Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

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

female succession from within the nuclear family alone. This is significantly different from the Irish style "high kingship," and the growing strength of the Scottish royal house at this early date seems clearly to reflect Pictish notions regarding central monarchy, notions for which the Anglo-Normans had a special affinity. This fact, together with their attractiveness as allies because of their martial prowess, may explain why David l’s line encouraged their importation as feudal settlers in the border regions after 1124.

There are a number of medieval exceptions to the generally Gaelic-patrilineal norm of tribal succession, showing that Gaelic patrilineality in Picto-Gaelic Scotland was no longer an inflexibile system, if it ever had been. Matrilineal irregularities within the patrilineal norm occur at key points in the history of the Campbells, Rosses, Mackintoshes, Erskines and MacLeods of Raasay. In a similar way, there occurs within the general context of Gaelic patronymic names several which are matronymic in origin though nonetheless following the standard patronymic format. These include 0 Cnaimhsighe (Kneafsey), 0 Doirinne (Dorney) and 0 Grainne (Greany). Yet at the same time it is interesting to note that as late as 1228 the Gaelic earls of Fife, chiefs of the Clan MacDuff (who were the senior representatives of the Kindred of St. Columba in Scotland, descended from a branch which had supported David I), were still passing their earldom exclusively to male heirs, though by this time the Norman feudal laws, which favored daughters over male cousins, were the rule (especially when these feudal laws could aid the king in gaining control of earldoms, property and revenue by marrying his kin to noble heiresses).

Aside from the fate of the Kindred of St. Columba, the Celtic church as a whole began to lose power as early as the twelfth century. This loss of power, indirectly the result of the reforming influence of St. Margaret, directly related to the growing influence at the Scottish court of the Normans, who fostered Roman customs and monastic rules, as well as strict observance of papal authority. Even so, Celtic church practices, though not officially recognized at the Scottish court (sound politics: Religion was the quickest excuse for outsiders to invade in the name of "Holy Church"), nonetheless went on in the Highlands and other more purely Celtic areas for much longer than generally acknowledged, while the original Culdees of Saint Andrew’s in Fife continued for a time to fight for their ancient rights against the new and more powerful Norman Augustinians, who had royal patronage. Similarly, the Culdees of Abernethy in Perthshire resisted the Augustinians until about 1272. Abernethy was originally a Pictish foundation (the site of which is still marked by a fine Celtic round-tower from the Viking period). At the time in question, however, Abernethy was administered by the Clan MacDuff, descendants of Aethelred, last Abbot of Dunkeld, a member of the Kindred of St. Columba. More specifically, it was the Abernethy family (named for the abbey); they were the ecclesiastical branch of the Clan MacDuff branch of the successful

Page 39


Page 41

[Page 40]



This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus