King Macbeatha I
Macbeatha Mac Macbeth
King of Scots

Reign 1069-1111
Predecessor Macbeth I
Successor Macbeth II
Consort Ingegerd Haraldsdotter
Issue Macbeth II, Drest (Thane of Garioch), Gruoch Ingen Macbeatha, Macbeatha mac Macbeatha, Bethoc Ingen Macbeatha, Findlaech Mac Macbeatha
House House of Moray
Father Macbeth I
Mother Gruoch
Born 1048
Died 1111
Burial Iona
Religion Christianity

Early Life

Macbeatha was born in 1048 in Scone Castle, to King Macbeth and Queen Gruoch. The only child from that union it appears that following his birth, he became both his parents favourite child. It seems that his grandsire Boite also began spending more time focusing on him than on his other grandson Lulach. As a consequence of this, Macbeatha spent a lot of time touring the kingdom, and attending his father's court, where he undoubtedly learned the way of Scottish Politics, something that was often quite bloody and turbulent at times. He would have learned Gaelic, Latin and some form of Norse it appears during his early childhood, perhaps in preparation for the future alliance with Norway that was to come.

Like his older brother Fearchar, who was Mormaer of Argyll at the time of Macbeatha's birth, it seems Macbeatha was a naturally gifted warrior, and what records survive, indicate that he spent a lot of time in the practica yard, sparring with the boys of the court, as well as with the master at arms. It also seems that he developed an interest in history, from the records of the monks at Scone Abbey, record him visiting their library quite frequently.

Macbeatha is noted on numerous decrees and charters that his father issued between 1050-1060 as Macbeatha, Prince of Scots, his signature just below his father's, thus indicating that even from a very early age, his father considered his education in the way of kingly politics of the most importance. It also seems he spent time in Fife with his grandfather Boite, who as Mormaer of Fife, was second in all law matters behind only the king, and had the privilege of crowning the king at Scone. It seems, that from his time spent with his grandsire, that Macbeatha developed his knack of political wheeling and dealing.

Macbeatha also spent time as his father's representative in Moray, making sure that all was well and ordered there, and that none of the chieftains were getting any ideas. His presence there, it is assumed was what helped keep the usually autonomous region loyal to King Macbeth during the man's reign.

Macbeatha's first experience of battle came in 1063, when his cousin Donald Bane invaded Scotland. The fighting was kept mainly on the Western Coast, though it appears the king wished to test his son's ability, by giving him the right wing, and as such Macbeatha aged only fifteen fought with much bravery and skill. And helped contribute to a Scots victory and death of the line of Dunkeld.

In 1064, Macbeatha was married to Ingegerd, the daughter of King Harald of Norway. This marriage was done for political reasons, as it ensured King Harald recognised Macbeatha's brother as Mormaer of Argyll, and Scottish possession over Argyll. The relationship between Macbeatha and his wife was cordial at first, but it seems that over time it improved greatly. Certainly, the fact that they had some six children, demonstrates that they were not lacking in friendliness

Macbeatha was involved in his father's campaign in northern England in 1066, commanding the right wing once more during several battles, and demonstrating great skill and promise in command. He and his brother Fearchar helped lead the Scottish army southwards against Harold Godwinson. And it seems it was his idea that helped lead to the Norse victory over William the Bastard at London. He was one of the main signatories of the Treaty of Newcastle, and was indeed named Earl of Bamburgh. Following his father's death in 1069, after much debate and fighting, he was elected king.

Early Reign as King (1069-1080)

Macbeatha, had grown up being treated as his father's heir presumptive, this being despite the fact that Macbeth had a grown son in Fearchar, and a grandson who was the same age as Macbeatha, and yet, it seems that the influence of Boite, as well as his own preferences, led to King Macbeth treating his son by Gruoch as his heir. Sure enough, when the meeting of the lords convened in Scone following Macbeth's death, it took two rounds of voting before Macbeatha was chosen as king. His first act as king, was to confirm his brothers as Mormaer of Argyll and Regent of Angus respectively. He then asked them to both help govern the province of Angus, as the Mormaer at the time was young. It seems his older brother Fearchar balked at such orders, and shortly resigned his post as regent, returning to his own province of Argyll. Lulach, however, remained regent within Angus, and indeed needed Macbeatha's help in dealing with some rebels within the province. Macbeatha who had moved the capital to Inverness, Moray, brought the men of Moray down with him to crush the resistance his brother faced, and later confirmed his brother as Mormaer of Angus.

Following this, Macbeatha, spent most of his time travelling his kingdom, making sure the lords were happy, as well as making some small changes to the laws of the land. Indeed, it seems, Macbeatha was the first King of Scots, to actually try and codify Scots Law into one recognisable format. The King's Laws of 1076 seem to have been the results of this effort, that they would remain as the national law until 1500, shows just how good Macbeatha was as a statesmen. During his early reign he also spent time travelling southwards to his English possessions and making sure all was good there, he also resigned the Treaty of Newcastle with King Olaf I of England and King Owen II of Strathclyde in 1077, which recognised Scots control of the northern English towns up to Newcastle.

It is not exactly clear what led to Macbeatha's invasion of Strathclyde, be it an argument that Macbeatha had with King Owen, or some other reason, but whatever it was, by late 1079, war between Scotland and Strathclyde was inevitable, and when Lulach fled back into Angus with the armies of Strathclyde following him, war finally broke out.

War with Strathclyde and the Crusade (1080-1099)

War broke out with Strathclyde in 1080, when King Owen II renounced fealty to King Macbeatha, and followed Lulach all the way over the River Forth and into Angus. Macbeatha found this unacceptable and calling on the men of Moray as well as the men of FIfe and Argyll, he marched into Angus and fought a series of battles with the King of Strathclyde. For two years the men fought, before a victory at the battle of the Tay saw King Owen slain, and his army scatter back south. King Macbeatha was not happy with this though, and followed the Strathclyde army back into Strathclyde, plundering and pillaging as he went. After around four years of this, it seems that the men of Strathclyde had had enough and led by one Gospatric, they signed an agreement with King Macbeatha that recognised Lulach as Mormaer of Strathclyde, and the end of Strathclyde's independence.

Following this, Macbeatha returned to Moray, where he then had to pacify his brother Fearchar, who had grown old and irritable. He named him Ceann Armait, the modern day equivalent to Constable of the Army, making him second behind only the king in martial matters, as well as tasking him with training men for the army. He also allowed the borders of Argyll to expand and encompass roughly half of the former Mormaerdom of Atholl. That done, Macbeatha returned to his works on history and legal writing, spending much time conversing with monks and abbots on the subject matter at hand.

It appears the rest of the decade was relatively peaceful, as was the 1090s, a testament to how good a king Macbeatha was. In a charter dated from 1094, it seems he named his son Macbeth as Prince of Scots and Thane of Cullen, and in 1096 a charter has him naming his second son Drest as Thane of Garioch.

The end of the 1090s, saw the the calling of the first Crusade, an event Macbeatha clearly felt comfortable going on. Leaving his eldest son Macbeth as the regent whilst he went off with his second son Drest, Macbeatha was present at the Siege of Nicea, and the taking of Jerusalem, he returned from the First Crusade, with his reputation enhanced, known as a proponent of the use of cavalry and archers during battle. As he was the only king to be able to participate in the Crusade, he was made the de facto leader of the crusading forces, hence the rather decisive use of cavalry and siege equipment during the battles. Following the capture of Jerusalem, and the ending of the crusade, Macbeatha had his son Drest, chosen as the new king of Jerusalem, a decision that was supported by almost all those involved. He returned a hero king as well, and was welcomed back to Scotland with parades and feasts by all who saw him.

It has been noted that it was his experience during the crusade that convinced him of the need to improve Scottish fighting methods. The Scots who for a long time had usually been heavily infantry based, had begun training with horse for war under Fearchar Og, and Macbeatha's guidance.

Later reign and Death (1100-111)

Macbeatha outlived his two older brothers, with Lulach dying in 1100, and Fearchar Og dying in 1109, this might have come as a relief to him, considering that two rivals to his son's claim to the throne were now gone. With Mael Snechtai as his son in law, as well as now holding the rank of Mormaer of Strathclyde, by the king's pleasure, it seemed Macbeatha might have been happy knowing that his sons places within the succession were secure.

And yet, there was some sign of tension between Macbeatha and Fearchar Og, indeed, this tension broke out into small scale fighting in the early twelfth century, ending with Fearchar bending the knee once more and the two brothers focussing their attention on the men of the isles. War with the isles lasted from 1106-1107 and ended with their commander being destroyed. The isles remained autonomous largely, but they knew the threat of Scotland.

When the sons of Owen II of Strathclyde invaded in 1108 backed by Tostig Kelison Earl of Northumbria and a small force of men. Mael Snechtai and his two oldest sons were killed during the fighting, and Macbeatha, in a fit of rage marched southward and over a series of battles destroyed their army. He placed Mael's third son Gregory as Mormaer of Strathclyde, and then led an incursion into northern England, where in a series of battles he defeated Tostig Kelison, and managed to extend his hold over northern England to Newcastle.

Macbeatha died in Bamburgh Castle on the 12th, November, 1111 aged 63. His reign was a time of expansion for Scotland, as well as one of peace and prosperity.

Marriage and Issue

Macbeatha married Ingegerd of Norway in 1064, as part of an alliance between Scotland and Norway, and though their relationship was not good early on, it seems the birth of a son in 1067 helped improve relations, certainly when Ingegerd died in 1100, Macbeatha was deeply grieved, and the fact he did not take any mistresses during their marriage testifies to some deep connection.

Together they had:

Macbeth II (1067-1137) married Maria Olafsdotter in 1087 and had issue.

Drest I, King of Jerusalem (1069-1119) married Doada of Atholl and had issue

Gruoch Ingen Macbeatha (1070-1108) married as his second wife Mael Snechtai and had issue

Macbeatha Mac Macbeatha (1072-1147) Cardinal in Rome

Bethoc Ingen Macbeatha (1075-1100) married Fearchar mac Cinaeda and had issue

Findlaech Mac Macbeatha (1077-1097)