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Re: St Clair sur Epte

I believe that the English would have used the Clare spelling of his name.  But then in France it would be Clair as you say.
I have been thinking about this idea of the St. Clairs guarding the gateways.  Are we thinking that they were guarding Normandy's gateways against the King?  Maybe we should consider thinking like a Viking and not a Scotsman.  The Scots had had a long history with England and indeed needed to protect themselves from the English.  But I don't think that Rollo had this history with the rest of France and now he was married to the King's daughter which almost guaranteed their safety.  So the question is why did he locate his residence so near the eastern border?
    Viking threats had come from the West before.  Was Rollo confident of agreements with other Vikings to not raid his territory now.  Or did he have a good captain (his son Wm. Longsword perhaps) with plenty of strength deployed along the coast that discouraged them?  But in 914 Vikings attempted to create another settlement in Brittany.  Finally in 935 the Bretons drove them out.  This virtually ended Viking activity on the Continent.  Only Frisia on the main Viking route was still raided regularly. The Historical Atlas of Vikings says:  Rollo was made Count of Rouen as the rulers of Normandy did not use the title "duke" before 1006.  ....Rollo was granted further lands around Bayeaux in 924 and his successor William Longsword acquired the Cotentin peninsula in 933, but attempts to expand eastwards were defeated. It seems like Rollo didn't help Charles with this problem very well.  So maybe Charles was more worried about internal problems than Vikings and wanted to keep Rollo closer to him.
    Could it be that Rollo was keeping an eye on Paris and the political events there.  If he were to have another son now, this child would be in line some day to be King of France.  But here is another idea triggered by these words of Rollo (I think)....."My castles are my King's alone from turret to foundation stone but the hand of Sinclair is his alone."
    Apparently when the treaty was signed, those castles and territories that he had over run were now Charles' again and Rollo in exchange had the stewardship of it all without doing battle to keep it.  Rollo gave a pledge, an oath and in the ceremony whole-heartedly accepted King Charles as his leige lord.  Now this meant a lot to a Viking.  Loyalty was apparently the most valued personal trait.  It was the characteristic that they sought out in one another and no praise could be higher.  Here some examples:
1.  When the Swedes went down through Russia, some of them were hired as
palace guards in Byzantium.  The emperor could depend upon their loyalty
over any of his people and he rewarded them richly.  This of course led  to
jealousy, but that's another story.

2.  When King Knut invaded England, Edward Ironsides was king.  Earl Godwin
and family remained loyal to Edward even though he had no chance of winning.
Other Earls switched sides and sent their armies to help Knut.  When Knut
became king he had the traitorous Earls killed even though they helped him, but reward Earl Godwin, his enemy, with land and much honor. 
    For this reason, it is difficult for be to accept that Saxon, Earl Godwin's son Harold had made a deal with Norman Duke William to help him become King of England.  I know that this also brings up the fact (or was it a fiction of William's cousin who wrote the history?) that Harold had made a pledge in a holy place over the bones of the saints to help William.  If he were a truly loyal person, he would put his loyalty to Edward above his personal pride of keeping his pledge untarnished, thus breaking the forced pledge to carry out Edward's desires and for the good of his country.
3.  Now the idea of Sinclairs being used as guards at gates to different areas carries on this idea.  Loyalty was a quality that the family firmly instilled in their children.  Their loyalty was recognized by numerous countries as a desirable and marketable trait.

From all that I have read, from the time that Rollo became Duke, he was a
changed man...or did his conversion to Christianity make the change in him?
It's sort of like one day he said, "Well, I've been a terror long enough, now I'm going to be as good as I can be."  And he did.
  4.  so perhaps Rollo placed himself on the edge of Normandy so that he could go quickly to protect his lord, the King of France.  I do not have a good history of France but have picked up these little bits and pieces about what was going on then. At some point Charles the Simple was imprisoned.  Pope John X confirmed the election of Count Heribert's five-year-old son, Hugh, as archbishop of Rheims.  In return for this he secured the release of Charles whom Heribert had imprisoned.  It would be interesting to know just what was going on at court from 911 to 933.
-----Original Message-----
From: Privateers <Privateers@privateers.org>
To: sinclair@jump.net <sinclair@jump.net>
Date: Monday, June 07, 1999 11:53 PM
Subject: Re: St Clair sur Epte

Do you have any info oh Sinclair as bodyguards to the King of France? I do belive 911 is correct for thr Treaty and 912 for baptism.  Clair is only spelling I found. Robert is a very French pronounced Rowbear
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 1999 12:13 AM
Subject: St Clair sur Epte

If you will be good enough to let me have your address, I will send you the relevant information on St Clair sur Epte.

It would appear to be quite simple: Forest - Hermit - Hut - Death 884 - Chapel - Church - Village - Town - Rollo - Treaty of
St Clair-sur-Epte 912 some 28 years after the death of Clair (which is the spelling which is used on the three feet high altar
in the shrine to the hermit).

The only name which could have existed before the death of the hermit would have been the name of the forest itself.

Another account of Clair states that he was born in Scotland (where else?) and wrote the "Ritual of Divine Duty" and lived                 about 600 A.D

In the Dictionary of Christian Biography, Vol I (London 1877) there are notices of nine saints named Clarus.  The account
there states that the Clarus, after whom St Clair-sur-Epte was named, was a personage of the ixth century and hailed from
Rochester in Kent.  This is the generally accepted version.  It is of little consequence because there is no suggestion that
the Sinclairs had any blood connection with any of the Saints.  When surnames came into vogue people simply adopted the
name of the area in which they lived or, in other cases, the name of their trade or profession.

There is another interesting territorial connection because the Sinclairs became the Governors of Rochester, Dover and Colchester castles after the Conquest - protecting the gateways to London just as they protected the gateway to Edinburgh (Rosslyn and Hermandston Castles) and the gateway to Tunsberg (the then Royal Palace of Norway) by being Governors of Bergen Castle.
The Sinclairs had a strategy which transcended national boundaries.  They were, according to a Professor at Moscow State
University, one of the two most important families in Europe.

Thankfully, there is evidence of a resurgence of interest in our lineage and in our heritage which can only augur well for the future.

We are nothing without our roots.  It is knowing our roots which gives us stability; which allows us to realise and then release the
true potential which lies within each one of us and, with that knowledge, to forge a better future for all Mankind.  "We are too few"
I hear people say.    Well it has always been the few who have changed history.  Our forefathers did.  We may not be able to do so
on the same scale but I'm reminded that "If every man could mend a man, the whole World would soon be mended" which
brings us back to St Clair who was a great healer.

Niven Sinclair


Rollo (as the French know him) or Hrolf 'the Ganger' (which was the epithet by which he was generally known)  which means
Hrolf 'the Walker' because he was so big that no horse could carry him!!

If surnames had not come into vogue I wonder what nick-names we would have?  Bill 'the Prophet''?  Louisa 'the Torment'?
- perhaps I'd better stop there before people begin identifying themselves with my suggestions. I'd prefer to be known as Niven
'the Mediator' rather than Niven 'the trouble maker'  (Actually Niven means "little saint" in Gaelic so I am a "little saint St Clair"
which may have been what my parents were hoping for but which, alas, they didn't get).
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