Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Malcolm I

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MALCOLM I (MacDonald) (d. 954), king of Scotland, son of Donald, succeeded to the crown in 943, when Constantine II [q. v.] became a monk at St. Andrews. He commenced his reign by an expedition beyond the Spey, by which he annexed Moray for the first time to the Scottish kingdom, and slew Cellach, probably a district king. In 944 Edmund, the West-Saxon king, brother and successor of Athelstan, subdued Northumbria, expelling the Danish kings Anlaf or Olafe Sitricson, and Reginald Godfrey's son, and in the following year ravaged Strathclyde, including the land still held by the Cymry, and called by the ‘Saxon Chronicle’ Cumberland. In 945 that chronicle records: ‘King Edmund harried over all Cumberland, and gave it all up to Malcolm, king of the Scots, on the condition that he should be his fellow-worker both by land and sea.’ Whether this word indicates a relation of vassalage or alliance is disputed (Freeman, Norman Conquest, i. 136; Robertson, Scotland under her Early Kings, i. 72). Though renewed with Eadred, the successor of Edmund, the pacific relation lasted only five years. In the seventh year of Malcolm (949–50), when Olaf Sitricson made a last attempt to restore the Danish power in Northumbria, the Scots made a foray to the Tees, carrying away captive many men, as well as cattle. Tradition varied whether Malcolm in person led this raid, or whether the old Constantine, whose cowl had not extinguished the warlike spirit, asked back the command ‘for a week, that he might visit the Angles.’ Freeman's suggestion that Malcolm was unwilling to break his treaty with the West-Saxon king is modern and improbable. The ‘Pictish Chronicle,’ abrupt and obscure as usual, seems to imply that Malcolm really commanded, but made the expedition at the instigation of Constantine, whose son-in-law Olaf was. But the united forces of the north were unable to stay the progress of the West-Saxons, and after a short term of supremacy of the Norsemen under Eric Bloody Axe, Eadred finally united Northumbria to his dominions in 954. In the same year Malcolm was slain. As he fell at a place called by the chronicle of St. Andrews, Fordoun, and by Wyntoun by the mysterious name of Ulrim, but by the Pictish Chronicle Fodresart, which Skene identifies with Fetteresso, in the parish of Fordoun, in the Mearns at the hands of the men of the Mearns (Kincardine), it would seem his own northern border was too disturbed to make him a useful vassal or ally of the West-Saxon kings, although it may have been worth their while to buy off a troublesome neighbour until they had settled accounts with the North Welsh or Cumbrians and the Danes of Ireland and Northumbria. Indulphus [q. v.], the son of Constantine II, succeeded Malcolm, on whose death, or retirement to a monastery, as Skene conjectures, Duff [q. v.], the son of Malcolm, came to the throne.

[Saxon and Pictish Chronicles; Skene's Celtic Scotland; Robertson's Scotland under her Early Kings.]

Æ. M.