[Notes 5-11 from Manx Soc vol 22 Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys]
The account here given is neither complete nor accurate. It is obvious that in the space between 1095, the real death-year of Godred, and 1098, when King Magnus made his great expedition to the West, there can be no place for the seven years of Lagman's reign, and the subsequent, however short, reigns of Donald and Ingemund. The error must he corrected partly through the Irish annals, partly through the Saga; which likewise being faulty in this point, are in their turn to be rectified by means of the indications contained in those scraps of poems composed by contemporaneous scalds or poets, which, as usual, are quoted in the text itself to corroborate the narrative, but which even the author of the Saga has not understood rightly.
The Saga of King Magnus does not speak of any expedition to the West undertaken by this warlike king previous to that in 1098 ; while it can be sufficiently proved that he undertook one already in the latter part of 1093, from which he returned in 1094. 1 In the first instance, one of those poetical fragments just mentioned, speaks of King Magnus getting hold of Lagman and keeping him for some time in captivity, which was impossible in 1098, Lagman being then dead and gone; nay, the narrative of the text itself, founded upon these poems at large and verbal traditions, speaks of Godred, the father of Lagman, in terms implying that he was still living when Magnus captured his son.2 This shows that the first expedition of Magnus at all events took place before 1095. Secondly, Fordun, narrating the events immediately succeeding the death of King Malcolm Ceanmhor in the month of November 1093 says that the brother of Malcolm, Donald Bane, who had resided for a long time in the Isles, was now proclaimed king by a powerful party, and appearing at the head of an army, supported by the Norwegian king, attacked Edinburgh, and got possession of the crown for six months, when he was driven away by Duncan, the son of Malcolm.3
These particulars, here mentioned by Fordun, must be looked upon as singularly trustworthy, as they are mostly taken from the annals composed by Thurgot, Prior of Durham and Bishop of St. Andrews, who was an eye-witness of all these events, and, moreover, had resided for a long time in Norway at the court of King Olaf Kyrri, predecessor and father of King Magnus, who therefore must have been personally known to him, and was no doubt always observed by him with an interest excluding all possibility of any mistake. 4 Thus it is evident that King Magnus was present in Scotland at the head of a fleet or an army immediately after the death of Malcolm, which shows, that his first expedition to the West took place towards the end of 1093. His father having died on the 22d Sept. 1093, it could not have been undertaken before that time. The author of the Saga, however, not being aware of the true series of the events, blends both expeditions, that of 1093 and that of 1098, into one, and quotes the verses illustrating the former promiscuously with others referring to the latter, so that it is even sometimes impossible, or at least difficult, to tell what ought to be assigned to the expedition of 1093, and what belongs to that of 1098. So much, however, is sure enough, that whenever we find Lagman or his father mentioned, we may safely refer the particulars therewith connected to the first expedition.
This question being thus sufficiently settled, we return to the seven years assigned by our Chronicle to the reign of Lagman. If this number is not altogether a mistake, it is evident, from what we have just seen, that the period of seven years must begin during the lifetime of Godred, and Lagman have been his co-regent or under-king. And indeed the Saga seems to indicate something of just this very kind. It is said here that Godred had appointed Lagman his lieutenant in, and defender of the Northern islands;5 and that King Magnus, striving to get hold of him, followed him from island to island, until he caught him near the Isle of Skye, being on the point of crossing over to Ireland, and kept him in chains for a while. Here it is impossible to construe the words as if Godred were already dead; he is evidently understood by the author to be still alive. And indeed, as Godred, according to the Irish annals, was so much occupied with his affairs in Ireland, and no doubt even regarded Dublin as his principal seat, it was quite natural that he should entrust his other kingdom, or at least the northern part thereof, to his eldest son and heir-presumptive. It is likewise not to be doubted that Lagman intended going to Ireland, because his father was there.
Some more light may be thrown on these things from other sources. Ordericus Vitalis who generally is very accurate and trustworthy, says that the reason why King Magnus made the great expedition in 1098, was this, that having made a treaty with the Irish king Muircertach, and even married his daughter, 6 he found that Muircertach played him false, wherefore he both sent him his daughter back, and afterwards in person went to the West with a powerful fleet. 7 Although this certainly was not the sole motive why Magnus went there, yet there is no reason to question the facts themselves ; the treaty here spoken of must accordingly have taken place before 1098, that is to say, during the first expedition in 1093-94. And why was this treaty made? The Irish annals explain it. Muircertach, grandson of Brian Boromy, who had succeeded his father Tirdelvagh in 1080 as King of Munster, was engaged in a fierce war with his rival for the supreme power, Donald O'Lochlan, King of Ulster. In 1094 the war raged in the neighbourhood of Dublin, and among the princes who fought on Donald's side was Godred, who had brought no less than ninety ships. Muircertach was at first completely routed, but afterwards returning, he got the upper hand over Godred, and expelled him from Dublin.8 Remembering that just at the same the King Magnus was within his fleet near the coasts of Ireland, we are justified in making the combination that Muircertach sought and obtained his alliance against Godred, and that Magnus took Lagman prisoner chiefly to have a hold upon the father, who might thereby be so much easier compelled to resign his lordship of Dublin to Muircertach.
