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Malcolm Canmore: Myth and Reality

Dr Neil McGuigan

Dr McGuigan is associated with Evening Degree teaching and the School of History at St Andrews, and will talk about his new book about the life and times of Máel Coluim III, king of Scotland, also known as Malcolm ‘Canmore’. At both popular and academic levels, Malcolm has been the object of considerable myth-making: as nemesis of the ‘usurper’ Macbeth, as husband of St Margaret, often as ‘last Celtic king’, father of Scottish feudalism, and Anglophile culture warrior.

In his own day, Malcolm had a reputation as an ambitious risk-taker and a fearsome slave-gathering warlord, as well as being a prominent patron of literary culture. Malcolm’s long and eventually very detailed afterlife encompasses much that will interest historians of later times, but the eleventh century was an important era in its own right and there are other, more credible reasons to regard his reign as among the most significant in Scottish history.

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