Ingibiorg Finnsdottir

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Ingibiorg Finnsdottir
Queen Consort of Scotland
Tenure c. 1058–1069
Born Norway
Died c.1069
Spouse Thorfinn Sigurdsson
Malcolm III, King of Alba
Issue Paul and Erlend Thorfinnsson
Duncan II, King of Alba
Father Finn Arnesson
Mother Bergljot Halvdansdottir

Ingibiorg Finnsdottir (Standard Old Norse: Ingibjörg Finnsdóttir) was a daughter of Earl Finn Arnesson and Bergljot Halvdansdottir (Halfdansdottir), a niece of the Norwegian Kings Saint Olaf and Harald Hardraade.[1] She is also known as Ingibiorg, the Earls'-Mother.[2] The dates of her life are not certainly known.

She married Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney. The Orkneyinga Saga claims that Kalf Arnesson, Ingibiorg's uncle, was exiled in Orkney after her marriage to Thorfinn. This was during the reign of Magnus the Good, son of Saint Olaf, who ruled from 1035 to 1047, and probably before the death of Harthacanute in 1042.[3] Thorfinn and Ingibiorg had two known sons, Paul and Erlend, who fought in Harald Hardraade's ill-fated invasion of the Kingdom of England in 1066.[4]

Ingibiorg remarried after Thorfinn's death (date unknown).[5] Her second husband was Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada), the King of Scots. Whatever the exact date of the marriage, Malcolm and Ingibiorg had at least one son, and probably two. The Orkneyinga Saga tells us that Duncan II of Scotland (Donnchad mac Mail Coluim') was their son,[6] and it is presumed that the "Domnall son of Máel Coluim, King of Scotland" whose death in 1085 is reported by the Annals of Ulster was also their son.[7]

Ingibiorg is presumed to have died in around 1069 as Malcolm married Margaret, sister of Edgar Ætheling, in about 1070.[8] It may be, however, that she died before Malcolm became king, as an Ingeborg comitissa appears in the Liber Vitae Ecclesiae Dunelmensis, a list of those monks and notables from whom prayers were said at Durham, alongside persons known to have died around 1058.[9] If Ingibiorg was never queen, it would help to explain the apparent ignorance of her existence displayed by some Scots chroniclers.[10]


  1. Saga of Harald Sigurdsson, c. 45; Orkneyinga Saga, c. 34, says that Ingibiorg was a cousin of Thora, Harald Hardraade's wife and mother of Olaf III of Norway.
  2. Orkneyinga Saga, c. 25.
  3. Kalf's exile is in the Saga of Magnus the Good, c. 14, Harthacanute's death, c. 17; Orkneyinga Saga, c. 25, offers no information which could be used to date the marriage.
  4. Orkneyinga Saga, c. 34; Saga of Harald Sigurdsson, c. 83.
  5. Orkneyinga Saga, c. 32, says that he "died towards the end of the reign of Harald [Hardraade]". Harald reigned for twenty years. See also Duncan, p. 42, who suggests Thorfinn died in the early 1050s.
  6. Orkneyinga Saga, c. 34.
  7. Annals of Ulster, 1085.2; Oram, David I, pp. 22–23; Duncan, p. 55.
  8. Thus Oram, pp. 23–23.
  9. Duncan, pp. 42–43. Note that "c. 1085" on the first line of p. 43 is evidently an error for "c. 1058".
  10. A death in 1058 would also sit with Orderic Vitalis's belief that Malcolm was betrothed to Margaret in 1059; Duncan, p. 43.


  • Anon., Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney, tr. Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards. Penguin, London, 1978. ISBN 0-14-044383-5
  • Duncan, A.A.M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
  • Oram, Richard, David I: The King Who Made Scotland. Tempus, Stroud, 2004. ISBN 0-7524-2825-X
  • Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway, tr. Lee M. Hollander. Reprinted University of Texas Press, Austin, 1992. ISBN 0-292-73061-6

External links

Preceded by
Queen consort of Scotland
c. 1058 – 1069
Succeeded by
Margaret of Wessex