We have, moreover, an authority in the Saga itself for King Magnus having helped Muircertach to take Dublin, forasmuch as it is said that this was done in 1102, on the last expedition of Magnus to the West.9 But as it is sure enough that the capture of Dublin by Muircertach took place in 1094, and it has been sufficiently shown that the author of the Saga sometimes assigns to one of the three expeditions what belongs to another, we are fully entitled to believe that the same error has been committed here, and that the author, in speaking of this event, is not mistaken as to the fact, but only as to the time, which was 1094, not 1102. What became of Lagman the Saga does not tell, but finding him afterwards as King of the Isles, and remembering the statement in the Saga of King Hacon, that King Magnus conquered the Isles from Godred, we must needs guess that he was made free on condition that his father not only ceded Dublin to Muircertach, but even, together with Lagman, did homage to the Norwegian king, and acknowledged him as their liege lord.
It is said in the annals of Ulster that Godred died in the year after his expulsion, from the plague ; or, according to another translation, of a broken heart ;10 if the latter be the right one, his grief may have been caused partly by his reverses in Ireland, partly by the feuds between his sons. For, from what is explained above, it would appear that the rebellion of Harold against his brother Lagman, had begun during the lifetime of Godred; the seven years of Lagman's reign being no doubt to be reckoned from 1089 or perhaps even 1085, the very year when the war broke out between Muircertach and Donald. Lagman's death on his voyage to Jerusalem being known at home in 1096 or 1097 (the year 1075 or 1095 given in the Chronicle cannot possibly be admitted, being the death-year of Godred), he must have left his country early in 1096, and cannot have gone very far when death overtook him. It was no doubt his intention to join the Crusaders, now flocking together on their first expedition under Peter of Amiens. The catastrophe of his brother Harold probably occurred in the latter part of 1095, immediately after the death of Godred.11
1 [Robertson, i. 165, and Dunham, ii. 265, both assign the first expedition of Magnus to A.D. 1098.]
2 Snorre, Saga of Magnus Barefoot, ch. 20, 21.
3 Fordun, v. 25-28. [Robertson ridicules the notion of the later Scottish Chroniclers who assert that the cession of the Isles was the price of the assistance of Magnus, William placed Donald Bane upon the throne. He says that he must have been resuscitated from the grave. Donald fell into the hands of Edgar Atheling, who had been sent by William Rufus to place Edgar on the throne of Scotland, in. 1097, and was sentenced to pass the remainder of his days in blindness and in chains at Roscolpie or Rescobie in Forfarshire ; i. 159.]
4 Fordun here frequently quotes Thurgot, whose words he seems to have downright transcribed without any alterations. the fate of Thurgot is mentioned by his brother monk Simeon of Durham (Historic Dunelmensis Ecclesiae, Ap. Twysden, p. 206, 207). Thurgot, being one of the hostages for Lindsey, who were to be delivered to King William, escaped to Norway about 1069, and was very friendly received by King Olaf, who took him to his court, and loaded him with honours and presents ; it is expressly stated that Thurgot taught him to chaunt the psalms. After a stay of some years at the Norwegian court, and being richly endowed by the king and his magnates, he returned to England, but suffered shipwreck on the English coast. losing all his wealth ; he met, however, with a kind reception from Archbishop Walcher of York, at whose recommendation he was received as monk in the monastery of St. Mary at Durham, where in 1086 he succeeded the Prior Aldwine, and having administered the priorate for twenty years, was created Bishop of St. Andrews in Scotland (1106), whence, however, he returned afterwards to his cloister, and died there 1115, leaving the annals above mentioned, which unhappily have been lost, and are only known from the fragments given by Fordun.
5 In the verse of the Scald Gisle, Lagman is called Ivistar gramr (the prince of Uist), which seems to indicate that he resided there.
6 [Moore, in his Hist. Ireland, ii. 164, says that Magnus, King of Norway, married his son Sigurd to the daughter of Murkertach, King of Ireland, in 1099 or 1102, and made him King of Man.]
7 Odericus Vitalis, ed. Duchesne, p. 767.
8 Annals of Ulster, and of the Four Masters
9 Saga of Magnus Barefoot, ch. 34.
10 Annales Ultonienses, ed. O'Connor, and the Latin translations of them in Johnstone's Antiquitates Celto-Normaniae
11 [Godred died in 1095, and, as Lagman reigned seven years and Sigurd the son of Magnus ruled the Orkneys six years, a period altogether of thirteen years, Lagman's death must have occurred in 1108. Robertson supposes that on the retirement of Sigurd, consequent on the deaths of his father Magnus, Man reverted to its former ruler Lagman. He supposes that Lagman's expiatory pilgrimage to Jerusalem, which he never lived to accomplish, was undertaken in 1108 ; i. 346.]
The name Tadc, Tadg, or Teige, is a not uncommon Irish name, and appears especially to have occurred in the O'Brian family. The youngest son of Brian Boromy, who was present at his death, and according to the Njala Saga, lost his hand by the same blow which cut off the head of his father, was called "Tadg," in the Saga Taðkr; and it is not improbable that the Dompuald or Donald, who was sent to Man by Muircertach, himself the grandson of Brian, was a descendant of Tadg, or at least a kinsman of the O'Brians. That the Manxmen should apply to Muircertach for a governor seems to prove that King Magnus must have entrusted him with a kind of plenipotentiary power, or lieutenancy, during his absence, which trust, however, Muircertach must be supposed not to have kept conscientiously. 1
1 [Donald MacTeige was nephew to Murktaghm O'Brien, being a brother's son. He had already given considerable trouble in his own country, and a desire to get rid of an impracticable kinsman may have had its weight in leading the Irish King to accede to the request of the Manxmen. Olave, the youngest son of Godred, heir to the Manx throne, was at that time a minor, residing at the English court. This is sufficient to account for the appointment of a regent or guardian, without associating it within a dependency on Norway.]
