[Note 35-51 ManxSoc vol 22]

NOTE 35, p. 90.—Recuperavit Olavus hoereditatem, etc. :

It was probably in order to announce this important event to the suzerain, King Hácon of Norway, that, as we learn from his Saga, bishop Simon of Sudrey and the abbot of Iona went to Bergen in the summer of 1226, where also Earl John of Orkney appeared, and where the king was to have an interview with Earl Skúli, his co-regent, and the archbishop of Nidaros (Hák. H. S., cli. 147). The king, it is told, settled the affairs of the Sudreyan envoys after a deliberation with Earl Skúli. It would seem that they had been sent on purpose by King Olaf. On the same occasion bishop Simon was no doubt consecrated by the archbishop, as we know for certain that the consecration took place in 1226, and it is not likely that he went to Norway twice in one year

NOTE 36, p. 90.—Supervenit autem Olavus rex, etc.

Before this event, it appears that the English king tried to make peace between the brothers, as, on April 12, 1228, he directed a letter of safe conduct to Olaf and his men, for fifteen days, from Michaelmas in the same year, to repair to England, where peace was to be made between him and his brother.1 There is, however, no trace of Olaf having accepted the offer of mediation ; on the contrary, as it is told in our Chronicle, he returned to Man, expelled the bailiffs of Alan, and recaptured his kingdom.

1 Rymer, Foedera, i. 1, p. 190. [See Appendix, No. 14.]

NOTE 37, p. 92.—Post haec Olavus adiit, etc.

