King Duff (930AD-966AD) was son of King Malcolm I and succeeded King Indulf to the throne of Alba (Scotland) in 962AD. Culen, son of Indulf attempted to take the throne in battle but failed. However King Duff fell ill shortly afterwards and in his weakened state could not govern the country properly and rebellions began to break out. When he recovered Duff started a series of campaigns to regain control. Many of the rebel leaders were brought to Forres for execution, which apparently included some of the family of the Donwald from Forres Castle. It is thought that for revenge he arranged for Duff to be kidnapped and murdered. Duff’s body now lies on the Isle of Iona, though his body for a while was hidden, buried under a stream which had been diverted as the grave was dug beneath a bridge. King Culen, who was thought to be behind the murder, succeeded Duff but only held the crown for four years.
King Duff’s illness and recovery has been associated to witchcraft. The story goes that King Duff’s men were patrolling around Forres, looking for rebels when they came across some old hags roasting a wax effigy of King Duff on an open fire. The witches were executed and immediately the King recovered from his illness. It is said that this story, the murder of Duff and the hags were an inspiration for Shakespeare’s MacBeth