Macbeth, King of Alba

Male 1005 - 1057  (52 years)


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  • Name Macbeth  
    Suffix King of Alba 
    Born 1005  (Moray) Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Residence 1050  Rome, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Died 15 Aug 1057  Aberdeenshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    • was defeated at the Battle of Lumphanan and killed...
    Buried Isle of Iona, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Person ID I51116  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 26 Mar 2018 

    Father Findlaech, Sub-King of Moray,   b. (Moray, Scotland) Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1020, (Moray, Scotland) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Donalda,   b. Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Y  [1
    Family ID F19042  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1005 - (Moray) Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1050 - Rome, Italy Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 15 Aug 1057 - Aberdeenshire, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Isle of Iona, Scotland Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Macbeth (a.k.a. Mac Bethad mac FindlŠaech) lived from 1005 to 15 August 1057 and was King of Alba from 15 August 1040 to 15 August 1057. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.

      Macbeth was the maternal grandson of Malcolm II, and son of FindlŠaech, the sub-king of Moray. Macbeth had succeeded his cousin (on his father's side) Gillecomgain to become sub-king of Moray in 1031. At the same time he married Gillecomgain's widow, Princess Gruoch, and became step-father to her son by Gillecomgain, Lulach. His marriage was significant because Princess Gruoch was the grand-daughter of Kenneth III, and Lulach was the one possible competitor from that side of the House of Alpin not wiped out by Macbeth's own grandfather, Malcolm II.

      It's fair to say that history has given Macbeth a bad press, largely because of the play named after him by William Shakespeare, whose plot bears little resemblence to real events: he was also never either Thane of Cawdor or Thane of Glamis. What did happen was that Macbeth sought to challenge his cousin Duncan's hold on the Scottish Crown, and by 1040 had formed an alliance with a mutual cousin, Earl Thorfinn of Orkney. The three met in battle near Elgin on 15 August 1040 and Duncan was killed.

      Macbeth was a considerably better king than his predecessor. Under his rule Scotland became relatively stable and prosperous (from a very low base on both counts): so stable, indeed, that he was able to leave the country for a number of months while he made a pilgrimage to Rome.

      In 1054, Duncan I's son, Malcolm Canmore, challenged for the throne of Scotland in alliance with Siward, Earl of Northumbria (who also happened to be Duncan's wife's cousin) and they took control of much of southern Scotland. On 15 August 1057 Macbeth's army was defeated at the Battle of Lumphanan, in Aberdeenshire, and Macbeth was killed. He was later buried in the graveyard at Saint Oran's Chapel on the Isle of Iona, the last of many Kings of Alba and Dalriada to be laid to rest there.

      Macbeth was succeded to the Scottish Crown by his step-son Lulach, whose claim was based on having Kenneth III as his maternal great-grandfather. As an aside, there are those who have suggested that Macbeth and Earl Thorfinn of Orkney are actually one and the same person, simply seen through different traditions and legends.

      end of biography [2]
    • Name: King Macbeth of Scotland
      Father: Finlay MacRory, Mormaer of Moray
      Mother: Donalda, daughter of Malcolm II
      Relation to Elizabeth II: 4th cousin 27 time removed
      House of: Dunkeld
      Born: c. 1005
      Ascended to the throne: August 14, 1040
      Married: Gruoch, daughter of Beoedh, son of Kenneth III , 1034
      Children: one stepson Lulach
      Died: August 15, 1057, killed at the Battle of Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire by Malcolm III
      Buried at: Isle of Iona
      Succeeded by: his stepson Lulach

      Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findla‚ich) was the son of Finlay of Moray, and Donalda daughter of Malcolm II. He was king of Moray and became king of the Scots when Duncan was killed in 1040. Duncanís father Crinan was killed at Dunkeld in1045. Macbeth married Guroch (Lady Macbeth) granddaughter of Malcolm II who had a son Lulach by her previous marriage.

      Macbeth was immortalised in the play by William Shakespeare although the play is historically inaccurate. In Shakespeare's play, Macbeth is portrayed as a good-hearted general when he was ruler of Moray to King Duncan, but is manipulated by his wife Lady Macbeth and three witches into becoming a villainous, depressive maniac haunted by the murder of Duncan. In fact Macbeth had as much right as Duncan to the throne and ruled successfully for 17 years. He was generous friend of the church and reported to have made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050 where he gave money to the poor.

      In 1054 Macbethís forces were defeated at Dunsinane by a combined army of English, Norse and lowland Scots under Siward, Earl of Northumberland. Malcolm eldest son of Duncan was installed as ruler of Perth and Fife. In 1057 Macbeth was killed by Malcolm in battle at Lumphanan in Mar, Aberdeenshire. His stepson Lulach became briefly king.

      Timeline for King Macbeth of Scotland

      Year Event
      1040 Macbeth becomes king
      1050 Macbeth goes on a pilgrimage to Rome
      1054 Macbethís forces defeated at Dunsinane by a combined army of English, Norse and lowland Scots under Siward Earl of Northumberland
      1057 Macbeth is slain at the Battle of Lumphanan by Malcolm, son of Duncan I

      end of biography [3]

  • Sources 
    1. [S12580] "King Malcolm II", Biography, https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/monarchs/malcolmii.html, by David A. He.

    2. [S12581] "King Macbeth", Biography, https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/monarchs/macbeth.html, by David A. Henness.

    3. [S12584] "King Macbeth of Scotland (1040 - 1057)", Biography, https://www.britroyals.com/scots.asp?id=macbeth, https://www.undisc.