The arrival of King Olaf in Norway did not take place in 1229, as it would appear from our Chronicle, but, according to the excellent and trustworthy Saga of King Hácon, in 1230, when the fleet, which the king intended to send to the Isles, was already equipped and ready to sail. The notice, however, of the events and revolutions in the Isles had already reached Norway in the summer of 1229 . That summer, it is told in the Saga, reports of great warfare came from the Sudreys (ch. 162). No doubt the unhappy son of Reginald, Godred Don, was one of the first to carry the news to Norway, as we leariì from the Chronicle that in 1229 (or rather 1230) he came from Norway, whither he probably fled immediately after his father’s death, the powerful Alan of Galloway being just then unable to afford him any protection, as he was absent in Ireland with his best warriors, in order to marry a daughter of the powerful Hugh de Lacy, and in returning was shipwrecked, with the loss of many of his men and danger of his own life.1 Also Paul Bálkason (Pol filius Boke) went to Norway, no doubt sent by King Olaf, to report the events to the king and the earl, and to sue for their assistance against Alan. It would seem, however, that Paul committed the fault of befriending himself more with the earl than with the king, which was the surest way to lose the trust of the latter, as already for many years there existed between them a rivalry, which ended in open war, and with the fall of Skúli. It is evident, although not expressly told, that either from compassion for Godred, or out of distrust of Paul, and King Olaf, he recognised the claims of the former, and made a division of the kingdom between them, as we learn that Olaf and Godred arrived together in the Norwegian fleet, and immediately divided the kingdom between them-selves. We learn, moreover, as well from the Saga as from the Chronicle, that also the above mentioned Uspak Agmundsson (Owmundi), now found to be really a son of Dugald, the son of Somerled, got a portion, with the title of king and the new name of Hacon ; yet the part assigned to him seems not to have been taken from the possessions of Olaf and Godred ; Uspak, as son of Dugald, belonged to the Somerled branch, and it is most probable that the king assigned to him those islands hitherto held by other members of the same family, who had forfeited their right to them through want of fidelity. For it is expressly said in the Saga that the kings of the Somerled branch were not to be relied upon, nor was it to be expected that when the greater part of their possessions were on the mainland, they should not generally incline more to the part of the Scotch king than to the King of Norway ; their main object, however, was to maintain their own freedom through balancing adroitly between both powers. Yet through all these movements we perceive easily the chief impulse of King Alexander, who, keenly feeling the inconvenience and danger of a foreign power so strong at sea as Norway was then, extending her dominions almost to the heart of his own kingdom over lands naturally belonging thereto, strove incessantly to gain possession of the Islands, and at last resorted to open war. The movements of the Constable no doubt were greatly influenced by the king’s directions. We learn from the Saga (ch. 166) that Alan (of course after his return from Ireland), made great preparations for a new attack on King Olaf and the Norwegians, threatening even to cross over to Norway itself, " as it was no more difficult to go from Scotland to Norway, than vice versa, and there being no less facility of finding ports or shelter for a fleet there than in the firth of Scotland." Indeed, it was these threats, and the imminent danger, which compelled King Olaf to flee from Man to Norway, where he appeared unexpectedly, when the fleet, as mentioned above, was about to leave. As for the kings or chiefs of the Somerled line, we learn that about this period two brothers, Duncan and Dugald Skrok, sons of Dugald, the son of Somerled, were now the chief rulers in the Somerled part of the Isles, while their cousin Somerled, no doubt the son of Somerled’s eldest son Gillecolum, who fell with his father in the battle at Renfrew, 1164, had enjoyed the mainland possessions of Argyle, but had been deprived of it in 1221 by King Alexander, as a punishment for having taken the part of Gillescop Mac William, the last of this long line of pretenders. This, however, does not seem to have increased his fidelity to the Norwegian crown ; indeed the politics of these Somerledian descendants was to form a balance between Scotland and Norway, always keeping on the side which promised to be the most advantageous to them. Therefore it may have been a wise fore-thought of King Hácon to have them supplanted, or at least controlled, by a man on whose fidelity he could rely, and such a man was Uspak, the veteran royal warrior, whom he now promoted to the rank of king, moreover giving him his own name, which sounded more royally than Uspak.2 The Saga of King Hácon (ch. 165) relates that this promotion took place at a " thing " or public meeting, which the king held in the city of Oslo in the spring of 1230, and where he proclaimed that in the impending summer he would send him to the Sudreys with a sufficient force. According to our Chronicle the expedition took place in the years 1229-30 ; the Saga, however, the correctness of whose chronology is beyond all doubt, places it in 1230-1231, and this is moreover confirmed by the Chronicle of Lanercost and the Icelandic annals, which assign the arrival of Uspak-Hácon to the year 1230. The events of this expedition are related at large in the Saga, while the narrative of our Chronicle is very deficient. From Oslo, we learn, Hácon repaired to Bergen, in order to prepare the armament. The king furnished eight ships, the earl three ; the commander of one of these he named Paul Bálkason, a certain sign that this chieftain had sought the friendship of the earl more than that of the king. The commanders named by Hácon appear all of them to have been his " hirðmenn," or sworn followers. When the armament was ready and the fleet about to sail, King Olaf, as stated above, came to Bergen unexpectedly, driven from Man by the threats of Earl Alan.3 His boast, however, that he would make an expedition to Norway, was only announced, as the Saga says, but not executed ; and, indeed, it seems that the troubles caused by the remnants of the Mac William party, which were crushed at last in 1230,4 but not without difficulty, had greatly occupied him, as the Constable of Scotland, and prevented his carrying out his menaces that year. Four days after the arrival of Olaf the fleet sailed, and he had nothing to do but to follow in the ship commanded by Paul Bálkason. Previously, however, it must be supposed that King Hácon had effected a kind of reconciliation between him and Godred (whose presence in Norway is not mentioned in the Saga), and had already fixed the terms of the division, which they afterwards agreed to ; as it is not likely that Olaf would have done this from his own good will. The fleet touched at Orkney, where it was reinforced by nine ships, furnished, it seems, partly by Earl John, partly by the royal bailiffs ; King Olaf now left Paul Bálkason’s ship and took the command of one furnished by Earl John. The fleet sailed first towards Isla Sound, where the Kings Dugald and Duncan, as well as Somerled of Argyle, lay with a considerable force. Meanwhile, however, Balki son of Paul Bálkason, and another Sudreyan chieftain Ottar Snækollsson, went to Skye, where they attacked a chieftain, named in the Saga Thorkel Thormodsson (i.e., Torquill Mac Dermot), who fell with two of his sons ; the third, Thormod (Dermot) escaping to Scotland ; this achieved, they again joined the main fleet. The cause of this diversion is not stated in the Saga ; maybe it was only the carrying out a private feud between Paul and Torquill. The three Somerledian princes in Isla Sound, although they could not possibly be amicably disposed towards the Norwegians, whose aim it was to deprive them of their power and independency, did not dare to show fight, but professed friendly sentiments, and in-vited the Norwegian commanders to a feast, while one of them, Duncan, went on board the ship of Uspak-Hácon, no doubt as a kind of hostage. Nevertheless the Norwegians distrusted them, alleging that the Sudreyans only meant to intoxicate them with strong liquors