Copyright 2024 Mary McGonigal Updated 12 April 2024 Date of 'update' refers to the whole section update, not to every individual file.
, Duncan 5th Earl of Fife, Justiciar of Scotland
(About 1120-1204)


Family Links

1. Ela

, Duncan 5th Earl of Fife, Justiciar of Scotland 1 2

  • Born: About 1120
  • Marriage (1): Ela in 1160 1
  • Died: 1204 1

   User ID: W606.

  Research Notes:


The earlier Earls of Fife have been omitted here on account of the uncertainty regarding their familial connection to each other. It is doubtful that they were sons succeeding fathers.

This uncertainty also causes a variation in the numbering of them, The Scots Peerage lists in sequence
1 Edelrad, or Ethelred
2 Constantine
3 Gillemichael
4 Duncan, died 1154
5 Duncan, died 1204

The People of Medieval Scotland website sequence the Earls of Fife as
1 Constantine
2 Gilla Micheil
3 Duncan, died 1154
4 Duncan, died 1204.

The latter is used here. 3 4

Duncan married Ela, daughter of Reginald DE WARENNE and Unknown, in 1160.1 (Ela was born about 1138.)

  Marriage Notes:

"Sir Robert Sibbald prints a charter of King Malcolm IV. granting to Earl Duncan, with his niece Ada, 'the lands of Strathmiglo, Falkland, Kettle, Rathillet in Fife, and of Strathbran in Perthshire.' The charter, from the witnesses, must be dated between 1160 and 1162, but the name of Earl Duncan's wife was not Ada but Ela or Hela, as she is so named in a grant which he made to the Abbey of Dunfermline of the church of Calder Comitis, or Earl's Calder, which is confirmed by Ela his wife and by Robert, Bishop of St. Andrews, who died in 1158 or 1159. The terms of the writ by Countess Ela suggest that she was heiress of Earl's Calder. Earl Duncan may have acquired that barony also by his marriage with her. She was, according to the charter quoted, the niece of King Malcolm, but it has been objected that Malcolm, who was born in 1142, could scarcely have had a niece marriageable in 1160. Yet it is possible that Ada or Ela might be the child of an illegitimate son or daughter born to Malcolm's father Earl Henry, in his youth, as he had at least one illegitimate child, and may have had others."

from Scots Peerage (vol 4)

"The name Ela is rare in Scottish record of the time, but it occurs in a number of English baronial families, where its use may be traced to the marriage of King Malcolm's uncle, William III earl Warenne, to Ela of Ponthieu, daughter of Ela of Burgundy. The name Ela might thus suggest a Warenne connexion, and it is certainly worth noting an association between the two countesses, Ada de Warenne and Ela, in contemporary record, and also that Reginald de Warenne, probably the Countess Ada's brother, witnessed an unprinted charter issued by Earl Duncan II of Fife in favour of the monks of May. It is by no means improbable that King Malcolm should have given a relative in marriage to the earl of Fife, but her exact identity and relationship to the king are not known for certain, and the. solution of this problem must await further evidence."

from The Earls of Fife in the 12th century 1 3


1 e-books, The Scots Peerage ed. Sir James Balfour Paul vol. 4 (1907).

2 Internet Site,

3 e-books, The Earls of Fife in the 12th century by G.W.S. Barrow (1951 Journal of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland).

4 Internet Site,

Copyright 2024 Mary McGonigal

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