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Houses of Alpin and Dunkeld (843-1058)
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Houses of Alpin and Dunkeld (843-1058)
House of Alpin Kenneth Macalpin (843 - 859)
IN 834, A BATTLE involving Alpin, King of the Dalriada Scots, and Eoghann, King of the Picts, left both leaders dead. The man who proved strong enough to enforce a claim to both kingdoms was Kenneth MacAlpin, son of the Scots king and descended through his mother from the Pictish royal house. In 843 he became ruler of the Picts and Scots in a Celtic kingdom known as Scotia.

MacAlpin moved the centre of his kingdom to Pictland, setting the ancient Stone of Destiny in Scone, where he was crowned. Gaelic speech spread north of the Forth and Pictish (like Celtic but with traces of an ancient language unrelated to others in Europe) disappeared.

Royal succession among the Picts was matrilineal (through the mother). Kenneth MacAlpin chose the Scottish system of succession - tanistry - by which an heir was selected during the old king's lifetime. This system lasted until Malcolm II, final king of the House of Alpin, replaced it with the principle of direct descent.

Malcolm II (1005-1034)
In the late 800s and 900s, Vikings overran Northumbria, leaving its northern province of Lothian easy prey for the Scots. The shrewd, ruthless Malcolm II brought Lothian into Scotia with his victory over the Northumbrians at Carham in 1018. Around the same time he put his grand¬son Duncan on the throne of the British kingdom of Strathclyde. The union of all Scotland was prepared and, having no son, Malcolm cleared the way for Duncan to succeed him by murdering the grandson of Kenneth III.

House of Dunkeld Dunkan I (1034-1040)
Malcolm's grandson Duncan, born around 1001, was the first monarch of a united Scotland. His two sons -Malcolm Canmore and Donald Ban - had their hereditary right to the throne threatened when Duncan's cousin Macbeth claimed the kingdom on grounds of tanistry. This dynastic wrangling was settled when Macbeth killed Duncan in battle near Elgin in 1040.

Macbeth (1040-1057)
Born around 1005, Macbeth - another grandson of Malcolm II - seems to have reigned successfully for 17 years. His wife Gruoch, granddaughter of Kenneth III, had a son called Lulach by a previous marriage. Defeated by Malcolm Canmore at Scone in 1054, Macbeth was then killed by him at Lumphanan in 1057 and was succeeded by his stepson Lulach. Shakespeare adapted the facts freely for his play about the Scottish king.

Lulach (THE FOOL) (1057-1058)
Macbeth's stepson ruled for just a few months before being killed at Strathbogie by Malcolm Canmore.

Houses of Alpin and Dunkeld (843-1058)


Glamis Castle
In Shakespeare's 'Scottish play', the first witch hails Macbeth as 'thane of Glamis'; the castle dates from the 15th century, and was much altered in the French style.

Houses of Alpin and Dunkeld (843-1058)




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