Of this Ingemund nothing is told in the Saga. It is not even possible to guess who he was, or to what family he belonged.
This entry, as well as the next, about the capture of Antioch, and the apparition of the comet, is taken from the Chronicle of Melrose. The rest, however, including the definition of a comet, is original. The battle here spoken of between the inhabitants of Man seems rather to have been the effect of an attempt on the part of the native Manxmen to shake off the yoke of the Norwegians, than a fighting between northern or southern islanders from the names of the opposite chiefs, Earl Other or Ottar, and Macmaras; the former being a Norwegian one, the latter a Celtic. The word "Aquilonares" ought perhaps to be translated, not "the inhabitants of North-Man," but the "Northmen."
1 [But the text says that the battle was fought inter Mannenses, i.e., between the Manx themselves, and not inter Mannenses and Aquilonares, i.e., between the Manx and the Northmen. Unless the text be corrupt, Aquilonares must mean the Manx of the North. Robertson considers them to be the original clans connected with the Northmen of Dublin and the Isles, whilst the Southerns he considers to be the descendants of the Islesmen who had contributed to the success of Godred Crovan. The South was the seat of the civil and ecclesiastical government, and he thinks that the distinctions between North and South was preserved by Godred's descendants through motives of policy, in order to maintain their own ascendancy, by holding the balance between the two races ; i. 349 and 166.]
It is true that King Magnus made his second expedition to the West in 1098, and in so far the Chronicle is right, but it errs greatly in speaking of one expedition only, and of the fall of King Magnus, which did not occur till 1103, on his third expedition, as if it happened on his second one. The whole entry comprises, accordingly, a space of six years, from 1098 till 1103 inclusive. Nor is the motive here assigned to his enterprise the true one, as everybody may see, even with out further explanation ; it may have been a legend or tradition, current in Man ; but even this tradition seems to have been derived from what is told in the Saga of the grandfather of Magnus, King Harold, that on the eve of his sailing for England in 1066, he had the shrine of St. Olaf opened, cut the nails and the hair of the Saint, and having re-closed and locked the shrine threw the key into the sea ; it is expressly added that the shrine was not opened for the next 180 years, so that it is impossible that King Magnus could have done it.1 The real motive why Magnus issued forth on this expedition was evidently, as the Saga tells, to secure his power in the Orkneys and the Western Islands. We learn farther, from Ordericus Vitalis, as we have seen, that Muircertach had broken the treaty ; and the troubles in the Isle of Man just mentioned might in themselves alone have afforded sufficient reason for Magnus to revisit that part of his dominions. Moreover, we learn from Fordun, that,in 1097, Eadgar, the son of King Malcolm, appeared in Scotland with an English army, and made fierce war upon Donald Bane, the protegë of King Magnus, who had reascended the throne in 1095, after the fall of Duncan, and this war, which ended with the captivity of Donald, was not brought to an issue, when Magnus arrived in Scotland in 1098 ;2 it is therefore very probable that Donald Bane had implored the aid of Magnus, and was the chief inducement for the latter to go.
The fleet of King Magnus is stated by Ordericus to have contained sixty ships,3 while our Saga gives the number of 160. This is to he explained in this way, that the total number of ships collected in Nor way was 160, but that the effective force, with which he arrived at Man, and Anglesey, consisted only of sixty. The fleets of the Norwegian kings in those days were formed of two distinct parts, the leiðangr ships, i.e., those furnished and manned by the population at large, distributed for this purpose into certain districts, and those belonging to the king himself and his barons ; the former being generally of the smaller kind, and the crew not obliged to serve for more than two months a year, did not count for much, hut the chief and really formidable force consisted of the other part, being large, well-built ships, strongly manned by select and well-trained warriors, and obliged to serve for an indefinite time. Generally, therefore, we find, that on expeditions of longer duration the leiðangr ships soon returned home, leaving the royal and baronial ships alone to fight out the war ; and the average number of these ships was exactly sixty. So it therefore must also have been the case with the fleet of King Magnus, that shortly after his arrival in the West the leiðangr part returned, while the main force, being sixty sail strong, remained.
The Saga gives us the names of several barons who accompanied the king ; we learn, even, that he brought with him his son Sigurd, then only eight years of age, in order to appoint him his lieutenant in those parts. The Chronicle is right in saying that King Magnus subdued the Orkneys, as we learn from the Saga that at his arrival he took the reigning earls, Paul and Erlend, prisoners, and sent them to Norway, whence they did not return, while he carried with him the sons of Erlend, Magnus (afterwards Saint Magnus), and Erling ; the earls must therefore either have shown symptoms of disaffection or the king simply have wanted these possessions for himself or for his son. In the Saga, Magnus is said next to have attacked and ravaged Lewis, when the inhabitants were either massacred or put to flight, no doubt in retaliation of what was done to Ingemund ; even Uist, Skye, Tirce, and Mull, underwent the same treatment. Iona, however, was left unhurt, because of its sanctity, and the Saga tells, that the king opened " the little church of Columkill" (now St. Oran's Chapel), and was about to enter, but stopped on the threshold, locked the door, and forbade anybody to enter it afterwards. It is added that since that time it was not opened ; which, however, is only to be understood of the period before 1220, when this account appears to have been written.4 From Iona he went to Isla, and from there to Cantire, ravaging as well the coasts of Ireland as those of Scotland ; perhaps it was at this period that he sent the Irish princess back to her father. Ordericus says that he found the coasts of Ireland too well defended to effect any great achievements ; the annals of Ulster say even that three Norwegian ships were taken by the Ultonians, and the men killed.
