- Kingdom of the Isles
The Kingdom of the Isles comprised the Hebrides, the islands of the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Man from the 9th to the 13th centuries AD. The islands were known to the Norse as the Suðreyjar, or "Southern Isles" as distinct from the Norðreyjar or Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. The historical record is not complete and the Kingdom was not a continuous event throughout the entire period. The islands concerned are sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles during this period, although only some of the later rulers claimed that title. At times the rulers were independent of external control although for much of the period they had overlords in Norway, Ireland, England, Scotland or Orkney. At times there also appear to have been competing claims for all or parts of the territory. The islands involved have a total land area of over 8,300 square kilometres (3,205 sq mi) and extend for more than 500 kilometres (310 mi) from north to south.
Viking influence in the area commenced in the late 8th century, and whilst there is no doubt that the Uí Ímair dynasty played a prominent role in this early period, the records for the dates and details of the rulers are speculative until the late 10th century. Hostility between the Kings of the Isles and the rulers of Ireland, and intervention by the crown of Norway (either directly or through their vassals the Earls of Orkney) were recurring themes.
Invasion by Magnus Barelegs in the late 11th century resulted in a brief period of direct Norwegian rule over the Kingdom, but soon the descendants of Godred Crovan re-asserted a further period of largely independent overlordship as Kings of Mann and the Isles. This came to an end with the emergence of Somerled, on whose death in 1164 the kingdom was split in two. Just over a century later the islands became part of the Kingdom of Scotland, following the 1266 Treaty of Perth.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Early history
- 3 List of early rulers of Mann and the Isles
- 4 Later history
- 5 Later rulers of the Hebrides and of Mann
- 6 See also
- 7 References
The principal islands under consideration are as follows:
- The Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea equidistantly from modern England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
- The islands of the Firth of Clyde some 140 kilometres (87 mi) to the north, the largest of which are Bute and Arran.
- The southern Inner Hebrides to the west and north of the Kintyre peninsula, including Islay, Jura, Mull and Iona.
- The Inner Hebrides to the north of Ardnamurchan, made up of the Small Isles (including Eigg and Rùm), Skye, Raasay and their outliers.
- The Outer Hebrides, aka the "Long Island" to the west, separated from the northern Inner Hebrides by the waters of the Minch.
These islands have a total land area of approximately 8,374 square kilometres (3,233 sq mi) of which:
- the Isle of Man is 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi), 7% of the total
- the Islands of the Clyde 574 square kilometres (222 sq mi), 7% of the total
- the Inner Hebrides 4,158 square kilometres (1,605 sq mi), 50% of the total and
- the Outer Hebrides 3,070 square kilometres (1,185 sq mi), 36% of the total.
Orkney is some 180 kilometres (110 mi) east north-east of the Outer Hebrides, Shetland is a further 80 kilometres (50 mi) further north east and Norway some 300 kilometres (190 mi) due east of Shetland. The total distance from the southern tip of the Isle of Man to the Butt of Lewis, the northern extremity of the Outer Hebrides, is approximately 515 kilometres (320 mi).
The presence of the monastery on Iona led to this part of Scotland being relatively well documented from the mid 6th to the mid 9th century. However, from 849 on, when Columba's relics were removed in the face of Viking incursions, written evidence from local sources all but vanishes for three hundred years. The sources for information about the Hebrides and indeed much of northern Scotland from the 8th to the 11th century are thus almost exclusively Irish, English or Norse. The main Norse text is the Orkneyinga Saga, which was written in the early 13th century by an unknown Icelandic scribe and should be treated with care. The English and Irish sources are more contemporary, but may have "led to a southern bias in the story", especially as much of the Hebridean archipelago became Norse-speaking during this period. The archaeological record for this period is relatively scant, particularly in comparison with the numerous Neolithic and Iron Age finds in the area.
Scholarly interpretations of the period "have led to widely divergent reconstructions of Viking Age Scotland" and Barrett (2008) has identified four competing theories, none of which he regards as proved.
It is clear that the word "king", as used by and of the rulers of Norwegian descent in the isles, was not intended to convey sovereign rule (that is, that of a High King). This is different from the way the word was used in the emerging Kingdom of Scotland at the time. It is also important to bear in mind that different kings may have ruled over very different areas and that few of them can be seen as exerting any kind of close control over this "far-flung sea kingdom". Dates should be regarded as approximate throughout.
Early Viking incursions in the Hebrides
Prior to the Viking incursions the southern Hebrides formed part of the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata (or Dalriada). North of Dál Riata the Inner and Outer Hebrides were nominally under Pictish control although the historical record is sparse.[Note 1] According to Ó Corráin (1998) "when and how the Vikings conquered and occupied the Isles is unknown, perhaps unknowable" although from 793 onwards repeated raids by Vikings on the British Isles are recorded. "All the islands of Britain" were devastated in 794 with Iona being sacked in 802 and 806.[Note 2] Various named Viking leaders, who were probably based in Scotland, appear in the Irish annals: Soxulfr in 837, Turges in 845 and Hákon in 847. Another early reference to the Norse presence in the Irish records is that there was a king of "Viking Scotland" whose heir, Thórir, brought an army to Ireland in 848.
According to the Orkneyinga Saga, about 872 Harald Fairhair became King of a united Norway and many of his opponents fled to the islands of Scotland including the Hebrides of the west coast, and the Northern Isles.[Note 3] Harald pursued his enemies and incorporated the Northern Isles into his kingdom in 875 and then, perhaps a little over a decade later, the Hebrides as well. The following year the local Viking chieftains of the Hebrides rebelled. Harald then sent Ketill Flatnose to subdue them. Ketill achieved this quickly but then declared himself an independent "King of the Isles", a title he retained for the rest of his life.[Note 4] Ketill left no successors and there is little record of the succeeding four decades. However, Woolf (2007) suggests that his appearance in the sagas "looks very much like a story created in later days to legitimise Norwegian claims to sovereignty in the region."
In the 9th century the first references to the Gallgáedil (i.e. "foreign Gaels") appear. This term was variously used in succeeding centuries to refer to individuals of mixed Scandinavian-Celtic descent and/or culture who became dominant in south-west Scotland, parts of northern England and the isles. Ketill Flatnose is also sometimes equated with Caittil Find, a reported leader of the Gallgáedil fighting in Ireland in 857, although this connection is far from definite.[Note 5] There are similar problems with the provenance of Gofraid mac Fergusa, the supposed 9th century ruler of the Hebrides and ancestor of Clan Donald.[Note 6]
House of Ímar
In 870 Dumbarton was besieged by Amlaíb Conung and Ímar, "the two kings of the Northmen", who "returned to Dublin from Britain" the following year with numerous captives. It is therefore likely that Scandinavian hegemony was already significant on the western coasts of Scotland by then. Amlaíb Conung is described as the "son of the king of Lochlainn" in the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland and Ó Corráin (1998) argues that Lochlainn "is Viking Scotland and probably includes Man" at this time suggesting an early date for an organised Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. In the same source Amlaíb Conung is also recorded as having gone to the aid of his father Gofraidh who was under assault from Vikings in Lochlainn, circa 872. Gofraidh died in 873 and may have been succeeded by Ímar who also died that year. Amlaíb died in 874. A lament for Áed mac Cináeda, a Pictish king who died in 878, suggests Kintyre may have been lost to his kingdom at that time. The Isle of Man may also have been taken by the Norse in 877 and was certainly held by them by 900. In 902 the Vikings were expelled from Dublin for period of up to a dozen years, and a year later Ímar, the "grandson of Ímar" was killed in battle with the forces of Constantine II in mainland Scotland. [Note 7] However these events were setbacks for the Norse rather than a definitive moment. Internecine fighting was recorded by the Annals of Ulster in 914, in which Ragnall ua Ímair defeated Bárid mac Oitir in a naval battle off the Isle of Man.
The first four decades of the tenth century are an obscure period so far as the Hebrides are concerned. It is possible that Ragnall ua Ímair, who probably ruled Mann during this period may have had some influence. However, Amlaíb Cuarán, who fought at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 is the next King of the Isles on record. After the death of Amlaíb mac Gofraid in 941,[Note 8] Amlaíb Cuarán became King of Northumbria and may well also have succeeded Amlaíb mac Gofraid as King of Man. He is recorded as being the Rex plurimarum insularum and he may have been the first King of both Mann and the Western Isles[Note 9] of Scotland although no early source seems to use the appellation "King of Mann and The Isles" with regard to him. His accession to the kingship of the Isles cannot have been much before 941 as he may have been born as late as 926.[Note 10]
Amlaíb was succeeded by Maccus mac Arailt, probably his nephew, some four decades later in 980 or 981.[Note 11] Maccus's brother Gofraid mac Arailt then succeeded him. During their lifetimes these two "sons of Harald" are known to have launched at least two major expeditions against Ireland and the latter is recorded as having won "the battle of Man" in 987. Iona was sacked twice, in 986 and 987, Amlaíb Cuarán's later piety notwithstanding.[Note 12] The Annals of Ulster record Gofraid's death in Dalriada in 989, describing him as "king of Innse Gall" although it is not clear if this was a completely new term or had originally been used earlier, perhaps to refer to Amlaíb Cuarán's island kingdom.[Note 13] The complex geography of western Scotland and the lack of written records makes certainty about the extent and nature of these kingdoms hard to fathom. For example, the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba indicates that almost all these kings who reigned from the mid tenth century to the late eleventh century were buried on Iona. This may mean that Iona and Mull lay either within or close to the emerging kingdom of Scotland. Furthermore, two records in the Annals of Innisfallen hint that the Western Isles may not have been "organised into a kingdom or earldom" at this time but rather that they were "ruled by assemblies of freeholders who regularly elected lawmen to preside over their public affairs".
Earls of Orkney and Kings of Dublin
At this point the Orkneyinga Saga once again becomes the main source of information about the north. In 990 Sigurd the Stout, Earl of Orkney took control of the Hebrides,[Note 14] and placed a jarl called Gilli in charge of them. By 1004 the isles' independence had been re-asserted under Gofraid's son Ragnal mac Gofraid, who died in that year. It is possible their rule overlapped, with Gilli's zone of influence to the north and Ragnal's to the south. On Ragnal's death Sigurd re-asserted control, which he held until his death at the Battle of Clontarf after which the islands were held by Håkon Eiriksson. According to the Welsh text Historia Grufudd vab Kenan Olaf Sigtryggsson is recorded as having been king of a wide variety of places on his death in 1034. These included the Isle of Man, "many of the other islands of Denmark", Galloway, the Rhinns, and Anglesey. Olaf was an Uí Ímair dynast and it is difficult to reconcile his rule with that of the Norwegians who apparently came before and after him according to the sagas. There is also an obscure reference in The Prophecy of Berchán, which hints that King Máel Coluim mac Cináeda of Scotland may have been active in Islay and Arran at about this time, emphasising the potentially fluid nature of Scandinavian, Norse-Gael and Scots influence during this period.
The next recorded ruler is Sigurd the Stout's son Thorfinn the Mighty, who took control circa 1035 until his own death some two decades later. The continuing close alliance of the Isles with Norway is suggested by a record from the Annals of Tigernach for the year 1058: "A fleet was led by the son of the king of Norway, with the Gaill of Orkney, the Hebrides and Dublin, to seize the kingdom of England, but God consented not to this". This monarch of Norway was Magnus Haraldsson, who may have used the death of Thorfinn as an excuse to exert direct rule of Orkney and the Hebrides.
However in the mid 11th century Echmarcach mac Ragnaill is said to be the ruler of Man. He was also King of Dublin from 1036–38 and 1046–52 as well as being possibly the King of the Rhinns in Galloway, suggesting that the overlordship of the Isle of Man and the Hebrides were once again sundered, (although it is possible he ruled over part or all of the Hebrides as well).
Murchad mac Diarmata is then recorded as having control of Mann and Dublin followed by his father Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó, the High King of Ireland, who took possession of Mann and the Isles until his death in 1072. Godred Sitricson and his son Fingal Godredson then ruled in Mann at least but the records for the rulers of the Hebrides remain obscure until the arrival of Godred Crovan.
