined from the time the sons of Somerled got possession of it. In the year 1158, Somerled came to Man with fifty-three ships, gave battle to Godred, put him to flight, plundered the whole island, and retired. But Godred crossed over to Norway, for the purpose of asking assistance against Somerled. In the year 1192, there was a contest between the sons of Somerled, Reginald, and Angus, in which many were wounded and fell, but Angus gained the victory. In the same year, the abbey of St. Many of Rushen was removed to Pouglas. After remaining there four years the monks returned to Rushen. In the year 1210, Angus, son of Somerled, was killed, with his three sons. In the same year, John, King of England, with a fleet of 50 ships, went to Ireland and subdued it. He sent a part of the army, with an earl of the name of Fulke, to Man. This force in fifteen days devastated nearly the whole island, and receiving hostages returned home. King Reginald, however, and his nobles were absent from Man at the time. (Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys)

http://www.espell.se/saga/p4ae4a4ad.html -------------------- He was both Gael and Norseman: known by his contemporaries as Somerled Macgilbred, Somhairie, or the Norse Sumarlidi Hold. Somerled means "summer wanderer" the name given to the Vikings. He was Thane of Argyll. He seized the Isles from the King of Mann in 1156 and founded a dynasty that in time became the Lords of the Isles. He took the title "re Innse Gail" - or King of the Hebrides) as well as King of Man.

Somerled was murdered in 1164 during the Battle of Renfrow against Malcomb, the King of Scotland. Somerled's nephew, Maurice McNeill, was enticed to run a knife threw this uncle's heart, which he did.

Somerled's 3 sons, Aonghus (Angus), Duhghll (Dughall), and Ragnald (Ranald), divided his kingdom between themselves.

Duhghall would form the Clan Mac Dougall, Ranald's son, Donald, would form the Clan MacDonald. Angus would be the ancester to the McRuari or McRory Clan.


-------------------- He married Ragnhild Olavsdatter in Scotland, 1140. Ragnhild is the daughter of Olaf "The_Red" King Godfredson and Ingebord Haakonsdatter. Known as Somerled II, King of the Morven district in the Hebridies, (Sunderoerne.). King of Argyll, Kintyre, Bute and Arran. Name means Solomon. Rex Insularum, Somhairle Mor MacGillebhride. ‚LORD OF THE ISLES NORSE.DAT 100. Assumed title of Thane of Argyll. The Clan Donald is known as the Clan Cholla or Siol Chuinn. Descended from the Conn of a hundred fights High King of Ireland who swayed the sceptre of Tara in the second century. Descendents of Colla Uais a later High King of Ireland. Fergus Mor the son of Erc, one of the three brothers who in the sixth century, founded the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada, was according to the Albanic Duan and the MS. of 1450, fourth in descent from Colla Uais. Dmnagart the elder son of Fergus, was the ancestor of Kenneth MacAlpine and the succeeding line of Scottish Kings. Godfrey the younger son, is claimed as the progenitor of the line from which the Clan Donald sprang from, and was known in his days as the Toshach of the Isles. SCOTS.DAT 210. -------------------- Historical (d. 1164) Scottish Gaelic leader, the first to be called Lord of the Isles, around whose persona many legends have accrued. Although descended from Irish kings who had been in the Hebrides since the seventh century, Somerled may have been more Norse than Gaelic in culture; none the less, his buildings at Iona show much Celtic influence in design. He had ambivalent relations with the kings of Scotland, having supported David I during an invasion of England in 1138, but supportive of an unsuccessful rebellion against Malcolm IV (1153). His major accomplishment was the recovery of the Hebrides and Argyll from Norse influence, administered by the king of the Isle of Man under Norse suzerainty. With Irish allies, he defeated the Norse in 1156 and again in 1158, after which the king of Man fled to Norway. His title, Rí Innse Gall [king of the Hebrides], borne by his successors, was translated into Latin, Dominus Insularum, in 1354, and from thence into English as Lord of the Isles. Somerled was killed near Renfrew in 1164, having led yet another rebellion against Malcolm IV. His son Dugal was the progenitor of the MacDougalls, while his son Raghnall was the forebear of the MacDonalds of the Isles; his progeny became the Clan Donald. -------------------- SOMERLED, or in ordinary Gaelic, Somhairle, which corresponds to the English, Samuel. Whether Somerled was of purely Celtic origin, as some contend, or of purely Scandinavian origin, as others maintain, and as the name would almost seem to indicate, or whether he was partly Celtic and partly Scandinavian, which is most likely, it is a question which cannot be now fully decided. But that Somerled was the progenitor of the MacDonald clan, in all their different branches, admits of no doubt. And if, in tracing the race of Somerled, I shall be obliged to confine myself principally to the MacDonald clan, I trust that my doing so will not be attributed to any spirit of clannishness for I have to do so from necessity. I am free to admit that the princely clans of Cameron, McLeod, McNeill, McLean, Fraser, McIntosh, and many others, would be equally important and interesting; but that is not the question before us this evening. I have only promised to treat, this evening, of the race of “Mighty Somerled,” and to redeem that promise I must devote my paper principally to the MacDonald clan, his immediate descendants.

