Quaerentes in Extremis
Alan FitzRoland, Lord of Galloway
Alan FitzRoland, Lord of Galloway
Alan FitzRoland is the Lord of Galloway, hereditary Constable of Scotland, and unofficial patron of the Covenant. Born about 1175, Alan of Galloway was the son of Roland (or Lochlann), Lord of Galloway and Helen de Morville and was born in about 1175. Alan inherited the position of Constable of Scotland and the Lordship of Galloway from his father, and the de Morville Lordships of Lauderdale and Melrose from his mother. Alan’s father was the eldest son of Uhtred, Lord of Galloway (died 1174),4 son of Fergus, Lord of Galloway (died 1161). The familial origins of Fergus are unknown, and he first appears on record in 1136. The mother of at least two of his children, Uhtred and Affraic, was an unknown daughter of Henry I, King of England. He is the great grandson of the King of England. His brother is Thomas Earl of Athol.
Whereas Lochlann’s grandfather, Fergus had called himself King of Galloway, Lochlann’s favorite title was “Constable of the King of Scots” and Alan’s was Lord of Galloway. His second marriage, in about 1209, to the king’s niece, Margaret, eldest daughter of David*, Earl of Huntingdon* (died 1219) also reveals Alan’s significant social standing. From about 1210 to 1215, his activity in Scottish affairs dwindles dramatically, whilst his activity in English affairs increases steadily.
His focus moves frequently between attending the King of Scotland to providing service as a great lord to the King of England. King John has granted him lands in Ireland that are currently under threat from Hugh de Lacy. Currently, Hugh De Lacy (who was originally supported by King John to oust de Crecy from Ulster before being dispossessed by the same King John) is starting to wage war to reclaim Northen Ireland.
Through Alan’s position as constable has been involved in King Alexander’s peripheral campaigns during these early 1220s. One such operation, directed deep into the Highlands against a certain Domnall mac Niall, seems to have been based from Inverness, and perhaps directed into the Strathspey and Great Glen regions. King Alexander’s success in this campaign may have led to his establishment of the Comyns in Badenoch, and to the creation of lordships in Stratherrick, Boleskine, and Abertarff. It is unknown if this campaign was connected to the maritime operations undertaken by Alan’s brother Thomas FitzRoland in the same year. According to the Annals of Loch Cé, Thomas had slain Diarmait Ua Conchobair (died 1221), a claimant to the kingship of Connacht, whilst the latter was in route to Connacht with a mercenary fleet recruited in the Hebrides. In fact, this clash may have been related to an ultimately unsuccessful Scottish intrusion into Argyll in 1221.
Alan was married three times. His first wife appears to have been a daughter of Roger de Lacy, Constable of Chester. This is the English March (Wales) or Pontefract branch of the de Lacy’s. It was likely upon this union that Alan gained the English lordship of Kippax as maritagium from his father-in-law. Alan’s second marriage, to King David’s daughter Margaret, is dated to 1209. Alan’s second marriage, therefore, allied him to the Scottish royal family.
Alan had several children from his first two marriages, although only daughters appear to have reached adulthood. One daughter from his first marriage died whilst a Scottish hostage of the English king, her death being reported in June 1213. Helen, another daughter from Alan’s first marriage, married Roger de Quincy (died 1264). Although the date of this union is unknown, it was probably on this occasion that her husband came into possession of Kippax. In 1210, another daughter Dervorguilla was born from Alan’s second marriage.
Alan appears to have had two sons, both named Thomas. The first was his only known legitimate male offspring and heir who was born to Margaret. In addition to his illegitimate son Thomas, Alan had a like-named legitimate son. He died in 1220 from illness.
In 1222, Alan recently brought home an illegitimate son, Tomás (or Thomas) mac Ailein. His origins are not entirely clear, but Alan has said that the child is his and there appears to be a close resemblance. Under Gaelic tradition, Thomas the Bastard is next in line to Alan as his sole male heir