Godred Crovan and Irish influence
"Crovan" means "white hand" and Godred may have been a son or nephew of Imar mac Arailt, King of Dublin and by extension a descendant of Amlaíb Cuarán. He was a survivor of Harald Hardraade's defeat at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 and fled from there to Man. Little is then heard of him until he succeeded in taking the island from Fingal in 1079, possibly with the help of troops from the Western Isles. The ancestor of many of the succeeding rulers of Mann and the Isles, he also became King of Dublin. However no contemporary source refers either to him or any of his predecessors as "King of Mann and the Isles" as such. [Note 15] He was eventually ousted from Dublin by Muirchertach Ua Briain and fled to Islay, where he died in the plague of 1095. [Note 16] It is not clear the extent to which Ui Briain dominance was now asserted in the islands north of Man, but growing Irish influence in these seas brought a rapid and decisive response from Norway.
List of early rulers of Mann and the Isles
For much of the period from the mid-late 9th century until the mid 11th century Man and the Isles fell within the imperium of the Uí Ímair (House of Ivar).
Ruler of the Hebrides Dates Title Notes Unknown father of Thórir 848 King of Viking Scotland Gofraid mac Fergusa d. 853 Lord of the Hebrides The Annals of the Four Masters calls him toisech Innsi Gall. Gofraidh pre 872–873 King of Lochlainn Father of Amlaíb Conung and Ímar Ímar 873 King of the Norwegian Vikings of the whole of Ireland and Britain May have succeeded his father briefly Amlaíb Conung 873 King of the Northmen/King of the Western Sea[Note 17] Ímar's brother Ketill Flatnose c 890–900 King of the Isles The earliest written references to Ketill are from the sagas written 200 years or more after his death. Unlikely to have been ruler of Mann.[Note 18] Unknown c 900–941
Ruler of the Hebrides and Mann Period of Rule Title Notes Amlaíb Cuarán c. 941?–980 King of the Isles (and possibly King of Mann) Amlaíb was later King of Dublin and succeeded Amlaíb mac Gofraid as King of Northumbria in 941 and died on Iona in 981. Maccus mac Arailt 980–? King of the Isles Said to have been "brought under subjection" by Edgar the Peaceful, King of England who died in 975. Gofraid mac Arailt ?–989 King of the Isles Brother of Maccus mac Arailt Gilli 990–? Jarl Appointed by Sigurd the Stout, Earl of Orkney & Mormaer of Caithness. Sigurd himself was a vassal of the King of Norway Ragnall mac Gofraid ?–1005 King of the Isles Son of Gofraid mac Arailt Sigurd the Stout 1005–1014 Earl of Orkney & Mormaer of Caithness Vassal of the King of Norway Unknown 1015 Possible "collapse of the earls' control in the west" following Clontarf. Håkon Eiriksson* 1016–1030 Ruler of the Suðreyar Possibly as a vassal of Cnut the Great Olaf Sigtryggsson* 1030?–1034 King of Mann and many of the other islands of Denmark Son of Sitric Silkbeard and grandson of Amlaíb Cuarán Thorfinn the Mighty c 1035–c 1058[Note 19] Earl of Orkney & Mormaer of Caithness Vassal of the King of Norway Echmarcach mac Ragnaill* 1052–1061 King of Mann Probably ruler of both Dublin and Mann prior to 1052, when he was expelled from the former by Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó. Possibly son of Ragnal mac Gofraid and thus possibly a King of Innse Gall as well.[Note 20] Murchad mac Diarmata* 1061–1070 King of Dublin and Mann?  Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó 1070–1072 King of Dublin and the Isles Father of Murchad, but who ruled after him over Dublin "and, one assumes, Man". Godred Sitricson ?–1074 King of Man Fingal Godredson 1074–? King of Man Son of Godred Sitricson Godred Crovan 1079–1094 King of Dublin and the Isles Son of "Harald the Black of Ysland" Possibly Lagmann Godredsson 1095–1098 Eldest son of Godred Crovan. Whether Lagmann began his reign before or after Magnus Barelegs's arrival is not known for certain.[Note 21]
Early rulers of Mann
The Isle of Man may have fallen under Norse rule in the 870s, and paradoxically they may have brought the Gaelic language with them. The island has produced a more densely distributed Viking-Age archaeology than anywhere else in the British Isles, but the written records for this time period are poor.
Rulers of Mann Period of Reign Title(s) Notes Otir 912?–914? Jarl and "Master of the Isle of Man" Possibly as a vassal of Ragnall ua Ímair. Ragnall ua Ímair 914 to 921? ? Defeated Bárid son of Otir in a naval battle off Man in 914. Gothfrith ua Ímair[Note 22] pre 927 to? Father of Amlaíb Amlaíb mac Gofraid[Note 23] pre 935 to 941 King of Northumbria and possibly King of the Isles[Note 24] After the death of Athelstan in 939, Edmund ceded Northumbria to Amlaíb. Married a daughter of Constantine II. Amlaíb Cuarán 941?–980 King of Northumbria and King of the Isles Presumed accession to Mann as he succeeded Amlaíb mac Gofraid as King of Northumbria. See also above.
There then follows a period when it is likely that the Western Isles and Mann were jointly held by rulers of the House of Ímar (see above). Downham (2007) suggests Lagmann Godredson may have "wielded power in Man" and possibly even have been king but was expelled sometime after 1005, perhaps by Brian Bóruma. This may indicate that the Earls of Orkney did not control Man itself in the early 11th century. Echmarcach mac Ragnaill and his successors certainly did control Mann, but the extent of their rule over the islands of the Clyde and the Hebrides is not clear. Óláfr mac Lagmann (or Lagmainn) is recorded as having been killed at Clontarf in 1014, fighting with "warriors from the Hebrides".
Rulers of Mann Period of Rule Title Notes Lagmann Godredsson ?–1005 "King of the Swedes" Possibly a son of Gofraid mac Arailt[Note 25] Ottar d. 1098 Jarl Earl of "one half of Man"
The period 1095–1098 seems to have been politically unsettled, culminating in a Manx civil war between the north and south of the island. A battle at Santwat between the northerners under Jarl Óttar and the southerners under Macmaras (or MacManus) in 1098 resulted in the deaths of both leaders.
Early rulers of the Hebrides
Various rulers are mentioned in the sources as having a role of some kind over unspecified areas.
Rulers of the Hebrides Date Title Notes Gebeachan 937 King of the Islands Died whilst fighting with Amlaíb Cuarán at Brunanburh Conmael mac Gilla Airi 980 Tributary King of the Gall Fought with Amlaíb Cuarán at Tara
Norse and Uí Briain influence
Perhaps as a result of general disorder in the islands, and to counter Irish influence there, Magnus Barelegs had re-established direct Norwegian overlordship by 1098. He first took Orkney, the northern Scottish mainland and the Hebrides, where he "dyed his sword red in blood" in the Uists. According to the Heimskringla, Magnus had his longship dragged across the isthmus north of Kintyre in 1093 as part of his campaign. By taking command of his ship's tiller and "sailing" across the isthmus he was able to claim the entire peninsula was an island, and it remained under Norwegian rule for more than a dozen years as a result.
In 1098, Edgar of Scotland signed a treaty with Magnus which settled much of the boundary between the Scots and Norwegian claims in the islands. Edgar formally acknowledged the existing situation by giving up his claims to the Hebrides and Kintyre.
A second expedition in 1102 saw incursions into Ireland and the Heimskringla saga reports that he obtained Muirchertach Ua Briain's daughter Blathmin Ní Briain in marriage to his young son, Sigurd, whom he then left in nominal charge of the isles. This arrangement did not last long. On 23 August 1103 Magnus was killed fighting in Ulster and the 14 year-old Sigurd returned to Norway without his bride. The next king was Lagmann Godredsson, Godred Crovan's son, who was apparently appointed with Sigurd's consent. He successfully fought off a rebellion by his brother Harald and after reigning for seven years he abdicated "repenting that he had put out his brother's eyes" and went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he died.[Note 26]
Lagmann abdicated during his surviving son Olave's minority and either by force, or by the invitation of the nobility of the Isles Domnall mac Taidc Ua Briain (Domnall MacTade), a grandson of Echmarcach mac Ragnaill, became overlord of the isles in 1111.[Note 27] Whatever his route to accession, he proved to be an unpopular tyrant and was expelled by the Islesmen after two years, fleeing to Ireland.
Two years later we read that the King of Norway had attempted to appoint Ingemund to take possession of the kingdom of the Isles. However, when Ingemund arrived on Lewis he sent messengers to all the chiefs of the Isles to summon them to assemble and declare him king. In the meantime he and his followers spent the time in "plundering and revelling. They violated girls and matrons, and gave themselves up to every species of pleasure amid sensual gratification. When the news reached the chiefs of the Isles, who had already assembled to appoint him king, they were inflamed with great rage, hastened against him, and coming upon him in the night, set fire to the house in which he was, and destroyed, partly by the sword and partly by the flames, Ingemund and all his followers."
The next recorded king was Godred Crovan's son Olave Godredsson, also known as "the Red" to the Highlanders and "Bitling" to the Norwegians, the latter apparently on account of his small size. He had spent time at the court of Henry I of England, who may have encouraged his ambitions in an attempt to minimise Ui Briain dominance over the Irish Sea and environs. Olave reigned for forty years, managing to maintain a degree of peace and stability throughout. Nevertheless, the era was not without incident. During his time Oitir Mac mic Oitir, one of the Hebridean nobles, took Dublin by force and held it for six years before his assassination in 1148. Oitir's son Thorfinn was described as the most powerful of the Hebridean lords in 1150. In 1152 Olave's nephews in Dublin rose against him and attacked Mann, killing him in the process.
Olave's son Godred the Black succeeded him and had his father's killers executed. Shortly thereafter the warring Mac Lochlainn clan in Ireland along with "the fleet of Galloway, Arran, Kintyre, Man, and the territories of Scotland" are recorded fighting a naval battle off Inishowen against the Ui Briain dynasty. During his reign the citizens of Dublin offered him the rule of the city, which he accepted. Then, according to the Manx Chronicle, he inflicted a heavy defeat on his erstwhile Mac Lochlainn allies, following which he and his chieftains returned to the islands, leaving the city to the invading forces of Diarmait Mac Murchada.[Note 28]
Godred's dictatorial style appears to have made him very unpopular with the Islesmen and the ensuing conflicts were the beginning of the end for Mann and The Isles as a coherent territory under the rule of a single magnate. The powerful barons of the isles began plotting with an emerging and forceful figure— Somerled, Lord of Argyll. Somerled's parental origins are obscure, but it is known that he had married Ragnhildis, daughter of Olave the Red and Godred's half-sister. It is possible that Somerled first found favour with Olave by helping him wrest control of the northern Hebrides from the Earls of Orkney, whose influence had once more spread into the Sudreys. Somerled's popularity led to his son with Ragnhildis, Dubgall, being heralded throughout the Isles (save Man itself) as a future King of the Isles by "Thorfinn, son of Ottar". When Godred heard of this he engaged Somerled's forces in a naval battle in 1156. There was no clear victor, but it was subsequently agreed that Godred would remain the ruler of Mann, the northern Inner Hebrides and the Outer Hebrides, whilst Somerled's young sons would nominally control the southern Inner Hebrides, Kintyre and the islands of the Clyde under their father's supervision. Two years later Somerled's invasion of the Isle of Man caused Godred to flee to Norway, leaving the former as undisputed ruler of the entire realm.
The Hebrides had been hard to control from a distance since the days of Ketill Flatnose and even in the time of Magnus Barelegs it is likely that de facto control was that of local rulers rather than nominal governance from over the seas. Somerled took this to its ultimate conclusion, declaring himself an independent ruler of the isles and (by tradition) emphasising his Gaelic rather than Norse heritage and claiming descent from the legendary Gofraid mac Fergusa. His power base was in the southern Hebrides and Kintyre and he had, in effect, recreated Dalriada.[Note 29] This prince of Argyll is one of the best known historical figures from the Gàidhealtachd of Scotland, and is known in Gaelic as Somairle mac Gille Brigte, although his Norse name, Somarlidi, has the literal meaning of "summer traveller", a common name for a Viking.[Note 30]
Somerled met his death in 1164, possibly assassinated in his tent as he camped near Renfrew during an invasion of the Scottish mainland. At this point Godred re-took possession of his pre 1158 territories and the southern isles were distributed amongst Somerled's sons as previously agreed: Dubgall received Mull, Coll, Tiree and Jura; Islay and Kintyre went to Raghnall; Bute to Aonghas, with Arran possibly divided between him and Reginald. Dugall and Raghnall at least were styled "Kings of the Isles". However, their descendants do not seem to have held this title and The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys lamented that Somerled's marriage to Ragnhildis "was the cause of the ruin of the whole kingdom of the Isles".
