[Notes 12-23 from Manx Soc vol 22 Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys]


NOTE 12, p. 60.Olavus filius Godredi . . . XL annis.

That the year in which the reign of Olaf commenced was 1103, and not 1102, is already shown. Likewise it is a mistake, arising from the careless way in which the ciphers of the years are added, that Olaf is said to have reigned forty years only ; he was not killed in 1142 or 1143, as it is said afterwards in the Chronicle (and which certainly gives a period of forty years from 1102 or 1103), but in 1153, the Chronicle itself stating expressly that it was the same year in which St. Bernard of Clairvaux and King David of Scotland died, viz. 1153.a This is rather a remarkable instance of the author having been misled by his own inaccuracy. Olaf is mentioned also in the Orkneyinga Saga, with the curious surname of Bitlingr (the little bit), the cause of which appellation is not explained.b That Olaf did homage to the Norwegian kings is nowhere mentioned. He may have done it for all we know of it, but it seems more likely that during his long reign the connexion with Norway was rather loose, it being expressly stated, as we see, that he kept so close a confederacy with the kings of Scotland and Ireland, that nobody dared to disturb his kingdom as long as he lived.c

a Vide Chronica de Mailos and others. [King David died May 24, 1153. St. Bernard died August 20, 1153. Olave was slain by Reginald, Harold’s son, on the 29th of June.]

b A varians lectio gives the form kliningr, i. e., " bread and butter."

c Towards the close of his reign, however, his son and future successor Godred, as we see, found it necessary to go to Norway and offer his homage to King Inge.

NOTE 13, p. 60.—Habuit et concubinas plures, etc.

Among these concubines, as they are styled here, one, however, seems to have been his legitiniate second wife, viz. Ingibjörg, daughter of Hacon, Earl of Orkney, and sister to Harold, Earl of Orkney, as well as to Margaret, the wife of Madadh, Earl of Atholl.d The Orkney Saga states expressly that Ingibjorg was married to King Olaf ; and, indeed, it is not to be supposed that a lady of such illustrious birth and connections should degrade herself as to become a concubine even of a king. Irigihjörg, however, being born after the death of King Magnus and the firm establishment of her father in the Orkneys, that is to say about 1105-10, cannot have been married till about 1125, while the marriage of King Olaf with Afreca of Galloway no doubt took place shortly after the accession of Olaf to the throne.

d Orkney Saga, p. 138.  

NOTE 14, p. 60.Sumerledo regulo Herergaidel.

This Sumarliði or Somerled, the celebrated ruler ofArgyle, who is also mentioned in the Orkney saga, and in the saga of King Hacon Haconsson as the founder of his dynasty, is styled king or " petty king" only in this Chronicle and the Irish annals. The sagas do not mention his father, but from a genealogy, preserved it would seem among his descendants, the Mac Donalds, and printed in Johnstone’s Antiquitates Celto-Norinannicæ, p. 152, we learn that he was son of Gilbrigid, and grandson of Gil-Adomnan.a Skene (Highlanders in Scotland, V. ii. p. 40, 41) informs us, from two curious old Gaelic MSS., that Gil-Adoninan was driven out from his possessions in Scotland by the violence of the Lochians and Fingalls (i.e., the Norwegians), and took refuge in Ireland, and that Gillebridd, as it would appear, made an unsuccessful attempt to recover his paternal lands, which, however, was at last effected by Somerled, who " put himself at the head of the inhabitants of Morven, and by a series of rapid attacks succeeded, after considerable struggle, in expelling the Norwegians, and making himself master of the whole of Morven, Lochaber, and north Argyle," to which he soon afterwards added the southern district of Argyle. Perhaps we may be able to carry the genealogy still farther up than to Gil-Adomnan. In the Annals of the Four Masters it is stated that "Somerled, son of Gilbrigid, king of Innsie Gall " (i.e., the Sudreys), died in 1083. It seems evident from the repetition of the personal names that this Somerled was the father of Gil-Adomnan, and that, being originally and properly Lord of Argyle, he had also acquired some of the adjacent isles, as Jura, Mull, etc., enough to procure him the title of Insular king. We might even be inclined to think that Gil-Adomnan, being, as we presume, his son, was expelled his dominions by Godred of Man, not, as Mr. Skene suggests, by Magnus of Norway, who already found Godred and Lagman fully established in the Isles. Indeed the chief family possessions of Godred, being as demonstrated above, the island of Isla, which is next to Jura and Argyle, we may guess that not only in the earlier years of Godred, before he conquered Man, but even in the times of their respective ancestors, there existed constant feuds between both families, such as generally used to rage among neigh-bouring clans in those days, and that the expulsion of Gil-Adoninan to Ireland was only a continuation of ancient conflicts. Seeing, farther, that the Norwegian name of Somerled, which appears twice in the dynasty, indicates some connection with Norwegian families, and that the powerful Earl Sigurd, the father of Thorfinn, had really a son his first-born, named Somerled, while the husband of his sister, the Sud reyan earl, is called " Gille " (i.e., Gilbrigid, Gilchrist, Gil-Adomnan, or another similar name), we find it rather likely that Somerled the elder was a descendant of Earl " Gille " by the sister of Earl Sigurd, and that his nanie, as well as that of Earl Sigurd’s son, was derived from the same common ancestor ; nay, it is even probable that Somerled of the Isles, who seems to have been born about 1020, was immediately named after the Orkneyan earl who died about that time.

