From: Niven Sinclair <email@example.com>|
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 17:40:04 +0100
The Sinclairs have been involved in many "lost causes" and in many battles
where the odds were stacked against them but perhaps the greatest tragedy
to befall the Clan was at the Battle of Summerdale (1529) in which the
Sinclairs of Caithness fought against the Sinclairs of Orkney at the connivance
of the James V, King of Scotland. The Sinclairs of Caithness were slaughtered
to a man. Only one Orcadian boy was killed - and that my cruel circumstance.
He had dressed himself in the fine clothes of one of the slaughtered
and was returning to this own house in the evening when he was met by his
who, not recognising him and believing him to be one of the 'enemy' who
to escape the general carnage, struck him a fatal blow on the head with a
she had put in the foot of one of his own stockings and was carrying in her
a defensive weapon.
John III, the 43rd Earl of Caithness, had never forgotten that the
entitled to the Earldom of Orkney and, in 1529, he made an abortive attempt to
separate Orkney from the Crown so that he could declare himself to be an
Prince. Strangely, in this open act of rebellion, he was abetted by James
once the Sinclairs of Caithness had been defeated, immediately appointed
the leader of the Orcadian Sinclairs, as Governor General of Orkney.
It was the old question of 'dividing and ruling'.
It wasn't the first time the Stuarts tried to destroy the power of the
Sinclairs because Earl
William Sinclair was commanded by James III to divide his huge Estates into
was this division which led to three distinct groups of Sinclairs ,
namely: those of the Islands,
those of Caithness and those of Rosslyn.
Later on, I will be writing a full account of the Battle of Summerdale
which, coming so soon after the
Battle of Flodden Field (1513),
took a swathe out of the Sinclair ranks and this was
to be followed by
Kringellen in Norway (1612)
when another 600 fell in an ambush. If
we add the
Battle of Altimarlach (1679)
when the Campbells defeated us on our home
territory, it is little wonder that our power diminished. In less than two
centuries, we had
lost over 2,000 of our fittest and finest men. The cream of the Sinclair
Clan had been skimmed
I am always reminded of the following words which appeared in the preface
of a book about
the futility of war:
"The Notice says:
'Do not pluck these blossoms'
But it is useless
Against a wind that cannot read".