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Re: St Clair sur Epte
At 12:38 08/06/99 -0700, you wrote:
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
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
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
palace guards in Byzantium. The emperor could depend upon their
over any of his people and he rewarded them richly. This of course led
jealousy, but that's another story.
2. When King Knut invaded England, Edward Ironsides was king. Earl
and family remained loyal to Edward even though he had no chance of
Other Earls switched sides and sent their armies to help Knut. When
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
changed man...or did his conversion to Christianity make the change in
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.
Please remember that Rollo had to abdicate in favour of his son (927)
even after he had
performed miracles in extending Norman/Norse influence over Brittany, the
the Bessin, the area around Bayeux and the land of Maine.
Little is actually known about Rollo except that he was too big for a
horse to carry him and,
yet, he was the progenitor of a long line of Kings and Dukes.
Although you rightly mention that his wife was the daughter of the King
of France, his
marriage to Gisela was childless but by his first wife, Poppa, the
daughter of the Count
of Berenger, he had one son, William, who took over from his father five
years before his
death. We are not told whether this transfer of power was amicable
or forced on a man
who was, by then, over 80 years of age
His son, William, only ruled for 10 years before he was treacherously
killed by Arnulf on
the Flemish side of the Somme having been invited there for
Yes, there was a Viking code but it was more honoured in the breach than
in the performance. There was a constant struggle for power by
force, by intrigue, by arranged
marriages. The Vikings may have been the most intrepid sailors the
World has ever known
but they would fight with their own shadows. Brother killed
brother. Men wre lured to their
deaths. Internecine strife was constant and it continued with the
Sinclairs at the Battle of
Summerdale in 1528 when the Sinclairs of Caithness and the Sinclairs of
Orkney fought for control of the Northern Islands. We practically
wiped ourselves out and, as this followed Flodden (1513) where we
lost 600 men, it was the beginning of the end of our pre-eminent position
in the North. We never really recovered and our adherence to the
and the Catholic faith sealed our Fate. Great Estates
vanished. Castles fell into ruin.
We no longer walked with Kings or sat in the seats of power and, yet, we
produce some outstanding individuals who have left their mark on
history. We will be
looking at some of them in the weeks and months ahead.
We must also look out for those present day Sinclairs who are carving a
niche for themselves in business or in the professions.
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 -----
From: Niven Sinclair
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Selvermj@aol.com ; email@example.com ; Ian Sinclair - Manchester ; Elaine Sin-Fowler ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 1999 12:13 AM
Subject: St Clair sur Epte
- ----Original Message-----
- From: Privateers
- To: email@example.com
- Date: Monday, June 07, 1999 11:53 PM
- Subject: Re: 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.
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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