1 Snorre, Saga of Harold Harðraði, ch. 83.
cfr. Hrokkinskinna, Har. H. S., ch.114.
2 Fordun, v. 34, x. 19. [See also Lingard, i. pp. 526-529.]
3 Ordericus Vitalis, Ap. Duchesue, p. 767.
4 Snorre, Saga of Magnus Barefoot, ch. 10. Fagrskinna, ch. 229, 230.
This seems to imply that the place named Sandvað (vadum arenosum), where the battle was fought between the inhabitants of Man themselves, was situated in the neighbourhood of Holm Peel. 1 That Magnus, as it is stated here, should have chosen Man for his own future residence, is impossible, and only an exaggeration ; he destined it probably to be the residence of his son and vassal King Sigurd, and not for himself, as the author may have supposed. What, however, is said about the fortresses erected by Magnus seems to be true; firstly, because these fortresses still bore his name when this part of the Chronicle was composed, viz., about 1260 ; secondly, because we find that King Magnus erected similar forts at other conquered places, which he desired to secure, for instance at Kvaldensey, on the lake of Wener, in Sweden, against which he made war in 1100 and 1101. This fortress was chiefly of wood, a kind of blockhouse ; as even those in Man seem to have been, as it is expressly stated that the Galwegians were pressed to cut wood and carry timber for their construction. It is no doubt the same fact to which Ordericus Vitalis alludes, saying that King Magnus got people to settle on the island, as the population was extremely thinned, and gave them houses and other necessary things, and that likewise he visited some of the other islands, and arranged large settlements there, occupying himself with these affairs for several years, in order to strengthen his power.2 It may be that not a few of his warriors, pleased with the fertility and amenity of the island, settled there permanently, and that new colonists from Norway were sent for and encouraged ; but the houses here mentioned were no doubt chiefly the fortresses. If quite a new colonisation had taken place on the large scale which Orderic seems to indicate, the Saga would certainly not have been silent about it.
1 [There were two places called the Island of St. Patrick-Holm Peel, and Jurby Point. It is at the latter that Dr. Oliver places Santwat, or Sandwith.]
2 Ordericus p 767.
This affair, and the combat with the Hugos, is mentioned also in the sagas, as well as by most of the English annalists who narrated the events of these times. The Saga, however, as usual, describes only the fight, without mentioning the motives, which caused it. These we learn chiefly from Caradoc of Lhancarvan and Ordericus Vitalis. There raged at this time a fierce war between the Welsh and the Norman earls of the Marches, the principal of whom was Hugh, Earl of Chester, called grossus, because of his extreme fatness.1 In the beginning of A.D. 1098, Hugh, together with his namesake, Hugh of Montgomery, Earl of Salop, aided by a traitor among the Welsh themselves, attacked North-Wales with a large army, and penetrated without any obstacle as far as into Anglesey; the Welsh king Griffith, and his relation Cadogon, being unable to make any resistance, proceeded to Ireland to apply for assistance against the invaders. It would appear, although it is not expressly stated anywhere, that Griffith on his way visited Man, and solicited King Magnus, whose arrival in these parts with a powerful fleet must have been generally known, to help him : or that Magnus, hearing of the doings at Anglesey, resolved to go there on his own accord, and endeavour to gain something for himself. According to Orderic he came with only six ships, and entered the Menai Straits, carrying a red shield on the mast, the usual sign of peace and commercial intercourse. The Norman warriors, however, would not permit him to land, and assembled in great number under the command of both Hughs ; there ensued in consequence vehement fighting, or rather exchange of missiles, the Normans being on shore, the Norwegians on board their ships. Hugh of Salop was killed by an arrow, and finally the Normans were put to flight.
According to the Saga it was the king himself who shot Earl Hugh, or who at least got the credit of having done so ; his ship, it is told, being nearest to the shore, he stood on the forecastle shooting arrows from a long bow at the enemy, and seeing Earl Hugh advancing, he persuaded a man from Halogaland (the northernmost part of Norway), who was standing close by, likewise shooting, that they should both at once aim at the earl ; this done, one of the arrows struck the " nef-björg" (the piece of iron protecting the nose), and caused it to bend sidewards ; the other entered the eye and came out behind, killing the earl immediately : it was, however, impossible to say which of the two arrows was shot by the king, yet the man, to flatter the king, gave him the honour of having shot the fatal one. It was, says the Saga, a most singular luck to hit the earl in this way, as he was clad in armour from head to foot, leaving nothing bare except the eyes.
