On this day, 13 February 858, Cináed mac Ailpín (Kenneth MacAlpin), died. He was my 36th great-grandfather through one line and a multi-times (still trying to unravel this one) great-grandfather through another.
Cináed mac Ailpín was born in 810 in Iona, Scotland. The son of Ailpín, he is regarded by many as the founder of medieval Scotland.
By 843, at roughly the same time that the people of Wales were separated from the invading Saxons by Offa’s Dyke, Cináed mac Ailpín was creating the Kingdom of Alba (Scotia) by unifying the warring societies of the Anglos, Britons, Picts, and Scots.
His success was due in part to the continued threat of Viking raids. In 872, Harald Fairhair seized control of Norway, causing many of the jarls to seek out new lands. Norse settlements grew in Caithness, the Isle of Man, Orkney, Ross, Shetland, Sutherland, and the Western Isles.
In addition, the ties between Cináed mac Ailpín’s kingdom and Ireland were weakened, and those with southern England and the European continent nearly were severed. Because of this, the union between the Picts and the Gaels, already progressing for several centuries, furthered strengthened.
Cináed mac Ailpín created his capital at Forteviot in Pictish territory. And, because Iona was attacked regularly by Viking raiders, he transferred St. Columba’s relics from Iona to Dunkeld on the River Tay in present-day Perthshire, making it the new ecclesiastical capital.
Cináed mac Ailpín is also credited with setting the ancient Stone of Destiny at Scone. According to legend, the Stone of Destiny was brought to Scotland by Fergus Mor of Ireland by way of Spain, Egypt, and the Holy Land.
On 13 February 858, Cináed mac Ailpín died from a tumor at the palace of Cinnbelachoir near Scone. He left two sons—Causantín mac Cináeda (my 35th great-grandfather) and Áed mac Cináeda, who were later kings—and two daughters, one whose name is unknown and Máel Muire ingen Cináeda. Cináed mac Ailpín was succeeded by his brother Domnall mac Ailpín.