Donald III "Bane", King of Scots

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Domnall mac Donnchada

Also Known As: "Donald", "MacDuncan", "Bane", "Donald the Fair", "Donald III", "Domnall mac Donnchada", "Domnall Bán", "Donald Bane", "Donalbane", "Donald III King of Scotland"
Birthplace: Perth, Perthshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Death: 1099 (66-67)
Rescobie, Angusshire, Scotland
Place of Burial: Dunkeld, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Duncan I, King of Scots and Suthen Sibylla of Northumbria
Father of Bethóc ingen Domnaill
Brother of Malcolm III, 'Canmore', King of Scots; Duncan, Earl of Moray and Mael Muire mac Donnchad, Mormaer of Atholl

Occupation: King of Scots, King of Scotland-May 1094, King of Scotland (1093 - 4, 1094 - 7), Edmund and he overthrew and murdered Duncan in November 1094, King of Scotland
Managed by: Private User
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About Donald III "Bane", King of Scots

Domnall mac Donnchada (Modern Gaelic: Dòmhnall mac Dhonnchaidh),[1] anglicised as Donald III, and nicknamed Domnall Bán, "Donald the Fair" (anglicised as Donald Bane or Donalbane), (died 1099) was King of Scots from 1094–1097. He was the second known son of Duncan I (Donnchad mac Crínáin).

Son of Duncan by an unknown wife.""

Sources and Resources


Donald's activities during the reign of his elder brother Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) are not recorded. It appears that he was not his brother's chosen heir, contrary to earlier custom, but that Malcolm had designated Edward, his eldest son by Margaret of Wessex, as the king to come.[3] If this was Malcolm's intent, his death and that of Edward on campaign in Northumbria in November 1093 (see Battle of Alnwick (1093)) confounded his plans. These deaths were followed very soon afterwards by that of Queen Margaret.

John of Fordun reports that Donald invaded the kingdom after Margaret's death "at the head of a numerous band", and laid siege to Edinburgh with Malcolm's sons by Margaret inside. Fordun has Edgar Ætheling, concerned for his nephews' well-being, take the sons of Malcolm and Margaret to England.[4] Andrew of Wyntoun's much simpler account has Donald become king and banish his nephews. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records only that Donald was chosen as king and expelled the English from the court.[5]

In May 1094, Donald's nephew Duncan (Donnchad mac Maíl Coluim), son of Malcolm and his first wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir, invaded at the head of an army of Anglo-Normans and Northumbrians, aided by his half-brother Edmund and his father-in-law Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria. This invasion succeeded in placing Duncan on the throne as Duncan II, but an uprising defeated his allies and he was compelled to send away his foreign troops. Duncan was then killed on 12 November 1094 by Máel Petair, Mormaer of Mearns. The Annals of Ulster say that Duncan was killed on the orders of Donald (incorrectly called his brother) and Edmund.

Donald resumed power, probably with Edmund as his designated heir.[8] Donald was an elderly man by the standards of the day, approaching sixty years old, and without any known sons, so that an heir was clearly required. William of Malmesbury says that Edmund bargained "for half the kingdom", suggesting that Donald granted his nephew an appanage to rule.[9]

Edgar, eldest surviving son of Malcolm and Margaret, obtained the support of William Rufus, although other matters delayed Edgar's return on the coat-tails of an English army led by his uncle Edgar Ætheling.[10] Donald's fate is not entirely clear. William of Malmesbury tells us that he was "slain by the craftiness of David [the later David I] ... and by the strength of William [Rufus]".[11] The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says of Donald that he was expelled,[11] while the Annals of Tigernach have him blinded by his brother.[12] John of Fordun, following the king-lists, writes that Donald was "blinded, and doomed to eternal imprisonment" by Edgar. The place of his imprisonment was said to be Rescobie, by Forfar, in Angus.[13] The sources differ as to whether Donald was first buried at Dunfermline Abbey or Dunkeld Cathedral, but agree that his remains were later moved to Iona.

Donald left two daughters but no sons. His daughter Bethoc married Uctred (or Hadrian) de Tyndale, Lord of Tyndale, the probable ancestor of the Barons de Tyndale and the Tyndale/Tindal family [14]. Their daughter, Hextilda, married Richard Comyn, Justiciar of Lothian. The claims of John II Comyn, Lord of Badenoch to the crown in the Great Cause came from Donald through Bethóc and Hextilda.[15] Ladhmann son of Domnall, "grandson of the King of Scots", who died in 1116 might have been a son of Donald.[16]

The minor character of Donalbain in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth represents Donald III.


