Ingemund

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Ingemund was an 11th-century Norse lord who was sent by Magnus, King of Norway, to the Outer Hebrides to take rule as his vassal. According to the mediaeval Manx Chronicle, soon after his arrival in the Isles Ingemund enraged the local leaders and in consequence, both he and his followers were slain on Lewis in 1097. It is unknown what family Ingemund belonged to.

Background[edit]

Map of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles at the end of the 11th century.

In the second half of the 11th century, an independent Kingdom of Mann and the Isles was founded by Godred Crovan, who centred his kingdom on the Isle of Mann. Prior to his taking power, the Isle of Mann and the Hebrides had been ruled a different times by the Norse kings of Dublin and Northumbria, and the Norse earls of Orkney. Godred Crovan died in 1095, and period of uncertainty followed in Mann and the Isles until the second decade of the 12th century. In 1093, Magnus became King of Norway and set his sight on attempting to bring Orkney, the Hebrides, and Mann, under the control of the Kingdom of Norway.

Ingemund's arrival in the Hebrides[edit]

The mediaeval Manx Chronicle states that in the year 1097, Magnus sent Ingemund to take possession of the Kingdom of the Isles.[1] It is unknown who Ingemund (Ingemundus in the chronicle) really was as he does not appear in the sagas, and it is impossible to know which family he was from.[2] According to the chronicle, when Ingemund arrived on Lewis he sent messengers to the chiefs of the isles, summoning them to assemble on Lewis and declare him as king. He then waited for their arrival on the island. The chronicle states that while Ingemund waited to be confirmed as king, he and his followers plundered the island, raped girls and women, and "gave themselves up to every species of pleasure and sensual gratification". However, when the assembled chiefs caught wind of Ingemund's activities they became enraged and turned against him. They arrived on the scene under cover of darkness, set fire to the house in which he was staying, and killed Ingemund and his followers—both by fire and by sword.[1]

Aftermath[edit]

The killing of Ingemund may have encouraged Magnus to launch his expedition the following year,[3] when he gathered a large fleet and sailed to the Northern Isles, where he installed his son as ruler of the earldom of Orkney. From there the fleet sailed west; the Norse completely devastated Lewis and proceeded down through the Hebrides towards the Isle of Mann and Wales. Bjorn Cripplehand, skald to the king, wrote the following lines about their expedition through the Hebrides.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Munch, Peter Andreas (1874). Goss, Alexander, ed. Chronica regvm Manniæ et insvlarvm: The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys 1. Douglas: Printed for the Manx society. pp. 56–57. 
  2. ^ Munch, Peter Andreas (1874). Goss, Alexander, ed. Chronica regvm Manniæ et insvlarvm: The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys 1. Douglas: Printed for the Manx society. p. 152. 
  3. ^ McDonald, Russell Andrew (1997). The Kingdom of the Isles: Scotland's Western Seaboard, c. 1100-c. 1336 (illustrated, reprint ed.). Tuckwell Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-898410-85-0. 
  4. ^ a b Macdonald, Donald (1978). Lewis: A History of the Island. Edinburgh: Gordon Wright Publishing. pp. 19–20.