Christina of Garmoran
|Christina of Garmoran|
|Born||late 13th century|
|Died||mid 14th century|
|Parents||Ailin mac Ruaidhri, mother unknown|
Christina of Garmoran also known as Christina MacRuari, Christina of Mar and Christiana of the Isles was a 14th-century Scottish noblewoman who was the legitimate child of Ailin (Alan) mac Ruaidhri, Lord of Garmoran and chief of Clan Macruari. She married Duncan, second son of Domhnall I, Earl of Mar.
Her father, Ailin mac Ruaidhri, possessed the "North Isles" of the Uists and Benbecula. He is known to have attended Parliament in 1285 when the succession of Margaret, Maid of Norway was debated. He had died by 1296, by which time he had fathered two illegitimate sons, Ruaidhri and Lachlan, and Christina, his sole legitimate heir. However, When Christina succeeded to the extensive estates of her father (Garmoran and the North Isles including Harris and the Small Isles of Rùm and Eigg) she resigned a large proportion of them to Ruaidhri.
When her distant cousin Alexander of Argyll's support of the opponents of King Robert the Bruce led to the forfeiture of his lands, they were distributed between her MacDonald cousin Aonghas Óg of Islay and her brother Ruaidhri. The latter received much of Lorne and parts of Lochaber. Bruce was however careful to ensure his interests in the west were protected and Dunstaffnage Castle was given not to Ruari, now styled the "High Chief of Lorn" but to a royal constable, Arthur Campbell. Campbell's son, also Arthur, received a charter of lands from Christina, at some point early in the 14th century and they may have been considering marriage although this never came to pass. The charter itself seems to have been disputed by parties on both sides for the next century.
Marriage and politics
Christina did marry Duncan, second son of Domhnall I, Earl of Mar, making her the Bruce's sister-in-law twice over. (Duncan's sister Isabella of Mar married Robert the Bruce and his older brother Gartnait, Earl of Mar married Robert's sister Christina.)[Note 1] No details of Christina's birth are known, but Duncan was born in 1294, and died in 1332 and they are recorded as having a child, Margaret, Countess of Mar, who married William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas and died in 1390.
Christina is credited with being instrumental in supporting Robert the Bruce ascend to the Scottish throne. John of Fordun records her as "Christian of the Isles" and stated that "it was by her help and power and goodwill that Bruce was able to return to Carrick". Barbour wrote that: "A lady of that country [Carrick], who was his near kinswoman, was wondrous glad at his arrival and made haste to join him, bringing fifteen men whom she gave the king to help him in his warfare." It is also possible that she and Aonghas Óg of Islay provided assistance to Bruce whilst he sought refuge on Rathlin Island.
Later Clan Macruari history
The MacRuaris added Barra to their lands in 1309 but towards the close of the Bruce's reign, c. 1325, Ruaidhri was dispossessed for engaging in plots perceived to be against his king's interests.
Edward Balliol may have restored these lands to his son, Raghnall mac Ruari, a state of affairs confirmed by David II c. 1344, who formally granted him Garmoran and the North Isles, although Lorn was retained by the crown and Lochaber in its entirety given to John of islay the first Lord of the Isles who had married Amie, Christina's niece in 1337. Shortly thereafter, in October 1346, Raghnall was assassinated at Elcho Nunnery near Perth as the result of a quarrel with Uilleam III, Earl of Ross. He was the "last chieftain of the MacRuaris" and Amie was his sole heir. Amie's son Ranald became the progenitor of Clan Macdonald of Clanranald and Clan MacDonell of Glengarry
Amie also continued various works of a religious nature that her aunt had supported. Christina gifted the lands of Carinsh in North Uist to Inchaffray Abbey and Amie rebuilt the Teampull na Trionaid on this estate.
Christina is a character in the trilogy Robert the Bruce by Nigel Tranter in which her support of Robert Bruce is portrayed. They meet at sea when Bruce repulses an attack on her ships and they have a long association, being on- and off-again lovers for years.
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