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Thank you all for your contributions to the story of our William Sinclair's
trip with Bruce's heart. This is what I found in the book, Robert The
Brucew, King of Scots" by Ronald McNair Scott". pg. 227:
"Douglas had a casket made of silver and enamel and in it he placed the
heart of Robert Bruce and carried it always on a chain about his neck.
Early in the spring of 1330, he set sail from Berwick in a ship fitted out
in royal state so that all might know he was the bearer of the heart of
Robert, King of Scotland, and on his way to lay it in the Holy Sepulchre in
Jerusalem. He had on board six knights, linked in friendship, neighboring
landowners from the Stewart domains: Sir William Sinclair of Roslyn, Sir
Robert and Sir Walter Logan, Sir William Keith, Sir Alan Cathcart and Sir
Seymour Loccard of Lee, and one other knight unnamed. Twenty-six squires
and gentlemen were there to serve them.
Their first port of call was Sluys in Flanders. Here Doublas remained
12 days, entertaining liberally on gold and silver plate and letting it be
known that any who wished to fight in the Holy Land were welcome to join his
company. He then sailed in rough seas around the coast of Spain and up the
Guadalquiver River to drop anchor in the city of Seville.
When Alfonso XI, King of Castile and Leon, heard that he had arrived he
came to greet him and offer him hospitality, and many foreign and especially
English knights who had flocked to Spain to war against the Moors called at
his lodgings to give him welcome, for his military prowess was acknowledged
above all others throughout the camps of Europe.
Douglas and his company rested for a while at Seville after the
hardships of their story voyage, but in March the Moorish King of Granada
advanced against the city and the King of Castile and Leon marshalled his
forces to meet him. He asked Douglas to lead the vanguard and placed under
his command all the foreign knights. On 25 Mar., at Zebas de Ardales, the
armies came face to face.
Douglas gave the order to charge and both sides became locked in battle.
But the Saracens employed a ruse with which Douglas was not acquainted.
Suddenly they turned their horses and fled, pursued by the Christians.
Douglas and ten of his followers had drawn far ahead of the vanguard when
the Sar acens sharply checked and swung round to encircle them. Douglas
turned too and might have escaped through the gap, but saw tha t Sir William
Sinclair had been overtaken. With the two knights who were beside him--Sir
Robert and Sir Walter Logan--Douglas turned yet agains to rescue his
comrade. In a moment they were surrounded by a multitude of Moors and,
fighting desperately, were all cut down.
The rest of the vanguard w ere now approaching, and the Sasracens once
more wheeled round their horses and galloped from the field, leaving the
four knights dead upon the ground. The heart of Robert Bruce within its
casket was found still chained about the neck of Douglas and, according to
the tradition of the Cathcart family, was taken up by Sir Alan Cathcart.
The body of Douglas was brought to his cousin, Sir William Keith, who
had been prevented from taking party in the battle by a broken arm. After
having the body boiled so that the flesh parted from the bones, the flesh
was buried in holy ground and bones placed on shipboard. Then Sir William
Keith, in command of the remaining Scotsmen, sailed for home, and when they
had made landfall, the hea rt of Bruce was carried to the Abbey of Melrose
and interred with great reverence, and the bones of Douglas were buried in
the Kirk of Douglas." Again I copied this from Rober the Bruce by Ronald
The author gives references on the above.
Now this presents some more questions to me.
(1) One of you said that our William's brother John was one of the knights.
The only one that could be is the "unnamed knight". But author R. Scott did
not find his name in the research that he did. It is strange that the two
brothers' names were not linked together as the Logans were listed, if
indeed, John was the "unnamed" knight. I checked Pete Cummings book on the
Sinclairs but did not see that he listed the siblings of Sir William. Does
anyone have that info?
(2) It looks to me from the above story, that these knights stopped in
Spain before any Moorish threat took place. But since there were knights
from many foreign countries there, it was an ongoing seige of some sorts.
But this story doesn't come right out and say that King Alfonso's invitation
was the reason they were there??? Were they there on Templar business. The
money spent so freely in Flanders could have been Templar money. And why
(3) I have understood that one of the reasons that Robert's exploits were
so famous and lauded is because he represented this little backward country
with a tiny army that was able to defeat the great enemy of so many
countries who had not been too successful against England. He gave them
and a vision for defeating their mutual enemy. So it seems strange to me
that we hear of English knights who were eager to honor Bruce.
Many of the Templars, I understand, were honor-seeking, landless,
younger sons of the aristocracy. Surely most of their fathers were
supporters of King Edward III. Wonder what all the politics were between
the lines there. Or did they represent a generation of rebels or once you
became a Templar you gave up your alegience to your country. But according
to the Bannockburn, newsletter of Bruces', Robert was not only a Templar
himself but also Soverign Grand Master of both the Military Order and the
Masonic Guild." Which brings up another question. Was there already a
Masonic Guild in 1330 or have the Bannockburn editors jumped the gun? The
answer is usually a mixture of all the above plus surprising things I don't
(4) But one of my biggest questions is: Why hadn't the Templars or
returning Crusaders discussed this tactic of the Saracens with the Scotts?
Surely this is one of the stupidest events of history for these knights to
fall into the trap of the Saracens. I couldn't believe it when I read it
years ago. I know the knights had been trained with the "?" attitude.
(can't remember the term -like Kamakazes ) but that tactic never worked at
any time during any of the Crusades why would it work now. STUPID!!
I can't see how we can make heroes out of these men who lost sight of
their main goal of the trip to go off chasing the Moors in this fruitless
manner. I suppose there might be another side to this but it just seems so
sad that Men's vain sense of HONOR can destroy so much. We see this in the
Road Rage of today. This sense of honor that must not be trampled but
Boy, did I get worked up on that one. Sorry.
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