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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 <niven@niven.co.uk> 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
> officers.
> 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 
> facsimile's
>                            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
> succeeded.
> 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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