In order to answer the seemingly simple question of what caused the rapprochement between Man and Norway in 1152/53, the first recorded contact since Magnús Berrf ttr s expeditions to the British Isles in 1098-1103, this thesis analyses in some detail the foreign relations of the Kingdom of Man and the Isles with Norway, England and Scotland, and the regional ones with Ireland, Galloway and Argyll from c. 1079 until 1153. In a wider British and North Sea context, the interplay between political and ecclesiastical developments in these countries and regions is examined, elucidating the reasons for growth and decline of Norwegian, English and Scottish influence in Man and the Isles. This thesis concludes that although Norway was restating her claims to influence in parts of Norgesveldet in the mid-twelfth century Godred s journey in 1152/53 cannot be attributed to Norwegian secular or ecclesiastical pressure on Man. Also an English or Scottish threat can be ruled out as a cause. Rather, the king of Man and the Isles had been deprived of Henry I s English protection in 1135 and might have been alarmed by the weakening of his subsequent guarantor, the Scottish crown, with the death of David I s adult heir in mid-1152. The volatile regional political landscape in the Irish Sea and the Western Seaboard, and especially the all too close relations with Dublin are identified as a source of danger for Man and the Isles throughout the twelfth century, and in the early 1150s matters came to a head. This thesis proposes that in the absence of other, closer sources of aid Godred of Man travelled to Norway in 1152/53 because of the following scenario: The long-term political threat caused by the fundamental flaw in the relations between Man and the Isles and its most powerful immediate neighbour, Dublin, was in 1152 dramatically exacerbated by the immediate danger to the diocese of Sodor as a result of ecclesiastical developments in Ireland, the elevation of Dublin into a metropolitan see. Against this looming loss of Man s hard-won ecclesiastical and political independence only the inclusion into the new Norwegian church province seemed to constitute a suitable counter-measure.
On an abstract level, this thesis therefore shows the implications of the twelfth century church developments, both of the seculars and the regulars, for the relations between various new polities, as well as for those between kingdoms- or lordships-in-the-making and more established older kingdoms, and underlines the interaction of the growing church organisation in the northern European fringe areas with national boundaries and areas of influence, especially Norgesveldet.