Legends of the Scottish Kings

A complementary folkloric musing companion to my Scottish royal legends blog.

Island Queens - The Hebridean Tradition

Traditions of female rulers in the Hebrides are more evident, albeit tantalising in detail, than anywhere else in Scotland. An Irish writer, writing...

Murder at the Feast, The Treachery of Scone

Primary among the bedrock stories of the formation of Scotland is the legend that the Gaelic king Cináed mac Ailpín, or Kenneth mac Alpin, murdered a...

Canmore - Who was Big Head?

The head that wears the crown has to be large. But what exactly does this mean - symbolically big, physically huge, an appellation with mystical...

Bring Back the King, But Find Him First

Some kings are not supposed to lie easily in death. Take Mary Queen of Scots. At first she was put to rest, if not ignominiously, then without full...

Bruce and the Spider

At the risk of being anachronistic, you can see the modern day tabloid versions of the headline: EERIE ARACHNID INSPIRES WANNABE ROYAL...KING THANKS...

The Cradle and the Crown, Birth Tales of Royals

The mystery over the actual births of kings and queens is intimately associated with the mystery and legends of their ancestry, which in many cases...

Who Was King Karl Hundasson?

In the medieval Orkneyinga Saga , one of the primary sources for the history of Scandinavian Scotland we are presented with a character who opens the...

Descent from Kings - The Royal Clans

It is perhaps human nature to claim descent from important or significant people. The heritage of clan and kindred names in Scotland is notoriously...

Dubh, The Dark King and the Strangest Death

Three Dark Secrets This is one of the strangest, most convoluted tales ever associated with a king in Scotland, so bear with me while I pick out some...

Did Satan Issue a Roll-Call of the Scottish Dead Before Flodden?

The substantial quote below is from Robert Pitscottie's History and it relates how, a short time before the slaughter of the Battle of Flodden, a...

When the Saints are Against You... The King Arthur-James IV Link?

It was a bare few weeks before the Battle of Flodden between England and Scotland in the autumn of 1513. King James IV was determined to enter...

The Thistle King (From A Portrait of King James IV)

In his hand he held not a rose in glory, but a crooked thistle, thorn in flesh, and dressed about his middle no glowing golden belt, but a chain of...