Thane of Cawdor

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The title Thane of Cawdor is a title in the Peerage of Scotland.[1] The current 7th Earl of Cawdor, of Clan Campbell of Cawdor, is the 26th Thane of Cawdor.

In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, this title was given to Macbeth after he captured the previous Thane of Cawdor.[2] The historical King Macbeth fought a Thane of Cawdor who died in battle, but he did not thereby acquire the title himself.

The 2nd Earl of Cawdor wrote a history of the Thanes of Cawdor, in 1742, published in 1859.[1] According to the 2nd Earl, the first thane was originally a Celtic chieftain who allied with Anglo-Saxon King of Scotland at a time lost to the historical record.


  1. ^ a b John Frederick Vaughan Campbell Cawdor (1742). Innes Cosmo, ed. The book of the thanes of Cawdor: a series of papers selected from the charter room at Cawdor. 1236-1742, Volume 1236, Issue 1742. Spalding Club. p. xiii,. Retrieved 2013-06-23. As we cannot name the first Celtic chieftain who consented to change his style of Toshach and his patriarchal sway for the title and stability of King's Thane of Cawdor, so it is impossible to fix the precise time when their ancient property and offices were acquired. 
  2. ^ David Baird (1937). The Thane of Cawdor: A Detective Study of Macbeth. Oxford University Press. pp. 1–11. Retrieved 2013-06-23.