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King of Alba
Reign15 August 1057 – 17 March 1058
Coronation 8 September 1057, Scone
Predecessor Macbeth
Successor Malcolm III
Bornbefore 1033
Moray, Scotland
Died(1058-03-17)17 March 1058
Essie, in Strathbogie
Issue Máel Snechtai of Moray
House Moray
Father Gille Coemgáin of Moray
Mother Gruoch of Scotland

Lulach mac Gille Coemgáin (Modern Gaelic: Lughlagh mac Gille Chomghain, [1] known in English simply as Lulach, and nicknamed Tairbith, "the Unfortunate" [2] and Fatuus, "the Simple-minded" or "the Foolish"; [3] before 1033 – 17 March 1058) was King of Scots between 15 August 1057 and 17 March 1058.

Lulach was the son of Gruoch of Scotland, from her first marriage to Gille Coemgáin, Mormaer of Moray, and thus the stepson of Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlaích). Following the death of Macbeth at the Battle of Lumphanan on 15 August 1057, the king's followers placed Lulach on the throne. He has the distinction of being the first king of Scotland of whom there are coronation details available: he was crowned, probably on 8 September 1057 at Scone. Lulach appears to have been a weak king, as his nicknames suggest, and ruled only for a few months before being assassinated and usurped by Malcolm III.

Gruoch ingen Boite was a Scottish queen, the daughter of Boite mac Cináeda, son of Cináed III. She is most famous for being the wife and queen of MacBethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth). The dates of her life are uncertain.

Gille Coemgáin or Gillecomgan was the King or Mormaer of Moray, a semi-autonomous kingdom centred on Inverness that stretched across the north of Scotland. Unlike his two predecessors, he is not called King of Scotland in his death notice, but merely Mormaer. This has led to some speculation that he was never actually the ruler of Moray, but merely a subordinate of Mac Bethad mac Findláich..

The Mormaerdom or Kingdom of Moray was a lordship in High Medieval Scotland that was destroyed by King David I of Scotland in 1130. It did not have the same territory as the modern local government council area of Moray, which is a much smaller area, around Elgin. The medieval lordship was in fact centred on both the lower Spey valley and the environs of Inverness and the northern parts of the Great Glen, and probably originally included Buchan and Mar, as well as Ross.

Lulach's son Máel Snechtai was Mormaer of Moray, while Óengus of Moray was the son of Lulach's daughter.

Máel Snechtai of Moray was the ruler of Moray, and, as his name suggests, the son of Lulach, King of Scotland.

Óengus of Moray was the last King of Moray of the native line, ruling Moray in what is now northeastern Scotland from some unknown date until his death in 1130.

He is believed to be buried on Saint Columba's Holy Island of Iona in or around the monastery. The exact position of his grave is unknown.

Iona island off the west coast of Scotland

Iona is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the Ross of Mull on the western coast of Scotland. It is mainly known for Iona Abbey, though there are other buildings on the island. Iona Abbey was a centre of Gaelic monasticism for three centuries and is today known for its relative tranquility and natural environment. It is a tourist destination and a place for spiritual retreats. Its modern Gaelic name means "Iona of (Saint) Columba".

Depictions in fiction

Lulach is an important secondary character in Dorothy Dunnett's historical novel King Hereafter , where he is portrayed as a seer. In the novel, Dunnett used Lulach as a mouthpiece for researched information about the real Macbeth. [4]

Dorothy Dunnett was a Scottish historical novelist. She is best known for her six-part series about Francis Crawford of Lymond, The Lymond Chronicles, which she followed with the eight-part prequel The House of Niccolò. She also wrote a novel about the historical Macbeth called King Hereafter (1982), and a series of mystery novels centred on Johnson Johnson, a portrait painter/spy.

Lulach is also one of the protagonists in Jackie French's children's novel Macbeth and Son [5] and in Susan Fraser King's novel Lady MacBeth.

Jackie French Australian author

Jacqueline "Jackie" French is an Australian author who has written over 140 books and has won more than 60 national and international awards. She is considered one of Australia's most popular and awarded children's authors, writing across a number of children's genres including picture books, history, fantasy and history fiction.

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The Meic Uilleim (MacWilliams) were the Gaelic descendants of William fitz Duncan, grandson of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada, king of Scots. They were excluded from the succession by the descendants of Máel Coluim's son David I during the 12th century and raised a number of rebellions to vindicate their claims to the Mormaerdom of Moray and perhaps to the rule of Scotland.

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Gille Coluim the Marischal was an official of the Scottish crown in the second half of the 12th century. His name occurs in the witness lists of two extant charters, both issued by King William of Scotland at Perth, which indicates that he was probably a native of somewhere in southern Perthshire. He seems in fact to have been the lord of Madderty in Strathearn. In either 1172 or 1173 he witnessed King William's grant of Ardross to Merleswain mac Cholbaín, a relative of the mormaer of Fife.; and somewhere between 1178 and 1185 he witnessed the king's grant of lands in Inverness-shire to Gille Brigte, Mormaer of Strathearn. In both of these charters, the grants are to native Scots and Gille Coluim appears alongside other native Scots, such as Gille Críst mac ingine Samuel and Gille Míchéil mac Donnchada. Gille Coluim in both cases appears with the title "Marescal", meaning that he was the king's military commander. It appears to be in this role that Gille Coluim was given control of the castle at Auldearn ("Heryn") in Moray during a rebellion by the Meic Uilleim, a royal kindred who were claiming the throne of Scotland. A charter issued by King William at Linlithgow, between 1187 and 1189 grants Gille Brigte, mormaer of Strathearn, the land of Madderty and states that neither Gille Coluim nor his heirs have any right to the land after giving up Auldearn to the Meic Uilleim. In the charter, King William declares that Gille Coluim

"feloniously surrendered my castle of Heryn and then went over to my mortal enemies in the manner of a wicked traitor and stood with them against me to do as much harm as he could".

Lumphanan village in United Kingdom

Lumphanan is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland located 25 miles from Aberdeen and 10 miles from Banchory.


  1. Lulach mac Gille Coemgáin is the Mediaeval Gaelic form.
  2. Skene, Chronicles, p. 102.
  3. Anderson, Early Sources, vol. i, p. 603.
  4. "King Hereafter". Dorothy Dunnett. Retrieved 2 Sep 2016.
  5. Hateley, Erica (2010). Shakespeare in Children's Literature: Gender and Cultural Capital. Taylor & Francis. p. 90. ISBN   9780415888882.
Born: before 1033 Died: 17 March 1058
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Scots
Succeeded by
Malcolm III
Mormaer of Moray
Succeeded by
Máel Snechtai