Suthen Sibylla of Northumbria

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Suthen Sibylla of Scotland, of Northumbria

Also Known As: "Suthen", "Sibylla", "Sybil", "Sybilla", "Sibyl", "Sibyl Fitzsiward", "Sybil /Fitzsiward/", "Queen of Scotland", "Suthen Sibylla (of Northumbria) of Scotland", "Suthen Sibylla of Northumbria"
Birthplace: Northumbria, Northumberland, England (United Kingdom)
Death: 1070 (60-61)
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Mid Lothian, Scotland
Place of Burial: Edinburgh, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Daughter of NN Suthen's father Beornsson and Suthen's mother
Wife of Duncan I, King of Scots
Mother of Malcolm III, 'Canmore', King of Scots; Donald III "Bane", King of Scots; Duncan, Earl of Moray and Mael Muire mac Donnchad, Mormaer of Atholl

Occupation: aka Sibyl Biornsson, She was a Queen of the Scots., Kuningatar, Consort
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Suthen Sibylla of Northumbria

Sibylla, Sibyl, Sybil or Suthen.

  • Parents unknown, but Beorn Beornsson, Siward's father is Suthen Sibylla's uncle. [Check sources for this connection - Sharon]
  • Married to Duncan MacCrínain
  • Children:
    • Malcolm III
    • Donald Bane
    • Maelmuire (son)

Sources and Resources,

DUNCAN King DUNCAN I 1034-1040; [Donnchad], son of CRINAN "the Thane" Mormaer of Atholl & his wife Bethoc of the Scots ([1001]-killed in battle either Bothganowan/Pitgaveny, near Elgin, or Burghead 14 Aug 1040, buried Isle of Iona).
His parentage is confirmed by the Annals of Ulster which record the death of "Donnchad son of Crínán, king of Scotland" in 1040[265].
He is not named as king in the 12th century Cronica Regum Scottorum king-list[266].
The Chronicle of John of Fordun names "Duncan" as son of "Crynyne Abthane of Dul and Steward of the Isles" and his wife[267].
He succeeded in 1018 as King of Strathclyde. [This is disputed by Duncan, A. A. M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8 - Sharon]
He succeeded his maternal grandfather in 1034 as DUNCAN I King of Scotland.
The Orkneyinga Saga records that “Karl Hundason” succeeded King Malcolm in Scotland and records his battles with Thorfinn Jarl of Orkney[268]. No other record has been identified of this alleged person.
The Annales Dunelmenses record that "Dumechanus rex Scotorum" besieged Durham in 1039 with a large army but retreated from the siege[269].
He was killed in battle by his first cousin, Macbeth, who succeeded as King of Scotland.
The Chronicon of Marianus Scottus records that "Donnchal rex Scotiæ" was killed "1040 XIX Kal Sep" by "duce suo Macbethad mac Finnloech" who succeeded as king for 17 years[270].
The Annals of Ulster record that "Donnchad son of Crínán, king of Scotland, was killed by his own people" in 1040[271].
The Annals of Tigernach record that “Donncadh mac Crínan, airdrí Alban” was killed “immaturo etate a suis” in 1040[272].
The Chronicle of John of Fordun records that Duncan was killed by "Machabeus son of Finele…at Bothgofnane" and buried in the island of Iona[273].
The Chronicle of the Scots and Picts dated 1177 records that "Donchath mac Cran Abbatis de Dunkelden et Bethok filia Malcolm mac Kynnet" reigned for 6 years, was killed "a Maketh mac Fyngel in Bothngouane" and was buried "in Yona insula"[274]. Cawley’s Medlands
m ([1030]%29 SUTHEN [SIBYLLA], [cousin of SIWARD Earl of Northumbria, daughter of ---]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun records that the mother of Malcolm and Donald Bane, Duncan´s sons, was "the cousin of Earl Siward"[275]. This information is not included in any earlier source and should be considered dubious. In one earlier king list, King Malcolm III's mother is named "Suthen"[276]. No reference has been found in primary sources to her being named Sibylla, the name found in many secondary sources. Cawley’s Medlands
King Duncan I & his wife had [three] children:

1. MALCOLM (1031-killed in battle near Alnwick, Northumberland 13 Nov 1093, buried Tynemouth, later transferred to Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, and later still to Escorial, Madrid). The Chronicon of Marianus Scottus records that "Moelcol…filius Donchael" succeeded Lulach in 1058[277]. He succeeded in 1058 as MALCOLM III "Caennmor/Bighead" King of Scotland. Cawley’s Medlands
2. DONALD (- died in prison Rescobie, Forfarshire 1099, buried Dunkeld Abbey, later transferred to Isle of Iona). Matthew Paris names him as brother of King Malcolm, and records that he was elected by the Scots to succeed his brother in 1093 as DONALD III "Bane", King of Scotland 1093-1097 [278]. Florence of Worcester records that "Dufenaldum regis Malcolmi fratrem" was elected king after his brother's death but that "filius regis Malcolmi Dunechain" expelled "patruum suum Dufenaldum"[279]. According to Florence of Worcester, he expelled all the English from the Scottish court[280]. "Douenald filius Conchat Regis" made donations "cum ceteris regibus…Duncano rege Edgaro et Alexandro et David fratribus"[281]. This charter is undated and the reference to the four brothers all as kings indicates that it is probably spurious. Florence of Worcester records that King Donald was deposed in 1094 by his nephew Duncan, with help from the English and Normans[282]. The Annals of Inisfallen record that "Domnall son of Donnchadh” killed “Donnchadh son of Mael Coluim king of Alba” in 1094 and “took the kingship of Alba”[283]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun records that "his uncle Donald…again usurped the kingship" after the death of "Duncan, King Malcolm´s illegitimate son" and reigned for three years[284]. Florence of Worcester records that "clitorem Eadgarum" led an army to Scotland in [1097] to place "consobrinum suum Eadgarum Malcolmi regis filium" on the Scottish throne after expelling "patruo suo Dufenaldo"[285]. William of Malmesbury records that King Duncan II "was murdered by the wickedness of his uncle Donald" and that the latter was "dispatched by the contrivance of David, the youngest brother and the power of [King] William [II]"[286]. He was imprisoned. The Chronicle of the Picts and Scots dated 1251 records that "Donald mac Donchat" was captured "a Edgar mac Malcolm", blinded, died in "Rosolpin" and was buried "in Dunkelden", transferred to Iona[287]. m ---. The name of Donald's wife is not known. Cawley’s Medlands
3. MAELMUIRE [Melmare] (-died after [1135]). According to the Complete Peerage, Melmare, who it says was the father of Madach Earl of Atholl, was the son of Duncan I King of Scotland & his wife ---, but it cites no corresponding primary source[302]. The primary source which confirms that this is correct has not yet been identified. The only primary source reference to Maelmuire which has so far been found is the undated charter under which David I King of Scotland granted protection to the clerics of Deer, which is witnessed by "Donchado comite de Fib et Malmori d´Athotla et Ggillebrite comite d´Engus et Ghgillcomded Mac Aed…"[303]. From the names of the earls of Fife and Angus, it is unlikely that this document can be dated to before 1135 at the earliest. If that is correct, it is evidently impossible from a chronological point of view that Maelmuire could have been the son of King Duncan I.] Cawley’s Medlands

Private Notes

Turton's Plantagenet Ancestry has Sibyl as daughter of Sigurd, but I think it more likely she was his sister. The dates just seem entirely incompatible with her being born that late. Based on the e-mail from Betty Knoche, referring to the MammothBook on English Kings & Queens, by Mike Ashley, I am going to make her a sister (I have used slightly different dates, making her a younger sister).

The following e-mail from Betty Knoche,, gives a source who states that Sibyl was a sister (not daughter of Sigurd/Syward: Hi Jim You noted that you thought Sibyl was the sister of Sigurd rather than daughter. According to BritishKings et al, the comment is "Sybilla, sister (some records say dau.) of Siward, earl of Northumbria:..." I have a note that says Siward Biornsson was born abt 1020 with a sister born abt 1010 and they are the children of Biorn Ulsinsson, Earl inDenmark (born abt 975 in Roskilde, Denmark). I don't know if this helps or hinders! Betty

The following was given in a post-em by Curt Hofemann, Gerald Paget "The Lineage and Ancestry of H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales" p56 & 153 indicates that her father was Bjorn Bearsson & her brother was Siward Earlof Northumbria. George Andrews Moriarty "The Plantagenet Ancestry of King Edward III and Queen Philippa" p30 indicates that Siward was her cousin. Todd A Farmerie in a 23 Feb 2002 msg to SGM stated: There is no contemporary or near-contemporary documentation of this (that Sybil FitzSiward was the wife of Duncan I MacCrinan). The best you get is Siward being called a kinsman of Malcolm, Duncan's son (likewise, the name Sybil in this context is not workable). If such a connection is true, Iwoates: Suthen's name is known only from one of the Scottish king lists ("Regnal List I"), which gives the name of the mother of Malcolm III in an interlined addition [KKES 284]. ESSH 1: 596 cites the late fourteenth century Scottish historian Johnof Fordun [iv, 44] as stating that Duncan had married a kinswoman of Siward of Northumbria. Given Siward's support of Malcolm, that is plausible enough, but there does not appear to be any justification for attempts to define a more specific relationship between Suthen and Siward. ESSH = Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1922, reprinted Stamford, 1990). [Contains English translations of many of the primary records] KKES = Marjorie Ogilvy Anderson,Kings and Kingship in Early Scotland (Edinburgh, Totowa, NJ, 1973). suggests that she might have been the SISTER, not the daughter, of Siward Biornsson


"It should be noted that that the oft repeated tradition that Donnchad's wife was a cousin or sister of Earl Siward is a late, probably 13thC, addition to the legend, driven by the misinterpretation of the events of 1054." Woolf, Alex: ‘From Pictland to Alba 789-107.’ Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2007, p265


Malcolm's mother was a niece of Siward, Earl of Northumbria,[8][9] but an earlier king-list gives her the Gaelic name Suthen.[10] Other sources claim that either a daughter or niece would have been too young to fit the timeline, thus the likely relative would have been Siward's own sister Sybil, which may have translated into Gaelic as Suthen.
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Suthen Sibylla of Northumbria's Timeline

Northumbria, Northumberland, England (United Kingdom)
March 26, 1031
Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland
Perth, Perthshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Nithsdale, Dumfries-shire, , Scotland
Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Age 61
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Mid Lothian, Scotland
Age 61
Edinburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom)