Malcolm III of Scotland

From Academic Kids

King Malcolm III of Scotland (Mel Coluim mac Donnchada), (1031-November 13, 1093) also known as Malcolm Canmore (Malcolm with the large head)'Cean Mor' meaning 'Big Head' in Gaidhlig, was the eldest son of King Duncan I of Scotland and first king of the House of Dunkeld.

In 1040 his father was killed in battle by his cousin Macbeth I of Scotland who became the new king. Malcolm found refuge in England under the protection of King Hardicanute of Denmark and England. In 1042 Hardicanute died and was succeeded to the throne of England by his half-brother King Edward the Confessor. In 1053 Edward finally agreed to help Malcolm gain the throne of Scotland by offering him an army. Malcolm's invasion of Scotland started in the same year. Malcolm found support from the nobles of Southern Scotland. He managed to kill first Macbeth in 1057 and then his successor King Lulach I of Scotland in 1058. He then succeeded Lulach as king. He was crowned at Scone Abbey, Perthshire, on April 25, 1058. He married Ingibjrg Finnsdttir, widow of the Jarl of Orkney, in about 1065 and they had three sons: Duncan, Domnall (d.1085), and Malcolm (d. after 1094). Ingibjrg was dead by 1070, when he wed Margaret.

He agreed on an alliance with England, sealed by his (second) marriage to Saint Margaret, Edgar Atheling's sister. Margaret herself promoted the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland throughout Malcolm's reign. At that time, Christianity did exist in Scotland in the form of the Celtic Church, but varied from Roman Catholic practice in some respects e.g. the dating of Easter and the shape of monks' tonsures. Malcolm had several sons by Margaret - these became known as the Margaretsons. Malcolm and Margaret's children were:

  1. Prince Edward of Scotland, killed 1093.
  2. King Edmund I of Scotland
  3. Ethelred, Earl of Fife
  4. King Edgar I of Scotland
  5. King Alexander I of Scotland
  6. King David I of Scotland
  7. Edith of Scotland, also called Matilda, married King Henry I of England
  8. Mary of Scotland, married Eustace III of Boulogne

During his reign Scotland fell under the influence of England. The Lowlands of Scotland started speaking an early Scots dialect and adopting Anglo-Saxon habits. Malcolm unsuccessfully tried to stop this influence by waging wars against the Norman kings of England after 1066. In 1072 he was forced to give an oath of subservience to William I of England.

His war against William II of England in 1093 only led to the loss of Scottish territory to England. Malcolm died on November of the same year in an ambush at Alnwick during a battle against William's army. His eldest son by Margaret, Edward, also died in that ambush. Malcolm was succeeded by his brother Donald III of Scotland.

Malcolm established the Dunkeld dynasty which ruled Scotland from 1058 until 1286. Four of his sons (Duncan II, Edgar, Alexander I, and David I) became kings of Scotland, whilst a fifth (Edmund) ruled as co-ruler of Scotland with his uncle Donald III.


  • Orkneyinga Saga
  • Anderson, Alan. Early Sources of Scottish History, 2 vols.
Preceded by:
King of Scots Succeeded by:
Donald III

de:Malcolm III. (Schottland) fr:Malcolm III d'cosse ja:マルカム3世 (スコットランド王) sv:Malcolm III av Skottland uk:Малкольм III (король Шотландії)


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