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Re: Bruce and companions' bodies.
At 17:51 03/08/99 -0700, you wrote:
Taken from pg 228 Robert the Bruce by Ronald
The men who accompanied the heart of Bruce were: Sir William
Roslyn, Sir Robert and Sir Walter Logan, Sir William Keith, Sir
Cathcart and Sir Seymour Loccard of Lee, and one other knight
squires and gentlemen were there to serve them.
The battle was fought on 25 Mar.1330.
(so Niven is saying that the unnamed knight was William's brother
Sinclair. Is that written in one of our Sinclair books that Ronald
didn't have access to???? I would bet that every clan is claiming
their ancestor was the unnamed knight- Do we have some proof??)
It seems that the Saracens pretended to ride
away. Douglas gave the
order to follow and his group of 10 were drawn away from the rest of
army. Suddenly the enemy turned their horses and encircled them but
was able to evade them. When he looked back he saw that Sir
Sinclair had been captured along with two other knights, Sir Robert and
Walter Logan. Douglas came back to rescue them but was surrounded
Moors and cut down.
The casket containing Bruce's heart was still chained
neck when Sir Alan Cathcart took it from him. (Cathcart family
I think it makes more sense than the Saracens returning it-Saladin was
very exceptional person. His chivalry and nobility were unusual
people and among the Europeans. The days of chivalry were formed in
image. His actions sharply illuminated the debauchery of the
From this story we are not able to determine whether
John Sinclair was
in the group with his brother. It doesn't sound like it. But
killed elsewhere on the battle field that day.
As you visualize the bringing of the bodies from Spain, here is
aspect to consider. :
Douglas' body was brought to his cousin, Sir William Keith who
participate in the battle because he had a broken arm. He was now
it seems. Maybe he and Cathcart were the only ones to
Since it would take some weeks to embark, sail south
Mediterranian and then up the coast to Scotland, it is obvious that in
warm climate these bodies couldn't be taken home as they were. So
William Keith had the bodies prepared for the journey by having them
(in vinegar-from a Cadfael story) so that the flesh fell off. It
the bones of the dead that went back to Scotland. The flesh was
holy ground in Spain. I wonder whether anyone has gone there to
look for a
monument to them?
The heart of Bruce was carried in the little casket
and buried at
Melrose Abbey. The bones of Doublas were buried in the Kirk of
Mea culpa. Sir Robert Logan was killed. It was Sir
William Keith who brought
the bones back. The small gravestone of William Sinclair
would suggest this.
There is no doubt that both William and John Sinclair fell at the Battle
on 8th September, 1330 because the Barony of Rosslyn went straight to
the grandson, who must have been a minor at the time when his uncle,
he had been alive would have been appointed guardian).
One of Bruce's latest acts was to settle, in 1329, on Sir William
Sinclair a pension
of £40 in anticipation of the service he was to do for him i.e. take his
body to the
Holy Land for burial. This had been immediately preceded by 'ane
In the Lord Chamberlain's account for 1329 he is credited with the
Sir Henry St Clair (the father of Sir William Sinclair) of £13.6.8d, to
St. Clair £20 and to John St Clair £10.; and in 1330 the full payments
of £27.13.4d and £40 and £20; and again of £13.6.8d, £20 and £10
at St Martin's term.
In 1331 Sir Henry St Clair received £13.6.8d and £27.13.4d whilst those
of the late
Sir William St Clair, Knight, and of the late John
St Clair are received by the heir to
whom John St Clair was uncle* i.e. William St Clair the son of Sir
William St Clair.
As the names William and John were always bracketed together there can
little doubt that they both travelled with the heart
of Bruce; that they both took
part in the Battle of Theba; and that they were both
killed in that battle. If not,
why the post mortem payments to the recognised heir?
* It is obviously phrased in this way to indicate that the
younger brother, John
St Clair had not been married at the time of the Battle of Theba so his
had to go to his nephew, who was his next-of-kin. There can be no
On the other hand, his older brother, William, was married with two sons,
(yet another) William and Thomas.
The son, William de St Clair, inherited Rosslyn directly from his
became ballivus of Orkney in 1364 and he, in turn, had a son, Alexander
lands in Aberdeenshire and in Banffshire as confirmed by King David
Earlier King David (who had a fondness for awarding lands to men who had
in Crusades) had granted the lands of Merton and Merchamyston to
'"our worthy and
faithful William St Clair" bearing the date 11th February, 1358 and
signed at Edinburgh.
It will be seen from the foregoing that the Sinclair connection with
the 'jarldom' being given to Prince Henry Sinclair in 1379. Indeed,
as Thomas's grandfather
had also been ballivus of Orkney with effect from 1321, it predated
Henry's arrival by two
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