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Re: George IV or VI?
>Okay, I reread Niven's response to the earldom and noted he referred to
>George V of Keiss as the 45th Earl of Caithness. Then I realized I had
>referred to George IV as the 6th Earl of Caithness. Oops. Would George IV
>have been the 44th Earl of Caithness then?
Well, that's a different issue. The large numbers refer to the number of
earls since the original first Norse Jarl of Orkney and Caithness.
According to the writeup by Ian Sinclair of Noss Head Lighthouse,
``The autonomous maritime principality known as the Jarldom of Orkney,
and the Earldom of Caithness, are the most ancient in geographical
Britain. The first recorded Earl was the Norwegian Rognvald also
Earl of Moeri, who was granted the title by King Harald of Norway in
871. He was of the House of Odin and started the Norse line. The title
went to the House of Atholl or Royal Scottish line, the Angus line,
the Stratherne line before passing to the St. Clair line in 1455. On
this basis Malcolm is the 58th holder of the Earldom.''
This is of course the same Rognvald who was the father of Rollo the Viking
of Normandy fame.
The smaller numbers, such as George 6th Earl of Caithness refer to the
number of Sinclair Earls of Caithness since William who built Rosslyn Chapel
resigned the Earldom of Orkney (at the king's request), and became Earl of
Ian also remarks:
``The great stronghold of Girnigoe Castle is the most spectacular ruin
in the north of Scotland and is built on a high peninsular rock with
precipitous cliffs to the sea on three sides. A goe derives from the
Norwegian and means a cave, a rocky creek or inlet or a deep ravine that
admits the sea. It was, until the invention of the cannon, completely
impregnable. Built sometime between 1476 and 1496 by William, the 2nd
Sinclair Earl it was cut off from the mainland by two great dry ditches.''
``The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Earls occupied the Castle(s). George
Sinclair of Keiss, who later became the 7th Earl, was responsible for
the destruction of the Castles in about 1690, by the use of cannon,
forcing Campbell of Glenorchy, who was occupying them, to withdraw.''
``They have not been occupied since, and are at present owned by our
clan chief The Rt.Hon. Malcolm Ian Sinclair the 20 Earl, and leased to
the Castle Sinclair and Girnigoe Trust with a view to preventing further
deterioration. Various works have been carried out already and there
are comprehensive plans to preserve what remains for future generations
The current Earl of Caithness, Malcolm Sinclair, is thus the 58th
Earl of Caithness since Rognvald, and the 20th Sinclair Earl of Caithness
since Earl William who built Rosslyn Chapel.
Meanwhile, Niven's terminology of George IV may refer to the fourth Earl
of Caithness named George. To complicate this further, note that such
name counts don't necessarily have to be in the same dynasty; William III
of England was not a Norman like William I, and Elizabeth II is not a Tudor
like Elizabeth I. But of course Edward I who played such a large role as
antagonist in the wars of Scottish independence was not the first King of
England named Edward.
This is merely a summary of what I think may be correct from sources at hand.
If I have misinterpreted any of this, I hope someone with better information
(there are several on this list, including the present Earl) will provide a
more complete and correct version, either here or elsewhere. I think Laurel
was working on something like that.
>Also, Niven wrote:
>"Glenorchy eventually invaded Caithness. The Battle of Altimarlach ensued
>about which I have already written but, although Sinclairs were defeated,
>Keiss continued by firearms and artillery to the ruin which we see today.
>"For this act he was declared a rebel by the government along with Sinclair
>of Broynach, Sinclair of Thura and Mackay of Strathnaver who had assisted him
>in his battle agains the Campbells."
>In referrence to the above underlined words: Does "he" refer to Campbell; Who
>is "him"; and Should "Campbells" be Sinclairs? I'm confused.
I would take "he" and "him" to refer to Keiss.
>AND, is Rosslyn chapel north or south, or east or west, of Rosslyn castle?
>It's difficult to tell on the atlas that I have.
Someone else will have to answer that one.
John S. Quarterman <email@example.com>
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