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Update on the Sinclair Saga
Last Saturday evening my husband and I had the pleasure to be invited to
dinner with Elaine Fowler, her husband and son at a restaurant here in
Portland. Elaine had flown in for a one day Math workshop. We had a
delightful evening and I tried to indoctrinate her son with the intricacies
of the Sinclair history. It turns out he works only a few blocks from where
Elaine gave me a copy of "The Sinclair Saga" by Mark Finnan. Mark was
invited to speak at the 1998 Sinclair Symposium in Orkney. This is the
event that had just happened when Laura Zolo stopped over at Kirkwall and
learned for the first time about Prince Henry.
I am only a little ways into this book but before I forget it I must ask
you who have copies to make some corrections in your book. This does not
take away from Mark's main premise concerning Nova Scotia but deals with
some background information concerning Prince Henry. When one takes into
account that the Sinclair history spans over 1000 years, no one can be an
expert on all parts of it and one needs to depend upon the research of
others for some parts of it. It is evident that Mark did pull some
information on the subject below from someone else's book who probably
didn't check their facts and relied upon others to have done a good job.
There is no telling how many people may have been misled from someone's
faulty knowledge of history.
Again, I am saying strongly that I am not criticizing Mark, I just want
all of you to get the facts straight. I have spend a year researching this
part of the Sinclair history and used numerous books, written letters to
experts in this area and everyone agrees with what I am about to tell you.
Some of these are little points that you might consider as "nit picking" but
then on the other hand they might give you some insight into the real
motivations and events.
(1) Yes, Rolf/Rollo was baptised, but in name only. Historians believe it
was expedient. That was the Viking creed=they were guided by their own
self-interest. Much pressure was being put on King Charles by the Pope to
convert the Normans in Normandy and yes "he readily converted (not inwardly)
to Christianity". Records show that some of these vikings were converted
numerous times and that was also one of the Pope's complaints about their
bad record as Christian converts. It is probable that Rollo married a
natural daughter of King Charles' because her name doesn't appear in the
list of his children.
(2) Edmund the Confessor and Harold were not half brothers. Harold was his
St. Margaret, the eventual 2nd wife of King Malcolm III Canmore was not
born in England. She was born in 1046-47 in Hungary. It was her father
Edward the Exile and his older brother, Edmund the Atheling that were taken
as babies in 1017 to safety in Sweden where they lived for 12 years. ( Mark
didn't say this, but just to keep things straight, "Atheling" never was a
last name for this family. "Atheling" was a title confured upon the crown
prince of the Anglo-Saxon line. Only one person used it. When Edmund the
Atheling died, then his brother, Edward the Exile became the "Atheling".
Margaret could not ever be an Atheling.)
In 1029 it seemed that King Knute of England was about to swoop down on them
and trap them in Sweden so they and some other Scandinavian royalty fled
extremely quickly(5 days by boat) to Novgord, Russia. These boys were given
sanctuary at Duke Yaroslav's court there and when Yaroslav became the Grand
Duke of Kiev they were a part of that court there. By 1045 they were in
Hungary (more details in a future Yours Aye).
William the Seemly de St. Clair (sur-Elle) was born around 1028 and
would only have been one year old when Edmund and Edward fled to Russia.
They had no time to pick up a baby in Normandy!!!
Margaret (born in Hungary) was about 10 or 11 years old when her family
came to England in 1057. William the Seemly (Sacto Santo) would have been
about 29 then and not considered "young".
Gabriel Ronay, an historian, says " a girl of about 10 in 1057, would hardly
have had a Norman knight as a cupbearer. Nor is there anything established
about a Holy Rood brought by Margaret from Hungary. If your William was
indeed Margaret's cupbearer then he must have been appointed upon her
marriage to Malcolm Canmore in Scotland." And I agree with his thoughts on
the logic to this.
Two authors who wrote biographies for Margaret to commemorate her 900th
anniversary, said nothing about a Holy Rood brought from Hungary. This was
their opportunity to present important information about her. Very little
is known about her early years so if there were a story about this Rood,
they would have certainly "padded" her story with it, but they just plain
didn't. However, one author does present a plausible, somewhat
historically verifiable story about Margaret bringing the Holy Rood from
England to Scotland.
If we examine the William the Seemly and St. Margaret story, we might
get a clue as to how people have gone astray. "From Hungary, William the
Seemly accompanied Margaret who brought the Holy Rood to Scotland when she
married Malcolm Canmore." This leaves out the fact that Margaret didn't
marry Malcolm until she was about 22--12 years after she left Hungary. If
you read that statement again you will see that it doesn't really say that
she brought the Rood from Hungary, just that she brought it with her to
England. I really believe that people have jumped to conclusions and
thought it said that. It could be interpreted either way.
Furthermore I have been unable to find out the source of this William
the Seemly story. No author has yet had any knowledge of it but I have
followed it in good faith and tried to make sense of it based on the true
historical happenings of the time.
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