Godred Magnusson

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Guðrøðr Magnússon (fl. 1275) was an illegitimate son of Magnús Óláfsson, King of Mann and the Isles (d. 1265). In 1275, while Mann was under Scottish authority, Guðrøðr led a revolt on the island. The Scots utterly crushed the revolt, and a contemporary source states that over 500 rebels were killed in the action. It is not certain whether Guðrøðr escaped with his life or if he was among the slain.


Guðrøðr was an illegitimate son of Magnús Óláfsson, King of Mann and the Isles (d. 1265), a member of the Crovan dynasty. At first the dynasty's realm, the Kingdom of the Isles, originally encompassed Mann and the entirety of the Hebrides. In the mid 12th century much of the Hebrides were permanently lost to Somairle, Lord of Argyll (d. 1164), who had married into the dynasty. Leading members of the Crovan dynasty and Clann Somairle, the descendants of Somairle, are known to have recognised the overlordship of the Kings of Norway. However, until the first part of the 13th century, the Norwegian kingdom suffered from a drawn-out period of internal strife, and the sea-kings of both families enjoyed independence in the Isles.

However, as Norwegian kingship grew stronger in first part of the 13th century, so too did that of the Kings of Scots. The 13th century Scottish kings Alexander II (d. 1249) and Alexander III (d. 1286) made several unsuccessful attempts to purchase the Isles from Hákon Hákonarson, King of Norway (d. 1263). In 1262, after one such attempt, a force of Scots ravaged Skye, an island-possession of Magnús. The raid was likely carried out on behalf of the Scottish king, and Hakon's response was to launch a massive military expedition in the summer of 1263, in an attempt to reassert Norwegian dominance in the region.

In contrast to some of the descendants of Somairle, Magnús appears to have whole-heartedly supported Hákon during his campaign. At one point, Magnús and a number of Hebridean magnates were tasked by the Norwegian king to ravage the Lennox district. Meanwhile, rough weather led to an encounter between Hákon's main force and Scottish forces on the Ayrshire coast. Following this action, popularly known to history as the Battle of Largs, Hákon's demoralised forces turned for home. Hákon died only weeks later, before reaching his homeland, and his campaign ended in utter failure.

Alexander immediately launched a series of punitive military expeditions into the regions of Hákon's supporters. His preparation of such an invasion of Mann led to Magnús' submission and homage. In 1265, Magnús died without a legitimate heir, and Alexander assumed full control of Mann. The following year, the Treaty of Perth was concluded between the Kingdom of Scots and the Kingdom of Norway, and Alexander purchased the Isles from Magnús Hákonarson, King of Norway (d. 1280).


In 1275, Guðrøðr is recorded to have taken part in an uprising on Mann, in an attempt to establish himself as king.[1] The Chronicle of Mann and Chronicle of Lanercost indicate that a Scottish fleet made landfall at Ronaldsway, on 7 October.[2] The Annals of Furness names the leaders of the Scottish forces as John de Vesci (d. 1289), John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch (d. c. 1277), Alan, illegitimate son of Thomas of Galloway, Earl of Atholl, Alastair mac Eógain, Lord of Argyll (d. 1310), and Ailín mac Ruaidrí, Lord of Garmoran.[3] The Chronicle of Lanercost records that the Scottish magnates arrayed their forces on St Michael's Isle, and sent forth an embassy offering Guðrøðr and his followers peace. Guðrøðr refused,[4] and the following morning, before sunrise, the chronicles and annals indicate that his forces were utterly defeated.[2][5] According to the Chronicle of Mann, 537 rebels were slain by the Scots.[6] Guðrøðr may very well have been slain in the defeat,[7] although the Annals of Furness state that he, his wife and his followers escaped the carnage to Wales.[8]


  1. ^ McDonald 2007: pp. 54. See also: Sellar 2000: p. 210.
  2. ^ a b Anderson 1922: pp. 672–673. See also: Maxwell 1913: p. 11. See also: Munch; Goss 1874: pp. 110–111.
  3. ^ McDonald 2005: p. 183. See also: Sellar 2004. See also: Tout; Ridgeway 2004. See also: Young 2004. See also: Duncan 1996: pp. 582, 583 fn 33. See also: Anderson 1908: pp. 382–383.
  4. ^ Anderson 1922: pp. 672–673. See also: Maxwell 1913: p. 11.
  5. ^ Anderson 1908: pp. 382–383.
  6. ^ Munch; Goss 1874: pp. 110–111.
  7. ^ Sellar 2000: p. 210.
  8. ^ McDonald 2007: p. 107. See also: Anderson 1908: pp. 382–383. See also: Howlett 1895: p. 570.


Primary sources
Secondary sources