Giraldus Cambrensis, who narrates this event, obviously from local evidences, without knowing a word of the sagas, strongly corroborates the above narrative, and does not even hesitate in the least to name the commander of the foreign ships, whom he apparently does not know to have been the King of Norway, as the killer of the earl. When Hugh of Salop, he says, together with the Earl of Chester, had entered by force the church of St. Tefredauc in Anglesey, and left some dogs there, these were found mad in the morning ; and a month afterwards he came himself to an untimely end, as there arrived some pirates with ships of war from Orkney, whom he gallantly went to meet into the very sea, bestriding a noble steed ; the commander of the enemy's force, however, named Magnus, standing with his bow forward in his ship, let fly an arrow, which, although the earl was clad in iron armour from head to foot, entered his right eye, and went through the brains, so that he fell dying into the water ; when the victor saw him falling, he is said to have exclaimed triumphantly in the Danish tongue leit loupe, i.e., "let leap," and from this time the English lost their dominion in Anglesey.3
According to Ordericus,4 King Magnus, having ascertained that it was the earl himself whom he had killed, expressed his regret, and offered Earl Hugh of Chester peace and security, saying that he had come to conquer Ireland, not England, nor other foreign lands, and only to maintain his authority in islands already belonging to his dominions. Here, however, Ordericus must be mistaken, as it is certain that he appropriated to himself the dominion of Anglesey, and that this island was for many years reckoned among the Norwegian possessions in the west .5 Even William of Malmesbury asserts that Mag nus "fiercely assaulted England in attacking Anglesey.6 Nor is it improbable that the Welsh of Anglesey, who reaped the sole fruit of the battle which cost Magnus dearly, gratified him with a show of homage, by which they did not mean to bind themselves very strictly, and which could not in any case have been so burthensome to them as the English yoke. It is told by Caradoc, that Magnus, on his last expedition to the West, in 1102-3, was kindly received in Anglesey, and got the permission of Griffith to cut as much timber there as he wanted. Perhaps this was construed by the Norwegians as a sign of submission on the part of Griffith and his Welshmen.7
It was undoubtedly the intention of Magnus at this time to punish Muircertach, but he was prevented from doing so, either by his severe loss in the battle of Anglesey, or, as is probable, by the necessity in which he may have found himself to turn his forces against Scotland. As at this time, it would seem, Eadgar, the son of Malcolm, had cap-tured his rival Donald Bane, and as Donald was the ancient ally of Magnus, it was but natural that the latter should intervene on his behalf, and attempt to effect his delivery. It is even far from improbable that Eadgar, not acknowledging the right of Magnus to the Isles, had expressed his intention to reunite them with the Crown of Scotland ; and that Magnus, hearing of this, deemed it necessary to threaten him with an attack. The Saga tells that the King of the Scots sent a message to Magnus, asking him to abstain from hostilities against Scotland, and offering him the cession of all those Western Islands between which and the mainland the Norwegian king could go in a vessel with a paddle rudder, on which condition peace really was concluded.8 This evidently infers that Magnus had threatened Eadgar with war, and as the thing in itself is very probable, there is all reason to believe the whole transaction to be strictly true. Magnus may have ascertained that Donald Bane, now being blind and degraded, was past hope of ever recovering the power, and therefore found the best thing he could do, was to make peace with Eadgar on good conditions. It is even most likely that it was agreed to strengthen the treaty by a marriage between Magnus and Mathilda, the sister of Eadgar. For in the Saga there are still three verses preserved, composed by Magnus himself in honour of " Mathilda, the fair maid, who defends her country with the shield," and whom he is most anxious to behold, but fears that he shall not enjoy this happiness.9 In the Saga this Mathilda is called the daughter of the emperor ; but there was at this time no daughter of the emperor with the name of Mathilda, nor is it likely, even if such a person existed, that Magnus should have proposed to her.10 The Saga moreover is mistaken in calling the Scottish king Malcolm, instead of Eadgar, no doubt misled by the Scottish denomination " Etgar Mac Malcolm." It is certain the marriage was never effected, Mathilda having been given to King Henry of England in 1100 ; this, however, explains itself readily from the superi-ority of King Henry in those parts, and even the substance of the verses themselves indicate the misgivings of the royal author that the union so much coveted was not to be after all. Certain it is, that from this time the Norwegian kings dated their real possession of the Sudrey s, among which they also counted the peninsula of Cantire ; because Magnus, imitating the old fabulous sea-king Beite, of whom a similar story is told, had his vessel drawn across the narrow isthmus of Tarbet, while he himself sat at the helm.11
It is said in the Saga that during this expedition King Magnus effected a marriage between his son Sigurd, then only nine years of age, with Biadmuin, daughter of Muircertach, being only five years old, and that he constituted him king of all Norwegian possessions in the West. That the marriage did not take place till in 1102, on the king's third expedition, is evident from the Irish and Welsh annals, as will be seen by-and-by ; and it is most likely, nay, almost certain, that the Saga has likewise misplaced the other event, the proper moment for conferring on the prince the title of king being surely the day of his marriage, especially as Sigurd had then just completed his twelfth year, which was the very term for coming of age among the Norwegians in those times. Between Muircertach and Magnus there was apparently no contact at all during this expedition, whatever might have been the cause. That Magnus intended to make war upon him, must be regarded as certain ; but no doubt, as we have already seen, partly the preparations of Muircertach himself, and partly the expeditions of Magnus against Wales and Scotland, averted the blow from Ireland in 1098. He passed, however, the winter either at Man, or in the Isles, probably intending to attack Ireland in the spring of 1099 ; but it is expressly stated in the Saga that many of his men, wearied by being absent from their home for such a length of time, left him without leave before the winter set in. We might guess, therefore, that when spring returned he did not feel himself strong enough to invade Ireland with the certainty of effecting anything worth the exertion. Moreover, as soon after his return to Norway we find him engaged in a war with Sweden, it may be that the news received from those parts induced him to shorten his stay in the West and to forego for the moment his plans against Ireland, postponing them till better times. This indeed appears to us the simplest way of explaining the matter. Certain it seems, that King Magnus, on his return to Norway in the summer 1099, left his son Sigurd at Orkney.