http://caimbeul.org/somerled_2.html

-------------------- Savarly, Sorley, Samuel, Samhairle (Alternate spellings of name)

Thane of Argyle, King of the Isles. Credited with breaking the power of the Vikings in the isles of Scotland, he defeated the Viking king, Godfrey, in 1156, thanks to his use of ships equipped with a rudder. He died in battle, fighting the Scottish king Malcolm IV.

In 1140, Somerled was the 8th and greatest Thane of Argyle; lord of Cantyre; lord of Hebrides; founder of the "Kingdom of the Isles". He expelled the Norwegians from Scotland at the end of the 12th Century. Somerled invaided the Isle of Man, defeating Godfred and in doing so he came into possession of the Kingdom of the Isles and Man. He ruled the Southern Isles from 1156 . The expelling of the Norwegians earned Somerled the tiled of Ri Innse Gall - Ruler of the Isle of the Norsemen. Somerled also held the title of Ri Airir Gaidhed - Ruler of the Coastland of Gael. His formal name may well have been Somerled, Rex Insularum. He was described as a well tempered man, in body shapely, of a fair and piercing eye, of middle stature and of quick discernment. Somerled MacDonnell was the Thane of Argyle his descendants were allied by intermarriages with the Norwegians, earls of the Orkneys, Hebrides and Isle of Man .

Somerled and Sabina had a son:

       * Gillecolum, d. 1164. Gillecolum had a son:
           a. Somerled, d. 1156

Somerled and Ragnhild had four (4) children:

   1. Ranald/Reginald
   2. Angus. He held part of Arran and Bute.
   3. Alexander
   4. Dugall, King in the Isles, Lord of Argyll & Lorn

-------------------- Cumberland Family Software

Cumberland Family Tree Genealogy Software

SouthweNotes


◦Somerled var Lord av Cantyre og Hebridene. Senere ble han konge over Hebridene

st Norway, Medieval Scandinavia and Ancient Genealogy 

-------------------- 'Somerled' means "summer wanderer", the name given to the Vikings). He took the title Rí Innse Gall (King of the Hebrides) as well as King of Man.

After Somerled's death in 1164 three of his sons divided his kingdom between them:

   Aonghus (ancestor of the McRuari or McRory)
   Dughall (ancestor of Clan MacDougall)
   Ragnald, whose son Donald Mor McRanald would give his name to the Clan Donald which would contest territory with the MacDougalls.

King Haakon IV of Norway (reigned 1217–1263) confirmed Donald's son Angus Mor (the Elder) Mac Donald (the first Macdonald) as Lord of Islay, and the two participated jointly in the Battle of Largs (1263). When that ended with an effective victory for Scotland, Angus Mor accepted King Alexander III of Scotland as his (nominal) overlord and retained his own territory. Council of the Isles The ruins of Finlaggan Castle on Eilean Mòr, Loch Finlaggan, on the island of Islay, where the Council of the Isles met.

