Prince Henry
In Memorium
Pete Cummings
To promote recognition of Henry Sinclair, 14th Century explorer of North America, and to celebrate the 600th anniversary in 1998

25 September 1997 Issue

Published by Prince Henry Project Committee
65 Hartwell Street, West Boylston, MA, 01583, USA
Phone: 508-835-2900 Fax: 508-835-2944 E-Mail:
HTML by John S. Quarterman

Symposium focused upon Prince Henry

A panel of seventeen experts in various phases of Henry Sinclair and his 1398 Voyage to North America was held in Kirkwall, Orkney, on September 5-7, 1997. Each made a 1-hour presentation on specific subjects. See the summaries which follow. All told, they conveyed an impressive body of information about this Earl of Orkney.

The times were ready!

Dr. Peter Waddell, University of Strathclyde, author and inventor, told of the Hanseatic League from northern Germany during the 14th and 15th centuries. They monopolized trade between the Baltic seaports. The Danish and Norwegian kings became deeply in debt to the Hansea. Queen Margaret of Norway and Denmark sought to develop a "Northern Commonwealth" to compete. Meanwhile, the Venetian trading ships were venturing into the Baltic waters. This was the time when Prince Henry Sinclair was granted the earldom of Orkney. Nicolo Zeno from Venice is known to have been employed by Henry Sinclair.

Sinclair's castle in Orkney

Dr. Peter D. Anderson, the Deputy Keeper of the Records, described the Sinclair dynasty and its fortress. While no visible trace of Kirkwall Castle remains today, ancient records and pictures tell us that it was located on the shore of the harbor in Kirkwall, in the vicinity of the present Broad and Castle Streets. The Castle was rectangular, surrounded by a larger curtain wall 55-ft long by 11-ft thick. Built in the late 1300's by Prince Henry, it served the earldom until about 1470. Its final days were during the Battle of Somersdale, which was fought by two competing branches of the Sinclair family, fighting over control of portions of Orkney, Shetland, and Caithness.

The Knights Templar

Dr. Tim Wallace-Murphy, Templar Historian and author, spoke on the history, beliefs, and survival of the Knights Templar. He noted that Sinclairs are woven within the Templar web. Founded in Jerusalem in 1119 to guard the Christian pilgrimages, the Knights are believed to have found enormous treasure in the hidden vaults under the ancient Herod's Temple where they were quartered. In addition, they found the secrets of "sacred geometry". Membership rapidly grew and land was donated to them, forming a network stretching from the Holy Land to the far reaches of Europe. Using their power base wisely, they became the leading money brokers in the world. They built churches, fortifications, bridges, and castles, while operating the largest fleet the world had ever seen. Moreover, they lent vast sums to popes, princes, kings, and merchants. King Philip le Bel of France devised a simple method to cancel his enormous debt, and that was the Suppression Order. On Friday the 13th of October 1307, sixty senior Knights were arrested in Paris. Torture and death followed. Most Templars fled safely to Lombardy, Scotland, Portugal, and the Baltic states. Those finding refuge in Scotland, fought as allies of Robert the Bruce and gained royal protection. All documentary evidence was suppressed, except for their symbolism and architecture. Rosslyn Chapel is a veritable encyclopedia in stone of Templar beliefs.

The Venetian Connection

Dr. Andrew Sinclair, historian and author, presented some ways that Venice was evidenced in Prince Henry's expedition. There is today a large Zeno villa at Canareggio in Venice. Documents by Marco Barbaro entitled, "Libro di nozzi", reveal that Nicolo, the younger brother of Admiral Carlo Zeno, was commander of the Zicni (or Zichmni) fleet between 1383 and 1388. In 1396 it is known that Nicolo Zeno was banned from office in Venice. Another brother, Antonio, remained with Zichmni for another 13 years, when he retired in 1400. The name of Zichmni is translated to be Sinclair. A cannon, found in Louisburg Harbor, is identical to one on display in Venice, made in the late 1300's; it was obsolete by the 1400's. The Zeno Map, made by Antonio and Nicolo, remained in use by mariners for 150 years because of its accuracy.

Shetland, a point of voyage departure?

