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RE: William the Conqueror/St. Clair??


Things are hard to put together, I know.   An author finds out that William came with the conquest, but never thinks about checking to see whether he might have been in Scotland earlier.  It doesn't sound like one of those probable things to think about but according to   "The Sword and the Grail" by Andrew Sinclair, pg 29: "The last of the Cerdic kings, Edward the Confessor, had a Norman mother (Queen Emma St. Clair), and ran a court permeated with Norman influence."  (this really made the Saxons unhappy-one of the reasons that so many Normans were in England before the conquest was that Edward had been raised in Normandy when Emma went into exile there when her first husband, King Ethelred, died in 1016 .  Edward remained there after Emma married King Canute.  It just was wiser to lay low because the family of the ex-king is always in line for assassination, aren't they?  So Edward probably spoke French better and admired the Norman courts above those he found when he returned to be King and he would have brought along his cronies and trusted friends to fill English possitions.)  

At this time Emma urged Knute to exile or do away with her step-Grandson, Edward the exile (sons of Aethelred II by his first wife) and his brother who would be first in the line of succession over Emma's son Edward.  The St. Margaret book says "We do not know whether or not they kept in contact with friends and sympathisers in England.  Subsequent events would suggest they did not, for by 1042 Cnut's family was extinct.  After years in exile in Normandy, Edward the Confessor became king of England.  .....Was it presumed that the children had been murdered in infancy.......chronicler Ordericus Vitalis, (b1075) wrote 'Canute sent the two princes to Sweyn, King of the Danes, with the request ro put them to death.  The king of the Danes, however, refused to comply with this request, and passing them off as his nephews he sent them to the king  of Hungary who received them kindly.'(there is a lot more to say about this part that I won't go into) 

Andrew Sinclir goes on to say, " Indeed, Walderne's youngest son, our William de St. Clair, was attached as a youth to the English household of Margaret, the grand-daughter of King Edmund Ironsides(son of Athelred by his first wife), who was buried in Glastonbury.  Her brother Edgar the Atheling (this is a title bestowed upon the person that people have the understanding that they are throne-worthy", his wife Agathe (I think I said this was his mother's name before-wrong), his two sisters and lived at Edward's court and were treated by him and his Queen Edith as their children.  It was understood by everyone that Edgar the Atheling would be the next king but there was something in his physical, mental, or emotional makeup or just plain youth {I can't get a handle on this} that made people abandon him at the death of Edward.  There is evidence that Edward, on his death bed named Harold Godwinson to be his successor.  But then Harold was his brother-in-law and one will never know whether he influenced the writing of that bit of the history.) 

	"Margaret   and her brother Edgar and her attendant William de St. Clair had to spend many years in Hungary as refugees from the turmoils of the struggles for the English Sucession."  This sounds as if as a youth William went to England where he became an attendant of Margaret b. 1046 and then they left in 1017 for the Hungarian exile.  This statement  conflicts with The "Harold Last King of Saxons" book  which says on pg 75 that Atheling Edward the Exile(father of Margaret) and his brother Edmund (don't know what happened to him) were exiled back in 1017 and they married in Hungary.
 It took two attempts by the English to find Edward the Exile's children and then to persuade them to return to the English court around Aug. 1056.  So if our William went with them as supposedly an adult of at least 20 years of age in 1017 then by 1056 he would have been at least 58.  And at 68 pretty old to participate in the Norman Conquest let alone return then to Scotland to spend years more in the service of that King Malcolm III. 

I haven't really answered your question about William being in Scotland before the conquest.  I just showed above that he didn't go from England to Hungary with Margaret.  But I do think that following the Conquest he became attached in England to the household of this now 20 yr. old Margaret.

Let's face it right now I haven't come up with my references to his early stay in Scotland but it's here somewhere.  Also his brothers were given lands by their relative King Edward in England and thus William's two brothers were there before the Conquest.     

Now your other question concerning William getting "fed up" I think I can shed a bit more light on.  In Leonard Morrison's "The History of the Sinclair Family" pg.31: " For some unexplained cause he (William) was one of the nobles who did not love the Norman chief and he forsook England, and about 1068 he with other noted barons (the Bruces, I bet since William's sister & husband ?deBruce were the forefathers of the Bruces in Scotland) took refuge with King Malcolm III., of Scotland, where he became the steward or dapifer of Queen Margaret.  
Honors of all kinds were conferred upon him and his personal popularity was great.  The regularity of his features, his elegance and regular proportions, and his yellow hair won for him the name of 'The Seemly St. Clair.'  On the roll in the church of Dives, Normandy, he is alluded to as 'The William le blond.'  He became a determined and bitter enemy of his relative, King William of England.  
More than one 'the Conqueror' met him on the field of battle on the Scotch border, and in one at least 'the Conqueror' was defeated.  William Sinclair was Warden of the Marches, and lost his life bravely fighting against King William and his commander, the Earl of Gloucester."  Oh, I just turned to page 30 in Andrew's book and there's a lot of more good stuff about William.
From: 	dgaskill[SMTP:dgaskill@mcione.com]
Sent: 	Sunday, July 5, 1998 7:57 AM
To: 	sinclair@zilker.net
Subject: 	Re: William the Conqueror/St. Clair??


Thank you for your most interesting summary of the royal connections to the
St. Clairs.  I am curious, though, about the part of your narrative that
places William St. Clair in Scotland before the Conquest.  You say:

	"There were a group of people that became fed up with King William (the
Conqueror), among those were our William St. Clair.  So he went back to
Scotland where he had been before the Conquest and during this time, it
came about, that he became the Steward to this Margaret (about 24 years
old) who became the wife then of Scotland's King Malcolm in 1070 at

Could you elaborate on this?  First, what exactly was William "fed up"
about?  And second, what do we know about William's life in Scotland before
the Conquest?  I had thought all along that he came to Scotland for the
first time in 1070 because Margaret married Malcolm.  Who should I be
reading on these points?


Dave Gaskill