A Govanite on the Scottish throne

Heart of the Kingdom

Earl Siward Earl Siward (from a painting by James Smetham, 1861)
The title of this blogpost should really be turned into a question: Did a man from Govan become king of Scotland? It takes us into a rather obscure period of Scottish history, a period less well-known than the age of Bruce or the Stewart monarchs, but I believe we can glean enough information to answer the question with a cautious Yes.

Our starting-point is the year 1018, when a great battle was fought at Carham on the River Tweed. On the losing side was an English army led by the Earl of Bamburgh, fighting on behalf of their half-Danish, half-Polish king Cnut (‘Canute’). The victors were the Scottish king Mael Coluim (‘Malcolm’) and his ally Owain the Bald, king of Strathclyde. It was a famous battle, possibly with far-reaching consequences, one of which may have been that the Tweed became…

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2 responses to “A Govanite on the Scottish throne

  1. Is this in ‘Strathclyde and the Anglo-Saxons in the Viking Age’? I have just bought a copy, but haven’t had time to read it yet (the reprint of ‘Kings and Kingship in Early Scotland arrived first – sorry!).


    • Thank you for picking up a copy, Henry. Not quite in the same league as Marjorie Anderson’s classic, but I hope you find it interesting nonetheless.
      Yes, the tale of ‘the son of the king of the Cumbrians’ is in the book, though without the Govan focus of this blogpost and owing more to my article ‘The Last King of Strathclyde’ in History Scotland Nov/Dec 2013.


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