Duncan of Atholl, Mormaer of Atholl

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Duncan mac Donnchad, Mormaer of Atholl

Also Known As: "Northpal", "of Strathclyde", "aka Duncan O'Neill", "Lord of Mormaer"
Birthplace: Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland
Death: after circa 990
of Luncarty, which became, Perthshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Duncan mac Donachadh, Abthane of Dule
Father of Crínán of Dunkeld; Grim, Thane of Strathearn; Dunegal "Duncan" Eryvine; Niccrinan mac Donnchadh of Atholl; Lady Leinster and 1 other

Occupation: Mormaer (King status), Mormaer of Atholl, aka Duncan II MacDONACHADH; Lord of the Isles & Atholl, 9SCB-CM8
Managed by: James Fred Patin, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Duncan of Atholl, Mormaer of Atholl

NOTE: The title of Mormaer designates a regional or provincial ruler in the medieval Kingdom of the Scots. "Mormaer" is not a place.

ATHOLL: A mediaeval Scottish province, successively a mormaerdom, earldom, a marquisate, and a dukedom of Scotland. Atholl is located around the Tilt river valley in central Scotland, with the Firth of Tay to the southeast and Loch Ness to the northwest. The traditional center of the province was Blair Castle. The present Duke of Atholl maintains the only private army in Europe – the Atholl Highlanders.


Duncan, Mormaer of Atholl was the son of Duncan

He was Lay Abbot of Dunkeld, Hereditary Priest & Thane of Dull, and Viscount of Atholl

He fought in the Battle of Luncarty circa 990, where he commanded the left wing, and where the Danes were so crushingly defeated that their raids on that part of what subsequently became Perthshire, ceased.2

Children of Duncan, Mormaer of Atholl:

  • Grim, Thane (hereditary tenant of the Crown) of Strathearn (west of Perth) and Baille (functionary with judicial powers) of Dule; killed 1010 at Battle of Mortlach, where Malcolm II King of Scots defeated invading Norsemen
  • Duncan, ancestor of the Irving's of Dumfries and Forbes Irvine's of Drum
  • Crínáin of Dunkeld, Mormaer of Atholl+1 b. c 975, d. c 1045


[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 177. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families. [S60] Charles and Hugh Brogan Mosley, editor, American Presidential Families (London, U.K.: Alan Sutton and Morris Genealogical Books, 1994), page 45. Hereinafter cited as American Presidential Families.



Duncan became the ancestor of the entire clan. He moved south to the borderlands and in 1018 married an heiress whose inheritance included the lands between the Kirtle and the Esk Rivers, southeast of Lockerbie. They built the Towers of Bonshaw on the banks of the Kirtle and, as the family grew to fill them, many manor houses in what became the ancient home of the Irvine clan.

Here is information about the battle of Mortlach. We found the information out of a book about Grampian battles. So here's the information. The battle of Mortlach was fought in 1010 by King Malcolm the 2nd against the Danes. The Vikings approached from Carron House on Speyside four miles to the West of Duftown and camped at a place called Little Conval, while King Malcolm's army had come from the East via Glen-fiddich and camped on the other side of the river at Auchindoun. The two armies met near the monastery of Mortlach beside a river called the Dullan Water which ran in between the two armies. The battle took place near the Giant's Chair and the monastery of Mortlach. The Giant's Chair is a bit cut out of a rock that looks like a chair fit for a giant.

Catching sight of the assembled Vikings the Scots attacked with more hast than sense! Three of their leaders were killed, the three leaders were Kenneth, Thain of the Isles: Dunbar, Thain of Laudian and Graeme, Thain of Strathern. They became rather confused and fell back a little. At this critical moment King Malcolm fell on his knees facing the chapel and prayed to God and St. Moluag for victory. In return the King vowed to build a cathedral church on the site of the chapel to testify that with God's support, Scotland had been defended. In fact he made the chapel three spear lengths longer. (a spear length is four metres). The Scots attacked again and the Vikings retreated. King Malcolm is supposed to have thrown the Danish general Enetus off his horse and strangled him. The Scots pursued the Vikings up towards Balvenie Castle with great slaughter by the victorious Scots! Afterwards in the grounds of the castle they dug the grave pits where the dead bodies were thrown.

Mortlach is a parish name which came from St. Moluag. Dufftown is a much more recent name for the village.

Lay Abbot of Dunkeld, Lord of the Isles & Atholl, Lord of Mormaer

Duncan "Duncha, Lay Abbot of Dunkeld" of Dunkeld formerly Dunkeld

Born 0949 in Atholl, Perthshire, Scotlandmap

Son of Duncan Dunkeld and Groa (Thorsteindottir) Thorsteinsdottir

Brother of Einarr (Rognvaldsson) Ragnvaldsson, Hallad Ragnvaldsson and Gerlod Duncansdatter

Husband of Unknown McNamara — married [date unknown] [location unknown]

Husband of Athelreda (Dunbar) Mormaer — married [date unknown] [location unknown]

Father of Crínán (Dunkeld) of Scotland and Duncan Macdonachadh

Died after 0990 in Perthshire, Scotlandmap

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Duncan of Atholl, Mormaer of Atholl's Timeline

Age 27
Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland
Age 39
Caithiness, Scotland
Age 41
Perth, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, United Kingdom
Age 41
Perthshire, Scotland
Caithiness Highland, Scotland
Thane of Dule
Abbott of Dunkeld