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Alan, Lord of Galloway


Alan, Lord of Galloway

Alan Fitz Roland (c. 1175 – 1234) was the last of the MacFergus dynasty of quasi-independent Lords of Galloway. He was also hereditary Constable of Scotland.


He was the son of Roland, or Lochlann, Lord of Galloway and Helen de Morville. His date of birth is uncertain, but he was considered an adult in 1196.

In right of his mother he inherited the de Morville Lordship of Lauderdale, as well as others in that vicinity: West of Blainslie, in Lauderdale, but in the Lordship of Melrose, are the lands of Threepwood, which were granted by Alan, Constable of Scotland, to the monks of Melrose between 1177 and 1204.[1]


In 1212 Alan responded to a summons from King John I of England by sending 1,000 troops to join the war against the Welsh. In this year he also sent one of his daughters to England as a hostage. She died in 1213 in the custody of her maternal uncle. Alan is listed as one of the 16 men who counseled King John regarding the Magna Carta.

Alan, like his forebears, maintained a carefully ambiguous relationship with both the English and Scottish states, acting as a vassal when it suited his purpose and as an independent monarch when he could get away with it. His considerable sea power allowed him to supply fleets and armies to aid the English King John in campaigns both in France and Ireland.

In 1225, Alan lent military aid to Ragnvald Godredsson, King of the Isles against Ragnvald's half-brother, Olaf. Sometime later, Alan's illegitimate son, Thomas, was married to Ragnvald's daughter. The marriage gave Alan a stake in the kingship, and it appears that Thomas was intended to succeed to the Kingship of the Isles. However, the marriage appears to have angered the Manx people, and Ragnvald was deposed from the kinship and replaced by Olaf in 1226. Ragnvald may well have gone into exile at Alan's court. In 1228, Alan and his brother, Thomas, and Ragnvald, attacked and devastated the Isle of Man, while Olaf was absent in the Hebrides.

Alan died in 1234 and is buried at Dundrennan Abbey in Galloway.


Alan was married three times. His first wife was Helen (or Hilda) de L'Isle, a daughter of [Rognvald Somerledison, Lord of the Isles].[2] His second marriage, which took place in 1209, was to Margaret (d. before 1228), eldest daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon (d. 1219).[2][3] His third marriage was to Rose (d. after 1237), daughter of Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster (d. 1242).[2][4] Alan had numerous children from his first two marriages, although only daughters reached adulthood.[2] His eldest daughter from his first marriage, Helen, married Roger de Quincy (d. 1264).[2][5] One daughter from his second marriage, Christina (or Christiana) (d. 1246), married William de Forz (d. 1260).[2][6] Another daughter from his second marriage, Dervorguilla (d. 1290), married John de Balliol (d. 1314).[2][3] Alan also had bastard son, Thomas, who survived into adulthood.[2]

With Alan's death his holdings were divided between his three daughters and their husbands. A popular attempt was made within Galloway to establish his illegitimate son, Thomas, as ruler, but this failed, and Galloway's period as an independent political entity came to an end.



  • Curia Regis Rolls, 1935.
  • Cal. Charter Rolls, 1, 1895
Preceded by:
Lochlann, Lord of Galloway
Lords of Galloway Succeeded by:
See Thomas & Gille Ruadh
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