a [See appendix, Nos. 56 and 57.]

NOTE 15, p. 60.Fundata est Abbatia Sanctae Mariae Saviniensis.

This is the Cistercian Abbey of Savigny in Normandy, from which that of Furness, the mother of Rushen Abbey, in Man, was founded. Even before the erection of Furness and Rushen, the monks of Savigny, in Normandy, seem to have had the right of furnishing Man with bishops, which right was subsequently transferred—first to Furness and then to Rushen.a We learn from Stubbs "Acta Aichiep. Eboracen., p. 1217, as well as from Mathew Paris, p. 60, amid Chron. Nordmann., in the collection of Duchesne, p. 986, that some years before 1114, Wimund, a monk of Savigny, and at the same time priest in the Isle of Skye, was ordained Bishop of Man by Archbishop Thomas of York, and that when he went away (we shall see afterwards that lie became a pretender to the Scottish crown), John, a monk from the diocese of Seez (probably from the Abbey of Savigny), became his successor, being in his turn again succeeded by Nicholas a monk from Furness, as we learn from two letters directed by King Olave b to Archbishop Thurstan of York, preserved in the " White Book " at York, and printed in Dugdale’s Monasticon Anglicanum.c

a [The selection of two monks from the monastery of Savigny to fill the see of Man, does not prove that the monastery had any right to the nomination. The Order of Savigimy was founded by Vitalis de Mortain in the forest of Fougeres, on the confines of Britany ; but Raoul, the lord of the place, fearing they might disturb his game, gave them the remains of an old castle, amid the adjoining forest of Savigny, near Avranches, in 1112. It was one of the most celebrated Orders in France before it was united or matriculated with Citeaux, under Serb the fourth abbot, in 1148. The monks followed the rule of St. Benedict, and wore a habit of grey cloth, from which they were called grey monks. On being united with Citeaux they adopted the white dress of the Cistercian order, April 10, 1148. Eugenius IV., in a bull addressed to B. Serb, numbers the abbey of Man, that is Rushen, among the dependencies of Savigny. —Boliandists, Oct. vol. viii., p. 1018.]

b [Professor Munch here mentions two letters from Olave, King of the Isles, and supposes both to have been written by the same person. This is incorrect for the former was written by Olave I. in 1134, and the latter by Olave the son of Godred, and grandson to Olave I—See Beck’s Antiquities of Fuiness, 87.]

c See Dugdale, last edition, t. viii. 1186. We give the letters in extemso, as being of great interest to our present purpose. The year is wanting, as in most such ancient letters, but the mention of Furness only in the former, not of Rushen, shows that they are written before the erection of this monastery, probably about 1130. It seems to be only a mistake of the copyist, or perhaps the editoi, that in the superscription Nicholas is called Bishop of Whitern (Candidæ Casa) or Galloway. —[For the letters see Appendix, Nos. 3 amid 4.]

