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And more about Major General Sir Arthur St Clair

Major General Sir Arthur St Clair is descended from the Sinclairs of Assery who are,
in turn, descended from the Sinclairs of Murkle who were one of the branches of the
family which held the Earldom of Caithness.

The first Sinclair of Assery was John, the son of James Sinclair of Murkle.  This John
was granted the lands of Assery by William, Lord Berriedale, in a Charter dated 1628.

John had three children by his first wife (whose name I have ben unable to obtain):

                        James, his successor, at Assery
                        Francis who became a Lieutenant Colonel in the army.
                        Margaret who married David Henderson

By his second wife, Margaret, he had:

                        John, first of the Lybster branch
                        William of Forsie who married Jean Sinclair of Dun
                        Mary who married a Donald Gunn
                        Grizzel who married a John Doull
                        Isabel who married Arthur Forbes, a merchant in Edinburgh.
                        Janet who married George Munro, Sheriff-clerk in Caithness

James Sinclair, see above) the Second of Assery married (1) Elizabeth Balfour and (2)
                        Margaret Munro, the daughter of David Munro, Commissary of

By his first wife, he had:

                        George, his successor at Assery
                        John of Ulgrimbeg who married Bess Craigie
                        James, merchant in Thurso.

This James had several sons:

                        Daniel, who graduated an M.A. in Edinburgh in  1705 who became
                                the Minister at Longformacus (another Sinclair stronghold)
                        William*, who followed his father as a merchant in Thurso.
                        Alexander, notary public in Thurso, who married Jean Sinclair,
                                the daughter of James Sinclair of Wester Brims.
                        Katherine, his eldest daughter, married Alexander Gibson, the Dean of

This William* was the father of:

                        Major General Sir Arthur St Clair

Between 1619 and 1772, I found no fewer than nine occasions when the Sinclairs of Assery
married into other branches of the Sinclair family.  This inter-marriage was not confined to
the Assery branch.  It was a regular pattern in Caithness where the various branches are so
inextricably interwoven with eachother.

There was a similar alliance in the South when Sir William St Clair of Herdmanston married
Margaret St Clair of Rosslyn.  On his death, Margaret went on to marry Thomas, the Earl of
Angus and brother to King David II of Scotland.

It may puzzle people why a member of the Royal family should wish to marry the widow of
one of their subjects but it serves to illustrate the high position the St Clairs held.  The same
happened when Emma St Clair, the wife of Ethelred 'the Unready', went on to marry Knut 'the
Great'* - a man who could have had any nubile female of his choice.

*Knut, better known as Canute. who, when his courtiers, were telling him how great he was, told
  them to carry him down to the beach in his chair.  He ordered the waves to go back but
  the tide kept remorselessly advancing until the water was lapping at his feet at which point
  he turned to his flunkeys and said:  "Now you know who is great. Let us have no more of your

In that one remark, there may be a salutary lesson for us all.  Humility is the hallmark
of the truly great.

Niven Sinclair