Lulach Mac Gillacomgain
Mormaer of Angus and Mormaer of Strathclyde

Reign 1074-1100
Predecessor Dungal mac Subind
Successor Fergus Mac Lulach
Reign 1086-1100
Predecessor King Owen II of Strathclyde
Successor Mael Snechtai
Spouse Finghula
Issue Mael Snechtai (Mormaer of Strathclyde), Ola Ingen Lulach, Fergus Mac Lulach
House Moray
Father Gillacomgain mac Maíl Brigti
Mother Gruoch Ingen Boite
Born Lulach
Inverness, Moray
Died 1100

Early Life

Lulach mac Gillacomgain, was born in 1030, in Inverness, Moray, the son of Gillacomgain, Mormaer of Moray and Gruoch Ingen Boite, daughter of Boite mac Cinaeda Mormaer of Fife.  Lulach's father died when he was barely two years old, the result of a hall fire that was caused by Malcolm II of Scotland, who thought to reduce the threat to his own line and spite Boite. Lulach's mother soon married Mac Bethad Mac Findlaech (Macbeth I) the Thane of Cullen, this marriage was conducted either as a love match or to bring political stability to the region, or both. Macbeth soon became Mormaer of Moray and assumed guardianship of Lulach. 

Lulach's early life it seems was spent largely in Inverness, as the supposed heir to the Mormaerdom of Moray, he would have been taught Gaelic, Latin, and other such tools as befitted a noble heir of the time. He was also raised with his step father's son Fearchar Og who was a year older than him, but for one reason or another was not considered the out right heir to Macbeth. From what records survive, it seems that during his early life from the ages of two to the age of ten, he spent most of his time in Inverness, learning his lessons and doing such things as reading. It seems that whilst his step brother was an keen fighter, Lulach preferred to read and learn more about their country and the wider world as they knew it then.

This it seems was something that continued when he became a Prince of Scots, following Macbeth's crowning at Scone. With the library of Scone available to him, it seems Lulach spent more time reading than really bothering to learn how to fight. In fact one unnamed sources comments. "The boy reads, whilst his brother fights." Seemingly suggesting that Lulach was not as martial as his step-brother or even step-father, something that might well have contributed to him being left in Scone when his step-father and step-brother rode out to deal with the rebellion of Cirnan of Dunkeld.  This happened once more when his step-father invaded Argyll, he was left in Scone to help run the kingdom, suggesting that whilst he might not have been a fighter, he certainly was good with numbers and administration.

When his mother gave birth to a son named Macbeatha, it seems that Lulach who until then had been the focus of both his mother and his grandfather was placed down the ladder in terms of his importance to them, and as such it seems he was largely left to his own devices, though he was named Thane of Cullen and was sent to represent Macbeth within Moray.

Life as Thane of Cullen and marriage

Lulach arrived in Moray in early, 1049, and soon began overseeing the administration of the province, he had the luck of his step-father's reputation meaning that he was not overtly challenged nor was there much to remedy in terms of corruption. He managed to ensure taxes were collected and that any conflicts were resolved peacefully. He then ventured forth to Cullen, where the situation was a bit more tricky. The town had come under the governance of one Oengus, who had established himself as the town leader, and he protested Lulach's presence there. In a rare show of force, Lulach organised a meet with the man and then killed him after a few drinks.  Shortly after that, he faced little opposition to his time in Cullen or Moray, and felt safe enough to come to Scone to act as a regent as his step-father travelled to Rome.

Following his step-father's return from Rome, a marriage was arranged for Lulach to one Finghula daughter of the Mormaer of Angus, to the two were married in early 1052, in Scone and then ventured forth to Inverness, where Lulach establish a small court before returning to Cullen where his son Mael Snechtai was born.  A daughter named Ola was born in 1054, and Lulach settled into his time as Thane of Cullen, a role he would hold until his step-father's death in 1069. 

During his time as Thane, he would meet intermittedly with the other Thanes to discuss the issue of taxation, cattle herding and harvests. And would often act as the representative to his step-father's court to discuss these issues as well as making sure that whatever was decided was enforced within the lands. Whilst he might not have been liked he was respected. 

Another son was born to Lulach in 1067 and was named Fergus, though Lulach's wife died shortly after giving birth to the babe. Lulach would never marry again, though he would take mistresses.