NOTE 16, p. 60.Fund. Furness.

This was the Abbey of Furness, in the diocese of York, mother to that of Rushen.a

a [Furness is situated in Lancashire. The colony from Savigny, in Normandy, first settled at Tûlbret, near Preston, an agreeable site, the gift of Stephen, Earl of Norton and Boulogne, and afterwards King of England, to Godfrey, abbot of Savigny. The colony under Evan or Ewan arrived on the 13th of July 1124, but after a stay of three years and three days they removed in July 1 1 27 to Furness, into the valley of Becknngs-giii, or deadly nightshade, so called from that plant growing plentifully in the neighbourhood. This land was also the gift of Stephen. See the Charter, Appendix A, of vol. i. of Oliver’s Monumenta. Like Savigny, Furness followed the rule of St. Benedict, until the the of the fifth abbot, Richard of Bayeux, when they adopted the rule of Citeaux, which had its rise in 1078. The monks of Furness objected to the change, and Peter of York, their abbot, went to Rome to plead against it, but on his return he was intercepted, stripped of his abbacy, and conipeiled to learn the new rule at Savigny. Richard was appointed to succeed him. Peter was afterwards made abbot at Areton, in the Isle of Wight.]

NOTE 17, p. 60.Fund. Riuallis.

This entry is taken from the Chronica de Maitros, but wrongly assigned to the year 1133 ; while the latter expressly states that the Abbey of Rivaux was founded in 1132, on a Saturday, which was also the III. non. Martii.

The eclipse, however, the mention of which is likewise verbatim adopted from the Chronica de Mailros, happened really on a Wednesday, the 2d of August, vide L’art de verifier les dates.b The monastery of Mailros was a daughter of Rivaux, thence the entry about the latter.

b Here, in the text, the Chron. de Mailros can be corrected by our Chronicle having the word " feria, " which is omitted in the former, between "Augusti" and " iiij."

NOTE 18, p. 62.—Eodem Anno—Rushen.

There can be no doubt that among the privileges granted to the Abbey of Rushen was also that of furnishing bishops to the See of Man, although, as we shall see presently, this privilege was not corn-patible with the right asserted by the clergy and people of Man to elect the bishops themselves. When the Sudreys became a suifragan diocese under the metropolis of Nidaros in Norway, the same privilege became a matter of dispute between the Archbishops of Nidaros on one side and those of York with the monks of Furness and Rushen on the other.c

c [This is merely a conjecture of Professor Munch’s, unsupported by the evidence referred to. The document, No. 19 in the Appendix, refers exclusively to the consecration, not to the election. The supposed right of the monastery of Rushen to furnish the bishop for Man is nowhere shown.]

NOTE 19, p. 62.—Fundata est Abb. S. M. de Malros, etc.

The year here given for both entries,—that about the erection of the monastery and the other about the battle of the Standard (i.e., of Northallertoms), are both wrong.

The Abbey of Melrose was founded on the Easter Monday 1136, and the battle of Northallerton was fought on the 22d of August 1138.

NOTE 20, p. 62.—Ob. S. Malachias.

This is likewise wrong ; St. Malachy died A.D. 1148, vide Chron. de Mailros, and his biography, in the works of St. Bernard, ed. 1690, i. 657.

NOTE 21, p. 62.—Fund. est Abbatia S. M. de Holme Coltran.

Again the number of the year (1141) is wrong, the entry being taken Chron. de Mailros, where the erection of the Monastery of Holmcultran (in Cumberland) is mentioned to have taken place on the 1st of January 1150.

NOTE 22, p. 62.—Godredus filius Olave transfretavit.

