In which I examine three theories about where king Áed mac Cináeda died in 878 AD
Fascinating stuff as ever! It does seem hard to dismiss the Strathallan thing in the absence of anything more solid though. I guess as with the Strathearn/Culross connection it could potentially be intended politically instead of hydrologically - but it's not going to reach Forres! I wonder if there are any other toponyms that might be brought into play if Anderson's theory that the 'n's could be 'u's were accepted?
The odd thing about Blervie as the potential site of Malcolm's death is that the argument that pulls one way about Forres (ie even if the kings' deaths there are fictional propoganda, Forres must have been an important place to carry that level of symbolism when it was invented) surely goes into reverse for Blervie? If you were going to invent a fictional place of death to score propoganda points, why would you choose somewhere so obscure? Especially one so close to Forres? It feels there must be at least some pretext for such an otherwise random place to be chosen.
As an aside, what's the basis for Elgin being the most important place in Moray by the 12th century? It was obviously a burgh, but then so was Forres; it didn't become the seat of the cathedral until until the 13th century, and the sherrifdoms of Elgin and Forres weren't combined under Elgin until the late 15th century. If anything Inverness would seem to be the dominant centre of secular power in Moray post-Stracathro - it was probably the seat of the Sheriff of Moray mentioned in 1172, and was where the Leges Scocie specified stelen goods in Moray, Ross and Caithness should be taken for dispute.
You have my sympathy for the lack of reliable information that you're running into. It reminds me of the early days of the internet, when there was just enough content to make it tantalizingly easy to expect more...only to run into dead ends. Now I also have sympathy for future researchers who will have to deal with information overload made worse by easy access for the ignorant. I guess the silver lining is that you didn't have to deal with more than 3 implausible theories, lol.
In any case, I am thoroughly enjoying your historical journey. For some reason, I've come to view it as a medieval soap opera, always waiting for you to shine a light on another mysterious circumstance...
Best of luck with your continued research and studies!
Like your thinking, once again!
Are you aware that there was another medieval chapel in Forres? https://canmore.org.uk/site/15811/chapelton
It has a dedication to St Leonard which would post date it from your period but it has never been dug so we don’t really know it’s age. Could be that the St Leonard dedication (which the High Kirk in Forres now has) was a rededication of an earlier Celtic chapel. St Leonard is very much a Norman saint and his dedications do tend to be early in that period. Perhaps one that the de Freskins imported? They were also keen on St Laurence (their burial chapel is dedicated to him) and Forres’ original church also has that dedication
I have always been intrigued by the existence of that additional chapel within the parish especially as there was never major settlement round about in historic times, just the fermtoun of Chapelton itself. The survival of that name long after memory of the chapel itself has faded is, I think, a clue to the fact that at some point it was a significant religious settlement.
BTW the dating of Shaw in the Canmore entry is incorrect. 1882 is the 2nd edition. The 1st was published in 1775 so the chapel was a ruin even then
I am finding this super interesting so thanks for sharing :)