[Up] [Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Bruce and companions' bodies.



At 17:51 03/08/99 -0700, you wrote:
Taken from pg 228 Robert the Bruce by Ronald McNair Scott
The men who accompanied the heart of Bruce were:  Sir William Sinclair of
Roslyn, Sir Robert and Sir Walter Logan, Sir William Keith, Sir Alan
Cathcart and Sir Seymour Loccard of Lee, and one other knight unnamed.  26
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 John
Sinclair.  Is that written in one of our Sinclair books that Ronald Scott
didn't have access to????  I would bet that every clan is claiming that
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 the
army.  Suddenly the enemy turned their horses and encircled them but Douglas
was able to evade them.  When he looked back he saw that Sir William
Sinclair had been captured along with two other knights, Sir Robert and SIr
Walter Logan.  Douglas came back to rescue them but was surrounded by the
Moors and cut down.
    The casket containing Bruce's heart was still chained around Douglas'
neck when Sir Alan Cathcart took it from him. (Cathcart family tradition-but
I think it makes more sense than the Saracens returning it-Saladin was a
very exceptional person.  His chivalry and nobility were unusual among his
people and among the Europeans.  The days of chivalry were formed in his
image.  His actions sharply illuminated the debauchery of the Crusaders)

    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 perhaps
killed elsewhere on the battle field that day.
As you visualize the bringing of the bodies from Spain, here is another
aspect to consider.   :
Douglas' body was brought to his cousin, Sir William Keith who didn't
participate in the battle because he had a broken arm.  He was now in charge
it seems.  Maybe he and Cathcart were the only ones to survive???/
    Since it would take some weeks to embark, sail south to the
Mediterranian and then up the coast to Scotland, it is obvious that in that
warm climate these bodies couldn't be taken home as they were.  So Sir
William Keith had the bodies prepared for the journey by having them boiled
(in vinegar-from a Cadfael story) so that the flesh fell off.  It was only
the bones of the dead that went back to Scotland.  The flesh was buried in
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 Douglas.
Laurel


 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 of Theba
on 8th September, 1330 because the Barony of Rosslyn went straight to William,
the grandson, who must have been a minor at the time when his uncle, John, (if
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 annual'.

In the Lord Chamberlain's account for 1329 he is credited with the payments to
Sir Henry St Clair (the father of Sir William Sinclair) of 13.6.8d, to Sir William
St. Clair 20 and to John St Clair 10.; and in 1330 the full payments are noted
of 27.13.4d and 40 and 20; and again of 13.6.8d, 20 and 10 respectively
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 be
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 payment
had to go to his nephew, who was his next-of-kin.  There can be no other interpretation. 
                                                                                                                     
On the other hand, his older brother, William, was married with two sons, namely
(yet another) William and Thomas.

The son, William de St Clair,  inherited Rosslyn directly from his grandfather.  Thomas                                                                    became ballivus of Orkney in 1364 and he, in turn, had a son, Alexander who received
lands in Aberdeenshire and in Banffshire as  confirmed by King David on 1st
November, 1371

Earlier King David (who had a fondness for awarding lands to men who had taken part
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 Orkney pre-dated
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
generations.

Niven Sinclair
[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
[ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html