that they might safely attack them, and easily kill them afterwards. They declined the invitation, and now both parties prepared for a battle. Uspak-Hácon, it seems, tried to avert open hostilities, but without his assent and knowledge the Norwegians made an attack, killed Somerled with many of his men, and captured Dugald. When Uspak-Hácon heard this, he suffered. Duncan secretly to escape, and took Dugald, whom the Norwegians had put in irons, on board his own ship. This shows not only that Uspak-Hácon must have been invested with the chief command of the expedition, but also that he was a kind-hearted, loyal man, who meant to act as leniently as possible towards his brothers. More reinforcements now increased the fleet to eighty sail, with which the Norwegians sailed round Casitire to Bute,5 where the castle of Rothsay had got a Scotch garrison, as mentioned above. It was besieged, and after three days taken by storm, after a spirited defence the Norwegians lost 360 men, and, according to our Chronicle, as well as the Chronicle of Lanercost, King Uspak-Hácon was killed by a stone. From the Saga, however, which, strange to say, does not mention his being hurt, but only speaks of his subsequent sickness and death, it is evident that his death did not follow immediately. The Scotch lost their commander, and the Norwegians got a large booty, together with the sum of 360 marks of silver, which a Scotch knight, taken prisoner, paid for his ransom ; but soon afterwards they had the misfortune that three of the ships foundered in a storm. It being, moreover, announced that Earl Alan lay with 180 ships near the Ness of Galloway, they sailed to the south of Cantire, where they remained for a while, making frequent hostile excursions. Here King Uspak-Hácon died (from his wound), much regretted by his men ; they carried his body to Iona, and buried it there. Olaf, who now got the command of the fleet, directed it southwards, eager to retake Man, the principal part of his kingdom, but the winter had already set in, and storms, it would seem, forced the fleet to seek shelter for a while under the isle of Copeland, on the Irish coast, near Donaghadee.6 Yet the same tempest and winter appears also to have driven Earl Alan away, as there is no mention of any danger or hinderance opposed by him to the further progress of Olaf — if, indeed, the story of his great armament was after all true, not simply invented to frighten the Norwegians back. When the weather allowed it, Olaf crossed over to Man, where a chieftain, named in the Saga Thorkell Njálson, and afterwards appearing in our Chronicle as Thorquellus filius Nel (Torquill Mac Neil) had the command, although it is not said whether he was left by Alan as his delegate, or whether he had profited by the general disturbances to make himself lord of the island. Torquill had collected a force, and sought to prevent the Norwegians coming on shore, but when the Manx heard that King Olaf himself was their commander they declined fighting against him, and dispersed ; Torquill was taken prisoner and put in irons. The Manx, however, had no reason to rejoice at their loyalty, being compelled to contribute threepence sterling for every cow on the island, and moreover to feed the Norwegian forces during the whole winter. Now, it would seem, the division between Olaf and Godred, which is only mentioned in our Chronicle and that of Lanercost, and not in the Saga, was carried into effect. Olaf, it is said, retained Man, and Godred got the " insulamas partes," i.e., the other islands, which did not belong to the Somerledian part. That the Somerledian line retained their insular possessions is expressly stated in the Chronicle of Lanercost, it being said that Olaf, after the death of Godred, reigned both in Man and the Isles, " exceptis his quas felii Sumerledi tenuerunt undecim annis " (i.e., all the eleven years of Olaf’s reign). This seems to show that after the death of Uspak-Hácon the Norwegians gave up for the moment the plan of reducing the Somerledian possessions to obedience, it being much more important to secure this hold upon Man ; and perhaps they even made a truce or treaty with the princes, or at least with Duncan ; Dugald, of whom no further mention is made, had probably been put to death. At all events, however, some hostilities did take place before such a treaty could be concluded. In the spring, namely, the Norwegians again went to Cantire, where they were met by a force of Scots ; in the ensuing fight the Scots, it is said, " came and went very loosely ; " many were killed on both sides, and while the Norwegians opposed one division of the enemy, another attacked and killed their servants, and took all their kettles, in which they prepared their meals. The Nor-wegians landed on several parts of Cantire, and ravaged the circumjacent territories, without, however, occupying any place ; here, there. fore, they must either have concluded the truce with the Somerledians, or resolved to abandon the plan of fighting them, deeming it impracticable. Before leaving Man two captains of vessels furnished by Earl Scúli set Thorquill Mac Neil free, to the great discontent of the others, but no douht according to a secret agreement between King Olaf, Paul Bálkason and the Earl’s partizans ; we learn, at least, from our Chronicle, that Thorquill afterwards appeared as the friend of Olaf’s son Harold. From Cantire the Norwegians went to the Northern Isles, no doubt to help King Godred in securing his power ; in Lewis they had to fight with the above mentioned Dermot, son of Torquill Mac Dermot, who had returned, but was now compelled to flee, leaving his wife and all his possessions as a prey to the enemy. They then repaired to Orkney. But we learn from the Saga that a few days after they left, Paul Bálkason was killed by Godred, and from our Chronicle, as well as that of Lanercost 2 that about the same time (consequently a few days after the death of Paul), Godred was killed in the island of Lewis. This shows that the withdrawal of the Norwegians must have been the signal of fierce hostilities between the partizans of Olaf and those of Godred, and that the recent treaty did not continue of long duration. In the summer of 1231 the Norwegians returned home, and although it seems to us that they had not effected very much, King Hácon thanked them heartily for what they had done. So far, however, they had succeeded, that the supremacy of Norway in the Isles was revived, King Olaf showing himself always as a faithful vassal, although, like his brother, he appeared at the English court, and entered the service of the English king. Here, however, we know exactly the nature of the service, as it is described in a letter from King Henry, still existing ; and we learn from this letter that it contained nothing inconsistent with the duties of Olaf to his liege Lord of Norway, being only the defence of the English and Irish coasts on both sides of the St. George’s Channel, for which service Olaf, like Reginald, was to hold some possessions on the Irish coasts in fief of the English Crown, and to receive certain con-tributions in corn and wine. This letter is dated July 11th, 1235, and the letter of safe-conduct accorded by King Henry to King Olaf for coming to his court and transacting this business, the 13th of April.7 Yet it appears that King Hácon did take some umbrage on hearing this, and that he summoned King Olaf to Norway in order to justify himself ; as there exists a letter issued by the English king on May 24th, 1236,8 in which the latter takes the men and possessions, etc., of King Olaf under his protection, during the absence of the said Olaf in Norway, at the request of the Norwegian king ; and another, dated April 8th, 1237, where the protection is renewed, and where King Olaf is spoken of as having already begun his journey to Norway.9 The voyage, however, cannot have been completed, as we learn from our Chronicle that King Olaf was already dead, on the 21st of May 1237, in Holm Peel ; nor is it mentioned in the Saga that he was ever in Norway after his short visit in 1230. Probably, therefore, he began the journey in crossing over to England, there to look for a passage to Norway, but feeling himself unwell returned to Man, where shortly afterwards he died. The Saga gives him the express testimonial of having been scupulously faithful to the Norwegian king. The Norwegians called him " Olaf the swarthy " (Ólafr svarti), no doubt because of his complexion.


