Sinclair Earls of Orkney (1379-1471)
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 03:57:06 EDT
Henry de St Clair
from a family of
origin was granted land in Lothian
in 1162. A descendent
Henry Sinclair (d.. circa. 1400)
the Earldom of Orkney
passed in 1379. The Norse line of Earls extinguished itself with no male
heir and immediately before the Earldom passed within various Norse distaff
hands. Henry was followed as Norway premier Earl by his son Henry (d. 1418)
who was also Admiral of Scotland. Henry sailed with James I of Scotland, not
to be confused with James I of England (VI of Scotland).
He was captured by
the English, both the king and Henry. Henry's son
(1404-1480) was also
Admiral of Scotland and the last Sinclair Earl of Orkney.
The Earldom was
reclaimed by the Crown in 1471, conveyed to James'
11 year old daughter Margaret
of Scotland to France for her marriage to the Dauphin (Crown Prince of the
The Crown rents of Norway were pledged to James III of Scotland as a
dowery for his marriage to Margaret of Denmark-Norway.
It is this James who
pried the Earldom away from Sinclair hands. Ample compensation was received
by the Sinclair Earls of Caithness, a title that continues to this day and
resides in the most noble
Earl Malcolm Sinclair of Caithness.
The circle has been unbroken from Norse pirates to Norse Earls. From Viking
raiders to Norman nobles from companions of the Conqueror to defenders of the
marches the name Sinclair has withstood the ravages of time with pride. What
a name to have the privilege to bear.
From: Niven Sinclair <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 12:27:15 +0100
Henry de Saint Clair was granted lands in Lothian in 1162. The
because of the grant to
William the Seemly.
William was made First Baron of
The grant to Henry is an entirely seperate grant.
(C) Collins Encylopedia of Scotland ed John and Julia Keay. 1994
It is not inconsistent that Henry should be granted lands later than
No one doubts or implies that William was granted the Barony of Roselyn
Henry de Saint Clair appears to be a descendant of William. The grant
in Lothian was by Malcolm IV, great grandson of Canmore. This grant was
confirmed by William I "The Lion".
Henry de Saint Clair is from this
He obtained the title "Earl of Orkney" from the Norse King.
The relative insecurity and instability of dynastic politics are based
unpredictable consequences of procreation of male heirs, marriage
and usurpations. The impersonal Crown survived dynastic fortunes. The
grant of the Crown rent drew from the Viking tradition of ownership of
land in common. The
Earldom of Caithness
was not granted by the Scots King
Robert II to Henry de Saint Clair. The two Earldoms lay within the scope
of different Monarchs- Norway and Scotland; Orkney was Norse and
Caithness was Scots.
(C) Oxford History of Medieval Europe. Ed George Holmes. New York 1988.
A Travellers History of Scotland Windrush Press. Gloucestershire
In 1468/9 Scotland acquired both Orkney and Shetland from Norway. The
King, James III, was still in his minority. Scotland faced a 100 years
of underaged Kings.
(C) A History of Medieval Europe R.H.C. Davis. 2nd Ed. Addison Wesley
Longman Harlow 1970.
I find the comments concerning the Helsianic League and their Bank very
interesting. The Hansa and Bundesbank link is tenuous at best. However
the concept that runs through European history is very interesting.
The current view of our Scots born power mad Prime Minister ("call me
Tony and that is an order")
is to rush us into this dangerous alliance with the French and Germans
must be resisted
at any cost. We are British not Europeans. Our ties to Europe are
strong and firm as long as we remain independant.
I had earlier posted the following comment that I had
found in a French publication:
``France's history is now part of the history of a Europe that ever since
the end Second World War
has tried to impose its unity in the face of the United States and the
URSS who had developed
into superpowers. This desire for unity first found an economic, then a
(Creation of the European Parliament), and this desire was reaffirmed by
the Maastricht agreement
in December 1991. Following the reunification of Germany and the
collapse of the Eastern bloc,
the european community faces the need to expand. This will make it
possible for it to assert
itself, at the dawn of the 3rd millenium, in its dealings with Japan
now becoming a world's
and with the United States, which, since the Gulf War,
has reaffirmed its political
supremacy on the international scene.''
The Kings of France Ten centuries of art
and history in Europe (Paris 1988 Editions Les Reperes de Temps)
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 14:18:11 +0100
Rosslyn was given to
William 'the Seemly'
by Malcolm III who reigned from 1056 to 1093 so the date 1162
is one hundred years out. I believe
the confusion arises because of the later arrival of the Sinclairs of
Hermandston. William 'the Seemly' arrived
with the Saxon Princess, Margaret, who married Malcolm Canmore by whom she
had several children. I believe
she arrived in 1057 (certainly before the Norman Conquest) whereas Laurel
tends to go for a decade later. Be
that as it may, the 1162 date is widely and wildly out.