The Saga remarks expressly that during this long stay in the West King Magnus and his men adopted the dress usual among the Western islanders, viz., short coats and bare legs, which caused the Norwegians to give him the nickname of " bare-leg" or " bare-foot." This shows that the characteristic Highland dress was even then the national one among the inhabitants of western Scotland.
In the years of 1100 and 1101 Magnus was occupied with the Swedish war. In 1102, however, he went forth on his last expedition, which this time was undertaken directly against Ireland. What the Chronicle tells about his sending his shoes to King Muircertach and the unconditional submission of the latter, seems to be a mere fable ;12 yet if something like it took place, it must have been in the winter immediately preceding the expedition. From the Irish and Welsh annals, as well as from Orderic, we learn how matters stood with Muircertach. His war with Donald O'Lochlan raged more fiercely than ever ; and although, on the whole, Muircertach had the upper hand, yet Donald was an obstinate and dangerous foe, against whom he felt the necessity of strengthening himself through alliance with other powerful rulers. Shortly before, King Henry I. (Beauclerc) had ascended the English throne, excluding, as is well known, his senior brother Robert, Duke of Normandy, with whom he had to sustain a hard feud. Among the Barons who embraced the party of Robert were the two brothers of the above mentioned Earl Hugh Montgomery, who was killed by King Magnus, Robert of Belesme, who after the fall of Hugh had purchased his earldom, having besides many other possessions in England, as well as in Normandy,13 and Arnulf, who had Dyved and Pembroke in Wales. Robert made an alliance with the three Welsh princes, Jorwerth, Cadogan, and Meredith, sons of Blethyn, and Arnulf sought the alliance of Muircertach, asking, through ambassadors, his daughter Lafracot in marriage, to which Muircertach immediately gave his consent, promising not only to support Arnulf against the English king, but also to make him his successor.14 In this manner a rather strong league bad been formed against King Henry ; and as the allied lords and princes, especially the two Montgomerys, as avengers of their brother, must at the same time have been the enemies of King Magnus, this prince was consequently brought somehow into a friendly relation with the English. monarch, notwithstanding that Henry, if the conjecture which we ventured to utter above be right, had married the destined bride of Magnus. Yet it must be remembered that Magnus himself, during his absence, had married the Swedish princess Margaret, and no doubt given up all enmity, if any such existed, against Henry ; while through the peace concluded in 1098 with Eadgar of Scotland, the friend and protégé of the English king, a reconciliation between their party and King Magnus may already be said to have been partly effected.
We learn from the Welsh chronicles and the Irish annals that Magnus before visiting Ireland landed at Man, where he, as it were, established his headquarters, erecting forts as before, and making a personal visit to Anglesey, where prince Griffith received him cordially, and, as mentioned above, gave him permission to cut what timber he might require for his fortifications.15 Meanwhile matters had gone wrong with the Hiberno-British league. Robert of Montgomery was declared an outlaw, and several of his castles taken ; one of the Welsh princes had been induced to embrace the king's part ; Arnulf of Montgomery had betaken himself to the court of Muircertach, craving assistance, but the latter, far from being able to afford any, on the contrary was expecting aid from Arnulf against Magnus. 16 Under these circumstances Muircertach found it safest first to make peace, or truce for a year with Donald O'Lochlan, and then to enter into negotiations with Magnus. In what manner these negotiations were conducted is nowhere told ; we learn only from the Irish annals that the peace was concluded for a year (no doubt to be renewed at the expiration of this term), and that Muircertach gave his daughter in marriage to Sigurd, the son of Magnus, who was now proclaimed king of the western possessions.17
It has already been mentioned that the Saga wrongly speaks of this marriage as having taken place during the former expedition of Magnus, and that it likewise wrongly makes Magnus and Muircertach together conquer Dublin in 1102, this conquest having been effected during the first expedition of Magnus in 1093. Yet it would seem, and it must be taken almost for certain, that by the treaty of 1102 Muircertach ceded to Magnus the district of Dublin, which may have been regarded as an appendage of the kingdom of Alan ; partly because it is not likely that Magnus should have accorded to Muircertach the peace, and moreover, as will be seen, his powerful assistance against Donald O'Lochlan for nothing, partly because Ordericus states expressly, that Magnus established colonies of Northmen even in Ireland,18 which could not have been done if he had not got a territory to dispose o£ And lastly, if there be any truth at bottom in the anecdote about the shoes, it is to be supposed that Muircertach acknowledged Magnus as his suzerain, and paid a kind of homage to him as such, not, however; intending to keep any of the given promises longer than necessity compelled him to do so. Ordericus states expressly that Muircertach acted treacherously towards Magnus, as well as towards Arnulf. It is easy to see from the following facts that the principal object of Muircertach was to crush his Irish rivals, and that to this end he deemed it necessary to secure the powerful assistance of Magnus, with the hope, perhaps, of having afterwards an opportunity to get rid of him. The treaty was strengthened by giving hostages from both sides. Among the Norwegian hostages was the Icelandic poet Gisl Illugason,19 from whose poem in honour of King Magnus several fragments are quoted in the Saga, to corroborate the facts there mentioned.
