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Re: Origins of Sinclair Name in Scotland

Dear John,
    The Sept. 1999 Yours Aye (quarterly of Clan Sinclair USA) contained an
article about the origin of the Sinclair name.  This article was one of the
three that former Clan Genealogist, Pete Cummings, had planned to write.  It
seems to me that it is possible that he might have had some new insights
into this question since this was on his "to do" list but if that is true,
his notes are still locked in his office and were not available to me when I
undertook to write the article later.

    So I went with the fact that the 911 treaty between Rollo the Viking and
Charles III was signed at St. Clair-sur-Epte.  There was at this place a
shrine where people with eye ailments came to be cured.  The next year Rollo
was baptised in Rouen.  I have yet to find out any definite information that
Rollo and his descendants hung around Epte very long.  I had thought he
might since his new wife was the daughter of King Charles who already had
some sons.  But if there was any possibility that his wife would bear a
child, he might have a chance at the throne. (she didn't)   Did Rollo want
to keep a close eye on the turmoil of the court?

Epte has also been referred to as a gateway to Normandy and that Rollo
resided there to protect his territory.
    But we tend to think in terms of how we live our lives today.  In one
house at a time.  But these Counts/Dukes moved from residence to residence
with their slowly growing court.  Those that couldn't be trusted many times
were forced to join the Lord so that they could be observed at all times.
When the food ran out in one place they would move on to the next,
administering, sporting, building, fighting, arranging advantageous
marriages for their kin to gradually take control of every office.
    Rollo's son, William Ist -Longsword, is mentioned in relation to Fecamp
and Le Bec Hellouin monastary (over south of Rouen).  King Charles had
wanted these Counts/Dukes to protect him from more Viking invasions.  If
they remained around Epte, they wouldn't know when the shores were attacked.
So it seems to me they would have spent more time on the western part of
    William's son, Richard I was born at Fecamp (on the shore above Le
Havre) and he was buried there.  After his father was murdered, Richard I,
now an adult, went (kidnapped?) to the French court.  It was King Louis IV's
hope that he could rid Richard of his Viking tendencies and even arranged
his marriage to the princess.  But after her death he married a Danish
settler's daughter and later sent his children to Fecamp to (forgot where
but along the coast) relearn their Norse heritage and language.   So there
seems to be a tendancy to cling to the Viking culture of western Normandy
and avoid the eastern part where St. Clair sur Epte was on the very border
just a few thousand feet from the French territory.
   Richard's many children married various Counts in the western part of
Normandy.  His son, our ancestor, Mauger was Count of Mortain and Corbuel.
He and his family spent much time at Caen and as with other Counts, moved
from residence to residence.  But if you look at a map you will see that
they are now over in the Cotentin Peninsula area of western Normandy.
    His brother, Robert was Ct. of Everux which is south of the Seine not
too far from the Epte flowing northward. Robert was also the 5th Archbishop
of Rouen, which might mean he spent a lot of time there but maybe not.  He
and his sucessor and nephew, Mauger the Younger, were anything but holy and
really pretty corrupt.  But that didn't always bother the Dukes since their
desire was to gain control using their relatives (simony).
    Duke Richard 2nd's sister, and sister of Archbishop Robert and Count
Mauger, married the King of England.  This was part of the treaty that
England hoped that would curtail Richard 2nd's help to the Viking raiders of
England.  So again this generation of Duke's were there at Rouen or at
Fecamp, etc. where they entertained the viking raiders and provided markets
for their contraband.  Some believed that Duke Richard was the actual
chieftan and instigator of the raids.   So again this shows another reason
they were drawn to western Normandy.
    Duke William (the conqueror) b. 1027 grandson of Richard 2nd, was born
at Falaise which is below Caen.
    (at this point you might want to visit the History website
www.clansinclairusa.org   and look at the Normandy Years chart.

    Now William de Sancto Claro was born about 1028 at St. Lo not far from
Falaise.  He is also known as William the Seemly.  His father Walderne and
uncle Hamo, sons of Count Mauger, were killed in the battle of Val-es-dunes
in 1042.  So it is impossible for his father to have fought at Hastings.
The title and lands then went to the next brother William Warlenc (the
warling).  Who probably shot off his mouth, calling Duke William a
"bastard".  Now Will was sensitive about this, consequently, he exiled the
Warling to Apulia, Italy in 1053 and gave his title of Count of Mortain and
lands to his (William the Conqueror)'s half brother, Robert.

    Now whether Hamo and William Warlenc had children, we don't know but
Walderne, Lord St. Clair of St. Lo (SW of Caen) had at least 4 children, one
of which was William the Seemly (de Santo Claro -Latin name) born at St. Lo
.  You just have to get use to the idea that these people had multiple names
that changed with circumstances, marriage, baptism, physical feats, and
whatever language you were speaking, etc.  Look at all the names that Rollo
had.   Now I can't find St. Clair sur Elle on my map but assume it is really
close to St. Lo.
    There were at least 3 other Saint Clairs that had towns named after them
besides the English St. Clair that Sur Epte was named after.  These others
lived before Sur Epte's St. Clair.  What I don't know is:  At what date did
the St. Clair sur Elle take on that name?
    Here is another thread of thought:  I think it is possible that Epte's
St. Clair might have become a symbol in the Dukedom of a great change in
their good fortunes.  Possibly someone's eyes improved after washing in the
well at sur Elle.  I think that the family could have been so associated
with this "patron saint" that his name became more and more associated with
them.  So did they give their name to the town at sur Elle or was it a
coincidence that once again they were living at another St. Clair?

    I do not believe that William the Seemly (de Sancto Claro) fought at
Hastings:  There are several good reasons.  Right now the concensus of
opinion, including Niven, is against his involvment.   I cannot comment on
Yolanda.  I haven't come across her before.  Perhaps Niven knows about that.

I have another theory about William the Seemly (perhaps two or three other
unknown facts-and what must there be in Pete's office????) that will be
aired in the March YOURS AYE quarterly.


----- Original Message -----
From: John Duguid <john.duguid@snl.co.uk>
To: sinclair <"sinclair@mids.org"@"sinclair@mids.org">
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 5:31 AM
Subject: Origins of Sinclair Name in Scotland

> Find below a discussion of the origins of the Sinclair name in Scotland,
> appeared in another list I sub scribe to. The claim the the Scottish
> originate from  St Clair-sur-Epte is one that I have heard from other
> whom I respect,  but it does not seem to be the one put forward by many on
> list. Any comments from sub scribers ????
> he following comes from this week's Rampant > Scotland > newsletter
> http://www.rampantscotland.com > --------- > Sinclair > The name is
> from Saint-Clair-sur-Elle in > Normandy. William de Sancto Claro, whose
> had > come over with William the Conqueror in 1066, came > to Scotland
with his
> wife. There were, however, other > members of the St. Clair family who
> north also. > They became established near Edinburgh and were > granted
> barony of Rosslyn. Sir William de St > Clair was involved in negotiating
> marriage of  > Yolande de Dreux with King Alexander III. <snip>
> Burke's and Debrett's disagree that William, or Guillaume, was descended
> the earlier "William de Sancto Claro" who accompanied the Conqueror, or
> other Sinclairs in England who migrated north.  They claim that Guillaume
> St. Clair belonged to the Norman Seigneurs de St. Clair-sur-Epte, a
younger son
> who didn't stand to inherit the family manor in Normandy.  He married a
> of the above-mentioned Yolande de Dreux and did play a part in her
> arrangements, for which he received the manor of Rosslyn from Alexander
III of
> Scotland around 1280.
>  best regards
> John.
> [ 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

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