Part 2: MacBeth
MacBeth returned to rule for seven more years!
In 1052, when the English king, Edward the Confessor,
was expelling his Norman retainers, two of them fled north to seek
sanctuary at the court of MacBeth. Pious in the way that Fulk Nerra
was pious, more acquainted with the world beyond the Tweed than any
of his predecessors, MacBeth found himself assailed from within and
Duncan's father Crinan, lay abbot of Dunkeld,
attacked MacBeth from within – resulting in Crinan's defeat and
death in 1045 – and Siward of Northumbria attacked him from without,
momentarily defeating the king in 1046.
A temporary setback
MacBeth was perhaps only expelled from Lothian,
which he soon recovered. He is mentioned prominently in the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in its account of Siward's invasion,
to which the closely contemporary evidence of Florent of Worcester
can add no more than accounts of MacBeth's generosity and hospitality,
one of which is confirmed by the Irish chronicler, Marianus Scotus.
In July 1054 a second Northumbrian expedition again
succeeded in expelling MacBeth from part of his kingdom (again perhaps
Lothian and possibly Strathclyde), and set up as king Malcolm III,
Duncan's elder son. In 1057 MacBeth was defeated and killed at
Lumphanon and a year later his stepson, Lulach, to whom some had rallied,
was slain at Essie by Malcolm III.
MacBeth's success can be seen as a native, or Gaelic,
reaction against the new southern ways, and it is significant of the
prevailing distrust of those ways that he was able to rule for such
a lengthy and uninterrupted period of time. He was generally
acknowledged as a worthy ruler and his reign was generally
characterised by peace and tranquillity.
Many contemporary sources record the reign of MacBeth
as a time of great abundance. The Chronicle of Melrose states:
MacBeth became king of Scotland for seventeen
years; and in his reign there were fruitful seasons...
In addition, Wyntoun's Cronykil, drawing upon
earlier sources, says: