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Re: General Fairfax
Congratulations Niven and Judy! That's wonderful
news. All of us out here will be waiting with
excitement for your future reports. What a lucky
family we are! Best to Chiefy.
--- Niven Sinclair <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> The indefatigable Judy Fisken, the ex-Curator of
> Rosslyn Chapel, may have
> moved to pastures
> new at Falkland Palace but her enthusiasm for
> research into the Sinclair
> family continues and
> her recent overtures to the famous Bodleian Library
> in Oxford has brought a
> real breakthrough.
> After the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, when the forces
> of Oliver Cromwell
> defeated the Scots, the
> English army proceeded their triumphal march towards
> Edinburgh and were
> greatly elated when
> the Ramsays surrendered Dalhousie Castle which
> became a comfortable billet
> for Cromwell's
> However, their high spirits received something of a
> shock when they reached
> Rosslyn Castle
> which stubbornly refused to surrender. General Monk
> positioned his battery
> of artillery on the
> other side of the North Esk River and proceeded to
> bombard the Castle until
> it became a pile
> of stones. John Sinclair was taken prisoner and
> remained in English
> custody for 29 long years.
> In ill health, he was allowed to return home where
> he died shortly
> afterwards. His brother, Sir
> William Sinclair, had been killed at the Battle of
> Dunbar. He was the last
> Sinclair to be buried
> in the vaults of the Chapel which were hastily
> sealed just before
> Cromwell's troops arrived under
> the command of General Monk who proceeded to stable
> his horses within the
> Chapel until
> he received a direct order from Cromwell himself:
> "Do not touch Rosslyn Chapel"
> Cromwell had been a Barrister at the Temple in
> London. He was also Master
> Mason of England.
> He knew the importance of the Chapel to the Masonic
> movement and it is
> thanks to his timely
> intervention that Rosslyn Chapel did not join the
> other ruined Chapels
> which lay in the wake of
> the Covenanter Army.
> There was another General with Cromwell's forces
> who wasn't looking for
> booty in the normally
> accepted sense of that word. He was the scholarly
> General Fairfax. He was
> looking for rare
> books and manuscripts. He knew that the Library at
> Rosslyn Castle was the
> most renowned
> in Scotland. For example, it contained a copy of
> the Wycliffite New
> Testament, the writings of
> Bede on the early English Church and the works of
> Geoffrey Chaucer and the
> King's Quair.
> But there was another manuscript which Judy's
> researches has now
> unearthed. Let me quote
> the answer she received from Dr Bruce
> Barker-Bentfield of the Bodleian Library:
> "The manuscript itself is
> so important and the
> introduction so full of
> references to the
> Sinclair family
> that you should certainly
> try to obtain a copy
> of this
> facsimile which, I'm
> afraid, is priced at £395.00"
> The facsimile is the collation of the researches of
> Julia Boffey and A.S.G.
> Edwards three years
> ago. They had access to the Fairfax papers which
> are now housed at the
> Bodleian. It would
> seem that they throw considerable light on the
> history of the Sinclair family.
> Needless to say, I have ordered the book together
> with complete microfilm
> copies of the
> other Fairfax papers which were stolen from the
> Rosslyn Library. The
> Bodleian is cooperating
> with although it will take them up to six weeks to
> complete the microfilming.
> Ladies and gentlemen, I am elated.
> Ladies and gentlemen, I am impatient.
> I can't wait to get my hands on the facsimile and to
> devour every word
> because I have been
> aware of a huge gap in our knowledge about our
> family and it may be within
> my grasp in days.
> Do you share my excitement? Don't you often wish
> you were me at the
> cutting edge of
> research and discovery?
> I also wish I could dredge the harbour at Kirkwall
> to find out if the
> Orcadian papers which
> James III ordered to be sent to Edinburgh are lying
> on the bottom of the
> sea. These were (allegedly)
> placed in a hogshead which was subsequently washed
> overboard. There are
> those who do not believe
> that story. They believe the papers (which would
> reveal a great deal about
> Prince Henry's voyage to the
> New World) were hidden away somewhere because the
> fiercely independent
> islanders hated the idea
> of giving up their Norwegian sovereignty and Norse
> identity to become part
> of Scotland! They were
> damned if they were going to risk the eradication of
> the history of the
> islands by surrendering the
> papers. They knew that conquerors invariably
> destroyed all evidence of
> past culture and achievement
> in order to instill their own brand of nationalism.
> The English tried to
> do this in Scotland. The Scots,
> in their turn, tried to do it in Orkney. Neither
> Thanks Judy. You are a treasure. Pity, I will see
> the book before
> you....you deserve to be the first
> to flick over the pages.......
> Niven Sinclair
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