Arriving in Ireland, Magnus was friendly received by Muircertach, and no doubt got possession of Dublin with its district, where he effected the settlements spoken of by Orderic, which appear rather to have been castles and strongholds, like those erected in Man and the Isles. In the winter, the Saga tells, Magnus was the guest of Muircertach in his residence of Kinkora,20 and in the next spring, it is farther told, both kings went to Ulster, where they fought many battles, and conquered a part of Ulster. This is true, in so far, as really the hostilities between Muircertach and the northern Irish commenced anew in 1103, no doubt because the truce had expired, and that several battles were fought as we learn from the Irish annals. But as to the conquests in Ulster, it is far from any such thing having taken place ; as, on the contrary, Muircertach and his allies were the losing party. The Irish annals say, that Muircertach, having encamped with his army, consisting of the men from Munster, Leinster, Ossory, Meath, and Connaught, on the plains of Cobha (in the north part of Downshire), he divided his forces, going with one part to Dalaraide (the district on the coast southeast of Lough Neagh), leaving the rest at Cobha, where during his absence it was attacked and completely routed by Donald O'Lochlan on the 5th of August. Among the number of the killed there were also, according to the Irish annals, " foreigners from Dublin," three of whom are expressly named, viz. " Thorstain mac Eric," " Poll mac Amaind," and " Beollan armuinn," the two former, at least, being entirely Scandinavian (Thorstain Ericson and Paul Amundson) ; maybe these " foreigners" were Norwegians from the army of Magnus, although it is to be supposed that the Norwegian king with his main force was on board his fleet, ravaging the coasts, while Muircertach made war on land, and that the diversion of the latter to Dalaraide was effected in order to meet and operate in conjunction with Magnus. In any case it is evident that the defeat at Cobha put an end to the operations, as it is expressly stated in the Saga that the expedition to Ulster having been ended, Muircertach returned to Kinkora, and Magnus prepared to go home ; these preparations, however, must have taken place immediately after the battle at Cobha, as the fall of Magnus occurred only nineteen days afterwards, on St. Bartholomew's Day.
This catastrophe is said by Ordericus to have been caused by the treachery of the Irish, who induced him to leave the ships, and hazard himself with a small force into the interior of the country, making him believe that they intended to offer their submission, but afterwards suddenly attacking him with immensely superior numbers. This seems very probable in itself, but it ought to be remembered, that the Saga, founded upon traditions from the men who were present at the battle themselves, does not give the least hint of anything like treachery on the part of Muircertach. Magnus, it is said, wanting meat for the support of his army, despatched men to Muircertach, requesting him to furnish the necessary number of cattle ; which request having been complied with, but the march of the cattle taking longer time than expected, Magnus, growing impatient, went imprudently too far up in the country to see if they did not appear, and was attacked by the Irish. If, at this time, Muircertach had' already returned to Kinkora, it seems not likely that Magnus should have sent his men so far; probably, however, Muircertach had not yet left the neighbourhood of Dalaraide, and in this case could not comply otherwise with the request than by compelling the inhabitants, or helping the Norwegian emissaries in compelling them, to yield up the prescribed number of cattle, a measure by which the men of Ulster would no doubt feel greatly exasperated, and become eager for revenge, without any instigation from Muircertach, or concerting of treacherous measures with him. Indeed, the annals of Ulster, where the particulars must have been well known, say only that Magnus was attacked and killed by the Men of Ulster on a plundering expedition. The particulars of the battle are most circumstantially and forcibly told in the Saga, which, however, does not mention, what is told only in the Chronicle of Man, that the body of the king was buried at St. Patrick's Church in Down. Maybe his remains may still be found there. It is evident that he was buried by the Irish, not by his own men, who were obliged to leave the body on the battlefield, and that this must have been in the neighbourhood of Down ; his fleet probably still lying at the same spot where it was when the battle was fought at Cobha.21
At the death of Magnus, his men abandoned all newly acquired possessions in the West, and hastened homewards, taking with them prince Sigurd, who left his bride, the daughter of Muircertach, saying, according to the Saga, that all lords in the West, Scotch as well as Irish, were odious to him. This certainly might be construed as indicating that Sigurd himself suspected the Irish of treachery against his father, yet such an interpretation of the words is by no means necessary. After all, however, Muircertach turned out to be really a traitor; immediately after the fall of Magnus he courted very submissively the friendship of the English king, took his daughter back from Arnulf, and gave her to another man ; nay, he even planned schemes against his life, which also, perhaps, Arnulf might have lost, if he had not been warned in time, and made his escape to Normandy.22
The author of our Chronicle, in assigning six years to the reign of Magnus in the Isles, must needs have meant to begin it with the year of his second expedition, viz. 1098, which being the first, 1103 will be the last. So badly, however, the numbers of the years are added, that the accession of Olaf, son of Godred Crowan, is said to have taken place in 1102, although it is expressly stated that Olaf was not made king till after the death of Magnus. That Magnus was killed in 1103, is certain enough, and corroborated by many authorities, especially that of Ordericus Vitalis.23
1 Ordericus, p. 767.
2 Even in the Saga he is called Hugi Digri (i.e. the fat) ; the same epithet is preserved by Ordericus, calling him "dirgane," which is only a wrong spelling of the Norse "digran," (ace. sing. of diyr).
3 Giraldus, ltinerarium Cambriae, p. 867. The "leit loupe" is a slight variation of the Norwegian " lãt hlaupa."
4 Ordericus, p. 768. As the place, where the battle was fought, he names the rock Dagannoth, where the lieutenant of Earl Hugh of Chester, Robert Marquis of Rhuddlar, had built a castle (cfr. p. 670).
5 Ordericus seems on the whole not to be thoroughly acquainted with these facts, as he contradicts himself in some points.
6 William of Malmesbury, iv. 329.
7 William of Malmesbury, iv. 329. [Dunham says that the statement of the conquest of the whole island will obtain little credit with any reader. The truth, he says, seems to be that he made some of the chiefs do homage for their respective dominions ; but they reasserted their independence the moment he had left the shores, ii. p. 266.]
8 [At this date the Western islands can hardly have been included amongst the dependencies of the Scottish crown.-Robertson, i. 167.]
9 Snorre, Saga of Magnus Barefoot, ch. 18.
10 [One can easily understand such license in a poetic effusion. Matilda was descended from Agatha, daughter, or perhaps only a relative, of the Emperor of Germany, wbo had married Edward, a son of Edmund Ironside. Margaret, one of their daughters, had married Malcolm, King of Scotland, and Matilda was one of the children born of that marriage : she was grand-daughter to Agatha. In her childhood she had worn the veil in the convent of Winton, over which her aunt Christina was abbess, in order to preserve her chastity against the brutality of the Norman soldiers : but in a synod of prelates, November 11, 1100, she was pronounced free to marry, and was accordingly married to Henry I. of England, by Archbishop Auselm.-Ling. i. 303-527, ii. 6.]
11 [See Robertson, i. 167.]
12 [This tale is said to be unknown to the Irish and Norse chroniclers ; but a writer in Notes and Queries cites some verses from Lyschander's Chronicon Groenlandiae Rythmicon, which seem to refer to this token of subjection exacted by Magnus. He supposes that the throwing of the slipper at weddings was meant to betoken the subjection of the newly married woman to her husband.
He sent to Ireland his dirty shoes,
And commanded the king who lived there,
To wear them with honour
On Christmas day in his royal state,
And to own that he had his power and kingdom
From the Lord of Norway and the Isles.-4 S. ix. March 30,'72, p. 258.]
13 Ordericus, p. 768. In Maine there exist still traditions about the tyranny of Robert ; vide Lappenberg, Geschichte Englands, ii. s. 232.
14 Ordericus, p. 868, cfr. Caradoc.
15 Vide Caradoc.
16 There is a letter preserved from Muircertach to the celebrated Anselrn, Archbishop of Canterbury (Anselmi epistolae, iv. 85), in which the Irish king thanks the prelate for the assistance given to his son-in-law Arnulf. The letter must have been written about this time.
17 The Irish annals, especially those of the Four Masters ; where it is expressly stated that Muircertach gave his daughter to "Sichraid," son of Magnus, with many precious gifts. Caradoc says expressly that Magnus built three castles in the Isle of Man, had his son married with the daughter of Muircertach, and named him King of Man. The name of the princess has been preserved in the Saga only, it was Biadmynja or Biadhmuin.
18 Ordericus, p. 812. " Magnus - - . desert's cum ingenti classe insulas usque in Hiberniam introivit, ibique colonis callide constitutis, oppida et villas aliarum more gentium coustrui praecepit." [Munch's conclusion is not warranted by the text. Orderic says that he established his colonies cunningly, which would have been unnecessary if the territory had been at his disposal.]
19 The Saga of the holy bishop John of Hólar in Iceland, Biskupa Sogur, i, 227. Here the following curious story is told :-With the hostages there was a Norwegian, who boasted of being well versed in the Irish language, and offered to salute King Muircertach in the name of the others, which being allowed, he said, "male díarik," which, however, means " damned be thou, O king! " Then another of the Norwegians put in his word, saying : " My Lord, this man is only the slave of the Norwegians; " to which the king replied "algeira ragall," which means "difficult to know is the dark riddle" (gáta), or "road" (gata). Those of our readers who are acquainted with the Irish language may perhaps be able to suggest the correct forms of the Irish words here reproduced, no doubt in a very bad shape. [His Grace, the most Rev. John Mac Hale, Archbishop of Tuam, an accomplished Irish scholar, says that the words, though mutilated, are perfectly intelligible, and without any effort of fancy or conjecture may be thus written Malact de Duit le riz : The curse of God on you, king.]
20 This name, more correctly spelled Ceann Caraidh, has been confounded by the author of the Saga with Connaught, Kankaraborg or Kankarar, having evidently been misread as Kunnaktaborg, Kunnaktir.
21 [Robertson supposes that the defeat of Murketagh O'Brien by the northern Hy Nial, early in the month, may have prevented or delayed the despatch of the cattle, and that Magnus disembarked to ascertain the fate of the scouts, and to Victual his fleet at the expense of the men of Uladh ; that he became entangled amongst the neighbouring morasses; that his retreat was intercepted by the Ulstermen ; and that, through the cowardice or treachery of one of his principal officers, who fled instead of covering his retreat, he fell with many of his followers. He would easily be known by his shining Helmet and breastplate, and by the golden lion on the red shield-the device of the Norwegian kings. When expostulated with by his courtiers for rashly exposing himself in battle, Magnus replied " It is better for a people to have a brave than an old king. "-Robertson, i. 169. Dunham ii. 267.]
22 William of Malmesbury, v. 409, cfr. Ordericus.
23 Even in the Saga the year is clearly enough indicated, as the king is said to have been killed on a Monday, being also the day of St. Bartholomew. This exactly agrees with the year 1103. [As already noticed, Robertson makes Lagman reoccupy the throne, of Man after the death of Magnus, and reign until 1108, when, from remorse at his own cruelty to his brother, he undertook the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He allots four years to the regency of Mac Teige and Ingemund, and makes Olave, then probably of age, to begin his reign in 1112.-i. 346-7.]