Is your surname mac Áeda?

Research the mac Áeda family

Records for Máel Coluim mac Áeda

1,937 Records

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Máel Coluim mac Áeda, Earl of Ross

Also Known As: "Malcolm II MacHeth Jarl of Ross", "Malcolm Earl of Ross"
Death: Died in Morayshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Áed, Mórmaer of Moray and Tul / Olith, of Moray
Husband of NN wife of Malcolm MacEth
Father of Gormflaeth (Hvafleva)
Brother of Angus, Mórmaer of Moray; Gillecoimded mac Áeda and Gruaidh nic Áeda

Occupation: Mórmaer of Ross
Managed by: Pam Wilson
Last Updated:

About Malcolm MacEth

This is supposed to be Malcolm as son of Aed and younger brother of Oengus of Moray. He is *not* a De Ros from Holderness in Yorkshire, and has been assigned far too many wives and children.

  • 20 November 1160 X 13 September 1162 (King Malcolm to Malcolm, earl of Ross; command to protect and maintain monks of Dunfermline, and cause them to have their rights by land and water as they had in time of King David.) Regesta Regum Scottorum, i, Acts of Malcolm IV, ed. G.W.S. Barrow (Edinburgh, 1960) no. 179


The earldom of Ross was first created in 1162 by Malcolm IV King of Scotland in favour of Floris III Count of Holland who had married his sister, but withdrawn from him. It was then granted to Malcolm MacEth, probably illegitimate son of Alexander I King of Scotland. After his death in 1168, it was more than fifty years before the earldom was granted again, to Ferquhard MacTaggart.

MALCOLM, illegitimate son of ALEXANDER I King of Scotland & his mistress --- ([1105/15]-). Orderic Vitalis names "Melcofus" bastard son of King Alexander[1]. Robert of Torigny records that "Aragois comes Morefie cum Melcolmo notho filio Alexandri fratri regis David" invaded Scotland in 1130[2]. same person as …? MALCOLM MacHeth (-23 Oct 1168[3]). John of Fordun’s Scotichronicon (Continuator) records that "Malcolmus filius Macheth" lied to claim he was "filium Angusii comitis Moraviæ" who was killed "tempore…regis David…apud Strucathroth a Scotis" and, after his alleged father’s death, rebelled against King David who imprisoned him "in turre castri de Marchemond, quond nunc Roxburgh nuncupator"[4]. Duncan suggests that these two persons were different, Malcolm MacHeth being the son of "Aed" or "Heth" who witnessed two charters in the early years of the reign of King David I[5]. It appears that Heth was the same person as Beth Mormaer [of Fife]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun (Continuator - Annals) records that "Malcolm Macheth" made peace with the king the year after his son was captured[6]. John of Fordun’s Scotichronicon (Continuator) records that Malcolm MacHeth made peace with King Malcolm the year after his son was captured[7]. He was created Earl of Ross in 1162 or before[8]. m ([1130]) [--- of Argyll, daughter of ---]. Her parentage and marriage are confirmed by John of Fordun’s Scotichronicon (Continuator) records that "Summerledus regulus Ergadiæ et sui nepotes, filii…Malcolmi Macheth" rebelled against King Malcolm IV in the first year of his reign[9]. This assumes that the term "nepos" should be interpreted as "nephews" in that source. 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[10].

. HVORFLAED [Hvafleda or Gormflaeth/Gormlath] (before 1134-). Orkneyinga Saga records that “Hvarflod, the daughter of Earl Malcolm of Moray” was the second wife of Earl Harald[14]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun (Continuator - Annals) records that "Harald the earl" was "goaded on by his wife, the daughter of Mached" to rebel against King William in 1196[15]. m as his second wife, HARALD Maddadsson Jarl of Orkney, son of MADDAD [of Scotland] Earl of Atholl & his second wife Margaret of Orkney (1134-1206). [The sons have been removed as current academic theory suggests that they belonged to Malcolm MacAlexander - not Malcolm MacEth See Project Malcolm MacHeth vs Malcolm MacAlexandar

This is Malcolm as son of Oengus, last of the Loarn Earls of Moray. He has been paired up with a sister of Somerled, rightly or wrongly, and assigned a daughter who was temporarily married to Haraldr Maddadson of Orkney. (He was Earl of Ross, not Moray - King Malcolm IV fobbed him off with a small piece of his birthright.)

Notes It is now most interesting to know who the ancient Earls of Ross, from whom the Mackenzies are really descended, were. The first of these earls of whom we have any record is Malcolm Mac Heth to whom Malcolm IV. gave Ross in 1157, with the title of Earl of Ross, but the inhabitants rose against him and drove him out of the district [this may be a mis-remembrance of the way the Cumbrians rebelled against Bishop Wimund]. Wyntoun mentions an Earl "Gillandrys," a name which we believe is derived from the common ancestor of the Mackenzies and Rosses, "Gilleoin-Ard-Rois," as one of the six Celtic earls who besieged King Malcolm at Perth in 1160. Skene is also of opinion that this Gillandres represented the old Celtic earls of Ross, as the clan bearing the name of Ross are called in Gaelic Clann Ghilleanrias, or descendants of Gillandres, and may, he thinks, have led the revolt which drove Malcolm Mac Heth out of the earldom. We have seen that the first Earl of Ross recorded in history was Malcolm Mac Heth, to whom a precept is found, directed by Malcolm IV., requesting him to protect the monks of Dunfermline and defend them in their lawful privileges and possessions. The document is not dated, but judging from the names of the witnesses attesting it, the precept must have been issued before 1162. It will be remembered that Mac Heth was one of the six Celtic earls who besieged the King at Perth two years before, in 1160. [ ]

Sources [S386] Macdonald genealogy, Roddy Macdonald of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, (, genealogy/d0001/g0000032.html#I2532 (Reliability: 3)

Note: This account conflates two different men, Malcolm MacEth and son of Alexander.


1. Malcolm MacEth, illegitimate son of Alexander I [S.],(d141) in 1124, upon Alexander's death, fought two battles for the Crown, against his uncle David I.(e-141) In 1130 the "Earl" of Moray and Malcolm again entered Scotland; the "Earl" was defeated at Stricathrow, Moray became a province of Scotland, and Malcolm MacEth a fugitive. He was captured in 1134, and imprisoned in Roxburgh Castle.(f-141) Liberated after not less than 23 years' imprisonment, as Malcolm Maceth he witnessed a charter of Malcolm IV. He was created EARL OF ROSS in or before 1162; for [1160-62] as Malcolm, Earl of Ros, he received the King's command to protect the monks of Dunfermline.(a-142) He presumably m. a sister of Sumerled, lord of Argyll.(b-142) His death, as Malcolm Mackbeth, Earl of Ross, is recorded on 23 October 1168.(c-142)

  • (d-141) Orderic (1075-1143), (ed. Le Prévost), vol. iii, p. 403, where the Editor’s note is wrong; Robert de Torigni, in _Chron. of Stephen_, &c., Rolls Ser., vol. iv, p. 118. An authority with _personal_ knowledge (see _Priory of Hexham_, Surtees Soc., p. lxxiii, and his Letter upon the death of David I in Twysden, _Hist. Angl. Scriptores Decem_, pp. 347-50), Aelred of Rievaulx, describing (_de Standardo, Chron. Stephen_, p. 193) the effort of Robert de Brus to dissuade his old friend David I [S.] from fighting the English, represents Brus as calling MacEth _paterni odii et persecutionis heredem_. He has been alleged to be son of Angus, “Earl” of Moray (cf. Le Prévost, note on Orderic, _loc. cit_.), who in 1130 invaded Scotland with Malcolm. When Angus was slain, Moray was left without a defender and lord (_Idem_, vol. iii, p. 404); which implies that Malcolm was not his son. See also the notes, _Chron. of Holyrood_ (ed. Anderson, Scot. Hist. Soc.), pp. 129, 130.
  • (e-141) Orderic, _loc. cit_.
  • (f-141) _Chron. de Mailros_, Bannatyne Club, p. 69. He appears to have remained there till given his liberty by Malcolm IV in 1157 (_Chron. of Holyrood_, _loc. ult. cit._, where he appears as Mabeth). In 1153 Sumerled, lord of Argyll, with his nephews, sons of Malcolm, invaded Scotland; in 1156 Donald, Malcolm’s son, was captured at Whithorn and imprisoned with his father (_Idem_, pp. 125, 128).
  • (g-141) Next after 3 Earls, and followed by Walter FitzAlan and Robert de Brus. The charter (_Registrum de Dunfermelyn_, Bannatyne Club, p. 40) has been dated [1157—59].

[Ref: CP XI:141-2]


Ross was not one of the ancient provinces or earldoms of Scotland, but was comprehended in the great district of Moray, and was ruled by the same Jarls or Earls as that territory.(1-230) But in a writ dated between November 1160 and September 1162 there appears on record

I. Malcolm, Earl of Ross, to whom King Malcolm IV. directed a letter placing the monks of Dunfermline under his protection.(2-230) Some doubts have been cast on his identity, but there is good reason to believe that he is identical with Malcolm MacEth, who also appears before 1160 as a witness to one of King Malcolm's charters.(3-230) He had, for former insurrection against David I., been imprisoned in Roxburgh Castle, but in 1154 Somerled, Lord of Argyll, with his nephews, Malcolm's sons, invaded Scotland, and caused a civil war, which lasted until the King released Malcolm in 1157(4-230) and, according to an English chronicler, 'gave him a certain province.' Mr. Skene, in his Celtic Scotland, expresses an opinion that this was Ross, part of the territory of Moray, from the ancient rulers of which he claimed descent. He is not to be confounded with the Wimund whose remarkable career is narrated by William of Newburgh.(1-231) If, as is probable, he was made Earl of Ross in 1157, he may have been the 'Gillandres,' one of the six Earls who, according to Wyntoun, joined in the opposition to Malcolm IV. after his return from Toulouse.(2-231) 'Gillandres' has been supposed to be a different Earl of Ross, but as 'Gillandres' or 'Ghilleanrias' was the patronymic of the Earls of Ross in the time of Wyntoun, it is not improbable that he applied it to Malcolm. The latter died 23 October 1168.(3-231) Malcolm married a sister of Somerled, Lord of Argyll*, and had issue, with others, a son Donald, who was imprisoned with his father, and a daughter Gormlath, or Hvarfleda, married to Harald, Earl of Caithness. (See that title, and also Moray and Reay.)

  • (1-230) Vol. vi. of this work, 280.
  • (2-230) _Reg. de Dunfermelyn_, 25; Ernald, Bishop of St. Andrews, is a witness, which determines the date.
  • (3-230) _Ibid._, 24.
  • (4-230) _Chron. Sancti Crucis_.
  • (1-231) _Chronicles of Stephen, etc._, Rolls ser., i. 72-75; cf. _Scot. Hist. Review_, vii. 32.
  • (2-231) Wyntoun, Laing's edition, ii. 196.
  • (3-231) _Chronicle of Holyrood_. [Ref: SP VII:230-1]
  • Prior to the 12th century when chroniclers called Somerled, "Lord of the Isles", he had inherited & assumed the title of Thane or Regulus (Lord) of Argyll (he is also referred to as King of Argyll & King of the Isles/south Isles in some accounts - Norwegian titles).

Notes about the Earldom of Ross

According to CP, the 1st Earl of Ross was Florence III Count of Holland, who m. Ada, sister of Malcolm IV of Scotland, and the Earldom of Ross was created for his benefit. He d. in 1190 in Antioch on Cursade. Ada d. in 1206. Per SP, "it is probable" Malcolm was made Earl of Ross in 1157 by Malcolm IV. Per SP, Florence III, Count of Holland became Earl (in title only) in 1161 on his marriage to Ada, sister of Malcolm IV & William the Lion. SP counts the 1st Earl of Ross as Ferquhard Macintagert, so created by Alexander II ca 1225. It seems a rather odd decision considering that the 1st earl (per SP) was preceeded, per SP, by two others historically known to be earls of Ross. Perhaps it is due to a technicality – the 1st _extant_ writ of creation names Ferquhard. All of this of course is counter to CP IX:140-1 which names Florence 1st Earl in 1162 & Malcolm 2nd Earl curiously "in or before 1162" & Ferquhard 3rd Earl possibly before 12 Dec., 1225.

He is sometimes said to have been Mormaer of Moray [Ref: Paget p. 153], but this assumes he was son of Angus, the previous Mormaer [Ref: Burke's Peerage 1999 I:469], which he was not per CP XI:141(d).

Scots Peerage, Vol V, p. 30 seems to identify Malcolm the earl of Ross with Malcolm MacBeth who was claiming the earldom of Moray. Vol VI, p. 284 on Moray says the it was Eth or Beth, earl of Moray who was the ancestor of Malcolm MacEth, earl of Ross. Eth the earl died after 1128. In SP VII, p. 230 Malcolm earl of Ross, supposedly identical with Malcolm MacEth, was around from 1154 to 1168 and was made earl around 1157. On the other hand Alexander I died in 1124, some thirty years before Malcolm earl of Ross came to prominence, which seems rather a long time in those genearally [sic] shorter lives. [Ref: Tim Powys-Lybbe 11 Apr 2003 msg to SGM]

view all

Malcolm MacEth's Timeline

Roxburn Castle, Morayshire, Scotland
October 23, 1168
Morayshire, Scotland