Anglicised as Kenneth II, Cináed mac Maíl Coluim, was the son of Malcolm I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill) and was born sometime before 964, succeeding King Cuilén (Cuilén mac Iduilb) in 971 as King of Scots (Alba).
Known primary sources, such as The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba were compiled in Kenneth’s reign, but many of the place names and events mentioned are entirely imaginary or corrupt. It is always difficult sieving the wheat from the chaff when trying to establish a time line for his life and years of reign.
Whatever the reality, more reliable sources have always been available to tell the story of his death and at a conference in Wybunbury, the ceremonial county of Cheshire, following painstaking years of piecing together and translating a short parchment, an established version of the events leading to his demise and the immediate aftermath has now been recorded and accepted by all leading ‘Kenneth’ scholars.
The new material endorses part of what has has been known for many years, the account of John of Fordun writing in the 14th century. Kenneth attempted to change the succession rules, allowing “the nearest survivor in blood to the deceased king to succeed“, thus securing the throne for his own descendants. He did so to specifically exclude Constantine) and Kenneth (known as Gryme) in this source. The duo then conspired against him, convincing Finnguala (literally meaning fair shoulder) to kill the king which she is reputed to have done as revenge for Kenneth killing her own son. Things got a bit complicated then as she turned into a swan and there was a wicked stepmother somewhere but I lost the will to live when it got to the fairy tale bit and so as we know they did not all live happily ever after, we will leave it at Finnguala killing Kenneth. That much is established now beyond doubt and is summed up below.
One day, Kenneth II and his companions went hunting into the wood. The hunt took him to Fettercairn, where Finnguala resided. It has now been established that Fettercairn is known better as Soweth Påk (South Park in modern English).
Finnguala approached him to proclaim her loyalty and invited him to visit her home, whispering into his ear that she had information about a conspiracy before enticing him to a small dwelling where a booby trap was hidden, a statue connected by strings to a number of crossbows. If anyone moved the statue, this would trigger the crossbows and be pierced by the arrows. Kenneth touched the statue and “was shot though by arrows sped from all sides, and fell without uttering another word.”
Finnguala escaped through the woods and managed to join her co-plotters, Constantine and Gryme.
Despite Kenneth having been killed at Soweth Påk, the hunting companions soon discovered the blood soaked king. With the now world famous cry they proclaimed his death,
“Oh my god, they killed Kenny! You bastards!”
Jeff Jefferty Jeff is going to go and lick his salty balls – chocolate ones that is!
© Jeff ‘Jefferty’ Jeff 08.06.15