1 Fordun, ix. 47. Chronicle of Lanercost, ad ann. 1229.

a The name Úspakr, also written Óspaicr, is properly an adjective, i. e. , the word spalcr (prudens, quietus) with the ú or ó privativum (the English un)

Uspakr consequently means " unruly," " fierce. " Our Chronicle and that of Lanercost spell incorrectly " Husbac." It is evident that before the detection of his real birth he must have been believed to be the son of one Omrundr or Agmund (Owinundus). [Aumund. —Johnstone.]

3 [Robertson supposes that he went to the Norwegian court in order to obtain the usual confirmation of his title to the whole kingdom of the Isles—ii. 101.]

4 See the Chronicle of Lanercost, ad ann. 1230. [Robertson says that the Lanercost Chronicle confounds the first with the second Gillescop, who was probably Gillescop Mahohegan, the owner of Ballenoch, and whose property passed to the Comyns as a reward for the services of the Earl of Buchan, who had both him and his two sons beheaded, AD. 1229. The first Gillescop, the last member of the Mac William family, was executed at Forfar, with his whole family, not even his infant daughter, a child just born, escaping the axe, AD. 1228.—ii. 20.]

5 Dillon, in his valuable treatise of the battle of Largs, in Archæologia Scot. ii. thinks (p. 358, 397) that Bute (Bót) is here named erroneously instead of Cantire, he having not thoroughly understood the words of the Saga, which are clear enough in the best text : " they sailed southwards, past the Mull of Cantire and into Bute. " He thinks that the Saga gives a southerly direction to the whole course, not being aware that the word "southwards " only applies to the Mull, and that the following "into Bute, " designs a change in the direction. Even our Chronicle and that of Lanercost mention Bute.

6 The island is called the " Kaupniannsey " (merchant’s island) in the Saga. It cannot be any other than Copeland Island.

7 Extracted by Rymer, Fcedera, i. 1, p. 212 ; also in Langebek Scriptt. 11cr. Dan. iii. p. 230. [App. 15, 16. Henry does not say that Olave is coming to England on the business of guarding the coasts, but to confer with him, ad loquemdun nobiscum.]

8 Extracted by Rymer, Feed. i. 1, c. p. 231. Scriptt. 11cr. Dan. iii. p. 231. [Appendix, No. 17.]

9 [Oliver’s Mon. ii. p. 76.]

NOTE 38, p. 94.—Quo mortuo — usque ad obitum . . .

It is noted above, that these words, as well as the preceding ones, from " Manniæ," are not in the text, but in the lower margin, which show that perhaps the whole entry has been inserted subsequently. The lacuna after " obitum " might somehow be filled up from the Chronicle of Lanercost, ad annum 1230, where it is said ; . . . Post haec Olavus et Godredus venerunt ad Manniam et diviserunt inter se regnum Manniae et Insularum ; Godredus insulas (insulanas ?) partes sortitus est, Olavus Manniam. Occiso autem Godredo Don, Olavus regnavit in Mannia et super omnes Sodorenses insulas exceptis quas filii Sumerledi tenuerunt ‘undecim annis.’1 It is evident that this entry has sprung from the same source as that of our Chronicle, only the words being a little different ; the wanting part, therefore, seenis to have contained some-thing to the same purpose as what is said of Olaf having reigned over all the Sudreys, with exception of those held by the Somerled branch.

 1 [" After this Olave and Godred came to Man, and divided between themselves the kingdom of Man and of the Isles ; Godred got the Isles, Olave Man. After the death ofGodred Don, Olave ruled over Man and all the Sudreys (Sodor Islands), with the exception of those which the sons of Somerled held, for eleven years."]

NOTE 39, p. 94.—.Anni Mccxxxvi’, xii. ical. Jun. obiit Olavus Godredi fihius.

An entry about the death of King Olaf, on the 21st of May 1237, exists in the Chronicle of Lanercost ; the name of Olaf, however, is corrupted into " Alan," no doubt by a blunder of the copyist, who read " Olauus," as " Olanus " or " Alanus.’ He was succeeded, it is added, by his son Harold, fourteen years of age, who reigned twelve years.


NOTE 40, p. 94.—In ipsa igitur aestate, etc.

