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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
IV. The Kingdom of the Picts: Christianity, Paganism and the Making of Gaelic Scotland


and Dunblane as "our bishops"). Also in the territory of Strathearn was Abernethy, the most sacred place of the Southern Picts, and the hill of Creiff, long associated with the Pictish high-kingship. Abernethy, as we have seen, was probably dedicated in pagan times to the goddess-spirit Brigid (later St. Brigid or St. Bride) and a number of Pictish kings bore a form of her name (Brude or Bridie), apparently as a throne name. The use of the Pictish royal name "Brude" or "Bridei" was continued, both by the earls of Strathearn and by the earls of Angus, but under the Gaelic and Christian form of"Gillebride" (servant of St. Bride). In the twelfth century the name was again changed, as the area including the earldoms, the fertile east coast lowlands of the old Pictish kingdom, again changed its prestige dialect; after that it appears under the Anglo-Norman form of "Gilbert." Other Pictish royal names also continued into the twelfth century. These include "Ferteth" among the earls of Strathearn, and "Gartnait" among the earls of Mar. These names are far from quaint or provential: During the Heroic period (fifth—ninth centuries) they occasionally grace the king-lists of Dal Riada and Northumberland, presumably as a result of dynastic intermarriage.

The earldom of Strathearn was vested in the Crown by David II, who made his nephew Robert the Stewart Earl of Strathearn in 1357. After his accession to the throne as Robert II, Robert gave the earldom as a palatinate (an earldom in which the earl has sovereign power within that territory—basically a small kingdom) to his son David (along with the Earldom of Caithness, which had also belonged by inheritance to Malise, last Celtic earl of Strathearn). However, the old traditions of sovereignty within the earldom became such a political hot potato that it was eventually discontinued.

The earldom passed out of the Stewart family in the early fifteenth century, and devolved upon Malise Graham, grandson of David, Earl of Strathearn and Caithness by his daughter Euphemia, his only child. In 1427, however, while Malise Graham was still in his minority and a hostage in England as well, the acquisitive James I (himself recently returned from a long captivity in England) flagrantly deprived Malise of the earldom and gave it instead to his uncle, Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl (during the same period the insecure and acquisitive Stewarts enhanced their direct power and control over Scotland by deviously obtaining control of all the most important Scottish earldoms). Subsequently (in 1437) James was murdered, hacked to death by disgruntled nobles—Stewarts among them—led by Sir Robert Graham, uncle of Malise. After 1437 the title remained in abeyance, and in 1484, Strathearn was made a "Stewartry" (a sheriffdom of lands held directly by the Crown) under the Murrays of Tullibardine in Strathearn, descendants of Malise, Steward of Strathearn through his daughter Ada about 1284. The office of Steward (or Stewart) was originally that of "first household officer," and as such, this Malise undoubtedly descended from a younger son of one of the earls of Strathearn the office passing with the lands of Tullibardine. The


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