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Fettercairn Today
Fettercairn Today

Kenneth II (a.k.a. Cináed mac Maíl Choluim) lived from 932 to 995 and was King of Alba from 971 to 995. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline. Kenneth was the son of Malcolm I and brother to King Duff, who had ruled until 966. He became King of Alba on the killing of his predecessor, King Culen, by the Britons of Strathclyde, though it was no until he killed Culen's brother Amlaib in 977 that he was able to rule unchallenged.

Kenneth II spent much of his reign in conflict. He first fought the Britons of Strathclyde, before turning his attention to Northumbria, where he further secured Alba's hold on the lands between the River Forth and the River Tweed against the ever present threat of King Edgar's English forces.

In the north, Scottish claims were being constantly challenged by Sigurd, Earl of Orkney, and much of Caithness, Easter Ross and Inverness-Shire were under Viking control. Kenneth strengthened his ties with the Irish nobility by marrying a Princess of Leinster. They had at least one son, who went on to become Malcolm II.

After a reign of 24 years Kenneth was killed in Fettercairn. According to the chronciles of John of Fordun, this was as a result of a plot mounted by Lady Finella, the daughter of the Earl of Angus. After the murder Finella fled to St Cyrus before being caught and executed. Kenneth II was buried in the graveyard at Saint Oran's Chapel on the Isle of Iona. Kenneth II was succeeded by his third cousin Constantine III, son of King Culen.

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