Uilleam I, Earl of Ross

Uilleam I of Ross was the first successor of Ferchar mac an tSagairt, as Mormaer of Ross, with his comital dates traditionally given as 1251–1274.

Uilleam appears as early as 1232, witnessing a charter as the son of Ferchar. He was definitely Mormaer by 1258, but the traditional date is 1251. Uilleam played a pioneering role in the Scottish reconquest of the Hebrides, which had been under Norwegian control. Indeed, in many ways, he may be regarded as the instigator of Scottish aggression. Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar tells us that in Norway:

"In the previous summer , letters came east from the Hebrides ... and they brought forward much about the dispeace that the Earl of Ross ... and other Scots, had made in the Hebrides, when they went out to Skye, and burned towns and churches, and slew very many men and women ... They said that the Scottish king intended to lay under himself all the Hebrides." 1

Uilleam's attacks on Norwegian possessions earned him the ire of King Håkon IV, who planned an expedition against him. However, Uilleam escaped this expedition. He was probably rewarded with Skye and Lewis after the Scottish reconquest of the Hebrides, a reward secured when the conquests were ratified by the Treaty of Perth in 1267.

He married Johanna Comyn, the daughter of William Comyn, jure uxoris Earl of Buchan, by whom he fathered his successor Uilleam.2 He died, probably in 1274.

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