The House of Dunkeld, in Scottish Gaelic Dùn Chailleann (meaning Fort of the Caledonii or of the Caledonians). This continues from The House of Alpin which was called Cenél nGabráin of Dál Riata, “race of Fergus”. The Dunkeld dynasty is based on Duncan I of Scotland being of a different agnatic clan to his predecessor and maternal grandfather Malcolm II of Scotland.

The Dunkeld dynasty had to react to increasing outside threats from England and Norway. As well as civil unrest – which there had been under the House of Alpin. Vikings controlled the Hebrides, Caithness, the Isle of Man and the Orkney Islands, it’s borders were shifting all the time, incorporating earlier smaller kingdoms, or being subdivided between rival rulers.

Constantine II had succeeded in creating a more prominent, visible Scotland, and this attracted increasing interest from outside.  It was also a time when Christianity was spreading.  Old traditions were becoming eroded.  There were also internal threats from rival members of the Mac Alpin family, to whom Celtic traditions of alternating successors from different branches of the wider bloodline offered obvious encouragement.  Malcolm II was the last of the Mac Alpins, whose lengthy rein lasted from 1000 to 1034.  Malcolm II had married the  daughter of a Norwegian Earl of Orkney, managing to acquire control over the Northern Isles.   He had also became the King of Lothian which were previously under control of Northumbia,  thus becoming an effective ruler of the whole of Scotland. Malcolm II could therefore be said to be the first monarch of modern Scotland.

This is when the Scottish throne evolves from tanistry to primogeniture, so the line of Monarchs stayed within the bloodline rather than the tradition of the family deciding who the next successor will be.  This happened with the reign if Malcolm in the early 11th century, Malcom seeing the threats from within his family killed off anybody  who may have been chosen as his successor to ensure the crown passed down his bloodline through his children.  Infant it was to be his grandson Duncan I who followed after him.

Duncan’s rein was brief and unhappy, the English had invaded in 1039.  He experienced a humiliating defeat after the siege of Durham. Duncan then invaded Moray which proved fatal for Duncan.  It was then up to his mother or grandmother to lay claim.  The Kingship then passed to  Mac Bethad (MacBeth).  Unlike Duncan his reign was seen as successful and had many celebrate achievements.  MacBeth wasn’t a tyrant like the Shakespeare version, although  MacBeth did kill Duncan’s father in battle at Dunked in 1045.  There was an uprising by Duncan’s son Malcolm, a plausible claimant to the throne which proved fatal for MacBeth.  MacBeth’s son Leach took the throne until he was also killed in Strathbogie, the crown passed then into the hands of the victor.  And so the began The House of Canmore.


Kings & Queens of The House of Dunkeld

Malcolm I (942-954)

Indulf (954-962)

Dubh (962-967)

Cuilean (967-971)

Kenneth II (971-995)

Constantine III (995-997)

Kenneth III (997-1005)

Malcolm II (1005-1034)

Duncan I (1034-1040)

Macbeth (1040-1057)

Lulach (The Fool) (1057-1058)