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Scotland - Earls of Orkney Under Norwegian Rule

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Scotland Project > Medieval Profiles Team > Scotland - Earls of Orkney Under Norwegian Rule

This page has been established to help sort and correct the existing profiles and connections within this line, beginning with Gillbride of Angus and following the line as set out by James Balfour-Paul in The Scots Peerage,[1][2] which is mostly supported by Anderson's Orkneyinga Saga Translation[3], and Torfeus' Ancient History of Orkney, Caithness and the North.[4]



Identified duplicates have been merged into correct LNABs as of 19 Oct 2020. We are using the patronymics for these individuals as agreed to with the Early Scandinavia Project.

Profiles Attachment Issues

Profile Parents - Current Parents - Correct Spouse(s) - Current Spouse(s) - Correct Child(ren) - Current Child(ren) - Correct
Gillebride, Earl of AngusUnknown Margaret Ingen (Gospatrick) Mac Dufugan
Sybil (Dunbar) Angus
Gille Críst
Gilbert Ogilvie
William (needs research)
Angus (needs research)
Gille Críst (Angus) of AngusGille Bride
Marjory (Huntingdon) of ScotlandIngibiorg Ericsson (Ericsdottir) Gilchrist
Mary Ogilvie - has been disconnected.
Bethoc (Beatrix)
Bethóc (Angus) Stewart
Magnus Gilchristsson
Duncan of Angus
Magnus GilchristssonGille Crist
YesUnknownNeeds ResearchGilbert MagnussonYes
Gilbert MagnussonMagnus
Yes, Needs ResearchUnknownNeeds ResearchMagnus Gilbertsson
Matilda (Gillebrigte) Gilchrist
Magnus GilbertssonGilbert
YesUnknownNeeds ResearchMagnus Magnusson
John (Magnusson) Magnusson of Orkney and of Caithness
Magnus MagnussonMagnus
YesUnknownNeeds ResearchNoneYes
John (Magnusson) Magnusson of Orkney and of CaithnessMagnus
YesUnknown GrahamNeeds ResearchMargaret (Sinclair) Fraser
Magnus (Jonsson) Jonsson of Caithness and Orkney
Magnus (Jonsson) Jonsson of Caithness and OrkneyJohn
Unknown Graham
Mother needs researchKatherine (Caithness) Countess of CaithnessNeeds ResearchNoneYes

Profiles Need Work

Sourced Succession Order Profile Status/Next Steps
Gillebride, Earl of AngusGillebride, Earl of AngusBio Clean up completed
Gille Crist, Earl of AngusGille Críst (Angus) of AngusLNAB changed to Angus; bio complete
Magnus, son of Gille CristMagnus GilchristssonMerge complete, LNAB Change completed.
Gilbert, son of MagnusGilbert MagnussonLNAB Changed
Magnus, son of GilbertMagnus GilbertssonLNAB changed
Magnus, son of MagnusMagnus MagnussonLNAB changed. Merge completed.
John, brother of MagnusJohn MagnussonLNAB changed, Merge completed.
Magnus, son of JohnMagnus JonssonMerge Completed

Earls of Caithness and Orkney

This analysis has been created in an attempt to sort out the family connections of the Earls of Caithness and Orkney, who descend from the Angus line. This line of descent follows that proposed by James Gray in Sutherland and Caithness in saga-time. Alternative theories about relationships lack source documents but are listed below for information.


  • Gillebride (Gilbert), Earl of Angus, died 1187 (Gray, pg. 102) First to hold the title Earl of Angus (Balfour, Vol I, pg. 160)

As Earls of Angus

    • Adam, son and heir (Balfour, Vol I, pg. 161) (Gray, pg 102) held the title by 1187. (Bafour, Vol I, pg 162) and died before 1198 (Balfour, Vol I, pg. 162)
    • Gilchrist, son of Gillebride and heir to his brother, Adam (Cokayne, Vol. I, pg. 91)(Balfour, Vol 1, pg. 161) (Gray, pg 102) held the title by 1198 (Balfour, Vol I, pg. 162) died about 1204 (Gray, pg. 103) (Balfour, Vol I, pg. 162)
      • Duncan, also called Donnchad (PoMS record) by his first wife (Gray, pg. 103) succeeded as Earl of Angus (Balfour, Vol I, pg. 163)
        • Malcolm (Gray, pg. 103) may have held the title Earl of Caithness on behalf of the crown for a short time.
          • Matilda married first to John Comyn about 1240 (Gray, pg. 103) who died shortly after, and second to Gilbert d'Umphraville (Gray, pg. 103)
            • Gilbert d'Umphraville (Gray, pg. 103)

As Earls of Orkney and part of Caithness

      • Magnus, by Gilchrist's second wife either Ingibiorg or Elin, sister of Harald Ungi (Gray, pg. 103) was alive in 1227 (Gray, pg. 103) married a daughter of Earl John, who is unnamed. (Gray, pg. 106) He became Earl of Caithness and later of Orkney (Balfour, Vol I, pg. 163) NOTE: Ragnhild is identified as another sister of Harald Ungi, who had a daughter, Johanna, heiress of half of Caithness and the lands of Strathnaver. (Gray, pg. 106) Johanna married Freskin, Lord of Duffus and died before 1269. (Gray, pg. 107). They had two daughters. Mary, married Reginald Cheyne, and Christian, married William de Fedrett.
        • Magnus, and died about 1239 (Gray, pg. 116) without issue. May be the same Magnus as above (Balfour, Vol II, pg 317)
        • Gilbert (son or possibly younger brother of Magnus the father?) succeeded Magnus the son, in 1239 (Gray, pg. 116). He died in 1256 (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 317) Was called Gibbon (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 317)
          • Matilda, who married Malise V, Earl of Strathearn. (Gray, pg. 117). before 1257 (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 246). Malise had remarried by 1261 (Balfour, Vol III, pg. 246)
            • Malise, succeeded his father as VI Earl of Strathearn in 1271 (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 247) was born about 1257 (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 247) He was not styled as earl until 1283 (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 248). He married a lady named Agnes (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 249) who was likely the same Agnes Comyn who was part of the de Soulis conspiracy. (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 249)
              • Malise, succeeded his father as VII Earl of Strathearn about 1306. (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 251) and died before 1329 (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 251). This Malise, was the signatory on the Declaration of Arbroath. (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 251). His son, Malise, succeeded as Earl of Caithness in 1329. (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 251)
                • Malise, succeeded to the titles VIII Earl of Strathearn, and Earl of Caithness, in 1329. (Balfour, Vol III, pg. 251). He married Marjorie de Ross (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 320)
                  • Matilda (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 320)
                  • Isabella (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 320)
                  • Agneta (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 320)
                  • Unnamed daughter married Guttorm Sperra. (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 320)
                • Mary who married John Moray (Balfour, Vol VIII, pg. 252)
          • Magnus, succeeded his father in 1256 (Gray, pg. 117) He was known to be in Bergen, with King Hakon, in 1263. (Gray, pg. 124) He died about 1273 (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 318)
            • Magnus received the earldom of Orkney from King Magnus of Norway in 1276. (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 318) He died without issue. (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 318) and was succeeded by his brother, John. (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 318)
            • John who was living in 1289 and had succeeded as earl at this time (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 318) He was betrothed to King Eric's daughter, Ingibiorg, in 1299 (Balfour, Vol. II, pg. 319) but died before the marriage took place. (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 319) He died about 1312 (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 319)
              • Magnus was earl by 1312. (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 319) and signed the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 319) He died about 1321 (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 319) leaving only a widow, Katherine (Balfour, Vol. II, pg. 319). He was succeeded by Malise, Earl of Strathearn. (Balfour, Vol II, pg. 319)
      • Bethoc (Beatrix) married Walter Stewart, son of Alan FitzWalter. (Burke - Royal Families - Vol 2, pg. xli) See Scots Peerage entry: Vol I, pg. 12

As younger sons, without title

    • Gilbert (Balfour, Vol 1, pg. 161) (Gray, pg. 103), Progenitor of the Ogilvie family.
    • William (Balfour, Vol 1, pg. 162) (Gray, pg. 103)
    • Angus (Balfour, Vol 1, pg. 162) (Gray, pg. 103)
      • Adam (Balfour, Vol I, pg. 162)
      • Gillebride (Gilbert) (Gray, pg. 103)

Cokayne's Theory, Vol II, pg. 109, Complete Peerage

Magnus, Jarl of Orkney and Earl of Caithness was son of Gillebride, Earl of Angus. He proposes his mother, the second wife of Gillebride, was a sister of Harald Ungi, Earl of Caithness (d. 1198). Magnus would have inherited the earldom as an infant.

He lists Malcolm, as next Jarl of Orkney and Earl of Caithness, as son of the above stated Magnus.

He then lists John as son and heir of the abovementioned Malcolm.

In the footnote (c) Vol II, pg. 109, Cokayne states the succession between Earl Magnus who succeeded in 1232 and Earl Magnus who died about 100 years later, is obscure and somewhat uncertain and omitted in Skene's valuable article. There are no primary or secondary sources cited for the lineage he proposes.

Orkneyinga Saga - The Earldom in the Angus Line, 1231-1312

Joseph Anderson gives Gillebride, Earl of Angus, as Magnus's father.

Magnus was granted the earldom of North Caithness in 1323, by Alexander II of Scotland. He was then confirmed in the earldom of Orkney by the King of Norway. He states the Iceland Annals notice Earl Magnus's death in 1239.


Given that Gillebride, Earl of Angus was most likely born in the 1130s or earlier, it seems illogical that he would have had a son who was alive in 1227. For that reason, I've chosen to go with the theory that Magnus was the son of Gilchrist and grandson of Gillebride.


  1. Balfour-Paul, James; The Scots Peerage; (Douglas, D.; Edinburgh, 1904-1914); citing: Earls of Angus; Vol I, pg. 160
  2. Balfour-Paul, James; The Scots Peerage; (Douglas, D.; Edinburgh, 1904-1914); citing: Earls of Caithness and Orkney; Vol II, pg. 317
  3. Anderson, Joseph; Orkneyinga Saga; (Hjaltalin, Jon and Goudie, Gilbert; Edinburgh, 1873); citing succession and relationships;pg. xlvi to lv
  4. Torfeus, Thormodus; Ancient History of Orkney, Caithness and the North; (Reid, Peter; 1866); citing events;Pg. 264

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