Alexander I (Dunkeld) of Scotland

Alexander mac Maíl Coluim (Dunkeld) of Scotland (1077 - 1124)

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Alexander mac Maíl Coluim (Alexander I) "the Fierce" of Scotland formerly Dunkeld
Born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married in Scotlandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotlandmap
Profile last modified | Created 4 Jul 2011
This page has been accessed 7,703 times.

Categories: House of Dunkeld.

Preceded by
Edgar I
King of Scots
8 January 1106/7 - 23 April 1124
Succeeded by
David I



About Alaxandair "The Fierce" mac Maíl Coluim, King of Scots Alexander I, Alaxandair mac Maíl Coluim (Modern Gaelic: Alasdair mac Mhaol Chaluim), nicknamed "The Fierce"

•Parents: Máel Coluim mac Donnchada & Margaret of Wessex •Spouse: Sibylla de Normandie (no children) •Child (by mistress): Malcolm, Earl of Ross

MEDIEVAL LANDS ALEXANDER ([1077/78]-Stirling Castle 23, 25 or 27 Apr 1124, bur Dunfermline Abbey, Fife).

He is named, and his parentage given, by Roger of Hoveden, who lists him fourth of the sons[310]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun names "Edward, Edmund, Ethelred, Edgar, Alexander and…David" as the sons of King Malcolm and his wife[311]. Robert of Torigny records that "Alexander frater eius" succeeded in 1107 on the death of "Edgarus rex Scotiæ"[312]. He succeeded his brother in 1107 as ALEXANDER I "the Fierce" King of Scotland. Florence of Worcester records that "Alexander frater eius" succeeded his brother King Edgar in [1107][313].

The Continuator of Florence of Worcester records the marriage "VII Kal Mai" [1124] of "Alexander rex Scottorum"[314]. The Chronicle of the Picts and Scots dated 1251 records that "Alexander" reigned for 17 years and 3 months, died "in Crasleth", and was buried "in Dumferline"[315].

m ([1107]) SIBYL, illegitimate daughter of HENRY I King of England & his mistress --- ([1090/95]-Island of the Women, Loch Tay, Perthshire 12/13 Jul 1122, bur Island of the Women, Loch Tay). William of Malmesbury records the marriage of Alexander to the unnamed illegitimate daughter of King Henry, but adds "there was…some defect about the lady either in correctness of manners or elegance of person"[316], which appears to imply mental retardation. Her name is confirmed by various charters, including the charter dated to [1120] under which "Alexander…Rex Scottorum filius Regis Malcolmi et Reginæ Margaretæ et…Sibilla regina Scottorum filia Henrici regis Angliæ" made grants[317]. Considering the date of her marriage, it is unlikely that she was born much later than [1095]. The Complete Peerage[318] suggests that she was the daughter of Sibyl Corbet, both because of her name and also because of the possible co-identity between "…Willelmo fratre reginæ…", who witnessed the charter dated 1124 under which "Alexander…Rex Scottorum" granted jurisdiction to the prior of Scone[319], and "…Willielmo fratre meo…" who witnessed the charter dated to [1163/75] under which "Reginaldus, Henrici Regis filius, comes Cornubiæ" granted property to "Willielmo de Boterell, filio Aliziæ Corbet, materteræ meæ"[320]. However, this co-identity is not ideal from a chronological point of view. William, brother of Renaud Earl of Cornwall, died after 1187. If he was the same person as the brother of Sibyl Queen of Scotland, he could only have been a child when he subscribed the Scottish charters in which he is named. The documents give no indication of his youth, and in any case it is probable that the queen´s [full] brother would have been born in the same timeframe as she was. In addition, as noted in the document ENGLAND KINGS, it is possible that William, brother of Earl Renaud, may have been his uterine brother, in which case it is unlikely that he would have been chosen to accompany the queen to Scotland. Another factor is that the birth of Herbert FitzHerbert, son of Sibyl Corbet by her marriage, is estimated to [1125/35] (see UNTITLED ENGLISH NOBILITY), which is clearly inconsistent with his having been the half-sister of the Scottish queen. In conclusion, it is preferable therefore to show the queen´s mother as unknown.

King Alexander I had one illegitimate son by an unknown mistress:

a) MALCOLM ([1105/15]-after 1158). Orderic Vitalis names Malcolm as bastard son of King Alexander[321]. Robert of Torigny records that "Aragois comes Morefie cum Melcolmo notho filio Alexandri fratri regis David" invaded Scotland in 1130[322]. Malcolm fought two battles challenging his uncle David for the crown of Scotland. He was captured in 1134, imprisoned in Roxburgh castle until 1158[323]. same person as …? MALCOLM MacHeth (-23 Oct 1168[324]). Duncan suggests that Malcolm, son of King Alexander I, and Malcolm MacHeth were two different persons, the latter being the son of "Aed" or "Heth" who witnessed two charters in the early years of the reign of King David I[325]. He was reconciled with King Malcolm IV in 1157. Malcolm MacHeth was created Earl of Ross in 1162 or before[326].


Alexander I (Mediaeval Gaelic: Alaxandair mac Maíl Coluim, Modern Gaelic: Alasdair mac Mhaol Chaluim) (c. 1078 – 23 April 1124), called "The Fierce",[1] King of Scots, was the fourth son of Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) by his wife Margaret of Wessex, grand-niece of Edward the Confessor. He was named for Pope Alexander II.

