Malise V, Earl of Strathearn

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Malise V
Died 1357
Title Earl of Strathearn
Tenure 1330–1334
Other names Maol Íosa
Known for Last of the native Gaelic earls of Strathearn.
Nationality Scottish
Spouse(s) Marjory
Issue Four daughters
Parents Malise IV

Malise, Earl of Strathearn, Caithness and Orkney (Gaelic: Maol Íosa; died c. 1357) was the last of the native Gaelic earls of Strathearn.

He succeeded to the earldom of Strathearn in 1329, on the death of his father Malise IV, Earl of Strathearn. After the death of Magnus, Earl of Orkney, he inherited the earldoms of Caithness and Orkney in right of his great-great-grandfather Earl Gilbert.

In 1330, Edward III of England wrote to King David and his councillors, including Malise, requesting that certain forfeited noblemen have their lands restored. This request was evaded, if not outright refused, and consequently Edward allowed Edward Balliol to march into Scotland with the dispossessed knights. Malise took an active part in opposing the invaders, and was referred to as a "notorious rebel" by Edward III. He had his earldom forfeited by Balliol, who bestowed it on John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey. Malise made strenuous efforts to recover Strathearn, but without success, and he went to dwell on his estates in Caithness.

By 1340 Scotland had largely been cleansed of English and Balliol influence, but Malise still did not get back his earldom. During King David's absence in France, he was arraigned before the High Steward and accused of felony and treason, in that he had supposedly resigned the earldom of his own free will by reason of a contract between him and the Earl of Surrey. The jury acquitted him, but the earldom remained in David's hands, who in 1344 bestowed it on Malise's nephew Maurice de Moravia.

In 1344 he was summoned before King and Parliament on the same charge. He did not attend in person, but was represented by his brother-in-law William III, Earl of Ross, along with the Bishop of Ross and a lawyer named William Meldrum. He pleaded that he had already been found innocent; this was partly acknowledged by Parliament, though they judged that the earldom should continue to be held by the King.

After this, Earl Malise passes from history; his date of death is not known. He is said to have been married twice, his first wife being a daughter of the Earl of Menteith, though no evidence has been found of her existence. His second wife was Marjory, daughter of Hugh, Earl of Ross, whom he probably married between 1325 and 1328. By her he had four daughters:

  • Matilda, married Wayland de Ard
  • Isabella, married Sir William Sinclair of Roslin. Her son Henry was made Earl of Orkney in 1379
  • Agneta, married Erengisle Suneson, who was briefly Earl of Orkney
  • An unknown daughter, who married Guttorm Sperra



  • The Scots Peerage, ed. James Balfour Paul, Vol VIII (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1911), pp. 252-4
  • Neville, Cynthia J., Native Lordship in Medieval Scotland: The Earldoms of Strathearn and Lennox, c. 1140-1365, (Portland & Dublin, 2005)
Preceded by
Malise IV
Earl of Strathearn
Succeeded by
to Maurice de Moravia
Preceded by
Earl of Orkney
Succeeded by