A divided kingdom
Somerled's descendants eventually became known as the Lords of the Isles, with Dubgall giving rise to Clan MacDougall, and Raghnall to Clan Donald and Clan Macruari. Aonghas and his three sons were killed on Skye in 1210. In theory Somerled and his descendents' island territories were subject to Norway and his mainland ones to the Kingdom of Alba, whilst the Kings of Mann and the north isles were vassals of the Kings of Norway.
However, both during and after Somerled's life the Scottish monarchs sought to take a control of the islands he and his descendants held. Diplomacy having failed to achieve much, in 1249 Alexander II took personal command of a large fleet which sailed from the Firth of Clyde and anchored off the island of Kerrera. Alexander became ill and died there, but the action was continued by his successor Alexander III. This strategy eventually led to an invasion by Haakon Haakonarson, King of Norway. After the stalemate of the Battle of Largs, Haakon retreated to Orkney, where he died in December 1263, entertained on his death bed by recitations of the sagas. Following this ill-fated expedition, the Hebrides and Mann and all rights that the Norwegian crown "had of old therein" were yielded to the Kingdom of Scotland as a result of the 1266 Treaty of Perth.
In Man, having overcome his usurper brother Ragnald who reigned for a brief time in 1164, Godred the Black resumed his kingship of Mann and the north isles. One his death in 1187, the kingship passed to his eldest son, Raghnall mac Gofraidh, rather than his chosen successor, Olaf the Black (Raghnall's half-brother), who instead became overlord of Lewis. In 1228, Olaf battled Raghnall at Tynwald and the latter was slain. On 21 May 1237, Olaf died on St Patrick's Isle, and was succeeded by his three sons who all ruled the kingdom in turn: Harald Olafsson (reigned 1237–48), Ragnvald (1248–52), and Magnus Olafsson (1252–65). Magnus, who died in 1265, was the last of the Norse kings to rule Mann, which was absorbed into the Kingdom of Scotland.
Later rulers of the Hebrides and of Mann
Kings of Mann and the Isles
Ruler of the Hebrides & Mann Period of Reign Title Notes Magnus Barelegs 1098–1102 Direct Norwegian rule Possibly King of the Isles  Sigurd Magnusson 1102–1103 Direct Norwegian rule Nominal control by under-age son of Magnus Barelegs Lagmann Godredsson 1103–1110 Eldest son of Godred Crovan Domnall mac Taidc Ua Briain 1111–1112 Regent during the minority of Olave the Red Nephew of Muirchertach Ua Briain. Expelled by the Islesmen. Olave the Red 1112–1152 Son of Godred Crovan Godred the Black 1154–1156 King of Man and the Isles Son of Olave the Red. Somerled's sons & Godred the Black 1156–1158 Rulers of the southern isles and of Mann and the north isles respectively. Somerled's sons were Dubgall, Raghnall and Aonghas Somerled 1158–1164 Lord of Argyll Son-in-law of Olave the Red, his origins are otherwise obscure.
Kings of Mann and the north isles
Kings of Mann Period of Reign Title Notes Ragnald 1164 Brother of Godred the Black Godred the Black 1164–1187 King of the Isles Re-instated Raghnall mac Gofraidh 1188–1226 King of the Isles Son of Godred the Black Olaf the Black 1226–1237 King of Mann and the Isles Half-brother of Raghnall mac Gofraidh Harald Olafsson 1237–1248? King of Mann and the Isles Son of Olaf the Black Ragnvald Olafsson 1249 King of Mann and the Isles Son of Olaf the Black, his rule was brief Harald Godredsson 1249–1250 King of Mann Son of Gofraid Donn and grandson of Raghnall mac Gofraidh Magnus Olafsson 1252–1265? King of Mann and the Isles Son of Olaf the Black
In a precursor to 1263, Norwegian forces invaded in 1230 in response to dynastic struggles amongst Godred the Black's descendants. The Chronicle of Lanercost states that a Norwegian fleet sailed down the west coast of Scotland with Óspakr Ögmundsson, who had been appointed "King of the Suðreyjar" by the King of Norway (and who may have been a son of Dubgall mac Somairle and foster son of "Ögmund"). His forces took Rothesay Castle, hacking through the walls with their axes. The Eirspennill version of Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar states that the fleet then sailed to Kintyre where Óspakr fell ill and died. Olaf the Black then took control of the fleet, and led it to the Isle of Man. He and Gofraid Donn, the son of Raghnall mac Gofraidh, divided the kingdom between themselves, with the latter retaining Mann, and the former controlling the northern islands. A short time later Gofraid Donn was slain, possibly on Lewis.
On 30 May 1249, Ragnvald Olafsson was slain in a meadow near the Church of the Holy Trinity at Rushen by a knight named Ívarr, along with several of the knight's followers. The Chronicle of Lanercost states that he had reigned for only 27 days. Harald Godredsson then seized the kingship, although he was summoned to Norway the following year and effectively dispossessed.
Kings of the south isles
Rulers of the Hebrides Period of Reign Title Notes Dubgall mac Somairle 1164–c1175 King of the Isles Son of Somerled Raghnall mac Somhairle 1164–1207 King of the Isles Son of Somerled Donnchadh mac Dubhghaill ? - c.1244? King of the Sudreys Son of Dubgall mac Somairle Dubgall "Screech" mac Dubgaill ? King of the Sudreys Son of Dubgall mac Somairle Somairle mac Dubgaill ? - 1230 King of the Sudreys Probably a son of Dubgall mac Somairle Ruaidhri mac Raghnaill 1207?–1247? King of the Isles Son of Raghnall mac Somhairle Eóghan of Argyll 1248-1263 King of the Sudreys Son of Donnchadh mac Dubhghaill Dubhghall mac Ruaidhri 1249-1266? King of the Sudreys Son of Ruaidhri mac Raghnaill
The 1780 Anecdotes of Olave the Black (which are based on Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar) state that there were 3 Sudreyan kings all existing at one time who were "of the family of Somerled" and who were "very untrue to King Haco". It is not entirely clear which three kings are being referred to. They include Dubgall "Screech" mac Dubgaill and his brother Donnchadh and either Eóghan of Argyll who "was king afterwards" or possibly an unknown "relation of theirs, called Somerled, [who] was then also a King in the Sudreys". This Somerled, who died in 1230, may have been a brother or cousin of Dubgall and Donnchadh.
Raghnall mac Somhairle's son, Ruaidhri mac Raghnaill may have been the "king of the Isles" who was recorded in the Irish chronicles as having been killed fighting against the English at the Battle of Ballyshannon in 1247. Ruaidhri's direct descendents Dubhghall and Ailean, who ruled Garmoran and the Uists are generally not given titles by Scottish sources. However the Icelandic Annals recorded for the year 1249 that: "Dubhghall took kingship in the Sudreys." Norse sources also refer to kingship being held by Eóghan of Argyll, although this was rescinded by King Haakon when he refused to participate in the latter's expeditions against Scotland.
- ^ Hunter (2000) states that in relation to King Bridei I of the Picts in the sixth century: "As for Shetland, Orkney, Skye and the Western Isles, their inhabitants, most of whom appear to have been Pictish in culture and speech at this time, are likely to have regarded Bridei as a fairly distant presence.”
- ^ These attacks on Christian settlements in the islands of the west were nothing new. In the 6th century Tiree was raided by Pictish forces, Tory Island was attacked in the early 7th century by a "marine fleet" and Donnán of Eigg and 52 companions were murdered by Picts on Eigg in 617.
- ^ Some scholars believe that this story, which appears in the Orkneyinga Saga is apocryphal and based on the later voyages of Magnus Barelegs.
- ^ Hunter (2000) states that Ketill was "in charge of an extensive island realm and, as a result, sufficiently prestigious to contemplate the making of agreements and alliances with other princelings" but stops short of describing him as a monarch.
- ^ The Ketill/Caittil relationship is described by Woolf (2007) as "extremely tenuous" although in an earlier publication he appears to support this identification.
- ^ Woolf (2007) states that his appearance looks "very much like the product of fourteenth-century propagandists from Clann Donald".
- ^ In the late tenth century the battle of "Innisibsolian" was won by Alban forces over vikings. This has been identified as possibly taking place near the Slate Islands of Argyll, although this seems speculative.
- ^ In 941, the year of Amlaíb mac Gofraid's death, the Chronicum Scotorum records that a fleet was led by one of the Irish kings to the "islands of Alba" possibly in response to a Viking raid on Dalriada.
- ^ Murray (1973) notes that "Western Isles" has tended to mean "Outer Hebrides" since the creation of the Na h-Eileanan an Iar or Western Isles parliamentary constituency in 1918. The phrase can also be used to refer to the Hebrides in general, which is the intention in this instance.
- ^ Amlaíb Cuarán is however referred to in the Cath Ruis na Ríg as rí Lochlainne i.e. "the king of Lochlainn", adding weight to the view that Lochlainn/Viking Scotland/Mann and the Isles are interchangeable. However, Barrett (2008) regards the Lochlainn hypothesis as one of the two "least probable" of the four he identifies.
- ^ Gregory (1881) records Maccus mac Arailt's succession as taking place on the death of Amlaíb Cuarán, which took place in 981, although it may have been after his abdication as King of Dublin in 980. Downham (2007) has this occurring in the 970s.
- ^ This battle of Man, recorded by the Annals of Ulster, is said to have been won by Gofraid and "the Danes" – possibly forces coming directly from Scandinavia under the command of Olaf Tryggvason. Amlaíb Cuarán died whilst in "religious retirement" on Iona.
- ^ Innse Gall, meaning "islands of the foreigners or strangers" is a name that was originally used by mainland Highlanders when the Hebrides were ruled by the Norse and is still occasionally used by Gaelic speakers today to mean the Hebrides/Outer Hebrides. The 9th century Irish Cath Maige Tuired also refers to "Balor grandson of Nét, the king of the Hebrides and to Indech son of Dé Domnand, the king of the Fomoire". Fomoire is probably the Outer Hebrides and the text also refers to "a hInnsib Gall".
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) states: "The historical Sigurðr was earl of Orkney and apparently was overlord of the Hebrides as well" although he provides no date.
- ^ Both Godred Crovan and Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó are described as "rig Atha Cliath & Inse Gall" i.e. the "King of Dublin and the Isles" a specific title given to no others, although other individuals were kings of both simultaneously.
- ^ Duffy (1992) then has the appointment of Domnall mac Taidc Ua Briain as regent from 1095–98, not after Lagmann Godredsson in 1111.
- ^ Amlaíb Conung was clearly a significant figure and a "king of the Northmen". The title "the greatest warrior king of the Western Sea" (or "West-over-the-sea") is recorded of Olaf the White in the Eyrbyggja Saga and some sources believe these two individuals are one and the same.Amlaíb may have pre-deceased Ímar.
- ^ Ketill Flatnose appears in the Laxdœla saga, apparently set in the late ninth century. His daughter, Aud the Deep-Minded married Olaf the White, who some scholars believe to have been Amlaíb Conung, but these dates do not match well as Amlaíb is recorded as coming to Ireland in 853, unless a much earlier date for Ketill's excursions is accepted—which is also necessary for the validity of the identification of Ketill with Caittil Find.
- ^ Thorfinn is often stated as dying c. 1064, although Woolf (2007) states that "there is no reason why a date in the late 1050s is not just as credible."
- ^ He may have "ruled Dublin and the Isles intermittently until 1061". However, if Echmarcach mac Ragnaill was a son of Ragnal mac Gofraid he must either have been very young when his father died in 1005, or very old on his own death in the early 1060s. He may have controlled Mann from 1036 onwards. There appears to be no evidence of his presence in or around the Scottish islands.
- ^ Both possibilities for the timing of Lagmann Godredsson's reign have been advanced by modern scholars. For example, in 1986 Rosemary Power favoured the reigns of Lagmann and Domnall mac Taidc after Magnus's arrival, suggesting that Lagmann may have also ruled for a time under his overlordship. As noted above Duffy (1992) also placed Domnall mac Taidc Ua Briain's rule before Magnus.
- ^ He is described as dominating "Dublin, and probably the Isle of Man and much of the coastline of Galloway and northwest England."
- ^ Woolf (2007) states of Amlaíb mac Gofraid: "It seems likely that he controlled or at least had strong influence in Man and Galloway."
