Born circa 1210
As the son of Iye MacEth married the daughter of Walter, Bishop of Caithness, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1263, it is reasonable to conclude that the father was over fifty years of age at the time of the son's marriage, especially seeing that the son was then old enough to act the part of chamberlain to the bishop. We have therefore fixed the date of Iye MacEth's birth as about 1210. But Kenneth, the leading representative of the MacEth family, fell in 1215, as already shown, so that as far as dates are concerned, Iye MacEth may have been his son or his nephew - from lack of evidence on the point, we cannot be more definite. This descent would make Iye MacEth the great-grandson of Malcolm MacEth, Earl of Ross, but whether through Kenneth or not remains uncertain. That he was a descendant of Malcolm, Earl of Ross, and the first of the family to settle permanently in Strathnaver, is all that the old family MS. account, on which the Blk. MS. bases its genealogy, seems to have recorded.
In our introductory chapter we briefly showed how Malcolm IV, King of Scots, his brother William the Lyon, and Alexander II, son of the latter, assailed the MacEths, until in 1215 Kenneth MacEth was slain by Farquhar Macintaggart, afterwards Earl of Ross; and we also showed how King Alexander pursued the rebellious ones to Strathnaver in 1223. The reign of Alexander II was marked by great vigour. Caithness, Galloway, Argyle, and even the western isles, the quarters in which his sovereignty was disputed, he repeatedly attacked with wisdom and energy [Fordun's Annalia]. Of some he took hostages, the lands of others he bestowed upon his own friends. In 1249 he made his last effort. With a large army he invaded Argyle, collected ships and prepared to sweep the Norseman from the western isles, vowing "that he would not desist until he had set his standards east on the cliffs of Thurso" [Chron. of Man]. Before he had practically begun operations, he was seized with illness and died, leaving his son and successor, Alexander III, a minor of only eight years of age. During the long minority of Alexander III, the reins of government naturally fell loose, and Iye MacEth managed to secure some foot-hold in Strathnaver.
The known issue of Iye MacEth was three sons.