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A Gleam of Hope?
The Timeline saga continues, but now there may be a small flicker of light at
the end of the tunnel. A gleam of hope perhaps?
John Quarterman , whose Timeline is the most accurate mentioned so far, has
expressed his intention of making amendments based upon reliable evidence in
true open-minded and scholarly fashion. This, of course, begs the question of
the fate of the Timelines on the Clan Sinclair USA site or that published by
the Sinclair Trust. Are they going to do likewise? Or, will they, or even can
they, justify the differences between their accounts and those to be found in
the historical records?
Today I stumbled across yet another website with a Sinclair Timeline published
by a certain Paul Sinclair. This version is, in comparative terms, moderately
acurate. However the same site contains pages on Sinclair history which are as
ridiculous as any of the other howlers that have offended my eyes in the last
week or so.
In this fanciful account, the death of Earl Henry St Clair of Orkney is
attrbuted to a battle called Halidon Hill. Now I spent over a month sifting
through the documents contained in the National Library of Scotland in January
1998 searching for evidence of where, when and in what manner Earl Henry met
his death. I found three references, all with identical wording - that Earl
Henry was 'slain cruelly by his enemies' - each giving different dates and
none specifying a site or battle. Yet this new page of so-called Sincalir
history attributes his death to a battle that took place some years before
Henry was born. Earlier on the same pages it was asserted with almost papal
infalibility and authority, that the Sincalirs were descendants of of the
celibate monk Clair who was martyred at St Clair-sur-Epte.
Truly the Sinclairs are a wonderful and magical clan. They are descended from
a celibate hermit who is recorded as having refused all sexual contact. He
then, according to another Sincalir Timeline, had himself reincarnated in
reverse and by some unexplained act of divine providence became a Sinclair in
the process. Now he is attributed the honour of being the progenitor of the
Catherine de St Clair apparently married Hugh de Payen in one of the holiest
sites in the known world within hours of her husband taking vows of chastity
in an order founded by Godfroi de Boullion who had died eight years before the
Templar's foundation. This posthumous ability to act decisively now takes
another bizarre twist when Earl Henry managed to get himself killed in a
battle that took place a few years before before he was born.
These are only some of the absolute howlers published by a variety of
well-intentioned people who have the temerity to call themselves historians.
The mind boggles. What reader can swallow this nonsense whole? What effect
does this fabrication and fantasy have on the reputation of the Clan?
The answer is simple. Let all the relevant webmasters and Timeline compilers
have the honesty and open-mindedness of John Quarterman and take the
terrifying step of amending their Timelines and histories so that they conform
with the historical record. It is not dishonest to speculate about the the
events that allegedly took place when there are gaps in the record - provided
it is labelled clearly as speculation or oral tradition. But in both cases the
Timelines and histories should be modified as accurate and reliable evidence
Learning from all of this it is now obvious that certain of the books that
have been used as so-called sources are seriously flawed, in error or just
plain wrong. Thomas Sinclair's work, Morrison's, and Father Hay's must be
treated with the utmost caution unless backed up by primary documentation.
'The Sinclairs of the Isles' is little better and my views on Andrew Sinclairs
are already well known. Yet despite that, and the more important fact that
chronicles dating from near the time of the Norman settlment of Normandy are
available; the Battle Abbey Rolls have been around for nearly a thousand years
and that most of the other important events are testified to in one degree or
another by documentation or archaelology, nonsensical mythology and fanciful
imaginings are still being purveyed as history.
Perhaps now, stimulated John's example, others may follow suit or, even
better, produce the evidence upon which their assertions are based and I will
happily eat my words.
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