- ^ Amlaíb mac Gofraid was identified by the 12th century chronicler John of Worcester as "King of the Isles".
- ^ Referred to by William of Jumièges as a king of the Swedes, Downham (2007) mentions a theory that "Lagmann ruled the Hebrides and Man in the early eleventh century" but the only evidence for this would seems to be the absence of any specific information contradicting the idea.
- ^ Some sources have Lagmann reigning before Magnus's expedition and being deposed by him. See for example Anderson (1922) p. 108.
- ^ Duffy (1992), who suggests this may have been Domnall mac Taidc's second period of rule, believes this was probably in opposition to his uncle and High King, Muirchertach Ua Briain although Gregory (1881) states that he was sent by him on request. The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys refers to the latter idea.
- ^ The Annals of Ulster place the battle at the unidentified location of Mag Fitharta in 1162, and thus possibly in the time of Somerled.
- ^ Hunter (2004) states that the claims of descent from Gofraid mac Fergusa are "preserved in Gaelic tradition and accepted as broadly authentic by modern scholars". However, Woolf (2005) asserts that "contrary to the image, projected by recent clan-historians, of Clann Somhairle as Gaelic nationalists liberating the Isles from Scandinavians, it is quite explicit in our two extended narrative accounts from the thirteenth century, Orkneyinga saga and The Chronicle of the Kings of Man and the Isles, that the early leaders of Clann Somhairle saw themselves as competitors for the kingship of the Isles on the basis of their descent through their mother Ragnhilt" and that their claim "to royal status was based on its position as a segment of Uí Ímair."
- ^ The full Norse name was Somarlidi Haulldr, literally, "summer traveller" and "cultivator of the soil". The latter may imply a lack of noble birth although it was also a nickname commonly used of the nobility.
- ^ "Physical Geography" Isle of Man Government. Retrieved 11 Jan 2011.
- ^ Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 2
- ^ General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003) Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands. (pdf) Retrieved 22 Jan 2011.
- ^ "Unitary Authority Fact Sheet – Population and Area" University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- ^ Etchingham (2001) p. 185
- ^ Woolf (2006) p. 94
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 275
- ^ Barrett (2008) p. 420
- ^ Barrett (2008) p. 412
- ^ a b Barrett (2008) pp. 419, 422
- ^ a b c d Gregory (1881) pp. 17–18
- ^ a b Woolf (2006) p. 96
- ^ Hunter (2000) pp. 44, 49
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) p. 25
- ^ a b Thomson (2008) p. 24–27
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 57
- ^ Watson (1994) pp. 62–63
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) p. 5
- ^ a b Ó Corráin (1998) p. 24
- ^ a b c Gregory (1881) p. 4
- ^ Hunter (2000) p. 78
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 296
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 253, 296–97
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 296–97
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 299
- ^ a b Woolf (2007) p. 109
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 115
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) pp. 6, 10
- ^ a b Ó Corráin (1998) p. 34
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) pp. 35–37
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 116–17
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 141
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 130–31
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 145
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) p. 123
- ^ a b c d Woolf (2007) pp. 140–41
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 45–46
- ^ Murray (1973) p. 32
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) p. 21
- ^ a b c d e f Gregory (1881) p. 5
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 214–16
- ^ a b Downham (2007) p. 185
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 212, 216–18
- ^ a b Ó Corráin (1998) p. 11
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 218–19
- ^ Hunter (2000) p. 104
- ^ See for example "Outer Hebrides/Innse Gall – area overview". HIE. Retrieved 3 Jan 2011.
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) p. 17
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 179
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 198
- ^ a b Woolf (2007) p. 213
- ^ Hunter (2000) p. 84
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) p. 20
- ^ Etchingham (2001) p. 181
- ^ a b c d Etchingham (2001) pp. 157–58
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 253
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 264, 266
- ^ a b Woolf (2007) p. 267
- ^ Downham (2004) p. 68
- ^ a b c Woolf (2007) p. 245
- ^ a b Downham (2007) p. 171
- ^ Etchingham (2001) p. 154
- ^ a b c d Duffy (1992) pp. 100–01
- ^ a b Gregory (1881) p. 6
- ^ a b c Duffy (1992) pp. 106–09
- ^ a b c d Duffy (1992) p. 108
- ^ a b Woolf (2005) p. 212
- ^ a b c Duffy (1992) p. 109
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 254
- ^ a b c Ó Corráin (1998) pp. 36–37
- ^ Marsden (2008) p. 18
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 296
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 110
- ^ a b c d Gregory (1881) pp. 4–6
- ^ a b "The Laxdale Saga". Icelandic Saga Database. Retrieved 2 Jan 2011.
- ^ Ó Corráin (1979) p. 298
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 238
- ^ Pálsson and Edwards (1981) pp. 36–37
- ^ a b c d Gregory (1881) pp. 4–6 and/or as otherwise indicated. An asterisk(*) indicates the individual is not considered by Gregory.
- ^ a b Woolf (2007) p. 181
- ^ a b Woolf (2007) p. 174
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 253
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 197
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 267
- ^ Etchingham (2001) p. 180
- ^ Crawford (1987) p. 71
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 246
- ^ a b Duffy (1992) p. 100
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 246
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 187
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 198
- ^ a b c d The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) p. 51
- ^ Power (1986) p. 116–117.
- ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 293–94
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 178
- ^ Howorth (1911) p. 8
- ^ Howorth (1911) p. 12
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 30
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 163
- ^ a b c Woolf (2007) p. 168
- ^ Downham (2007) p. 183
- ^ Downham (2007) pp. 189, 197, 244
- ^ Woolf (2007) p. 197
- ^ a b Downham (2007) pp. 132-33
- ^ a b Duffy (1992) pp. 121–22
- ^ a b The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) p. 57
- ^ Etchingham (2001) p. 167
- ^ Woolf (2006) p. 99
- ^ Ó Corráin (1998) p. 23
- ^ a b c Hunter (2000) pp. 102–3
- ^ Murray (1977) p. 100
- ^ "Tarbert History" Tarbert.info. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
- ^ Oram (2004), p. 48.