Of all the events told in this narrative, as well as in the entries for the years 1238, 1239, 1240, 1242, 1243, not a word is spoken in the Saga, not even of King Harold’s long stay from 1239-1242 at the court of King Hácon. Indeed, it would rather seem that the latter, distrusting Harold as the secret partizan of his father-in-law, Duke Skúli, who coveted the crown, and had at last begun hostilities, sum-moned him to Norway in order to keep him in strict surveillance, perhaps even in prison, and that he did not release him, or confer on him his favour till after the duke’s fall in 1240. The return of Harold in 1242 is also mentioned in the Chronicle of Lanercost, but " Godredus" is wrongly written, instead of " Haraldus." 1

1 "Eodem anno Godredus venit cum magna classe navium ad Manniam, coepitque disponere de regno suo prout voluit. ‘ ‘ [" The same year Godred ( Harold) came to Man with a numerous fleet, and made such arrangements as suited him about his kingdom."]

NOTE 41 , p. 96.—Gillescrist (i.e., Gillechrist) filius Murkertach.

This is no doubt the same Gilchrist spoken of in the Saga of King Hacon (ch. 102), in 1224, as having then arrived at Bergen from the Isles, accompanied by Ottar Snækollsson and many other Islanders, bringing many letters about the affairs of their land.

NOTE 42, p. 98.—Haraldus miles factus, etc.

This did not happen, as our Chronicle says in 1247, but in 1246, see Matthew Paris (p. 474), who records this event at Easter 1246, as well as the letter of safe-conduct, dated January 9, 1246, accorded by King Henry to Harold for coming to and returning from England, from that time till Whitsunday.

1 The year 1247, however, is rightly said to be that in which King Hácon of Norway summoned Harold to his court. The Chronicle of Lanercost, which has the same entry, almost verbally agreeing with our Chronicle, adds that Harold was summoned in order to be present at the king’s coronation.

2 This, however, cannot be the case, if the summons were not addressed to Harold till immediately (" statim ") before his departure, which, as is expressly stated in both chronicles, happened in the autumn, while the coronation had already taken place on the day of St. Olaf (July 29), the summons to be present at which ought to have been issued in the spring or early in the summer. Likewise the accurate Saga of King Hácon says that Harold did not arrive in Bergen till after the departure of King Hácon to Oslo, which happened in September or October, and that he joined him at Oslo, where he passed the winter at his court.

3 If, then, the summons was not issued to Harold in the spring, which, very likely was the case, the reason cannot have been that the king wished him to be present at the coronation, but it is rather to be supposed that he had taken some umbrage from the visit of Harold at the English court, and that he requested Harold personally to afford the due explanation and justification. We have seen that Olaf likewise, the father of Harold, was summoned to Norway immediately after a visit of this kind to the English court, and no doubt for the same reasons. Very likely, however, the presence at the coronation was given as a kind of pretext. At all events the suspicion, if there was any, cannot have lasted long, and the explanations given by Harold must have been found sufficient, as we see that he soon came into the greatest favour with the king, and obtained his daughter in marriage. This daughter was Cecilia, born about 1220, before his marriage, and widow of the most noble Sir Gregory Andresson of Stovreim (+ 1246), nephew of King Philip. The betrothal took place at Oslo during the winter, and the wedding was celebrated in the following summer with great splendour in the royal palace at Bergen, a few days after the terrible fire, which (on the 4th of July, 1248) devastated the greater part of the city, and no doubt spread a gloom, which the splendour of the bridal rejoicings could scarcely disperse, and which most likely gave occasion to serious apprehensions for the future fate of the young couple.4

1 Extracted by Rymer, 1. c. p. 264. [Oliver’s Mon. ii. 82.]

2 Eodem [anno] misit Háco rex Nortweyæ propter Haraldum regeni Manniæ ut interesset coronationi suæ, qui statirn iter arripuit per Angliam autumnali tempore, etc. [In the same year Háco, King of Norway, sent to Harold, King of Man, to be present at his coronation. Harold at once set out in the autumn, through England, etc. ]

3 Hale. Hák. Saga, ch. 260.

4 The fire has been described as well in the Saga, ch. 260, as by Matthew of Paris, who was an eyewitness (p. 504).

NOTE 43, p. 100.—Eodem anno obiit b. m. Symon.

For the whole of this entry, concerning the election of a new bishop of Man after the demise of Simon, we refer to the part of our Chronicle which treats of the bishops especially.


NOTE 44, p. 100.—Anno MCCXLIX. Haraldus Olavi filius, etc.

The year is wrong, as the departure of Harold and his queen from Norway happened in 1248, two months after their marriage, and their death consequently in the following month of October or November. The Saga of King Hácon mentions expressly the departure and death of the young couple, together with the events connected therewith, in 1248 ; b likewise the Icelandic annals, and even our Chronicle, in stating afterwards that Reginald, the successor of Harold, began his reign on the 6th of May 1249, makes it impossible that Harold could have departed " circum festum Sancti Michaelis " in the same year ; this departure must be assigned to the preceding year. However, the Chronicle of Lanercost, which has the same entry, with some small variations,~’ names likewise the year 1249, and therefore we might perhaps infer that the news of Harold’s death did not reach Man till after the commencement of 1249, which surmise gains probability by the circumstance that Reginald did not begin his reign earlier than in the month of May 1249.3 To Norway the melancholy news arrived in the beginning of the winter, as it is expressly said in the Saga that it reached King Håcon in the city of Tunsberg, immediately before he repaired to Oslo, there to spend the main part of the winter season. The circumstances of the tragical event are thus mentioned in the Saga:


: " the vessel which carried the royal couple with their suite, was never heard of nor seen, except that some pieces of wreck were thrown on shore by the seas, at the southernmost point of Shetland, from which it was inferred that it had perished in Dynrost (Sumburgh Roost, between Shetland and Fair Isle, Dynrost still surviving in the name Dunrossnes, i.e., Dynrastarnes, the promontory of Dynröst). It is therefore obvious that by " Jadlandia," in our Chronicle, Shetland (properly Hjaltland, very often Hjatland) is meant. In the Chronicle of Lanercost the name is corrupted into " Yselandia."

