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Macbeth & Gruoch (Lady MACBETH)


King of Scotland (1040-1057) and the subject of William Shakespeare's 1606 play, he was a G-G-G-G Grandfather of Archibald Finley. His mother was Princess DONADA, daughter of MALCOLM II. Macbeth established himself on the throne after his cousin King Duncan died from wounds inflicted by Macbeth or his adherents in battle near Elgin. (He was not killed in bed as Shakespeare told it.)

He married Gruoch (Lady MACBETH), a descendant of King Kenneth III who ruled from 997-1005.

History records that MacBeth was one of the best kings of Scotland, not the usurper of Shakespear's play.

"MACBETH and GRUOCH set themselves to reign well. He made laws for the common will, which were most benign and liberal."

"The leniency of MACBETH contrasts to advantage with the bloody steps which marked the descent of MALCOLM II. Even DUNCAN's sons were allowed to escape to England."

Macbeth was killed in battle by Malcolm III, son of Duncan, with assistance from the English.

Clan Finley was outlawed after Macbeth's death. They took the name Farquharson and did not emerge from obscurity as a clan until 1236 when Archibald distinguished himself at the battle Largs.

See the Macboeda Macbeth FIONNLADH FINLAY genealogy page at RootsWeb.

The following is an excerpt from Part 3 of Finley Findings International Vol 1, titled The Most Famous Finley of Them All.

Elmer CROCKETT, states the following: "In the year 1009, Momaar FINLEIGH or FINLEY of Moray, father of MACBETH, was the overlord of the tributary of the Manor of Morey or Moray."

WOOD quotes the following from Pinkerston's History of Scotland, Vol. II, p. 333: "During this early period in Scotland, there were two kings, for Finlay MC RUAIDHRI, who ruled over western Scotland, was murdered in 1020 to make MALCOLM II the sole king, and when MACBETH, son of FINLAY, succeeded to the throne after the death of DUNCAN, he came into his lawful heritage."

However, as WOOD and FRANCE tell us, "Frequent battles followed and FINLAY defeated Sigurd and gained possession of Moray and continued as Mormaer of that district until the year 1020, when he was slain by his nephews, MALCOLM, who died in 1029, and GILLACOMGAIN, who was assassinated by the orders of MALCOLM II in 1032.

"From this union of Princess DONADA, daughter of MALCOLM II, and Finlay MC RUARI, was born ca. 1005, MACBETH, or MacBida MC FINLAY (MACKENZIE calls him MAELBEATHA), who in 1039 became King of Scotland, and who had married earlier, in 1032, GRUOCH, daughter of BODHE and the widow of GILLACOMGAIN. From this line, the FINLAYs and FINLEYs of Scotland are descended.

"WYNTON, the most veracious chronicler of the earlier history of Scotland, styles MACBETH as Thane of Crumbacty, which is Gaelic for Cromarty, where Macbeth Castle stood. The union of Ross and Cromarty under one sheriffdom as at present, seems to be the boundaries of the ancient kingdom.

"GRUOCH (Lady MACBETH) was a lineal descendant of that Kenneth MC ALPIN, who, in the ninth century, had united Scotland into one kingdom. She was the daughter of BODHE, who was the son of KENNETH III, who was the son of DUBHE, who was the son of MALCOLM I, who was the son of DONALD IV, who was the son of CONSTANTINE, who was the son of Kenneth MC ALPIN.

"Her grandfather, KENNETH III, had been dethroned and slain by the cousin now ruling, MALCOLM II, who, having waded through blood to seize the throne, had determined to secure peaceful succession of his own descendants, so since GRUOCH's brother was regarded as the rightful heir under the old laws of Scotland, he had to be assassinated.

"Being merely a woman, GRUOCH was of scant importance, despite her august presence and queenly dignity, so she was left alive to carry her royal blood, her heritage of vengeance, into Moray, where she married GILLACOMGAIN, son of MAELBRIGDI, a powerful chieftain of that district. DUNCAN, MACBETH and THORFINN, three sons of three sisters, were all related to GRUOCH. Her husband, GILLACOMGAIN, was a cousin of MACBETH.

