Uilleam II, Earl of Ross

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A bust of Uilleam II, made for display in the Tain Museum.

Uilleam II of Ross was the second successor of Ferchar mac in tSagairt, as Mormaer of Ross (1274–1323).

In 1284 he joined with other Scottish noblemen who acknowledged Margaret of Norway as the heir of Alexander.[1] At the beginning of the Wars of Scottish Independence Uilleam was captured fighting against the English at the Battle of Dunbar. After which, like many Gaelic lords, he became pro-English and one of the most early enemies of Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick. Uilleam had been in English custody, but his wife Euphemia had obtained his release, and Uilleam was appointed Edward I of England's warden of Scotland north of the Grampians.

When a band of Bruce supporters, including the Countess of Atholl, Bruce's wife Elizabeth de Burgh, his daughter Marjorie and Robert's brother Niall took refuge in St Duthac's chapel in Tain, Uilleam arrested them and handed them over to the English crown. The men were executed.[dubious ]

This put Uilleam in a dangerous position when the Bruce revival began in the same year, 1306. He found himself being attacked by Bruce in the south, and by Lachlan MacRuadridh (Lord of the Isle of Skye), Uilleam's nominal vassal, but Bruce's ally, in the west. When Bruce came north in 1308, Uilleam submitted, receiving his Mormaerdom back from Bruce, along with a pardon and the burgh of Dingwall. This bribe and the realities of power kept Uilleam in the Bruce camp.

Uilleam was chief of the Clan Ross who fought on the side of the Bruce against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn. Uilleam was a signatory of the Declaration of Arbroath.

Uilleam had six children, one of whom, Aodh, Earl of Ross, succeeded him when he died in 1323.

William's wife Euphemia was previously known only as 'a lady named Euphemia, who warmly supported the English party' [Scots Peerage VII:234]. She has been identified as Euphemia de Berkeley, or Barclay, daughter of Sir Hugh de Berkeley, Justiciar of Lothian (1258–1276, d. bef 28 August 1296).[2]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Foedera, p228
  2. ^ John P. Ravilious, The Ancestry of Euphemia, Countess of Ross: Heraldry as Genealogical Evidence, The Scottish Genealogist, Vol. LV, No. 1 (March 2008), pp. 33–38

Bibliography[edit]

  • Barrow, G.W.S., Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland, (Edinburgh, 1988)
  • John P. Ravilious, The Ancestry of Euphemia, Countess of Ross: Heraldry as Genealogical Evidence, The Scottish Genealogist, Vol. LV, No. 1 (March 2008), pp. 33–38
  • Rymer, Thomas,Foedera Conventiones, Literae et cuiuscunque generis Acta Publica inter Reges Angliae. London. 1745. (Latin) [1]
Preceded by
Uilleam I
Mormaer of Ross
1274–1323
Succeeded by
Aodh