During the time of Harold’s departure from Norway and subsequent death, there were also two other Sudreyan princes at the court of King Hácon, of whom, however, our Chronicle makes no mention. These were Eugenius or Eogan of Argyle, whom the Saga calls Jon, our Chronicle (p. 104) Johannes, and Matthew of Paris Oenus or Genus,5 son of the above mentioned Duncan, grandson of Somnerled by Dugald, and Dugald, son of Rory of Cantire, grandson of Somerled by Reginald. They went to the court, it is said, asking for the title of kings in the northern (or rather eastern) part of the Isles. This shows that their fathers Duncan and Rory must have died shortly before. Eogan, the Saga says, was a righteous and trustworthy man, which also appears from what is told of his honourable behaviour towards his two suzerains, the Norwegian and the Scottish kings, when it was impossible to remain the vassal of the one without being the enemy of the other. When Eogan and Dugald appeared at the court, King Hácon was preparing an expedition to the frontier of Sweden, there to meet and treat with the Swedish king about some differences which had existed for a long time between the two kingdoms, and being eager to appear with some splendour, in order to give more weight to his reclamations, he ordered also Eogan and Dugald to follow him in the fleet. Already, however, when anchoring at Elcleyjarsund, not far from Bergen, he gave Eogan the royal title, investing him, it appears, with the Isle of Mull,a and permitted him to go back to Bergen, while Dugald remained with the king. The Saga does not mention whether Dugald got the title on the same occasion ; yet it is very likely that he did get it, at least during the expedition, because henceforth he is styled " King Dugald." The meeting, however, did not take place, and Dugald returned to Bergen, it being the plan, that he and Eogan should accompany King Harold on his return to the Isles. Luckily for them that was not done ; they remained at Bergen, the Saga does not say why ; probably the king, on second thoughts, had deemed it more advisable to retain them for a while. Dugald went back to the king at Tunsberg, to pass the winter with him ; Eogan intended to stay at Bergen. But when the news of Harold’s decease reached the king, Hácon, not wishing that the Isles should be left without any rulers, sent a message to Eogan that he should return immediately to the Sudreys and take charge of the king-dom until the king had time to take proper measures. 6 Eogan, it appears, went away immediately, or at least in the spring of 1249, as it is certain, as well from the Saga as Matthew of Paris, that he had returned some time before the death of King Alexander II., which happened in the month of July 1249.7 Dugald, it is certain, had not yet left Norway in 1253, because it is expressly said that he took part in the great expedition to the frontier in that year, where also King Magnus of Man was present, as will be seen hereafter ; from 1253,. he is not mentioned till 1263, when he is spoken of as one of the princes in the Isles who had remained faithful to King Hácon ; in the mean-time, therefore, he must have returned to his possessions.

1, Hák. Hák. Saga, ch. 260.

2 Eodem anno (1249) Haraldus rex Manniæ et Insularurn cum uxore sua, fihia regis Nortwegiæ, et cum inultis aliis clericis et laicis venit de Nortwegia redire volens ad propria. Cumque venisset prope fines Yselandiæ exorta tempestat valida, naufragium pertulit, et curn omni comitatu suo demersus est. Regnavit, ut diximus, duodecim annis. [" In the same year (1249) Harold, King of Man and the Isles, with his wife, the daughter of the King of Norway, and with many other persons, both churchmen and laymen, left Norway to return home. When he reached the coast of Yseland (Shetland) a rough tempest arose, in which he was shipwrecked and drowned, together with all those who accompanied him. He reigned, as has been said, twelve years."]

3 Rymer, 1 c. p. 338. [See in Oliver’s Mon. ii. 83, letters of safe-conduct to Harold to come to England to confer with the king, Henry III., and perform what was due. See also two charters of Harold to the abbot of Furness.— Oliver’s Mon. ii. pp. 77, 79.]

4 In Latin documents, Eogan is called Eugenius (see Archœol. Scot. ii. p. 399), and so even by Fordun, x. 24. In the French edition of Matthew of Paris (p. 516) he is called Oenus, in the London one (from which the passage concerning him is reproduced in the Archæol. Scot. 1. c. ) Genus. [Robertson calls him Ewen. He was head of the Clan Dugal, or of the De Ergadia family, the senior representative of Somerled, who first gave a predominance to the Scottish element of the Scoto-Norwegian population. Dugal was head of the De Insulis or Clan Ronald family, of which the Clan Rory was the senior branch. After his disaster at Largs, Hhco conferred on Dugal Mac Roderic, the leading magnate of the Isles, and his brother Alan, the fiefs which Ewen of Argyll held of the Norwegian crown—u. I 93.]

