‘Till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane…’ In 1054 an event occurred which, thanks to Shakespeare, has become the most celebrated popular image of early-medieval Scotland. King Edward of England ordered Siward, Earl of Northumbria, to invade Scotland and drive out the usurper Macbeth so that his protégé Malcolm, in his view the rightful heir to the kingdom, could be installed. In a battle at Dunsinnan Hill, near the ancient royal centre of Scone, Macbeth was defeated. The accession of Malcolm III has been seen as a turning-point in Scotland’s history. Brought up at the English court he later married Margaret, sister of the Saxon prince Edgar. Their marriage has been seen as marking the start of a reorientation of Scottish society in which English and continental influences were prominent. Three of their sons, Edgar, Alexander I and David I, were successively kings of Scotland. Under all of them, but especially under David, the introduction of Anglo-Norman influences was accelerated. The accession of Malcolm III provides a suitable point from which to begin a survey of the economic and social development of medieval Scotland. About the same time – possibly in 1057 – Thorfinn, Earl of Orkney died. His reign marked the apex of Norse power in northern and western Scotland. His death heralded the start of a decline in Norse influence which allowed the medieval kingdom of Scotland to expand to its full territorial limits.