- Godred Crovan
King of Mann and the Islesand King of Dublin
date of birth=
place of birth=
Isle of Man
date of death=1095
place of death=
Islay( Inner Hebrides)
place of burial=
issue=Lagmann, Olaf and Harald
father=?Ímar mac Arailt
Godred Crovan ( _sg. Gofraid mac meic Arailt, Gofraid Méranech;
Guðrøðr[Seán Duffy, ‘Godred Crovan (d. 1095)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004] ) (died 1095) was a Norse-Gaelruler of Dublin, and King of Mann and the Islesin the second half of the 11th century. Godred's epithetCrovan may mean "white hand" ( _mg. crobh bhan). [His other epithet, "Méranech", means "furious", Crovan might also derive from Irish "crúbach", "claw", or Old Norse "kruppin", "cripple"; Hudson, p. 173.] In Manx folklore he is known as King Orry.
Ancestry and early life
The notice of Godred's death in the
Annals of Tigernachcalls him "Gofraid mac meic Aralt" or Godred, son of Harald's son. As a result, it has been suggested that Godred was a son, or nephew, of the Norse-Gael king Ímar mac Arailt (or Ivar Haraldsson) who ruled Dublin from 1038 to 1046, who was in turn a nephew of Sigtrygg Silkbeardand grandson of Amlaíb Cuarán. The " Chronicles of Mann" call Godred the son of Harald the Black of Iceland, [Hudson notes that "Ysland" in the "Manx Chronicle" may represent "Ireland"; Hudson, p. 171.] and make him a survivor of Harald Hardraade's defeat at the Battle of Stamford Bridgeon 25 September, 1066. They say that he took refuge with his kinsman Godred Sigtryggsson, then King of Mann and the Isles. Irish annalsrecord that Godred Sigtryggsson was subject to the Irish King of Dublin, Murchadson of Diarmait mac Mail na mBoof the Uí Cheinnselaig. Godred Sigtryggsson and Murchad both died in 1070 and the rule of the Isle of Man passed to Godred's son Fingal.
Invasions of the Isle of Man
In 1079, the "
Chronicles of Mann" say that Godred invaded the Isle of Manthree times:cquote2|In the year 1056  , Godred Crovan collected a number of ships and came to Mann; he gave battle to the natives but was defeated, and forced to fly. Again he assembled an army and a fleet, came to Mann, encountered the Manxmen, was defeated and put to fight. A third time he collected a numerous body of followers, came by night to the port called Ramsey, and concealed 300 men in a wood, on the sloping brow of a hill called Sky Hill. At daylight the men of Mann drew up in order of battle, and, with a mighty rush, encountered Godred. During the heat of the contest the 300 men, rising from the ambuscade in the rear, threw the Manxmen into disorder, and compelled them to fly.
Conquest and loss of Dublin
The "Chronicles" say, and Irish sources agree, that Godred then took Dublin although the date is unknown. In 1087 the "
Annals of Ulster" record that "the grandsons of Ragnall" were killed on an expedition to the Isle of Man. In 1094 Godred was driven out of Dublin by Muircheartach Ua Briain. He died the following year, "of pestilence" according the " Annals of the Four Masters", on Islay.
Issue and legacy
Godred left three known sons, Lagmann, Olaf and Harald. Harald was blinded by Lagmann and disappears from the record, but the descendants of Lagmann and Olaf ruled the Kingdom of the Isles until the rise of
Somerledand his sons, and ruled the Isle of Man until the end of the kingdom 1265 and its annexation by Alexander III, King of Scots. Even as late as 1275 Godred son of the last King of Manntried to seize the island.
Early Medieval Ireland 800–1166
Lord of the Isles
* [http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/manxsoc/msvol22/ The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys] published by the Manx Society (1874) at [http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/ A Manx Note Book]
* [http://celt.ucc.ie/index.html CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts] at
University College Corkincludes the "Annals of Ulster", "Tigernach" and "the Four Masters" as well as Genealogies, and various Saints' Lives. Most are translated into English, or translations are in progress
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