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This article is about 'Godred MacHarold'. You may be looking for 'his grandson, the engine named after him or King Godred'.

King Godred MacHarold (died 989), known in Sudrian legend as King Orry or Starstrider, was King of Sodor and Man from 979 to 989.


A younger son of Harold, Danish King of Limerick, he took advantage of a defeat of the Norse by the Irish to go a-viking. He harried Wales, then sailing north landed at a creek near Jurby, on the Isle of Man, on a starlit night. To the wondering natives who were familiar with fair haired Norse but not with dark haired Danes, he pointed to the stars reflected in the water. "There," he said, "is the path running from my country to this place. That is my road to fame and fortune." Starstrider had arrived.

Godred, or Ree Gorree as they called him, beat off all invaders, and gave Sodor and Man ten years of peace and security, a longer consecutive period than any remembered before. It is therefore hardly surprising that in the turmoil of subsequent years his reign should be remembered as a Golden Age. In Sodor, if not in Man, he is remembered as King Orry. The Ogmumdsaga claims that he established Tynwald and the House of Keyes on Man, though it is generally believed there that they were established by his grandson, Godred Crovan.

Earl Sigurd of Orkney eventually brought his longships south to reclaim the islands. King Orry beat him off twice; once in Man in 982, and again in Sodor in 984 at a ford now replaced by a bridge which bears his name. Peel Godred is named after him too, for he turned the hill-top village into a stockaded town, and made it his capital in Sodor. He probably made similar improvements to the port of Arlesburgh.

Sudrians were to regret their failure to kill or capture Sigurd during the battle of 984. Five years later, in 989, he returned with overwhelming force. In a battle fought on Man, Godred and his two elder sons were killed; but his wife, a Manx girl, his daughter Gudrun, and his youngest son Harold escaped to Islay. Harold would reclaim Godred's kingdom after Sigurd's death in 1014.

In 1900, the Culdee Fell Railway named its first locomotive Godred, in his honour. Culdee noted that this honour may have been a factor in his carelessness.



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