Ferchar, Earl of Strathearn

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Mormaer Ferchar (fl. 1160) is the second earliest known Mormaer of Strathearn, but as with other Mormaerdoms, this is simply a source problem and in no way means that he actually was the second.

Ferchar, like his predecessor Máel Ísu I, is largely absent from the witness lists of Scottish royal charters, indicating a lack of involvement with the Franco-Gaelic Kings of the Scots. However, after the defeat of the Scottish army at the Battle of the Standard, his father Máel Ísu was required to give a son as a hostage; it is possible, but not certain, that this son was Ferchar.

It is clear that Ferchar was regarded as the most important native Scottish noble of his time, especially during the minority of Donnchad II, Mormaer of Fife. Ferchar is most famous perhaps for leading the so-called Revolt of the Earls, a protest against King Máel Coluim IV's expedition to Toulouse in the entourage of his overlord Henry II of England. King Máel Coluim seems to have believed the revolt to have some justification, as there is no evidence that any retribution was taken against either Ferchar or any of the other six Mormaers involved.

Ferchar married a woman named Ethne. He had three children, Gille Brigte, Máel Ísu and Christian. The first of these succeeded him to the Mormaerdom.

Christian a daughter, who married Sir Walter Olifard, Justiciar of the Lothians and son of Sir David Olifard as found in: The Peerage of Scotland A Genealogical and Historical Account of all the Peers of the Ancient Kingdom; Their Descendents, Collateral Branches, Births, Marriages, and Issue. Together with a Like Account of all the Attainted Peers; and a Complete Alphabetical List of all those Nobles of Scotland whose Titles are Extinct Collected from Parliament Rolls, Records, Family Documents and the Personal Information of Many Peers, also the Paternal Coats of Arms, Crests, Supporters and Mottoes Most Elegantly Engraved Edited by J. Almon, published 1767 and found at Google Books.


  • Neville, Cynthia J., Native Lordship in Medieval Scotland: The Earldoms of Strathearn and Lennox, c. 1140–1365, (Portland & Dublin, 2005)
Preceded by
Máel Ísu I
Mormaer of Strathearn
fl. 1160
Succeeded by
Gille Brigte