The Lord was advised (at least on an occasional basis) by a Council. Dean Monro of the Isles, who wrote a description of the Western Isles in 1549, described the membership as consisting of four ranks:

   Four "great men of the royal blood of Clan Donald lineally descended" (Macdonald of Clanranald, Macdonald of Dunnyvaig, MacIain of Ardnamurchan and Macdonald of Keppoch)
   Four "greatest of the nobles, called lords" (Maclean of Duart, Maclaine of Lochbuie, Macleod of Dunvegan and Macleod of the Lewes)
   Four "thanes of less living and estate" (Mackinnon of Strath, MacNeil of Barra, MacNeill of Gigha and Macquarrie of Ulva)
   "Freeholders or men that had their lands in factory" (Mackay of the Rhinns, MacNicol of Scorrybreac, MacEacharn of Kilellan, Mackay of Ugadale, Macgillivray in Mull and Macmillan of Knapdale).[2]

In practice, membership and attendance must have varied with the times and the occasion. A commission granted in July 1545 by Domhnall Dubh, claimant to the Lordship, identified the following members:

   Hector Maclean of Duart
   John Macdonald of Clanranald
   Ruari Macleod of the Lewes
   Alexander Macleod of Dunvegan
   Murdoch Maclaine of Lochbuie
   Allan Maclean of Torloisk
   Archibald Macdonald, Captain of Clann Uisdein
   Alexander MacIan of Ardnamurchan
   John Maclean of Coll
   Gilleonan MacNeil of Barra
   Ewen Mackinnon of Strath
   John MacQuarrie of Ulva
   John Maclean of Ardgour
   Alexander Macdonell of Glengarry
   Angus Macdonald of Knoydart
   Donald Maclean of Kingairloch
   Angus Macdonald, brother of James Macdonald of Dunnyveg.[3]

Lords of the Isles

Angus Òg (Angus the Young), Angus Mòr's (Angus the Great) younger son (or grandson), gave assistance to Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, and in reward kept control of the Isles and gained most of the land confiscated from the McDougalls for backing the defeated side. Angus Og's son Good John of Islay first formally assumed the title Dominus Insularum – Lord of the Isles – in 1336.

In their maritime domain the Lords of the Isles used galleys for both warfare and transport. These ships had developed from the Viking longships and knarrs, clinker-built with a square sail and rows of oars. From the 14th century they changed from using a steering oar to a stern rudder. These ships took part in sea battles and attacked castles or forts built close to the sea. The Lordship specified the feudal dues of its subjects in terms of numbers and sizes of the galleys each area had to provide in service to their Lord. Cara from the air

Successive Lords of the Isles fiercely asserted their independence, culminating in 1462 with John MacDonald II of the Isles making a treaty with Edward IV of England to conquer Scotland with him and the Earl of Douglas. The civil war in England, known famously as the Wars of the Roses, prevented the activation of this alliance and on the discovery of his treason in 1493 John Macdonald II forfeited his estates and titles to James IV of Scotland. Since then, the eldest male child of the reigning Scottish (and later, British) monarch has been styled "Lord of the Isles". The office itself has been extinct since the 15th century and the style since then has no other meaning but to recall the Scottish destruction of the ancient Norse-Gaelic lordship (and indeed the self-destruction of the MacDonalds).

Currently Charles, Prince of Wales is styled Lord of the Isles. Tiny Cara off Kintyre, which is owned by the MacDonalds of Largie, is reputedly the only island still in the possession of direct descendants of the Lords of the Isles.[4] See also

   Clan Donald
   Kingdom of the Isles
   Norwegian nobility
   Somerled
   John I, Lord of the Isles
   Donald, Lord of the Isles
   Alexander, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles
   John II, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles
   Angus Óg
   Donald Dubh
   Battle of Harlaw

Footnotes

   ^ At their height the Lords of the Isles were thus of comparable power to the Geraldines or perhaps even the O'Neill dynasty of Late Medieval Ireland.
   ^ R.W.Munro (ed), Monro's Western Islands of Scotland & Genealogies of the Clans (Edinburgh 1961)
   ^ Donald Gregory, History of the Western Highlands and Isles of Scotland from AD 1493 to AD 1625 (William Tait, Edinburgh, 1836), at page 170
   ^ "The Island of Cara". Kintyre on Record. Retrieved 3 May 2011.

References

   Bannerman, J., The Lordship of the Isles, in Scottish Society in the Fifteenth Century, ed. J. M. Brown, 1977.
   Brown M, James I, 1994.
   Dunbar, J., The Lordship of the Isles, in The Middle Ages in the Highlands, Inverness Field Club, 1981 ISBN 978-0-9502612-1-8.
   Gregory, D., History of the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 1975 reprint.
   MacDonald, C. M., The History of Argyll, 1950.
   McDonald, R. A., The Kingdom of the Isles: Scotland's Western Seaboard, 1100–c1336, 1997.
   Munro. J., The Earldom of Ross and the Lordship of the Isles, in Firthlands of Ross and Sutherland, ed. J. R. Baldwin, 1986.

External links

-------------------- Somerled was a leader of the Isles in the 12th century. Somerled, meaning ‘summer traveller’, was a common Viking name. Somerled started out as ruler of Kintyre and in 1140 married Raghnailt, daughter of Olaf King of Mann and the Isles.

In 1153 both David I of Scotland and Olaf of Mann died. The new king of the Isle of Mann, Godred II Olafsson, was unpopular. Somerled took command of a rebellion against Godred; leading a fleet with more than 50 warships against him. Godred fled to Norway and Somerled became King of Mann and the Isles.

At this point, Gaels and Vikings came under a single lord and began to share a common culture. They were known as the ‘Gall-Gaidheal’.

Somerled founded Saddell Abbey in 1164. He was slain during a campaign at Renfrew against King Malcolm IV. Somerled’s descendants, the Lords of the Isles, included Angus Og of Islay who fought alongside Robert the Bruce. -------------------- In 1098 A. D. the Western Isles were ceded to Norway in the Treaty of Tarbert by Scotland. Somerled was born in 1100 AD and was named after the Vikings who called themselves "somerledi" or "summer sailors". Because of his Norse name, some have supposed him to be of Viking stock however he had both Celtic and Viking blood in his veins. These two races made up the majority of Gaelic blood and these Island and Highland Gaels were known as "scotti" which is said to be the Gaelic for the term "to plunder". It is also said by some to come from the Hebrew for "wanderer" or "tent dweller". In Jewish ceremonies there is an item called a "Scotch" which is tent-like in nature. In any case, they gave their name to all of Scotland and were later known as the Wild Scots to differentiate them from the lowlanders who were essentially of Norman and Anglo-Saxon blood. These Wild Scots made up the bulk of the Scotch-Irish race with later infusions of Anglo-Saxon, Norman, French, Dutch and Irish blood.

Somerled rose from being a local clan chief near Movern to become the Ruler of the Isles. He married Rainghildis, the daughter of Olaf (or Olave) the Red, the historically reknown Viking chief who had proclaimed himself King of the Isles.

Somerled won the hand of Raignhildis through trickery. Holes were drilled in the hull of Olaf's galley and plugged with a substance that would dissolve after a short time in water. A relative of Somerled was planted on the boat with plugs that fit the holes. When the ship began taking on water the relative offered to fix the holes if Olaf would grant him one wish - the wish that Somerled could marry his daughter. The two were married and Somerled soon gained enough power to rule the Isles. He died in 1164 while fighting against the Scottish crown. He is buried at Saddell Abbey, which he built 9 miles from the Mull of Kintyre.

Somerled and Raignhildis had three sons, one of which, was Reginald (or Ranald), who died in 1207 and was followed by his son, Donald for whom the Clan Donald is named. Donald married the daughter of Walter, the High Steward of Scotland, who was the co-progenitor of the Royal House of Stewart (along with Robert the Bruce). Donald's son was Angus Mor who was followed by his son Angus Og. (I believe Mor means large and Og means small)

NOTE:

http://www.tartans.com/articles/famscots/somerled.html

(c.1113-c.1164)

Somerled, Lord of the Isles

Somerled was born around 1113 in Morven, Argyleshire. He was the son of Gillebride Mac Gille Adomnan and a Viking woman. Although there is some contention on his ancestry, his father was apparently either of the Royal line of Dalriada, Gall Gael (which is Cruithni or Pict) or both. Somerled's name means 'summer wanderer', a name used by his contemporaries to describe the Vikings. For Somerled, it was a name that prophecized his life -and the combination of bloodlines, at least in Somerled's case, proved itself powerful, as he later forged a permanent spot for himself in the history of the Isles and Scotland.