"Presently, another blow was to fall upon GRUOCH as a result of this blood feud, for a punitive party succeeded in pinning her husband into his fortress and fired it, and he was burned to death with some 50 of his men in 1032. By some miracle, GRUOCH escaped, but it is small wonder that the child she carried (MACKENZIE tells us he was later known as LULACH the Fool) became mentally unhinged. She fled from Moray into Ross, filled from crown to toe with cruelty and appealed to MACBETH for help. He, fair, yellow-haired and tall, having some claim to the crown, made his claim effectual by espousing the heiress of line.

"Thus, when death had released the strong grasp of Malcolm II, this lineal race of Kenneth MC ALPIN had become extinct and the succession reverted to DUNCAN, the son of CRINAN, who had married the daughter of MALCOLM II. DUNCAN, the people held, was soft and gentle of nature -- strangely different from his cousin MACBETH, who was a valiant gentleman.

"DUNCAN ruled with a light hand and after enjoying the throne for about 5 years, his people took advantage of the absence of THORFINN, Thane of Moray, on an expedition to England, and placing DUNCAN at their head, forced their way into the district of Moray. But the Pictish natives of the north refused to recognize his rights to the crown, and at least looked upon him as an usurper, and headed by MACBETH, attacked DUNCAN in the neighborhood of Elgin, routed his army, and DUNCAN, being severely wounded by MACBETH or his adherents, was carried to Elgin, where he died of his wounds."

MACKENZIE adds the following: "In 1040, the sixth year of DUNCAN's reign, MAELBEATHA carried his wife's feud into action and avenged her brother on his slayer's heir. DUNCAN was killed, not, apparently, by murder at Glamis or Inverness, but in battle at Bothgowanan, and MAELBEATHA took the throne by right of his young stepson, and was accepted, for the only other grown man with any claim was THORFINN of Orkney."

WOOD and FRANCE continue: "No satisfactory evidence exists of the cause of this hostile meeting nor why the king invaded the territory of his sub-king. All this is obscure but the result is shown by unquestionable evidence existing in the Chronicum Rythmecum, preserved in the Melrose Chronicle and embodied by WYNTON in his early historical works. In a former number of that provincial newspaper, the Kelmarnock Journal, in which a vast mass of interesting antiquarian information is from time to time preserved, there occurred a very learned and ingenuous argument, the object of which was, if not fully to vindicate the character of MACBETH, at least to remove much of the obloquy thrown upon his memory.

"Some historians tell us that MACBETH was a murderer and usurper, and the genius of England's great dramatist has so immortalized the fictions of BOICE, that it is doubtful if ever they will be eradicated from the popular mind. Desirous to arrive at the truth, we have ventured to state what occurs to us to be pretty near the real facts of the case, that DUNCAN was not murdered under trust by MACBETH at Glamis; instead, he died of wounds received in a conflict at a place near Elgin, that he was carried to Elgin by the victor, where he died and that his conqueror transplanted his reamins to the Royal Cemetery at Iona.

"The leniency of MACBETH contrasts to advantage with the bloody steps which marked the descent of MALCOLM II. Even DUNCAN's sons were allowed to escape to England. The death of BANQUO and others are mere fiction of BOICE, originating, no doubt, under the CANMORE rule, being desirous to blacken the reputation of MACBETH.

"MACBETH pursued his success and made himself master of the whole kingdom. He was proclaimed King of the Scots at Scone, under protection of the Clans of Ross and Moray, and representing the northern and Celtic elements of the public by birth and marriage, had the most powerful interests in the country behind him. GRUOCH was Queen of the Scots at last, and her dead brother was avenged, for she sat on the throne in his stead. MACBETH and GRUOCH set themselves to reign well. He made laws for the common will, which were most benign and liberal."

Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 6, gives the following insight into MACBETH's reign: "MACBETH's victory in 1045 over a rebel army, perhaps led by DUNCAN's father, CRINAN, near Dunkeld, Perth, may account for the later references (in SHAKESPEARE and others) to Birnam Wood, for the village of Birnam is near the town of Dunkeld. In 1046, SIWARD, Earl of Northumbria, unsuccessfully attempted to dethrone MACBETH in favor of MALCOLM (afterward, King Malcolm III CANMORE), eldest son of DUNCAN I.