5 is said, namely by Matthew of Paris (p. 516), that Eogan held " an island between the Orkneys and Scotland," i. e. , on the way from the western coast of Scotland to Orkney ; the Saga says that he held from the Norwegian king the castle of Cairnburgh and three other castles, no doubt the three other situated in Mull, viz. Duait, Aros, and Moy.

6 Hácon H. Saga, ch. 260-264. 

7 We shall presently see that there were some serious misunderstandings be-tween him and King Alexander.

NOTE 45, p. 100.—Coepit Reginaldus Olavifilius regnare.

This is also told in the Chronicle of Lanercost, with the slight alteration that Reginald’s assassination is assigned to the 1st of July, and his reign consequently said to have lasted for twenty-seven days. lnstead of " aS Yuaro mnilite et a suis " the Lanercost Chronicle has ‘I ab hominibus Yvari militis." There seems to have been a conspiration between Harold the son of Godred and Sir Ivar, because, in a letter issued by King Henry of England on the 21st of April 1256, an order is given to all authorities not to receive Harold or Ivar, who had shame-fully murdered King Reginald, nor their accomplices.1 Of this Sir Ivar, however, nothing more is known, maybe he belonged to the royal family of the Isles.

1Rymer, 1. c. p. 338. [See Oliver’s Mon. ii. P. 86.]

NOTE 46, p. 102.—Eodenm tempore Alexander rex Scotiae, etc.

We have already mentioned the eagerness of King Alexander to get hold of Man and the Isles. In 1244, we learn from the Saga, he made the first open step towards this aim, in sending two bishops (it is not mentioned who they were) to King Hácon, firstly to ascertain, whether he might be inclined to yield up willingly that dominion in the Isles, which his ancestor King Magnus Barefoot had " unjustly " taken from King Edgar (Malcolm, as the Saga has, i.e., Edgar Mac Malcolm, see p. 159), and if this demand was refused, to ask him, if he would sell them for a sum of money. Hácon replied that when King Magnus established his authority in the Sudreys they were governed by King Godred, but that Magnus regarded them as his hereditary possessions at all events the King of Scotland had no right thereto ; and afterwards it having been agreed on by a formal treaty between Magnus and Edgar, what Norway should have, there could be consequently no right to them on the part of the Scottish king. As to selling them, he was not in such great want of silver that he felt obliged to sell his hereditary possessions. This answer the bishops brought back, and now it appears new embassies were sent every year to the same purpose, but in vain ; where-fore, says the Saga, he determined very unkingly to prepare an armament, while the negotiations were still pending, that he might take the coveted Isles by main force, at the same time secretly tampering with the chieftains. He declared in his rage that he would not rest till he had planted his banner east of Thursasker 1 and conquered all the lands which the Norwegians possessed west of the North Sea, consequently even Orkney and Shetland. The first to feel his resent-ment was Eogan, who had just returned from Norway, and with whom. he was very angry because he had sworn allegiance to the Norwegian king, although being a Scotch subject. He had him summoned to his court, and Eogan obeyed,2 yet not before he had got a safe-conduct guaranteed by four Scotch earls. Alexander now upbraided Eogan with treachery ; Eogan replying that he might very well fulfil his duties to both kings. Alexander, however, answered with the words of the gospel, that it was impossible to serve two masters at once Eogan maintaining that this could very well be done when the two masters were not at war with each other. Now, however, when Alexander was on the eve of beginning war with Hácon, it was necessary that Eogan should declare himself for one of the two parties ; and Alexander even went so far as to demand that he should yield up to him the whole fief which he had received from King Hácon (this was, as we have seen, the Isle of Mull), promising him in compensation lands of double the same extent in Scotland, and his friendship to boot. The friends and relatives of Eogan bade him most eagerly to consent the brave Eogan, however, feeling that, although he might have the right to declare himself for the Scotch king, he could not honourably do so without previously and formally renouncing his allegiance to King Hácon, and that it would be an act of felony to yield up to his enemy the fiefs which he held from his hand ; and thinking himself perhaps now doubly bound to King lldcon as he had been entrusted by him with a kind of vicegerency, declined to comply with the request, and left the court, repairing for safety to the remote island of Lewis. Alexander prepared to follow him with an armed force, and Eogan, now seriously alarmed, declared himself ready to take his part, if he would only allow him a term for renouncing his services to King Hácon and restoring to him his fief. Of this, however, Alexander would hear nothing, and sailed, but when lying at anchor in Kerrera Sound, died from a sudden fever on the 8th of July, 1249. The Saga tells, that St. Olaf, St. Magnus, and St. Columba, appeared to him in a dream the night before his death, menacing him with evils if he persisted in his design. Also Matthew of Paris, the friend of King Hácon, represents the proceedings of Alexander as unfair, saying that in the last days of his life he diverged from the path of righteousness ; while Fordun, the zealous patriot, in mentioning his enmity with the Lord of Argyle, praises him, and calls him a hater of iniquity.3 The death of Alexander saved Eogan from this imminent peril, as the son and successor of Alexander, Alexander III., was a mere boy of seven years. Eogan, it appears, continued to remain yet for a couple of years in his allegiance to the Norwegian crown, and from our Chronicle we learn that in 1250, when Harold was summoned to Norway, he acted still in the capacity of trustee or vicegerent, with which he had been invested by King Hácon, in bringing the third son of King Olaf to Man, supported by a Norwegian force. He wounded, however, the sensibility of the Manx in making use of his royal title, and the Chronicle relates how the enterprise failed. After that time it seems that Eogan resigned the title as well as his allegiance to Norway ; because, in a letter still preserved, issued by him in the year 1251 , he styles himself only " Eogan, knight, son of Duncan of Argyle " ;4 and in 1263 he appears as the subject and decided partizan of Alexander III. We learn, however, from the Saga, that not till then did he resign his fiefs.