Sometime in Somerled's early youth, the Lochlans and the Fingalls (Clans or tribes) expelled Somerled's family from their home. They took refuge in Ireland, where Gillebride managed to persuade the Colla (an Irish tribe) to assist him in the recovery of his possessions or holdings. A large force of approximately 500 men accompanied the family home. The mission was a failure, however, and his father either died in the battle or soon afterwards.

Somerled lived for a while in the caves of his homeland, fishing and hunting for his survival. Slowly he grew into manhood and became, according to the accounts; "A well tempered man, in body shapely, of a fair and piercing eye, of middle stature and quick discernment." During this period of his life several things happened in quick succession which made Somerled a man of stature.

In one story, Somerled put himself at the head of the inhabitants of Morven and attacked the Norwegians. He was successful, and recovered his family's lands at the same time. He then was master of Morven, Lochaber and northern Argyle. Soon after this he conquered the southern portions and pronounced himself Thane or Regulus of Argyle. This happened at about the same time as David the First's war with the Norwegians, which took place in 1135, so Somerled may have received these lands in a grant from the King.

His newfound power greatly increased his standing, but it also drew the attention of his neighbors, the Vikings in the Isles (the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Man and that general area). Somerled, however, still did not have the force required to take on the Olaf the Red, the Viking Lord of the Isles. Instead he chose to woo his enemy for the hand of his daughter, Ragnhild. Eventually he succeeded (some say by trickery) in obtaining Olaf's daughter's hand and the two were married in approximately 1140.

For the next fourteen years Somerled and Ragnhild lived in relative peace and started raising a family. Raginald gave him three sons, Dugall, Reginald, and Angus. These sons joined his son by a previous marriage, Gillecallum.

In 1154, Olaf (Olave in some stories) was murdered by his nephews who quickly took control of the northern half of the Kingdom of the Isles. Olaf's son, Godfred (or Godfrey) heard of the events and returned from Norway, quickly regaining possession of the entire Kingdom. But Godfrey was a tyrant, and the Islemen soon revolted against his leadership. Some of the chieftans of the Isles appealed to Somerled for help. He joined them and defeated Godfrey, in the process taking the southern half of the Kingdom for himself. About two years later Godfrey and Somerled again went to war, this time Somerled was using new ships with a rudder and Godfrey was defeated again. Somerled became King of the Isles in about 1156.

At about the same time, Somerled was also campaigning in Scotland to a small degree and this in combination with his new title as King of the Isles drew the attention of its King. King Malcolm IV of Scotland was concerned over Somerled's growing power and dispatched an army to Argyle. In 1160, after a battle the two Kings reached an understanding and there was again peace. This peace was short lived however, as in late 1163, after being continually insulted by Malcolm and his ministers, Somerled led an army against Scotland.

The King of the Isles sailed up the Clyde with 164 galleys and 15,000 troops to Greenock. He landed at the Bay of St. Lawrence and marched on Renfrew. There are two popular stories about what occurred in Scotland. In one version, a bribed nephew murdered Somerled and the army of the Isles dispersed and went home. In the other version of the story, battle was joined between the Scots and the men of the Isles and Somerled was killed. His son Gillecallum, his heir, also died during the battle. Now without a leader, the army from the Isles dispersed and went home. In either case Somerled died in Scotland in very early 1164.

Somerled is generally credited with breaking the power of the Vikings in the Isles as his descendants remained Kings of the Isles for centuries after his death. One of Somerled's grandsons, a Donald, is also considered the ancestor of the Clan Donald, for his sons were the first to carry the name MacDonald.

view all 22

Somerled, King of the Hebrides's Timeline

1113
1113
Argyll (Argyleshire), Scotland
1125
1125
Age 12
1140
1140
Age 27
1140
Age 27
Morven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
1141
1141
Age 28
Morven, Argyll, Scotland
1143
1143
Age 30
1143-1150
1145
1145
Age 32
Morven, Argyle, Scotland
1149
1149
Age 36
Morven, Argyllshire, Scotland
1151
1151
Age 38
Of, Morven, Argyle, Scotland
1160
1160
Age 47
Isle Of MAN, British Crown Dependency