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Heredity of the mormaerships was originally in the male line only.

After the introduction of the feudal system into Scotland in the 12th century, the earldoms were descendible to heirs general was one of the seven original provinces of Scotland, covering about the same territory as the modern Scottish county of Forfar.

Gillbride was the first individual to be styled (in 1135) Earl of Angus and members of his family succeeded him in the title until the mid-13th century. The Pictish Chronicle names Conchar Mormaer of Angus as father of Fynebole Lady of Fettercairn, who murdered Kenneth II King of Scotland in 995 in revenge for the slaughter of her only son oat Dunsinane. The Chronicle of the Scots and Picts dated 1177 records that "Kynnath mac Malcolm" reigned for 24 years and 2 months, was killed "a suis hominibus in Fetherkern" through the treachery of "Finuele filie filie Cunthar comitis de Anguss" whose only son had been killed by the king.

"Domino Magnus filio Comitisdomino Anegus filio Comitis" witnessed the charter, dated to [1226/39], which confirmed the donation of "terra de Othirlonyterram de Kenny" to Aberbrothoc by "Valterum filium Turpini".

A charter dated 1351 which confirmed the donation of "terram de Kenny" to Aberbrothoc by "Walterum filium Turpini" quotes a document witnessed by "Domino Magno filio Comitis Domino Anegus filio Comitis".

According to Skene, the relationship between these rulers and their provinces was not purely territorial but connected with the tribes which occupied the land.

After the accession of David I King of Scotland in 1124, the tie to the land was strengthened as the mormaerships were transformed into earldoms, the earls holding the land from the Scottish crown as tenants-in-chief in accordance with the Norman feudal system.

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