The Lordship of the Isles

This is a set of six stamps commemorating the historic Lordship of the Isles.


Godred Crovan (15p) - Godred Crovan was a warrior and probably related to the kings of Northumbria. In 1079 he seized the Isle of Man for himself after the Battle of Sky Hill, founding the Kingdom of the Isles and Mann. He later expanded the sea kingdom into Ireland and the Clyde estuary. Godred died on Islay in 1095 and is remembered in the Gaelic song Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain.


Finlaggan Castle (25p) - Finlaggan Castle was the seat of the Lords of the Isles and Clan Donald. It was built at some point within the 13th century on Eilean Mor within Loch Finlaggan, probably on the site of an Iron Age fort or a crannog. Finlaggan served as the administrative centre of the Lordship, with the castle serving as residence for the Lords with the neighbouring island of Eilean na Comhairle being the meeting place for the council.


The Battle of Largs, 1263 (40p) - The Battle of Largs was of huge significance for the Lords of the Isles. The forces of Aonghas Mor Macdonald supported the Norwegian King Haakon IV in his attempt to reassert his authority over Western Scotland. Unfortunately for Haakon and Aonghas, the Norwegians were routed on Largs beach by the Scottish forces led by Alexander, Steward of Scotland. The Lords of the Isles had historically had a close diplomatic relationship with the kings of Norway, rather than those of Scotland—but this understanding came to and end with the Treaty of Perth. The Lords of the Isles retained their lands but would now recognise the king of Scotland as their overlord.


Somerled (at the Battle of Renfrew) (50p) - Somerled (Somhairle) was a war-lord who, after an unsuccessful rebellion against King Malcolm IV of Scotland, turned his attentions to the Isles (ruled by his brother in law, Godred Olafsson). Effectively King of the Isles, Somerled’s territories stretched from the Butt of Lewis to the Isle of Man, taking in over 500 islands. With a fleet of fast galleys, he protected the Hebridean corridor to the Irish Sea, built a number of key fortifications and expanded his “empire”. He is often seen as a Gaelic hero who resisted Norse invasion. Somerled was killed in action at the Battle of Renfrew.


Dun Naomhaig Castle (75p) - Dun Naomhaig (Dunyvaig) Castle was essentially a naval base for the later Macdonald Lords. Originally built in the 12th century, on the site of an older fort, Dun Naomhaig was extensively developed in later years. After the Lordship was dissolved in 1493, the castle passed into the hands of the MacIans and, later, the Campbells. In 1614 it was the subject of a dispute and was captured by two Macdonald brothers. Unfortunately, by the 1670s the Campbells had decided to move to the new Islay House and ordered Dun Naomhaig to be demolished. All that remains of the castle today are the courtyard and sections of the keep.


Aonghas Og (£1) - Aonghas Og (Young Angus) was Lord of Islay in the early 14th century. As an ally of Robert Bruce, Aonghas fought at Bannockburn and for his part in consolidating the new king’s power received a grant of new territories—including Glencoe, Ardnamurchan and Lochaber. He may also have served in Bruce’s Irish campaign.

set FDC Sheet1

Set of three stamps: £3.05 (Mint or CTO)

Full sheet: £7.50

First Day Cover: £3.55