Saturday, April 25, 2009

Godred Crovan

Godred Crovan, Gofraid mac meic Arailt, Gofraid Merenech, was a Norwegian king of Dublin and King of Mann and the Isles. Crovan means white hand. In folk lore he is called King Orry. He was the son of King Harold the Black of Iceland.

An Historical and Statistical Account of the Isle of Mann, from the Earliest Times to the Present Date, by Joseph Train 1845, calling him Goddard Crovan or Chrouban, says that Chrouban in Icelandic means White Handed. The surnames of Scandinavia were not inheritable, but were distinctive to each man. Iceland was divied into shires or prefectures, called Goddard, and the prefect or magistrate of each shire was called Godi. The term Goddard denoted both the dignity and also the district over which the authority extended, in other words, the Godi-ship and the Godi-ric. From this it may be inferred that Crowman had either been a Godi in his own country or assumed that title on his arrival in Mann, in addition to that of king, being perhaps more honourable. Crowman, signifying the Slaughter, was perhaps conferred on him, being a Viking.

He is referred to as Gofraid mac meic in the Annals of Tigernach. He was the son of Harold The Black. The Chronicle of Mann say he was one of the survivors of Harold Hardrada's defeat at the Battle of Stamford Bride in 1066. He then took refuge with Godred Sigtryggson, King of Mann.

The Irish Annals say that he was a vassal of Murchad, King of Dublin. When Godred Sigtryggson died in 1070, his son Fingal succeeded as King of Mann.

In 1079 Godred Crovan gathered ships and sailed to Mann and tried to take control of the island but was defeated and forced to leave. He returned a second time and was again defeated. The third time he returned at night. He concealed 300 men behind what he knew would be the position of Fingal's men. During the battle these men revealed themselves from their hidden position behind the Manxmen and this caused them to lose their formation and they ran.

After taking the Isle of Mann, Godred Crovan took Dublin. He was driven out of Dublin in 1094 by Murdach Ua Briain. He died the next year according to the Annals of the Four Masters. on Islay.

He had sons Lagmann, Olaf and Harold. Lagmann blinded his brother Harold. Olaf and Lagmann's descendants ruled Mann. When Magnus died in 1095, Lagmann regained possession of his father's kingdom. He only ruled for seven years and was expelled by his subjects for his tyranny and cruelty. He went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and died there. Olave the youngest son, was appointed a regent to rule for him, because he was under age. But in 1114, Olaf or Olave was placed on the throne.

An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, from the First Introduction ... - Google Books Result
by John Lanigan - 1829 - Ireland

Publications‎ - Page 87
by Manx Society - 1864

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