Dr. Jonathan Wills, a writer and boatman, described the coastline and vantage points in Shetland. He noted that a logical route from Orkney to the New World would lead Prince Henry to the Shetland islands. It could serve as an excellent "jumping- off" place. Several sheltered harbors were identified. Nearby, a lookout peak would be a necessity. Such a location was Vera Burton. Furthermore, an aerial reconnaissance by Niven Sinclair and Jon Wills found a site very likely to have been Prince Henry's "castle", sheltering him while on land.

The The Voyage and the vision

Mark Finnan, a Canadian writer and broadcaster, described the vision of Prince Henry's voyage. Certainly, early explorers such as St. Brendon and Tim Severen, had unusual inspiration and faith in order to undertake their voyages. Paul Knutson's exploration in 1362 has led many people to believe he was responsible for the unique stones found in the Minnesota and Lake Superior regions. For Prince Henry there were the family legends of his Viking ancestors. More recently, he listened to the fishermen who returned from the north Atlantic seas with tales of population and vegetation. The Zeno Map is admittedly crude and even erroneous in certain areas. It is possible that part of the history of the crossing was made up in the Zeno Narratives. Nevertheless, much truth can be gleaned from these documents. True or not, John Cabot's voyage on the "Matthew" 100 years later has been heralded by the Queen of England, radio, television, and film makers. The Prince Henry saga is richer by far, for it contains a quest for the Holy Grail.

In the steps of Prince Henry

William F. Mann, author and urban planner in Nova Scotia, lead the audience through a labyrinth of clues, deep within the forests of Nova Scotia. He told his reasons for believing that Prince Henry followed those paths 600 years ago. Moral allegory and sacred geometry form a basis for Bill's theories. By identifying certain known locations, it is possible to lay out on a map other vitally important locations. The landing site, the smoking hills, the Money Pit, and the two islands where Oak trees exist. These, and many more identifiers, have led to the discovery of an ancient camp site, thought to have been Prince Henry Sinclair's.

The Legends of the Mi'kmaqs

Dr. Peter Christmas, head of Micmac Cultural Association of Nova Scotia, was assisted by Don Julien, chief executive of the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs, and Kerry Prosper, chief of the Confederacy of Mainland Micmac Indians, gave the audience a clear view of the organization, beliefs, and feelings of the Native Americans who probably welcomed Prince Henry and his explorers. They found a number of Masonic symbols which were similar to theirs; however, they feel that many questions as to the historical significance are left unanswered. Dr. Christmas said that in Mi'kmaq oral tradition a great white man with a beard had come from far away beyond recorded memory.

Newport Tower

James P. Whittall, Jr., Archaeological director of the Early Sites Research Center in Massachusetts, spoke on the studies and beliefs surrounding the round stone building in Newport, RI. It was constructed in the style of Norman Romanisk architecture inspired from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The unique style of the Newport Tower was further influenced by the Templars round churches of Scandinavia. Local building traditions from whence the builders came also influenced its style. Determination of the date of original construction is usually based upon the study of features, such as arches, windows, niches, beam holes, key stones, mortar, and the orientation of openings. Those found within the Newport Tower have been dated in the broad range of 1150 - 1400. However, some specific features narrow the range to the late 1300's.

Is it possible that Prince Henry did not do it!

Brian Smith, Shetland Archives, offered a flamboyant array of reasons he feels cast a shadow upon the claim that Prince Henry Sinclair crossed the ocean to North America. Among them are a 500 year delay in making claims; the lack of contemporaneous claims by Sinclairs or Templars; numerous errors found in the Zeno Narratives; "Zichmni" referred to in the Zeno Narratives is thought to be really the Duke of Surrand; Nicolo Zeno was a political prisoner in Venice from 1360 to 1400; and the Zeno Narratives never mentioned Orkney.

