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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
X. The Vikings and Normans


The Prendergasts (de Priondargas) take their name from a parish in Pembrokeshire. Maurice de Prendergast was one of the Flemish knights who accompanied Strongbow to Ireland in the original Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century. He and his descendants obtained large grants of land in different parts of the south and west of Ireland. The principal branches of this powerful family held wide lands in what are now the counties of Wexford, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Limerick, Mayo and Galway. Some of the Mayo branch adopted the Gaelic patronymic MacMorris (Mac Muiris) or Fitzmaurice, while a branch of those in County Kerry adopted the form MacShearhoon (Mac Searthuin).

The Roches (de Roiste), a Flemish family from Wales, came to Ireland with the Anglo-Norman invasion, and settled in Wexford in the late twelfth century. The Roches became numerous as landholders in the area, and branches of the family settled in counties Cork and Limerick. Roche of Rochesland was one of the principal gentlemen of Wexford in 1598. In Cork they acquired by marriage the district around Fermoy, which came to be known as Crioch Roisteach, or Roche’s Country. The head of this branch was known as Baron Fermoy. The Roches of Limerick were an important merchant family in that city, and several were prominent in its defense against the English in 1651. There are a number of places called Rochestown in Ireland, six in Wexford alone, and two more in Kilkenny.

The Sutherlands (Sutherlarach) and Murrays (Moireach— Latin: de Moravia) descend from Freskin, son of Ollec, a Flemish knight with lands in what is now Pembroke in Wales. He was granted by David I, King of Scots, the lands of Strabrock in West Lothian and also Duffas in conquered Moray. Freskin or his son William intermarried with the Picto-Scottish Royal House of Moray, in whose defeat he was taking part, following the Norman custom of consolidation by intermarriage. At about this time the southern part of Caithness was being wrested from the Norse who had long controlled that northern extremity, and the resultant territory (known as "Sudrland" or "the South-Land" by those northwardly-oriented Northmen) was given before the year 1211 to Hugh of Moray, son of William, by William the Lion, King of Scots. William, younger brother of Hugh of Moray, Lord of Sutherland, was ancestor of the great family of Murray, while Hugh’s own son William of Sutherland was made Earl of Sutherland about the year 1235. His line became chiefs of the Pictish tribe that originally inhabited Caithness before the coming of the Vikings, and to them the earls were always known as the lords of the Catti (cat is the root meaning), the tribal designation from which Caithness ("peninsula of the Catti") takes its name. Hence the "wild-cat" crest of the Sutherland chiefs, similar to that of the nearby Clan Chattan (see Chapter VII), the Picto-Scottish Erainnian clan with whom they probably shared a Pictish connection. The earls fought for the Royal House of Bruce, and but for the death of the fifth earl’s son by Margaret Bruce, heiress of the House of Bruce, it would have


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