Chronicle of Man and the Isles

Chronicle of Man and the Isles is in Late Medieval Books.

1164. In the year 1164, Somerled assembled a fleet of 160 ships and put in at Renfrew, with the intention of subduing the whole of Scotland. But through divine punishment he was overcome by a small number of foes, and there slain with his son and a vast number of his people.

1164. In the same year there was a battle at Ramsey between Reginald, brother of Godred, and the Manxmen, and throngh the treachery of a certain Viscount the Manxmen were put to flight and Reginald began to reign. On the fourth, day, however, Godred returned from Norway with a large body of troops, and seizing his brother, mutilated, and deprived him of his sight.

In the same year died Malcolm, King of Scotland, who was succeeded by his brother William.

1166. In the year 1166, two comets appeared before sunrise in the month of August, one to the south and the other to the north.

1171. In the year 1171, Richard, Earl of Pembroke, sailed to Ireland, and subdued Dublin, with a great part of Ireland.

1171. In the year 1171, Henry, King of England, caused his son Henry, yet a boy, to be crowned king at London on the 22d of May, and on the Sunday to be anointed by Roger, the usurping Archbishop of York, who, in opposition to the canons, led by the despotism of the king, and his own contempt of law, exercised a right and office not his, to the prejudice of a pro vince not under his jurisdiction, while the venerable Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury, was still alive, and an exile in France. During the same year, on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, a great and fearful earthquake suddenly occurred.

1171. In the year 1171, Thomas of holy memory, Archbishop of Canterbury, and legate of the Holy See, Primate of all England, true martyr of Christ, was assassinated in the church of his See.

1176. In the year 1176, John de Courcy subdued Ulster. In the same year Vivian, Cardinal legate of the apostolic See, came to Man, and in the discharge of his office caused Godred to be united in lawful marriage with his wife, the daughter of MacLoughlin, son of Muinrough, King of Ireland, who was mother of Olave then three years old. They were married by Silvanus, Abbot of Rivaulx.

On the same day Godred gave to the Abbot Silvanus a piece of land at Mirescoge, where he soon built a monastery; but in process of time the land and the monks were made over to the abbey of St. Mary of Rushen.

1182. In the year 1182, Reginald, son of Eacmarchat, a man of the royal race, came to Man with a large number of followers, during the absence of the king; and in the first combat put to flight a party of those who guarded the coast, killing about twenty of them. Later on, however, in the same day, the Manxmen, assembling in a body, manfully encountered and slew him with nearly all his followers.

1183. In the 1183, died Foceolt Viscount of Man.

1185. In the year 1185, on the day of the apostles Philip and James, the sun was eclipsed, so that the stars appeared.

1187. In the year 1187, Jerusalem was captured by the pagans (infidels), and the holy cross was carried away to Damascus.

10 Nov 1187. In the same year, on the 10th of November, Godred, King of the Isles, died in the Island of St. Patrick, in Man. In the beginning of the following summer his body was removed to the Island called lona. He left three sons, Reginald, Olave, and Ivan. Reginald, then a full grown young man, was absent in the Isles. Olave, yet a very young boy, resided in Man.

1187. Godred during his life had appointed Olave to succeed to the kingdom, for the inheritance belonged to him by right, because he was born of lawful wedlock; and had commanded all the people of Man to appoint Olave king after his own death, and preserve inviolate their oath of allegiance. How ever, after the death of Godred, the Manxmen sent their messengers to the Isles for Reginald, and made him king, be cause he was a man of energy and of riper age. For they dreaded the weakness of Olave, for he was but a boy ten years old, and they considered that a person, who on account of his tender age, knew not how to direct himself, would be wholly incapable of governing his subjects. This was the reason why the people of Man appointed Reginald king.

1188. In the year 1188, Reginald, son of Godred, began to reign over the Isles. In the same year was killed Murrough, a chief whose power and energy were felt throughout the whole kingdom of the Isles.

1189. ln the year 1189, died Henry King of England. He was succeeded by his son Richard. In the same year Rodoiph, Abbot of Fuinness, died at Mellifont.

1190. In the year 1190, Philip, King of France, and Richard, King of England, set out for Jerusalem with large armies.

1192. In the year 1192, there was a contest between the sons of Somerled, Reginald, and Angus, in which many were wounded and fell, but Angus gained the victory. In the same year, the abbey of St. Many of Rushen was removed to Pouglas. After remaining there four years the monks returned to Rushen.

1193. In the year 1193, Richard, King of England, returned from Jerusalem and was made prisoner in Germany; for his ransom England paid 100,000 marcs.

1193. In the year 1193, died Michael, Bishop of the Isles, at Fountains. He was succeeded in the episcopacy by Nicholas.

1204. In the year 1204, Hugh de Lacy entered Ulster with an army, gave battle to John de Councy, took him prisoner, and put him in chains, and subdued Ulster. Afterwards he gave John his liberty. John, on his delivery from prison, went to King Reginald, by whom he was received with distinction, because he was his brother-in-law. John de Courcy married a daughter of Godred, called Affrica, who founded the monastery of St. Mary, of the Yoke of God, where she was interred.