Proofs that the Voyage occurred

Niven Sinclair, of London, Great Britain, a businessman, researcher, and inspirer, presented a comprehensive set of "Proofs". These are the result of Niven's tireless efforts to re-trace Henry Sinclair's footsteps around the world. Facts were derived from many reliable references. Aspiring for greatness, Henry became a Baron in 1358, Ambassador to Copenhagen in 1363, Crusader in 1365, and Jarl of Orkney in 1379. While serving as Ambassador, Henry had contact with Carlo Zeno, Ivar Bardsson, Paul Knutson, and of course, Queen Margaret, at which time his planning for the voyage began. In 1392 he went to London to purchase some ships. The "Proofs" are as follows:
Zeno Map:
Having enlisted Nicolo Zeno as fleet commander several years earlier, four ships were dispatched by Henry to chart the northern seas during 1393 - 1395. The Treaty of Kalmar was signed in 1397.
Contingency plans:
Ten years prior to this, Prince Henry gave indication of his forthcoming Voyage, because he distributed much of his land; to his brother John he gave Pentland and Shetland, brother David received the lands of Aberdeen, and to his daughter Elizabeth, he directed that his lands in Norway would go to her if he died without a mail heir.
Accuracy of Zeno Map:
For the next several centuries, the Zeno Map was used by mariners and recognized by such well-known cartographers as Ruscelli, Ortelius, and Cornielle. Professor Hapgood found 37 points of identity between the Zeno Map and recent aerial surveys by the US Air Force.
Zeno Narrative:
Many references in the Narrative could not have been fabricated by a writer two centuries later. These include the Spring of Pitch and name references to places.
14th Century Cannon:
Found in the waters of Louisburg Harbor, this cannon is exactly the same as one on display in Venice, which is authenticated to be late 14th century in origin.
Newport Tower:
Many features in this Tower provide good evidence, though contested, that it was built by the Sinclair expedition.
Legends of the Micmacs:
There are many clues in the oral history of the Native Americans which indicate the influence of Henry Sinclair in their land.
Westford Knight Carving:
Located in Westford, MA, there is a stone ledge onto which is carved a full sized armorial effigy of a 14th century knight, holding a shield bearing the crest of Clan Gunn.
Boat Stone:
An egg-shaped rock measuring about 18" diameter was found in Westford, MA, bearing a carved impression of a 14th century ship and the numerals "184" with an arrow.
Scottish evidence in Rosslyn Chapel:
Carved in stone about 1450 there are some Aloe and some Corn [maize], both believed to have been unknown in Europe at the time, unless they were transported back from America by Prince Henry.

Celebration in 1998!

H. S. "Pete" Cummings, Jr., chair of the Prince Henry Project, provided a view of what to expect on the 600th Anniversary celebration. The availability of money and people has seriously limited the dreams of his Committee. D'Elayne Coleman and W. E. "Bill" Sinclair added their comments. Events are expected on February 22, 1998 in Moultrie, GA; June 2, 1998, in Guysborough, NS; July 31, 1998, in Advocate, NS; Aug 1998 in Parrsboro, NS; Sep 18 1998 at Lincoln, NH; Sep 21, 1998, in Westford, MA. Other events are surely going to be added. Drop in on the 600th Celebration Websites at <URL:> and <URL:> to learn more about the festivities. Or, contact Prince Henry Project at PO Box 158, Worcester, MA, 01613.

Replica Ship in question

Funds from the public have not been sufficient to acquire a replica of Prince Henry's ship for the 600th celebration. However, Bob Green, Voyage Leader, remains highly optimistic. His vision is to raise private monies for a profitable enterprise to build the ship, sail it across the ovean, and exhibit it at 600th anniversary events. If you are interested in investing funds in this venture, contact Bob Green at phone 609-383-1066.

Memorial Park

The Sinclair Memorial Park is alive and well in Guysborough, Nova Scotia. A permanent, large monument to Prince Henry has been installed. D'Elayne Coleman reports that a comprehensive grant request and busioness plan has been submitted to the Nova Scotia government. If approved, it will expand the Park to be the Prince Henry Sinclair Historic Village. It will function to educate the general public on other explorers of North America. Within its 120 acres is proprosed to be a Native American village and a European settlement, staffed by interpreters.

Celebration Events

A number of sites have been selected for celebrations in 1998. They are referenced in the Symposium article above. Many more locations and dates could be established, but only if local committees take the initiative. Time is getting very short. Volunteer your leadership today!
Clan Sinclair .
Last update: 99/06/20 11:37:11