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Frask used at the Battle of Flodden
Found the following in a biographical file at the Metro Toronto (Canada)
Reference Library taken from the Toronto Globe & Mail (Oct. 6, 1922?):
AMONG THE MOST TREASURED of heirlooms in a certain Canadian home is an
amber-colored trask of curious shape & curious history, which belonging to
two sisters of the lineage of Sinclair, & descendants of the House of
Caithness, Scotland, once saw service on the Field of Flodden & again
served Armistice Day in Canada. Proudly these Sinclair sisters trace the
history of the flask back to the days of the Battle of Flodden Field.
Bitter war waged between England & Scotland during the reign of James IV.
William Sinclair of the House of Caithness - the county of Caithness, the
most northerly of the mainland of Scotland - was under an attainder,
although history never defined his crime. A high-spirited nobleman, &
loyal to his King, he voluntarily raised 300 men & rushed to the assistance
of King James.
The Earl of Huntley was leading the right wing of the Scottish army &
William Sinclair supported him valiantly. The night before the Balle of
Flodden, as the Earl of Caithness led forward his troops, the King,
watching them approach, cried out at sight of the fresh, green uniforms.
Curiously he questioned his men, & when they told him that the fresh
troops were under the leadership of the Earl of Caithness he exclaimed: "If
that be William Sinclair, I will pardon him."
The King ordered parchment brought to him, but none could be found; then,
pointing to a drum, heordered that the deed of forfeiture be written on the
drum head. When it was complete, King James added his signature &
commanded his men to cut it out. This pardon he presented to William
Sinclair. The Earl, turning to one of his men, thrust the document into
his hands, commanding: "Run with this to Caithness & put it into the hands
of my Lady, for fear I fall in battle, & the title of the estate will still
The following day the Scots suffered defeat. The Earl of Huntley deserted
the field, but the Earl of Caitness, stood the ground, sacrificing his own
life. All of his men-excepting the runner who had gone to Caithness with
the pardon-perished. An amber flask in leather casing was strapped to the
back of the runner bearing the pardon to the Lady of Caithness.
Through generations of Sinclairs, this flask of the House of Caithness has
come down to the possession of the sisters of the lineage of Sinclair.
During the late war the brother of the Sinclair sisters volunteered in a
Canadian battalion drafted in the home town of the Annapolis Valley, Nova
Scotia. On the eve of his departure the historic flask of Caithness was
filled with blackberry wine & stored in the dusk of a cupborard agiinst the
brother's return, when a toast should be proposed.
The brother paid the supreme sacrifice at Vimy Ridge, but on Armistice Day
these Sinclair sisters bravely brought into light the amber flask of wine,
& carrying it proudly, they marched with the rejoicing mobs of the town
streets. Visiting an old Scottish friend, the sisters of the House of
Caithness unsealed the flask that had once been carried on the Field of
Flodden, & in the Canadian home drank a toast to the boys then overseas.
I wonder where the flask in now
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