Battle of Skyhill

Battle of Skyhill

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Skyhill

caption=A stone on the battleground commemorating the conflict
place=Sky Hill, Ramsey, Isle of Man
result=Annexation of the island, formation of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles
combatant1=Forces of Godred Crovan
combatant2=The Manx led by Fingal Godredson
commander1=Godred Crovan
commander2=Fingal Godredson
The Battle of Scacafell or Skyhill took place in Ramsey, Isle of Man in 1079. It was the third and final time that the Norse-Gael warrior Godred Crovan invaded the island, taking it from Dublin and Orkney. His victory over the Manx brought together the Isle of Man with the Hebrides, establishing the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles.

At the time of the battle, the Isle of Man was part of a larger political entity called the Kingdom of the Sudreys, which consisted of Man and the Hebrides. Godreds father, Harald the Black was king from c. 1035-1040, but on his death the kingdom appeared to come under the control of the Earls of Orkney. When their control over the islands lapsed around 1049, the throne passed to a distant relation of Harald the Black, Sigtrygg, whose brother was King of Dublin. His son, Godred II, who reigned until 1075, succeeded Sigtrygg.

In 1075 Godred II died and the throne was passed to Fingall, but he does not seem to have remained there long. In 1075, Godred Crovan assembled a fleet and an army, probably of Norse from the Hebrides, and attacked the island. He was repulsed, but was soon back for a second attempt. Again he was repulsed, but is during this period that Fingall disappears from the record, and it is probable he was killed during one of the invasion attempts. In 1079, Godred Crovan came back, and the chronicles are reasonably clear as to what happened next:

"A third time he gathered a massive force and came by night to the harbour which is called Ramsey, and three hundred men he hid in a wood which was on the sloping brow of the mountain called Sky Hill. At dawn the Manxmen formed up in battle order and after a massive charge joined battle with Godred. When the battle was raging vehemently, the three hundred rose from their place of hiding at their rear and began to weaken the resistance of the Manxmen and compelled them to flee. Now when they saw themselves defeated without any place for them to escape to, for the tide had filled the riverbed at Ramsey and the enemy were pressing constantly from the other side, those that were left begged Godred with pitiful cries to spare them their lives. Moved with compassion and taking pity on their plight, since he had been reared among them for some time, he called off his army and forbade them to pursue them further."

:— "Chronica Regum Manniae et Insularum" (The Chronicles of the Kings of Man and the Isles)

It has been suggested that Fingall died at this battle, but the otherwise detailed account neglects to mention this.

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