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Clan Macbeth

This clan's supposed ancestor is MacBeth (1005-1057), Mormaer (High Steward) of Moray, whose mother was said to have been a daughter of King Kenneth II. He married Gruoch, daughter of King Kenneth III. Under the ancient law of the Scots he had as much claim to the throne of Scotland as King Duncan I, against whom he rebelled, and whom he defeated and slayed in battle in 1040. Macbeth was proclaimed king, and Scotland prospered during his reign.

A correction from John T. Strunk

MacBeth's mother was Doada (or Donalda) who was the daughter of Scotland's King Malcolm II and Blanaid (who was the daughter of the Irish High King (Ard Ri) Brian Boru and his first wife Deidgre).  MacBeth's wife, Gruoch, was not the daughter of Scotland's King Kennth II as is stated on your page but the daughter of Boedhe who was the son of Kenneth III.  So MacBeth was the grandson of King Malcolm II and his wife was the granddaughter of King Kenneth III.  It is a generally held opinion by Scotch historians that had MacBeth not been killed by the future King Malcolm III, Scotland would probably have remained a separate nation until this day and might have conquered England.   See the excellent Scotch history online at and in particular Chapters 3 and the beginning of Chapter 4 are relative to MacBeth's reign.  This historical novel PRIDE OF LIONS (ISBN 0-312-85700-4) by Morgan Llywelyn has a detailed genealogical chart at the beginning of the book showing the kinship of Brian Boru to MacBeth.

Thanks to James Pringle Weavers for the following information

MACBETH / MACBEATH: Perhaps the best remembered is Shakespeare's arch-hero who became King c.1040, and whose peaceful reign was far from the tale related by the 'bard' - although he did in fact die in battle, at Lumphanan - not when Birnam Wood moved to Dunsinane as is often believed. The name MacBeatha was also that of a family of physicians who served the Lords of the Isles, and such are thought to have originally come from Ireland in the train of a Macdonald bride. On the fall of the Lordship in 1493 they migrated to various locations along the western seaboard, but mainly to Pennycross on Mull, where they exercised their `physic' under the Macleans. Others duly removed to the shires of Inverness, Sutherland & Easter Ross and the name was also found in Moray where they had association with the Macbeans. In Angus, 'MacBeths' received a charter from David II in 1369, but this family were of the ancestral line of the Fife Bethunes, who anciently held lands in the area. The later history of the MacBeths, the Highland Beatons and Bethunes has become hopelessly confused for, in the various lands with which they are associated, both forms were used, often referring to the same family, sometimes even to the same person. Their story became even more complicated when many MacBeths anglicised their name to Beaton and became further confused with a lineage of Bethunes, who also had tradition of `physic' and practised in Skye. These latter were also of Fife ancestry, one of whom had been enticed north to pursue his healing arts. Many former MacBeths now bear such names as `MacVeigh' (from Gaelic `Bh' = `V') - a common form on Mull, or `Leich', (from the popular name for their occupation). No chief has been recognised and tradition records that they held various affiliations with the Macdonalds, Macleans or Macbeans. Specific clan association should not be assumed without genealogical or geographical evidence, and in the absence of such the MacBeth tartan, now over 100 years old and based on the Royal Stewart pattern with a blue background edged with yellow, may quite appropriately be used by all of the name.



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