1205. In the year 1205, John de Courcy, recovering his strength, collected a large force, and was accompanied by Reginald, King of the Isles, with nearly one hundred ships, to Ulster. Putting into the port called Strangford, they laid siege, but carelessly, to the fort of Rath. Walter do Lacy came upon them with a large army, and totally routed them; aiid after that time John do Courcy never recovered his pos sessions.

1210. In the year 1210, Angus, son of Somerled, was killed, with his three sons. In the same year, John, King of Eng land, with a fleet of 50 ships, went to Ireland and subdued it. He sent a part of the army, with an earl of the name of Fulke, to Man. This force in fifteen days devastated nearly the whole island, and receiving hostages returned home. King Reginald, however, and his nobles were absent from Man at the time.

1217. In the year 1217, Nicholas, Bishop of the Isles died, and was buried in Ulster, in the monastery of Bangor, and was succeeded in the episcopacy by Reginald.

Here we think it well, for the benefit of our readers, to rehearse briefly something of the history of Reginald and Olave.

Reginald gave his brother Olave a certain island called Lewis, which is said to be more extensive than the other islands, but thinly peopled, because it is mountainous and rocky, and almost totally unfit for cultivation. The inhabitants live mostly by hunting and fishing. Olave took possession of this island and dwelt there; living, how ever, very scantily. Finding that the island could not support himself and his followers, he went frankly to his brother Reginald, who was then residing in the Isles, and spoke to him as follows: "You know, my brother and king, that the kingdom of the Isles was mine by hereditary right, but as the Lord chose you for its governor, I do not grudge it you, nor am I discontented because you have been raised to the supreme dignity of king. I now there-fore beg that you will allot me hand somewhere in the Isles sufficient for my own decent maintenance and that of my followers, for the island of Lewis which you gave me is unequal to my support." When Reginald had heard this, he promised to take advice on the subject, and return an answer to the petition next day. When next day had dawned, and Olave had conic by summons, to speak with the king, Reginald ordered him to be seized, bound, and carried in chains to William, King of Scotland, to be kept prisoner by that Sov ereign. This order was executed, and Olave remained pri soner with the King of Scotlamid nearly seven years. In the seventh year, William, king of Scotland, died, and was suc ceeded by his son Alexander. Before his death, however, William gave directions for the liberation of all who were confined in his prisons. Olave then, having his chains removed, and being restored to liberty, went to Man to his brother Reginald, and shortly afterwards set out with a considerable attendance of men of rank for the shrine of St. James. Returning from the pilgrimage, he again visited his brother Reginald, by whom he was received in a friendly manner. At that timne Reginald caused his brother Olave to marry Lanon' the daughter of a certain man of rank of Kintyre, sister to his own wife, and gave hium the aforesaid island of Lewis, whither Olave, taking leave of his brother, went with his wife, amid dwelt there.

After some days, Reginald bishop of the Isles, successor to bishop Nicholas, came to the Isles to visit the churches. Olave went to meet him with great alacrity, and was glad of his arrival, for the bishop was son of Olave's sister, and ordered a great banquet to be prepared. Reginald, however, said to Olave "I will not hold communication with you, brother, till the Catholic Church has canonically released you from the bonds of an unlawful marriage." The bishop added:

"Know you not that you lived long with the cousin of her whom you now have as your wife?" Olave did not deny the truth of what had been said, and acknowledged that he had long kept her cousin as a concubine. A synod therefore was assembled, and in it bishop Reginald canonically separated Olave the son of Godred and Lauon his wife. Afterwards, Olave married Christina, daughter of Fenquhard, Earl of Ross.

But the wife of King Reginald, Queen of the Isles, pained by the separation of her sister from Olave, and moved by the gall of bitterness, and sower of all the discord between Reginald and Olave, wrote secretly in the name of King Reginald, to her son Godred, who was in the isle of Sky, to seize and kill Olave. Godred, on receipt of the letter, collected a force and went to Lewis for the purpose of carrying out, if he could, his mother's truly wicked desires. Olave, however, entering a small boat, with a few men, with difficulty avoided Godred, and fled to his father-in-law, the Earl of Ross, whilst Godred laid waste nearly the whole island, killed a few of the inhabitants, and returned home.

At that time the Viscount of Sky, whose power and energy were felt throughout the whole kingdom of the Isles, Pdll the son of Bdhki, having refused to consent to the murder of Olave, fled from Godred, and resided as well as Olave with the Earl of Ross. After a few days Olave, and the aforesaid Viscount of Sky, entered into a covenant of friendship, confirmed on either side by oath, and went together with a single vessel to Skye, where they concealed themselves for some days in secret places; they then learned from the spies they had sent out that Godred was residing in a certain island, called the island of St. Coim, without apprehension, with very few attendants, Upon this, assembling all their friends and acquaintances, and all who were willing to join them, they surrounded the island during the silence of deep night, bringing over five ships from the nearest point of the shore, which was two furlongs from the above mentioned island. Godred and his companions were thrown into consternation when, rising early in the morning, they saw themselves surrounded. Being armed, however, they undertook to resist manfully, but in vain; for about nine o'clock in the morning Olave, and Pdll the aforesaid Viscount, entered the island with all their force, and putting all to death who were found outside the precincts of the church, they seized Godred, mutilated and deprived him of his eyes. Olave, however, did not give his consent to this deed, but was unable to prevent it on account of Bdlki the aforesaid Viscount. This happened in the year of grace 1223.