"By 1050, MACBETH felt secure enough to leave Scotland for a pilgramage to Rome (MACKENZIE says while there, MACBETH made great gifts to the poor). But in 1054, he was apparently forced by SIWARD to yield part of southern Scotland to MALCOLM. Three years later, MACBETH was killed in battle by MALCOLM, who, as SHAKESPEARE indicates, had assistance from the English. MACBETH was buried on Iona, an island off Scotland's west coast regarded as the resting place of lawful kings, but not of usurpers."

As WOOD and FRANCE state, "His subsequent defeat and death in Aberdeenshire (MACKENZIE says the actual location in Aberdeenshire was Lumphanan on Deeside) on 5 Dec 1057 was calamitous to his family. His clan name ceased and for a time, the FARQUHARSON took its place."

MACBETH's death ended a dynasty which began with the earliest foundations of Ireland and Scotland, as we have already seen. At the time of his death, his children were young, so the Clan FIONNLAGH placed his stepson, LULACH, on the throne. However, he reigned only 6 months, being defeated and slain at Eske in Strathbogie by the Saxon invaders and the rebellious adherents of Malcolm CANMORE.

After LULACH, no other member of the Clan FIONNLAGH has been on the throne of Scotland to the present day. Members of the clan became hunted outlaws, long before religious persecution drove them from the British Isles.

Because of this the Clan FIONNLAGH took on the name of the Clan FARQUHARSON, so named because of the Farquhar SHAW of Rothiemurchus. WOOD and FRANCE state: "In 1236 in the Braes of Mar at the head of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, there was a certain chief named FEARCHAR, son of FARQUHAR, who was the fourth son of Shaw DUBH of Rothiemurchus, who was head of a powerful clan known in the Highlands as Clan FIONNLAGH, a sept of the great confederation, Clan CHATTAN, which held large possessions which were acquired by marriage with the heiress of Invercauld and from this FEARCHAR.

"The clan also took the name of MC EARACHAR or FARQUHARSON. The chiefs were lineal descendants of the ancient Thanes of Ross and Moray, of whom the most famous is MACBETH, the progenitor of this clan. The descendants of this FEARCHAR had moved and settled on the borders of Perth and Angus; some took the name of MC EARACHAR or FARQUHARSON; others, the name of MC FINLAY or FINLAYSON, and of this branch, FINLAY and FINLEY."

From: "Lee Ann Aigner" 
Subject: Re: Macbeth page on rootsWeb
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 13:50:49 -0600

I have gone back to my source:  "The Clan Finley", Second Edition Revised
and corrected, 1956, Volume One, Compiled and edited by Herald F. Stout,
Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy (Retired).
P. 3:
39.  Macboeda or Macbeth, born 1005, reigned 1039-1057.  He married Gruoch,
daughter of Bodhe, and widow of his own nephew Gilcomgain.6  Macbeth lost
Moray to Sigurd, his brother-in-law, in an intraclan feud.  Sigurd was then
slain by Malcolm and Gilcomgain, the latter being the father of Lulach,
Macbeth's later step-son.7  In the downfall following the death of Macbeth
at Lumphanen,8  the Clan Fionnladh (Finlay) was outlawed.
6.  The Melrose Chronicle
7.  Lands and Their Owners - P. H. McKerlie, v 2, p 379
8.  Encyclopedia Britannica (vide Macbeth) v 14, p 548

P. 4:  killed after but four months.  The Clan went underground, taking the
tartan and name of Farquharson.

40.  Macbeatha McFinlay, a younger son of Macbeth, was 1060-1093, Thane of
Cromarty;  married Bethoca, daughter of Andrew McBrad (McBride.)

See Also: Encyclopedia Britannica Article
Page at Scottish Heritage,
Scottish Rulers,
Macbeth, William Shakespeare, 1606,
Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's play.
Scottish History

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last updated 19 Feb 2001