Alexander was his unmarried brother Edgar's heir, perhaps throughout his reign, and certainly by 1104 when he was the senior layman present at the examination of the remains of Saint Cuthbert at Durham prior to their reinterrment. He held lands in Scotland north of the Forth and in Lothian.[2]

On the death of Edgar in 1107 he succeeded to the Scottish crown; but, in accordance with Edgar's instructions, their brother David was granted an appanage in southern Scotland. Edgar's will granted David the lands of the former kingdom of Strathclyde or Cumbria, and this was apparently agreed in advance by Edgar, Alexander, David and their brother-in-law Henry I of England. However, in 1113, perhaps at Henry's instigation, and with the support of his Anglo-Norman, David demanded, and received, additional lands in Lothian along the Upper Tweed and Teviot. David did not receive the title of king, but of "prince of the Cumbrians", and his lands remained under Alexander's final authority.[3]

The dispute over Upper Tweeddale and Teviotdale does not appear to have damaged relations between Alexander and David, although it was unpopular in some quarters. A Gaelic poem laments:

It's bad what Malcolm's son has done,
dividing us from Alexander;
he causes, like each king's son before,
the plunder of stable Alba.[4]

The dispute over the eastern marches does not appear to have caused lasting trouble between Alexander and Henry of England. In 1114 he joined Henry on campaign in Wales against Gruffydd ap Cynan of Gwynedd.[5] Alexander's marriage with Henry's illegitimate daughter Sybilla de Normandy may have occurred as early as 1107, or as at late as 1114.[6]

William of Malmesbury's account attacks Sybilla, but the evidence argues that Alexander and Sybilla were a devoted but childless couple and Sybilla was of noteworthy piety.[7] Sybilla died in unrecorded circumstances at Eilean nam Ban (Kenmore on Loch Tay) in July, 1122 and was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. Alexander did not remarry and Walter Bower wrote that he planned an Augustinian Priory at the Eilean nam Ban dedicated to Sybilla's memory, and he may have taken steps to have her venerated.[8]

The reverse of the seal of Alexander I, enhanced as a 19th century steel engraving.Alexander had at least one illegitimate child, Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair, who was later to be involved in a revolt against David I in the 1130s. He was imprisoned at Roxburgh for many years afterwards, perhaps until his death some time after 1157.[9]

Alexander was, like his brothers Edgar and David, a notably pious king. He was responsible for foundations at Scone and Inchcolm. His mother's chaplain and hagiographer Thurgot was named Bishop of Saint Andrews (or Cell Rígmonaid) in 1107, presumably by Alexander's order.[2] The case of Thurgot's would-be successor Eadmer shows that Alexander's wishes were not always accepted by the religious community, perhaps because Eadmer had the backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ralph d'Escures, rather than Thurstan of York. Alexander also patronised Saint Andrews, granting lands intended for an Augustinian Priory, which may have been the same as that intended to honour his wife.[10]

For all his religiosity, Alexander was not remembered as a man of peace. John of Fordun says of him:

“ Now the king was a lettered and godly man; very humble and amiable towards the clerics and regulars, but terrible beyond measure to the rest of his subjects; a man of large heart, exerting himself in all things beyond his strength.[11] ”

He manifested the terrible aspect of his character in his reprisals in the Mormaerdom of Moray. Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland says that Alexander was holding court at Invergowrie when he was attacked by "men of the Isles".[12] Walter Bower says the attackers were from Moray and Mearns. Alexander pursued them north, to "Stockford" in Ross (near Beauly) where he defeated them. This, says Wyntoun, is why he was named the "Fierce". The dating of this is uncertain, as are his enemies' identity. However, in 1116 the Annals of Ulster report: "Ladhmann son of Domnall, grandson of the king of Scotland, was killed by the men of Moray." The king referred to is Alexander's father, Malcolm III, and Domnall was Alexander's half brother. The Mormaerdom or Kingdom of Moray was ruled by the family of Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findláich) and Lulach (Lulach mac Gille Coemgáin); not overmighty subjects, but a family who had ruled Alba within little more than a lifetime. Who the Mormaer or King was at this time is not known, it may have been Óengus of Moray or his father, whose name is not known. As for the Mearns, the only known Mormaer of Mearns, Máel Petair, had murdered Alexander's half-brother Duncan II (Donnchad mac Maíl Coluim) in 1094.[13]

Alexander died in April 1124 at his court at Stirling; his brother David, probably the acknowledged heir since the death of Sybilla, succeeded him.[14]

Alexander I (c. 1078 – 23 April 1124), also called Alaxandair mac Maíl Coluim (Modern Gaelic: Alasdair mac Mhaol Chaluim) and nicknamed "The Fierce", was King of the Scots from 1107 to his death.

Wikipedia: He had an illegitimate son, Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair, who is often confused with Máel Coluim mac Áeda, son of Áed, later Mormaer of Ross.


Alexander I Scotland
King Alexander I of Scotland, House of Dunkeld.


King of Scotland 1107


Abt 1077-1078 Scotland


1124-04-23 Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland


25 Apr 1124 Abbey, Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland


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Alexander I of Scotland seal
Alexander I of Scotland seal

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Alexander I (Dunkeld) of Scotland
Alexander I (Dunkeld) of Scotland


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