- ^ Duffy (1992) pp. 110–13
- ^ a b The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) p. 55
- ^ a b c d Gregory (1881) pp. 6–8
- ^ a b c d e Duffy (1992) p. 115
- ^ a b c Duffy (1992) pp. 125–26
- ^ Duffy (1992) p. 124
- ^ a b Duffy (1992) pp. 127–28
- ^ a b c d Gregory (1881) pp. 9–17
- ^ Woolf (2006) p. 103
- ^ a b c Hunter (2000) pp. 104
- ^ Murray (1973) p. 168
- ^ Gregory (1881) p. 11
- ^ Gregory (1881) pp. 15–16
- ^ The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) p. 61
- ^ Gregory (1881) p. 19
- ^ a b The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) various pages
- ^ Hunter (2000) pp. 106–111
- ^ Barrett (2008) p. 411
- ^ "Agreement between Magnus IV and Alexander III, 1266" Manx Society. IV, VII & IX. Retrieved 11 Jan 2011.
- ^ The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) p. 83
- ^ The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) p. 93
- ^ "Lords of Mann – Manx Middle Ages – 1265 AD to 1765 AD". Manx National Heritage. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- ^ "Bishop's and Earl's Palaces, Kirkwall". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- ^ a b Gregory (1881) pp. 6–8 and/or as otherwise stated.
- ^ Gregory (1881) p. 13
- ^ "The Three Legs of Man". Manx Notebook. Retrieved 1 August 2010. This source cited Wagner, A.R. (1959–60), "The Origin of the Arms of Man", Manx Museum 6 and Megaw, B.R.S. (1959–60), "The Ship Seals of the Kings of Man", Manx Museum 6
- ^ The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) p. 75
- ^ The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (1874) p. 79
- ^ a b c Sellar (2000) pp 194, 202
- ^ Coventry (2008) p. 545
- ^ Anderson (1922) pp. 473–478
- ^ Anderson (1922) p. 554
- ^ Anderson (1922) pp. 553–554
- ^ Anderson (1922) p. 567
- ^ Sellar (2000) p. 202
- ^ Johnstone (1780) p. 5
- ^ Woolf (2006) p. 108
- ^ Woolf (2006) p. 109
- ^ Anderson (1922) vol. ii, p. 554
- ^ Anderson (1922) vol. ii, p, 549
- General references
- Anderson, Alan Orr (1922) Early Sources of Scottish History: A.D. 500 to 1286. 2. Edinburgh. Oliver and Boyd.
- Barrett, James H. "The Norse in Scotland" in Brink, Stefan (ed) (2008) The Viking World. Abingdon. Routledge. ISBN 0415333156
- Coventry, Martin (2008) Castles of the Clans. Musselburgh. Goblinshead. ISBN 9781899874361
- Crawford, Barbara E. (1987) Scandinavian Scotland. Leicester University Press. ISBN 0718511972
- Gillen, Con (2003) Geology and landscapes of Scotland. Harpenden. Terra.
- Downham, Clare "England and the Irish-Sea Zone in the Eleventh Century" in Gillingham, John (ed) (2004) Anglo-Norman Studies XXVI: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2003. Woodbridge. Boydell Press. ISBN 084383 0728
- Downham, Clare (2007) Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014. Edinburgh. Dunedin Academic Press. ISBN 9781903765890
- Duffy, Seán (1992). "Irishmen and Islesmen in the Kingdom of Dublin and Man 1052–1171". Ériu (43): 93–133. JSTOR 30007421.
- Etchingham, Colman (2001) "North Wales, Ireland and the Isles: the Insular Viking Zone". Peritia. 15 pp. 145–87
- Gregory, Donald (1881) The History of the Western Highlands and Isles of Scotland 1493–1625. Edinburgh. Birlinn. 2008 reprint – originally published by Thomas D. Morrison. ISBN 1904607578
- Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 1841954543.
- Howorth, Henry H. (Jan. 1911). "Ragnall Ivarson and Jarl Otir". The English Historical Review 26 (101): 1–19. http://books.google.com/books?id=PnoQAAAAYAAJ. Also JSTOR.
- Hunter, James (2000) Last of the Free: A History of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Edinburgh. Mainstream. ISBN 1840183764
- Johnstone J. (ed) (1780) Anecdotes Of Olave The Black, King Of Man, And The Hebridian Princes Of The Somerled Family (by Thordr) To Which Are Added Xviii. Eulogies On Haco King Of Norway, By Snorro Sturlson, Publ. With A Literal Version And Notes.
- Marsden, John (2008) "Somerled and the Emergence of Gaelic Scotland". Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 9781904607809
- Munch, P.A. (ed) and Rev. Goss (tr) (1874) Chronica regnum Manniae et insularum: The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys. Volume 1. Douglas, Isle of Man. The Manx Society. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- Murray, W.H. (1973) The Islands of Western Scotland. London. Eyre Methuen. ISBN 0413303802
- Murray, W.H. (1977) The Companion Guide to the West Highlands of Scotland. London. Collins.
- Ó Corráin, Donnchadh (Mar 1979) "High-Kings, Vikings and Other Kings". Irish Historical Studies 22 No. 83 pp. 283–323. Irish Historical Studies Publications.
- Ó Corráin, Donnchadh (1998) Vikings in Ireland and Scotland in the Ninth Century CELT.
- Oram, Richard (2004) David I: The King Who Made Scotland. Stroud. Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-2825-X
- Pálsson, Hermann and Edwards, Paul Geoffrey (1981). Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0140443835
- Power, Rosemary (1986), "Magnus Barelegs' Expeditions to the West" (pdf), The Scottish Historical Review (Edinburgh University Press) 65 (180, part 2): 107–132, JSTOR 25530199 .
- Sellar, William David Hamilton Hebridean sea kings: The successors of Somerled, 1164–1316 in Cowan, Edward J. and McDonald, Russell Andrew (eds) (2000) Alba: Celtic Scotland in the middle ages. Tuckwell Press. ISBN 1862321515
- Thomson, William P. L. (2008) The New History of Orkney. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 9781841586960
- Woolf, Alex (2005) "The origins and ancestry of Somerled: Gofraid mac Fergusa and ‘The Annals of the Four Masters’". Mediaeval Scandinavia.15 pp. 199–213.
- Woolf, Alex "The Age of the Sea-Kings: 900–1300" in Omand, Donald (ed.) (2006) The Argyll Book. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 1841584800
- Woolf, Alex (2007), From Pictland to Alba, 789–1070, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0748612345
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vassals of the
Kings of Norway etc.
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