  1. ^ Domnall mac Donnchada is the Mediaeval form

2. ^ Donald's elder brother Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) is presumed to have been between two and ten years of age in 1040; Duncan, p. 42. Walter Bower's Scotichronicon says that Donald passed his exile during the reign of Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlaích) in the Hebrides, but this is unlikely given his age; McDonald, p. 104.
3. ^ Scottish Annals, p. 112, quoting Symeon of Durham; Duncan, p. 54; Oram, David I, p. 39.
4. ^ Fordun, V, xxi.
5. ^ Scottish Annals, pp.117–118; Oram, David I, pp. 40–41.
6. ^ Oram, David I, pp. 42–44.
7. ^ Annals of Ulster, s.a. 1094.
8. ^ Duncan, pp. 55–56; Oram, David I, pp. 44–45.
9. ^ Anderson, SAEC, pp. 118–119.
10. ^ Oram, David I, p. 45.
11. ^ a b Anderson, SAEC, p. 119.
12. ^ Annals of Tigernach, s.a. 1097.
13. ^ Fordun, V, xxvi; Duncan, pp. 57–58; Oram, David I, pp. 47–48.
14. ^ Young, Alan, Robert the Bruce's Rivals: The Comyns, 1213-1314, (East Linton, 1997), pp15 -
15. ^ Duncan, pp. 241, 270, & 348–349.
16. ^ Annals of Ulster, s.a. 1116; McDonald, p. 23. He may equally have been a son of Domnall, son of Máel Coluim who died in 1085, who may in turn have been a son of Malcolm III or of Máel Coluim mac Maíl Brigti, Mormaer of Moray.

   * Anderson, Alan Orr, Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers A.D. 500–1286. D. Nutt, London, 1908.

* Ashley, Mike., "British Kings & Queens." Carroll & Graf, NY,2002. ISBN 0-7867-1104-3, pg. 115
* Duncan, A.A.M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
* John of Fordun, Chronicle of the Scottish Nation, ed. William Forbes Skene, tr. Felix J.H. Skene, 2 vols. Reprinted, Llanerch Press, Lampeter, 1993. ISBN 1-897853-05-X
* McDonald, R. Andrew, Outlaws of Medieval Scotland: Challenges to the Canmore Kings, 1058–1266. Tuckwell Press, East Linton, 2003. ISBN 1-86232-236-8
* Oram, Richard, David I: The King Who Made Scotland. Tempus, Stroud, 2004. ISBN 0-7524-2825-X
* Oram, Richard, The Canmores: Kings & Queens of the Scots 1040–1290. Tempus, Stroud, 2002. ISBN 0-7524-2325-8

DUNCAN King DUNCAN I 1034-1040; [Donnchad], son of CRINAN "the Thane" Mormaer of Atholl & his wife Bethoc of the Scots ([1001]-killed in battle either Bothganowan/Pitgaveny, near Elgin, or Burghead 14 Aug 1040, buried Isle of Iona).
Cawley’s Medlands

m ([1030]%29 SUTHEN [SIBYLLA], [cousin of SIWARD Earl of Northumbria, daughter of ---]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun records that the mother of Malcolm and Donald Bane, Duncan´s sons, was "the cousin of Earl Siward"[275]. This information is not included in any earlier source and should be considered dubious. In one earlier king list, King Malcolm III's mother is named "Suthen"[276]. No reference has been found in primary sources to her being named Sibylla, the name found in many secondary sources. Cawley’s Medlands

King Duncan I & his wife had [three] children:

1. MALCOLM (1031-killed in battle near Alnwick, Northumberland 13 Nov 1093, buried Tynemouth, later transferred to Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, and later still to Escorial, Madrid). The Chronicon of Marianus Scottus records that "Moelcol…filius Donchael" succeeded Lulach in 1058[277]. He succeeded in 1058 as MALCOLM III "Caennmor/Bighead" King of Scotland. Cawley’s Medlands
2. DONALD (- died in prison Rescobie, Forfarshire 1099, buried Dunkeld Abbey, later transferred to Isle of Iona). Matthew Paris names him as brother of King Malcolm, and records that he was elected by the Scots to succeed his brother in 1093 as DONALD III "Bane", King of Scotland 1093-1097 [278]. Florence of Worcester records that "Dufenaldum regis Malcolmi fratrem" was elected king after his brother's death but that "filius regis Malcolmi Dunechain" expelled "patruum suum Dufenaldum"[279]. According to Florence of Worcester, he expelled all the English from the Scottish court[280]. "Douenald filius Conchat Regis" made donations "cum ceteris regibus…Duncano rege Edgaro et Alexandro et David fratribus"[281]. This charter is undated and the reference to the four brothers all as kings indicates that it is probably spurious. Florence of Worcester records that King Donald was deposed in 1094 by his nephew Duncan, with help from the English and Normans[282]. The Annals of Inisfallen record that "Domnall son of Donnchadh” killed “Donnchadh son of Mael Coluim king of Alba” in 1094 and “took the kingship of Alba”[283]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun records that "his uncle Donald…again usurped the kingship" after the death of "Duncan, King Malcolm´s illegitimate son" and reigned for three years[284]. Florence of Worcester records that "clitorem Eadgarum" led an army to Scotland in [1097] to place "consobrinum suum Eadgarum Malcolmi regis filium" on the Scottish throne after expelling "patruo suo Dufenaldo"[285]. William of Malmesbury records that King Duncan II "was murdered by the wickedness of his uncle Donald" and that the latter was "dispatched by the contrivance of David, the youngest brother and the power of [King] William [II]"[286]. He was imprisoned. The Chronicle of the Picts and Scots dated 1251 records that "Donald mac Donchat" was captured "a Edgar mac Malcolm", blinded, died in "Rosolpin" and was buried "in Dunkelden", transferred to Iona[287]. m ---. The name of Donald's wife is not known. Cawley’s Medlands King Donald III & his wife had [one child]:

a) BETHOC (-[1150/70][288]). The sources are contradictory regarding the supposed child of King Donald. The proofs relating to the claim to the Scottish throne in 1291 made by "dñi Johannis Comyn" name "Gothrik" as the son of "Dovenald filius Duncani filii Erici", and trace John Comyn´s descent from him[289]. However, in the Great Roll, John Comyn traced his descent from Bethoc, daughter and heiress of Donald[290]. Bethoc´s first marriage is confirmed by a charter of King Henry III dated 1261 which confirmed to John Comyn the land inherited from Hextildis, wife of Richard Comyn and daughter of Uhtred son of Waltheof[291]. Her second marriage is referred to by Young but he does not cite the corresponding primary source, which has not yet been identified[292]. Altogether the chronology for Bethoc is stretched almost to beyond credibility. Her supposed father King Donald Bane must have been born before 1040, and yet his daughter is supposed to have been living more than 100 years later, and her supposed second husband living in the last quarter of the 12th century. It is suggested that this supposed descent of Hextilda, wife of Richard Comyn, from King Donald Bane should be treated with caution. m firstly ([1085]%29 UHTRED Lord of Tynedale, son of [293]WALTHEOF ---. The 1130 Pipe Roll records "Uctred fil Walleof" in Northumberland[294]. m secondly RADULF, son of DUNEGALL Lord of Nithsdale (-[1185]).] Cawley’s Medlands [Bethoc & her first husband] had [one child]:

i) HEXTILDA of Tynedale. The proofs relating to the claim to the Scottish throne in 1291 made by "dñi Johannis Comyn" name "Hextilde" as daughter and heiress of "Gothrik", son of "Dovenald filius Duncani filii Erici", and "Willelmo" as her son and heir[295]. “R. Cumin” donated property to Hexham Priory, with the consent of “uxoris meæ Hextildis”, by undated charter which names “fratrem meum Walterum”[296]. "Ric Cymyn" donated "ecclesiam de Lyntunruderie" to Kelso monastery, for the souls of "Henrici comitis dni mei et…Johis filii mei quorum corpa apud eos tumulant", by charter dated to [1160], witnessed by "Hextild sponsa mea, Od filio meo…"[297]. "Ricardus Cumin" donated [Slapfeld] to Holyrood Abbey, with the consent of "Hestild uxoris mee et heredum meorum", by charter dated to [1166] witnessed by "…Odinello et Simone filiis meis…"[298]. Her second marriage is confirmed by the undated charter under which “Hextildis comitissa de Eththetela” donated property to Rievall Abbey, for the soul of “domini mei Richardi Cumin”[299]. "Malcolmus comes de Athoil" donated "ecclesiam de Dul" to St Andrew´s priory by undated charter witnessed by "Dunecano comite de Fif, Hextilda comitissa sponsa mea…Henrico et Dunecano filiis meis…"[300]. The Liber Vitæ of Durham lists (in order) "Hextild, Willelmus, Odenellus, Simon, Ricardus Cumin…", and in a later passage "Malcolmus filius Mal. et comes Athodlie, Hextilda filia Ucthredi uxor eius…"[301]. m firstly ([1144/50]%29 RICHARD Comyn, son of --- Cumin [Comyn] & his wife --- (-[1179]). m secondly (after 1179) as his second wife, her second cousin, MALCOLM Earl of Atholl, son of MADDAD Earl of Atholl & his first wife --- (-[1186/Aug 1198]).] Cawley’s Medlands

3. MAELMUIRE [Melmare] (-died after [1135]). Cawley’s Medlands
___________ Discussion Birth Date: 1032 OR 1033 Birth Location: Perth, Perthshire, Scotland OR Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, UK

Does anyone have sources to help choose between them?

Acceded to title (King) 13 Nov 1093

Notes Donald Bane seized the throne on the death of his brother Malcolm III. His background was Celtic and Norse and he reversed Malcolms Anglo-Norman policies. Attacked by Malcolm's sons with English support, he lost the throne in 1094, regained it, but was deposed again in 1097, dying in captivity. He was the last member of the House of Dunkeld to be buried in Iona, which subsequently fell to the Norsemen. [3]

Sources [S265] Colquoun_Cunningham.ged, Jamie Vans

[S260] Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain 2001, Peter Beauclerk Dewar,, (2001.)

[S370] Kings & Queens, Neil Grant, (pub 2003 by HarperCollinsPublishers Hammersmith London W6 8JB), p14 (Reliability: 3

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Donald III "Bane", King of Scots's Timeline

Perth, Perthshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Tynedale, Scotland
November 13, 1093
Age 61
November 1094
- 1097
Age 62
Scotland (United Kingdom)
November 1094
Age 62
Age 67
Rescobie, Angusshire, Scotland
Age 67
Dunkeld Abbey,, Dunkeld, Scotland (United Kingdom)