Following his step-father's death in 1069, a meeting of the great nobles of the realm was called at Scone to decide the succession. For some time King Macbeth had been treating his son by Gruoch as his chosen successor, however, he had never formally named him as such, preferring to let things settle themselves. As such when the great lords of the realm met, there were three clear factions, those led by the Mormaer of Fife who supported Macbeatha, those led by the Mormaer of Angus who supported Lulach and then the neutral or potential game changing faction led by Fearchar Og. Now, whether or not Lulach wanted the throne is something that has never been quite clear, it seems that whilst there might have been a period where he might not have wanted the throne, after a discussion with his brother-in-law the Mormaer of Angus, it seems he really began to want the throne.

During the first round of discussions, the vote was split between Macbeatha and Lulach, with Fearchar Og and his followers abstaning. The second round saw Macbeatha declared the clear winner, which led to accusations and angry words being exchanged between Lulach and his brother, as well as their supporters. A brawl occurred, and soon enough the Mormaer of Angus and his brother were dead, but then peace was assumed, and Lulach bent the knee to his brother, acknowledging him as king, albeit begrudgingly. In return for an oath of fealty, Lulach was recognised as Thane of Cullen, but also guardian of Angus, as the then Mormaer was not yet an adult, and there were not senior men from that line left.

Regent of Angus, and Mormaer of Starthclyde

Following his brother's ascension as king, the capital of the kingdom moved to Inverness, whilst Lulach was entrusted to rule the mormaerdom of Angus, to make sure none of the southern nobles got any ideas. It seems that during this time, Lulach got into a bit of conflict with his cousin the Mormaer of Fife, one Giric mac Gille. What the dispute was about is not known, though it seems that it might have been something to do with land borders, for it seems that Macbeatha had to come down from Moray to settle the dispute himself. Following on from this Lulach spent time travelling around Angus, meeting the men who were his nephew's bannermen and ensuring they did nothing out of the oridinary. However, when his nephew died whilst out riding in 1074, Lulach as the next closest adult became Mormaer of Angus, and fighting broke out as nobles protested this. In a rare display of some martial prowess, or rather a good sense of his bannermen, Lulach managed to defeat the rebels, just, and enacted harsh punishments on them.  Before settling down to continue his rule, as Mormaer of Angus, he had some contact with the King of Strathclyde, and it seems that this might have what paved the way for his brother's later attempt at conquering the kingdom.

When said conquest came, it came in 1080, the King of Starthclyde at that time had grown tired of the shackles of Moray overlordship and as such rebelled against Macbeatha. Lulach was one of the first to respond to this challenge engaging in skirmishes and raids inside Strathclyde, and though he tried to avoid open battles with the man, eventually he did have to come face to face with the man, and was soundly defeated, and was pushed back into Angus. The King of Strathclyde followed him into Angus, and more fighting was had there, eventually, Macbeatha, and Fearchar Og as well as Giric came forth with their men and began fighting off the King of Strathclyde, over a period of two years, it seems they fought backwards and forwards, before the man was killed. 

Following the man's death, Macbeatha led an invasion intro Strathclyde, meant to subdue the kingdom once and for all. This invasion took the shape of plundering and burning, as well as conquests, there were numerous battles with chieftains within Strathclyde, Lothian being the first region to fall completely under their control. Slowly over the next few years, the rest of the kingdom fell under Scots control, and finally in 1086, Lulach was proclaimed Mormaer of Strathclyde, with his seat being Govan. 

His time as Mormaer of Strathclyde was spent trying to make sure that the pacification of the kingdom that his brother had achieved lasted. To this end he spent a lot of his time touring the lands, getting to know his lords, and making sure that they all had a fair hearing. It seems that to an extent he was successful, though there were the odd pools of discontent, that no out right uprising occured, it seems was more due to the severe affects of the invasion of Strathclyde in the early 1080s, the sons of the former king fled southwards to Northumbria, where Keli Tostigson Earl of Northumbria welcomed them with slightly closed arms.

Death and Succession

Lulach died at the age of seventy in 1100, it seems that his death was from natural causes, and it seems his succession was rather smooth with his son Mael Snaechtai. Lulach, it seems was a relatively smart man, who was better at administration than in the ways of war.

With his wife Finghula whom he married in 1052 he had

Mael Snechtai Mac Lulach (1052-1108)

Ola Ingen Lulach (1054-1110)

Fergus Mac Lulach (1067-1122)

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