The Sinclairs were not 'amply' recompensed for their loss of the 'jarldom'
Orkney. They were given the Castle
of Ravenscraig and land around Dysart in Fife which was a paltry
consideration. Behottiere may be thinking that
the granting of the
Earldom of Caithness
(28th August 1455) was part of
that compensation but
was given in lieu of the loss of the Lordship of Nithsdale (which had been a
bone of contention between the Douglasses
and the Sinclairs for some time). In any event, I have never understood
why the Caithness earldom was not granted
when he received the Orcadian 'jarldom' in 1379.
He had the hereditary right to that County
through his maternal grandfather, Malise II who had no male heirs.
James III did not acquire the 'rentals' of Orkney in lieu of a dowry for
Princess Margaret, the daughter of King Christian of
Norway, Denmark and Sweden. He acquired the sovereignty of the
islands. Orkney was deemed to be worth
8,000 florins whilst the balance of 2,000 florins
was paid in cash. However, as the sovereignty
of the islands did not give the King the control of the lands of the
'jarldom' it was imperative (if he was going to be able
to oust the Sinclairs from power) that they secure the lands belonging to
the Earldom. This he did by giving the
Sinclairs the lands in Fife. However,
foresaw the King's likely stratagem and he began buying up the
'udal' i.e. freehold land belonging to the islanders and, by the time James
III took control, Earl William had acquired
one third of the total freehold land in Orkney and Shetland. (This is
covered in an excellent article by Dr Barbara
Crawford of St Andrews University which is called "The Art of Political
Survival"). The Sinclairs had no intention of
abandoning the islands which they believed (to quote a letter from Lord
Henry Sinclair to King John of Denmark on
12th July, 1507) had been 'alienated heritably to my progenitors even
before the birth of Christ'.
We still believe that the islands should be within the Sinclair fold
albeit, as Behottiere points out, they were
with us long before we ever acquired
the name of Sinclair
which is only a thousand years old.
This loss of the 'jarldom' of Orkney was a tremendous blow . It was
administered by a King of Scotland (a Stewart)
who had been brought up by the Sinclairs. Such, as I have pointed out in
earlier communications, is filial gratitude.
The Stewarts, who owed so much to the loyalty of the Sinclairs, were not
content with Earl William Sinclair's loss
of the 'jarldom' of Orkney. They also required him to divide up his vast
Estates into three as they never again wanted
so much power to be with one person. It was a question of dividing and
ruling. (His Estates were divided between
William by his first Douglas wife,
William by his second Sutherland wife, and
Oliver who inherited Rosslyn).
It should also be remembered that at the breakup of the
Kalmar Union*, Earl
William Sinclair was one of the three
contenders for the throne of
Norway. The others were
Karl Knutsson Bonde
from Sweden and King Christian of
Denmark. Although the people's choice was Earl William Sinclair, the
(that powerful league of German
merchants) backed King Christian whose daughter, as we have seen above, was
to marry James III of Scotland and thereby
indirectly deprive the Sinclairs of the 'jarldom' of Orkney and, at the
same time, the throne of Norway.
which had united the three Scandinavian countries under Queen
Margrette in 1397.
Once more we see "the Hidden Hand of History" at work.
It is my belief that the Hansa arranged for the murder of
the murder of Richard II of England and the
execution of Wichmann, the North Sea pirate who had been such a thorn in
their flesh. Above all, they feared the
Prince Henry Sinclair's voyage to the New World in 1398.
Sinclair power had to be eliminated at all costs.
This is a period of history which has never been properly understood
because no-one has grasped the political
and economic forces which were at play in 14th and 15th Century Europe any
more than they have grasped the
present day power-play going on in the last days of 20th Century
History is repeating itself only, on
this occasion, the Sinclairs, alas, are no longer in the picture. If we
were, wiser counsels might prevail.
We might have the wisdom to learn from the lessons of history and to know that
one's enemy is often the one who
breaks bread with you e.g. the Stewart Kings. The Stewart Kings have gone
but the Hansa remains.
The Hansa now trade as the Bundesbank which organisation will not be
content until Frankfurt supersedes London as the
financial Capital of Europe when, although we might be calculating in Euros,
we will all be thinking in marks.
Our conversion (and our submission) will be complete.
Neuman von Sinkler
Last changed: 99/11/21 14:40:02