Battle site of Stracathro (1130) *

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Description:

The battle of Stracathro/Inchbare in 1130 was a desperate last bid for the Celtic inheritance of Angus and Malcolm, grandsons of Lulach (the fool).

This the culmination of a power struggle between the Scottish crown and the rulers of Moray in the north who believed they had a legitimate right to rule.

The men of the far north who fought the forces of the crown at Stracathro were representing a cause which had been in existence for a long period of time, although the identity of the groups they mustered under, and the lineage of their leaders was not always clear cut. From the late 12th to the mid 13th century, two northern groups active in Ross and Moray - the MacWilliams and the MacHeths - strove to take the kingship of Scotland. One notable participant at Stracathro was Angus's ally Malcolm Macheth, son of King Alexander I of Scotland. He survived the carnage, but was imprisoned four years later.

Historians have traditionally identified the MacWilliams as descendants of William, son of King Duncan II of Scotland (who died in 1094), though this is not certain. The historian G. W. S. Barrow suggested that this William's first wife was a cousin or sister of the Angus of Moray. Whoever he may have been, between 1179 and 1186, Donald Bán MacWilliam probably invaded Scotland on three different occasions, making him an exceptionally persistent and powerful enemy of the state.

The northerners had filtered down Glen Esk and were met by a large army coming from the south, which included a large number of cavalry and Norman knights. It was a resounding royal victory. Some 4,000 of the northerners were slaughtered in the field, including Malcolm and Angus. On the royalist side, the earls of Dunbar and Fife were slain too.

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