That the year assigned to the death of King Olaf ought to be 1153, not 1142, is already shown above, and needs no further demonstration. Very likely, however, 1152 was the year in which Godred went to Norway, and 1153 that of his return, as there are two years expressly mentioned in the Chronicle, although indeed the death of King Olaf is recorded in both. Moreover, the fact that in the bull of 28th November 1154, by which Pope Anastasius IV., a few days before his death, at the suggestion of Nicholas Breakspear, Cardinal Bishop of Albano,a erected the Metropolitan See of Nidaros, in Norway, the bishopric of the Sudreys is expressly named as one of its Suifragans, puts it beyond doubt that the homage of Godred to King Inge must have been made immediately before, or during the stay of the aforesaid Cardinal in Norway from the 20th of July till about September 1 1 52, when the previous arrangements about the erection of the See were made, it being rather unlikely that Man and the Sudreys, whose king so lately, as we have seen, had acknowledged the rights of the Archbishop of York, to consecrate the bishop thereof, could have been assigned to the province of Nidaros, unless upon such a palpable evidence of their allegiance to Norway, as that afforded by the personal presence and homage of Godred.a

What might have been the reasons which compelled Olaf, no doubt reluctantly, to send his son to Norway, and acknowledge the suzerainty of King Irige (here called Hinge) is difficult to say. Most likely it was the troubles caused by the above mentioned ex-bishop Wimund, in which, also, Sornerled of Argyll took an active part. The pretensions to the Scottish Crown, asserted by the Moray dynasty, were inherited from Sulach by Angus Mac Heth, son of his daughter, and Earl of Moray, who rebelled against King David, but was killed in the battle of Strickathrow 1 1 3o~a Shortly afterwards, however, bishop Wimund declared himself to be the son of Angus, with the real name of Malcolm Mac Heth, assumed the title of Earl of Moray, and demanded even the crown of Scotland.b He found a great many followers ; and, indeed, his pretensions seem to have been rather well founded ; in the Orkney Saga he is absolutely called " Malcolm, Earl of Moray," without the least hint as to his being an impostor. The Meirose annals style him " Malcolm Mac Heth." Somerled of Argyle gave him his daughter d in marriage, and subsequently the powerful Earl of Orkney, Harold, married his daughter.5 Assisted by Sornerled he ravaged for a time the western shores of Scotland, until King David succeeded in cap-turing and confining him in the castle of Roxburgh (1134). His sons, however, fled for refuge to Sornerled, who revived the war after the death of David (1153). Meanwhile David seems to have taken his revenge with a strong hand ; it is even said, we do not know upon what authority, that about 1135 he conquered the islands of Man, Arran, and Bute, which, however, cannot be right as far as regards Man, the fact being not mentioned in the Chronicle ; so far, however, we may perhaps infer, that David threatened Man, so that Olaf found it advisable to put himself and his kingdom under the protection of the Norwegian kings. At the same time the powerful Welsh prince Cadwallader, who in 1 1 4 2 was engaged in a fierce war with his brother Owen Gwynedd of Moninouth, seems to have infested Man for, while Caradoc tells that he raised a great force of warriors from Ireland and Scotland (i.e. the Sudreys), the Orkneyinga Saga records, that " a Welsh chieftain " made great ravages in the Sudreys and 1\lan,

a [Afterwards Pope Adrian IV., the only Englishman who ever sat on the throne of St. Peter. Dunham thus sets forth the circumstances of the visit of N. Breakspear, Cardinal of Albano, to Norway, which resulted in this bull of Anastasius IV. At the tinme of his visit three brothers, Sigurd, loge, and Eystein, were contending for the throne ; and complaints, recriminations, quarrels, treachery, bloodshed, succeeded each other, when the arrival of the papal legate suspended for a time the sanguinary proceedings of these princes. His mission was two-fold—to restore peace between the unnatural brothers, and to establish an arcimbishopric. The Norwegian monarchs had long demanded a primate of their own instead of being dependent on the archbishops of Lund. In both objects he was successful. The three kings laid down their arms ; united in showing the highest deference to the legate ; and beheld with joy the creation of a metropolitan see at Trondheim, with a jurisdiction, not over Norway merely, but Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the Shetlands, the Orkneys, the Hebrides, and Man. In return, the chiefs and people readily agreed to pay the tribute of Peter’s pence. Many were the reforms which this well-meaning dignitary endeavoured to carry. He introduced more decorum into the public worship; he enjoined the clergy to attend more to their proper functions and to interfere less in secular matters ; and impressed on the new archbishop the necessity of a rigorous control over the morals of his flock. In attempting to enforce clerical celibacy he did not meet with so ready an acquiescence, but no one dared openly to resist him. To another of his measures we must award a much higher nieed of praise. Seeing that bloodshed had for many reigns stained the proceedings of the Lands-Thing, or provincial assembly, he prevailed on the chiefs to promise that they would not in future attend with arms. Even the king was only to be accompanied by twelve armed men—an exception conceded less to his dignity than to the necessity under which he lay of enforcing the judicial sentences. To an Englishman the conduct of Cardinal Albano on this mission is gratifying. It was no less esteemed by the Norwegians. "In several other respects, " observes Snorro, "he reformed the customs and manners of the people during his stay ; so that never did stranger come to the land more honoured or more beloved by the princes and their subjects. "—See the bull of erection of the Archiepiscopal See of Nidaros, in Appendix No. 5.]


a [The ecclesiastical did not necessarily follow the political distribution of power ; though, not unfrequently, the Pope altered the districts of ecclesiastical jurisdiction to meet the redistribution of states, resulting from conquest and other causes. It by no means follows that Olave recognised the supremacy of York over Man because he sent his bishop to that see for consecration. Often-times quasi legatine powers were given to particular archbishops, either for a time or for a specified purpose, without subjecting the diocese, in which power to act was given, to the perpetual jurisdiction of his Archiepiscopal See. The application above mentioned of Godred of Dublin to Lanfranc of Canterbury, supplies such an exaniple.—(See Appendix, Nos. 1 and 2.) So also Pope Honorius III. directs the Archbishop of York to examine into and decide upon the petition of

a bishop of Man (Nicholas) to be relieved from his episcopal charge. See Oliver’s Åtonunaenta, ii. p. 67. And in 1244 Pope Innocent IV. arranges for the Arch-bishop of York to consecrate the bishops of Man, but with the consent of the Archbishop of Drontlieim. See Appendix, No. 19.]


a C/iron. de Maitros. Fordun, v. 42, viii. 2.


b Fordun, V. 51, cfr. viii. 2, 59. William of Newbury, i. 23, 24.


C Chron. de Mailros—a, 1134. Orkneyinga Saga, p. 404.

S [Skene says his sister. ] e [Skene says his sister.]

killing a wealthy and powerful lord, whose widow married the celebrated Orkneyan hero Svein Asleifsson.’~ All these troubles, perhaps even apprehensions, from the sons of his brother Harold, might have determined Olaf to acknowledge at last a suzerainty which he seems to have disclaimed for the greater part of his life.5

a [Sweyne, says Robertson, was a genuine type of the chieftain of that era, a veritable representative of that numerous class which viewed with such suspicious jealousy the curtailment of their lawless liberty, by the introduction of a novel systenm of government. The spring and autumn he dedicated to agriculture,—a scanty crop was rudely sown, amid as rudely gathered in ; the summer was devoted to a course of piracy ; and the winter was spent in revelry. Such were still the habits of life amongst the chieftains of the North and West of Scotland ; amid in earlier tinmes, as in Scandinavia and northern Germany, the practice had been similar throughout the whole country, with the sole difference that the dwellers upon the coasts were rovers by sea, amid the inhabitants of the interior were plunderers by land. Sweyne lost his life in battle against the Emiglish, who admired his desperate courage, in an attempt to restore Asgal Mac Ragnal to Dublin.—-RobertsOn, i. 408.]


b [It is hard to understand why Munch has mixed up the history of the attempts of the Mac Heth family against Scotland, with the acts of Somerled against Man and the Isles ; for although the two families were connected by marriage, and had common cause against Scotland, yet there was nothing in common between them in regard to the Isle of Man. In fact the withdrawal of Sonmerled’s retainers to support him in his clainms on Man and the Isles, so far weakened the resources of the Mac Heths, that they were finally defeated, and lost their name and place in Scottish history ; for the last time that the name of the ancient race of Moray appears in history is in the reign of Alexander II., when Kenneth Mac Heth was slain in an abortive rebellion, June 15, 1215. However, as Munch has made them a part of Manx history, and as Wimund, a Mamix bishop, assumed their name and claims, it becomes imperative to give their history, in order that what is true may be separated from what is false, and that the acts of the real family of Mac Hetli may be separated fronm those of Winiund the pretender ; for Munch, in common with most writers, has confounded. them. Robertson however, has accurately drawn the line of distinction between the two. Heth, Mormaor, or Earl, of Moray, who, with his confederates, was defeated by Alexander I. on the Moray Firth, left two sons, Angus and Malcolm, who, through their mother, the daughter of Lulach, the successor of Macbeth, claimed to be of the limie of Kenneth MaC(luff. In 1130 they rose in arms to assert their claim to the Scottish throne. David was absent in England ; but Edward, the soil of Siward, the Constable of Scotland, defeated them at Strickathrow, not far from the northern Esk. Their leader Angus, the Earl, or King of Moray, fell with four thousand of his men ! Malcolm, his brother, escaped, and in 1134 gathered together the i-etainers and supporters of his family to renew his claims. David was seriously alarmed, and made vast preparations by land amid sea to meet his rival. The rumour of these reached the Western chieftains, who, fearing for their island fastnesses, seized Malcolm and delivered him to David, by whom he was sent a prisoner to Roxburgh castle. It was this Malcolm, not the imposter Wimund, who had married a sister of Somemled Mac Gillebride, the ancestor of the Lords of Argyll. In 1156, Donald, the son of Malcolm, endeavoured to renew the contest, but he was captured in Galloway, and sent to share his father’s imprisonment. the captivity of his son bowed the spirit of the fatTier, and he came to terms with Malcolm IV., by whom lie was lil)el-ated in 1157. His name appears amongst the signatures in the chartulary of Dunfermline, where, with the leading nobles of the country, he was no doubt in attendance at the court of his youthful sovereign.

Wimund, bishop of Man and the Isles, sometime about 1151 assumed the name of Mac Heth, and boldly laid claim to the throne of Scotland. He was born of obscure parents, but acquired a good education, made his religious pro-fession in the monastery of Furness, and was eventually appointed to the See of Man. His ready eloquence, jovial mimanner, and stalwart frame, captivated his ham-haroims flock, and enabled iiini to gather round him a bold and daring army, composed of the adherents of the Mormaor of Moray, and the wild men of the Isles, ever ready for a foray into the richer lands of their neighbours. At their head he harried the provinces of Scotland, with bloodshed and rapine, and when menaced by the royal forces retired into his wooded fastnesses or island inlets, hut only to sally forth with greater boldness when the army had retired. Baffled by the craft amid insolence of his enemy, amid fearing for the security of his north-western provinces, David brought him to terms by the offer of a principality in Furness. In this new acquisition he abated nothing of his pride and pomp, but travelled through the country like a prince, at the head of his army. Wearied by his exactions, and disgusted with his pretensions, he was seized by the people, not without the connivance of their leaders, amid was blinded and mutilated, in which state lie passed many years in tranquillity in the abbey of Byland, where he was accustomed to boast that had his enemies left hini but the eyelight of a sparrow he ivould have given them cause to repent of what they had done—William of Newburgh, vol. i. chap. 23-4 ; Skene’s Highlanders of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 165-7 ; Robertson, i. 219-224.]

NOTE 23, p. 66.—Coepit regnare Godredvs.

From what is already remarked, it will be easily seen that the year 1144 is to be corrected into 1154. The chronicle itself assigns to Godred’s reign the length of thirty-three years, and mentions after-wards, rightly, his death in 1187. The events in Dublin here narrated are not alluded to in the Irish annals, and as it is clearly indicated that Godred did not feel himself firmly seated on the throne, or exhibit any tyrannical tendencies, until after his return from Ireland, while the first naval battle which occurred afterwards with Somerled in the war caused by his tyranny, is stated to have been fought in 1156, it is evident that his war in Ireland cannot have taken place in the third year of his reign, as the Chronicle has it, unless this third year is to be reckoned from his homage to the Norwegian king in the year 1152.



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