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Re: Scandinavians and Normans
I know I expressed badly what way back in my mind was feeling this may not
do it either but will try again.
I'm sure that Johnnye's celtic friends didn't know about the origins of
the Sinclairs. I didn't know either whether they were trying to depict
pre-Norman days. But from what I see it took a few generations in Scotland
before the Sinclairs began to blend into their neighbors by marriage. I
liked the phrase ( of course, a generalization)they were too poor to marry
above themselves and to proud to marry beneath themselves so married among
themselves. But These people until they were in Scotland awhile, were such
prideful people and made sure their kids married among the nobility which
most of the time meant Normans or Norse nobility. I feel like my attempt to
make people realize the attitude they had is really getting in the way of
having fun with the Celts and you should just ignore me.
My St. Clairs came with John to Exeter in 1640ish. The feelings for
Scotland disappeared after a few generations. My great grandmother was my
last St. Clair. My grandparents divorced and I never knew her so I don't
have feelings of being Scottish just like the very interesting history. So
I am really a well-diluted Scotts which must have happened to the Normans
but certainly after Prince Henry's day when his first marriage was arranged
1350ish when he was still a child to the daughter of the King of Denmark
(she died before the marriage probably) Frederick Pohl book.
That would be about 300 from the time William the Seemly came around 1054ish
to 1350. Where it has been only about 240 years from John of Exeter's
arrival to my g. grandmother's time. So you see the Scottish Sinclairs
returned in Henry's father's generation and his generation to marrying
abroad and keeping their status and identity. In that day it was necessary
to do those political marriages when they were who they were and England was
at their door, etc.
I would be very curious to know the origin of Henry's female line: Dunbar,
Fortieth, Grathaway/Gartney , Strathearn, Graham, Marre, Magnus, de Fenton
(sounds like a Norman to me), and Halburton. After him we have: Douglas,
Sutherland (Viking)ancestry is there way back-but how much Celtic?), Keith,
Hepburn. By now this time everyone must be mixed together but who knows
until we really look at what is going on. We can't assume. Here is a whole
new area of investigation.
From: Rory Sinclair <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Saturday, May 08, 1999 10:08 AM
Subject: Re: Scandinavians and Normans
>Dear Laurel and all:
> Just a couple of thoughts on such questions as:"Are we Scandinavians or
> I think the question is a good one to ask but in the end there is
>really no satisfying answer other than we are for the most part, citizens
>of where we reside. For example, I am Canadian and you, Laurel are
>American. I would suggest that this informs most of who and what we are.
>In my case I am six generations (150 years) removed from Scotland. Imagine
>how faint the Scandinvian influence must be on us when we consider that a
>growing Scandinavian culture died for our family 1000+ years ago and even
>then, had been filtered through a 200 year French prism as well. This is
>most definitely not to say that I am a 'rootless' Canadian because it is
>also clear to me that, unlike aboriginals, my folks did not originate here
>and I find it helpful, useful, satisfying or whatever the right word is, to
>contemplate my ancestors origins.
>So..... to say we have Scandinavian roots is correct but to place undo
>emphasis on this fact at this great distance in time, is perhaps pushing
>Alexander MacLean Sinclair, author of quite a few articles on Scottish
>History and "The Sinclairs of Roslin, Caithness, and Goshen" (privately
>published 1901 and available from the Secretary, Clan Sinclair Association
>(Canada) @$12.00) has this to say on this subject:
>Are the Sinclairs a Highland Clan? As the Normans and the Lowlanders had a
>good deal of Celtic blood in their veins, it would be folly to look upon
>Lords of Roslin as Scandinavians. Sir Henry Sinclair, fourth of Roslin,
>the son of Celtic mother. William Sinclair, second Earl of Caithness and
>progenitor of the Sinclairs of Caithness, was also the son a Celtic mother.
>The Scandinavians who settled in Caithness occuppied only parts of the
>country. They did not slay the whole of the original inhabitants. It was
>indeed quite a common thing for a Norwegian to marry into a Celtic family.
>Leod, the progenitor fo the Macleods, was the son of a Scandinavian father.
>He married a Highland girl and two sons by her, Torquil of Lewis and Tormod
>of Dunvegan. These sons were only half Scandinavians. Tormod of Dunvagan
>married a Celtic girl and had a son named Malcolm by her. Malcolm was very
>far from being a half Scandinavian. He was certainly a Celt rather than a
>Scandinavian. Before a Sinclair, a Macleod or a Gunn talks about his
>Scandianvian origins, it would be wise for him to calculate with some
>of care to what extent his blood is Scandinavian blood. Patrick Sinclair,
>third of Ulbster,was the son of Jane Chisholm. John fourth of Ulbster, was
>the son of Elizabeth MacKay. John, fifth of Ulbster, was the son of Janet
>Sinclair. John, sixth of Ulbster was the son of Jane Munro. Geroge,
>seventh of Ulbster, was the son of Henrietta Brodie. Sir john Sinclair,
>eighth of Ulbster, the most emanent man Caithness ever produced, was the
>of Janet MacKay. Was Sir John a Scandinavian? He believed himself to be a
> The Gaelic form of the name Sinclair is Singlear. The Sinclairs of
>Argyleshire call themselves Clann-na-Cearda or the Children of the craft or
>trade. It is probable that the name was given them by their neighbours
>would naturally take for gratned that Singlear meant shingler or
>flax-dresser. The Sinclairs of Argyll are out-and -out Highlanders.
