Godred II Olafsson - Ancestry and Family Connections

Ancestry and Family Connections

Godred was the son of Olaf Godredsson, King of Mann and the Isles (d. 1153), who was a younger son of Godred Crovan, King of Mann and the Isles and King of Dublin (d. 1095). Like his predecessors, Godred (Olafsson) is sometimes styled "King of Mann" in secondary sources, however, this is anachronistic. Godred, his sons, and his father, styled themselves in Latin as Rex Insularum ("King of the Isles"). It is unknown how Godred's grandfather, Godred Crovan, styled himself. It was not until the reigns of Godred's grandsons, that the leading members of the dynasty adopted the Latin title Rex Mannie et Insularum ("King of Mann and the Isles").

The ancestry of Godred's paternal grandfather, founder of the Crovan dynasty, is uncertain. The Chronicle of Mann describes Godred Crovan in Latin as filius Haraldi nigri de ysland, and it is possible that "ysland" may refer to Iceland. Within the Annals of Tigernach, he is given the Gaelic patronymic mac mic Arailt, which may mean that he was a son or nephew of Ivar Haraldsson, King of Dublin (d. 1054). Ivar was a grandson of the celebrated Olaf Cuaran, King of Dublin, King of Northumbria (d. 981), a second generation Uí Ímair dynast. Godred Crovan died in 1095, after ruling the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles for over 15 years. A period of confusion followed his death before his younger son Olaf then became king for more than 40 years. Godred Olafsson's mother was one of Olaf's wives, Affreca, daughter of Fergus, Lord of Galloway, and his wife, an illegitimate daughter of Henry I, King of England.

The Chronicle of Mann states that Olaf had several concubines who bore him three sons and many daughters. One of these daughters, Ragnhild, married Somerled, Lord of Argyll (d. 1164). This marriage played a major part in Godred's life with the chronicle stating that Ragnhild was the cause of the downfall of the Kingdom of the Isles while it appears that her ancestry was the source of the claim to the kingship of the Hebrides by the descendants of Somerled. Godred is known to have married Fingola, granddaughter of Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn, King of Cenél nEógain, High King of Ireland and to have had at least one son by this marriage. According to a praise poem of another son, Godred had at least one son by a woman named Sadb, whom historians suspect to have been an Irishwoman. A charter that Godred granted to St Bees Priory appears to show that Godred was a foster-brother of a man named Gilla Críst.

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