1 This must have been a rock or skerry eastward either of Orkney or Shetland, the place of which we have not been able to find.

2 Matthew of Paris does not expressly say that Eogan went personally to Alexander ; the Saga, however, puts it beyond doubt.

3Hák. Hdk. Saga, ch. 265 ; Matthew of Paris, p. 516 ; Fordun, ix. 63 ; Chron. de Mailros. Kerrera (in our text Kerwaray) is called in the Saga Kjarbarey (Cairbar-island) ; in the Chron. de Mailros, Geruerei (perhaps misread for Ceruerei) ; in the edition of Fordun it is misprinted Kerneray, for Kerueray.

4 Archceol. Scot. ii. 399.

NOTE 47, p. 104.—Haraldus fillus Godredus Don vocatus, etc.

Of this ho mention at all is made in our Saga, neither of the other events commemorated in this and the following year. When Harold was summoned to Norway, he had even opened negotiations with the English king, as appears from a letter of safe-conduct issued by King Henry, December 28, 1250, " for our beloved and faithful Haraldus, King of Man," to repair to England, there to consult with the king."


NOTE 48, p. 104.—Johannes fillius Dugaldi.

The reason why Eogan of Argyle interested himself for Magnus, was perhaps that the latter had then already married his daughter for we learn from Fordun, where the death of Magnus is related, that he had been married to " fillia Eugenii de Ergadia," who after his death married Malise, Earl of Stratherne. This may also prove the identity of Eugenius or Eogan of Argyle and the here so-called Johannes fll. Dugaldi, more properly Duncani or Dungadi.


NOTE 49, p. 106.—Juvenis gui Yuarunm militem comitabatur.

This shows that it was the partizans of Harold who fought against Magnus and Eogan.

NOTE 50, p. l08.—Magnus Olavi films profectus est ad curiam, etc.

The journey of Magnus to Norway must have taken place in May 1253, as there is a letter of safe-conduct for him and his followers, issued by King Henry on April 30, 1253, to go unmolested through England to Norway, and likewise back again. b The presence of Magnus in Norway is also somehow mentioned in the Saga, ch. 2 7 1 ; that is to say, by a mistake or forgetfulness of names, John (Eogan) King of the Sudreys, is named instead of Magnus. It is said that when Hácon, in the month of June, went from Bergen with a large fleet, to meet the Swedish Earl and Regent Byrgir, at Gullbergsei~ (near the present site of Gothenburg), there to concert measures about a war with Denmark, he had three kings among his followers ; the one was his son Hácon, already designed as his successor, the other ‘ ‘ John, King of the Sudreys," the third King Dugald. As for John, or Eogan, however, we have seen that he had already resigned his title of king, and consequently his allegiance to Norway, in I 25 1 ; it is therefore impossible that he could have been in Norway, and in the suite of Hácon in 1253; moreover, when Magnus came to King Hácon in the end of May or beginning of June, 1253, it is next to impossible that he should not follow the king on the expedition, and in this case there would have been fcur kings, if John or Eogan likewise was in the fleet. There can be no objection taken from what our Chronicle relates, that Magnus was not formally confirmed by Hácon in the kingdom till his return in 1254, for he used certainly the title of king, to which he had hereditary right, from his being received as king by the Manx in 1252. Of that formal investment in 1254, however, which no doubt took place at Christmas time, as was usual with such solemnities, no mention is made in the Saga.

1 Rymer, i. p. 272. [See Appendix, No. 22 ; the date should be 1249.]

2 [See Oliver’s Mon. ii. p. 85. At p. 87 there is a charter of Magnus to the prior and convent of Coningshead, dated from Furness, May 3, 1256, exempting his vessels from toll and customs. ]

NOTE 51 , p. 108.—Magnus . . . curiam domini Regis Anglice.

This visit took place at Easter time (about April 16), as we learn from Matthew of Paris (p. 521), and the above mentioned letter of King Henry dated on the 2 1st of April, in which he orders his men not to receive Harold the son of Godred or Sir Ivar. From this letter, however, it would appear that Harold then was supposed not to be any more in custody in Norway. We see, likewise, that Magnus felt it his duty to revenge as far as possible his brother’s death.



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