> The Earls of Caithness held their lands of the Crown and were in no way
>subject to the Saint Clairs of the Lowlands. They lived in the Highlands,
>were Chiefs of the Sinclairs of Caithness, they ruled over a large number
>Gaelic-speaking Highlanders and they were to some extent Celts by blood.
>They thus had a perfect right to regard themselves as Highland Chiefs and
>wear tartans and bonnets and use bagpipes if they saw proper. The
>of Caithness are thus a Highland Clan just as much as the Sutherlands,
>and Macleods are Highland Clans; but they are not Celts to the same extent.
>I think this 100 year old analysis is still valid today............Yours
>From: Spirit One Email <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Date: Friday, May 07, 1999 5:01 PM
>Subject: Re: Scandinavians and Normans
>> I tend to side a bit more with Harold and whether he heard Edward the
>>Confessor say anything useful or not, I'm sure those around were glad to
>>their weight behind Harold and faulted him not for ignoring the trick
>>Willful Will pulled with the Bible. Their only alternative was Edwards
>>nephew's tiny son who probably only spoke Hungarian. Harold did a truely
>>remarkable feet to beat back and kill his brother and the last remaining
>>Viking chief that were just happening to attack in York at the same time
>>that William was massing in Normandy. Then he got back with his ragged
>>almost in time to defeat William. It really was a close call for history.
>>William was nearly defeated and he made one more desperate charge. If
>>Harold would have had a few more hours for his arriving people/soldiers to
>>swell his ranks he could have beaten William and changed history. But
>>battles have turned on less than that.
>> I will have some added idea on Rollo and Christianity in the web
>>suppliment following the Summer article on him. Can you give me your
>>reference on Edwards much earlier promise of the throne to William?
>>From: J. R. Carpenter Jr. <gra_jrc@SHSU.EDU>
>>To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>Date: Friday, May 07, 1999 11:34 AM
>>Subject: Scandinavians and Normans
>>>Laurel and the list,
>>>Very good synopsis, thanks.
>>>As far as the Angles, Saxon, and Jutes go, well Angles never made much
>>>continental history. Their claim to fame was being part of the
>>>The Saxons were the bulk of the Anglo-Saxons. Before that, they were one
>>>the last Germanic tribes converted over to Christianity, with great
>>>difficulty. They had a lot of history on the continent. As for the Jutes,
>>>they never made much of a mark on the continent either, but I may be
>>>as they were the origin for the name of Jutland. I think they joined the
>>>Angles and Saxons just in the nick of time.
>>>Didn't Rollo and company agree to convert to Christianity when given
>>>duchy? I thought that and the recognition of the overlordship of the King
>>>France were the two main conditions. There were some isolated pockets of
>>>Northmen in Normandy who resisted becoming romanized Normans for 2 or 3
>>>generations (they kept their Norse longer and were the last to convert),
>>>they had been romanized by the time of the Conquest. King Edward the
>>>Confessor had many Norman advisors etc in his court. He was maybe even
>>>of a Norman than an Anglo-Saxon. He had promised the throne of England to
>>>William years before Harold became anything of a royal possibility.
>>>once swore an oath to William recognizing William's right to the English
>>>crown in Normandy or Brittany when he was there. Harold was on a voyage
>>>was shipwrecked and William kinda rescued him, but also kinda kept him
>>>at hand too. There was some controversy over the oath, as Harold thought
>>>that maybe it wouldn't "stick", but William had hidden a Bible under
>>>something Harold was touching, therefore he "swore upon a Bible." There
>>>also controversy in Harold's coronation in London. Apparently he was the
>>>only one who heard Edward name him his successor on his deathbed, and
>>>immediately jumped up and claimed the throne. I think Harold was crowned
>>>quicker than ususal, reflecting his concern over William. Of course,
>>>was pissed: he gathered his followers and mercenaries, and the rest is
>>>history. The Irish PRENDERGAST family had their origin in William's
>>>mercenaries, whether they took part in the Conquest or came a little
>>>I am a Prendergast descendent. One of the main points in William getting
>>>Papal approval or acquiescence was Harold's breaking of his oath.
>>>The French were a mixture of Germanic Frankish etc and Celtic Gaulic
>>>with a little Roman blood mixed in, but speaking a Romance language. The
>>>English were Germanic Teutons, later adding in Scandinavian Danish blood
>>>from the Danelaw settlers mainly in the north. The Scandinavians were
>>>Teutons, and regarded the English as cousins. Cnute even reigned over a
>>>short-lived superkingdom of Denmark, England, and Norway(?) in the early
>>>1100s. I think he was the one who supposedly put his chair in the surf
>>>commanded it to stop. The "pure" Celts of Britain were driven to Wales,
>>>Scotland, Cornwall, and the Islands, and there resisted Anglo-Saxon and
>>>Norman cultural invasion for a while. However, it was the interesting
>>>mixture of descendents of Normans, Welsh, and Flemish settlers in Wales
>>>were the main component of the "English" invasion of Ireland starting in
>>>1170s. The Prendergasts of Ireland were Cambro-Normans. And the Scots,
>>>also had some Norse blood in them, were lucky enough to get the Norman
>>>that has produced us Sinclairs! And it was the Norman-Scots (is that the
>>>correct term?) who were responsible for reintroducing British blood back
>>>into the Norman monarchy in England.
>>>Please don't roast me too badly on errors here, this is from memory.
>>>Rick (descendant of Alexander SINKLER)
>>>[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, email@example.com.
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>>[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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>[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, email@example.com.
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