``A Prince as worthy of immortal memory as any that ever lived for his great
bravery and remarkable goodness.''
Admiral Antonio Zeno
``Regrettably, Sinclairs know very little about their own history although,
in Prince Henry Sinclair, they had one of the greatest men of the 14th
Century or, for that matter, of any other Century.''
Jarl Henry Sinclair (c.1345 - c.1400)
One ancestor in particular has recently incented a number
of organizations and
was the Baron of Roslin
We are also told he
became Lord Chief Justice of Scotland and Admiral of the Seas.
Burke's Peerage and Gentry agrees that he was Baron of Roslin,
Earl of Orkney, and Lord of Shetland,
``who on 2 August 1379, was formally invested by Haakon, King of Norway,
as Jarl of the Orkneys, ranked next to the Roy House before all
the Scandinavian nobility. As Admiral he discovered Greenland,
lived in much state at Roslin, and was k in battle in Orkney 1404.''
Of course Burke's is wrong in saying he discovered Greenland, since
as a Norse Jarl, Henry would have known that
Norway already claimed Greenland, since 1261.
Greenland had been
discovered by Gunnbjorn in 983 and settled by Erik the Red ca. 985.
We are told that
Henry was descended from Rogenvald the Mighty, first Earl of Orkney, on
both sides of his family.
We are told that he was known as
``Henry the Holy'' because he had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Some say he even fought in a
like his ancestors before him.
Unfortunately, I know of no solid sources for any of these three things.
According to Fredrick J. Pohl,
by inheritance from Henry's mother and confirmation of the King of
Henry became the first Sinclair Earl of
the graphic at the top of the page is his coat of arms as Earl of Orkney.
This made him the premier Jarl of Norway and the crowner of its king.
(He has also been alleged to be the Duke of Oldenburg
in Denmark, although no sources seem available for such a claim.)
the right to various royal privileges, including wearing a crown.
He held Orkney from the King of Norway, yet was also a leading Scottish noble.
This dual loyalty and the geographical position of his jarldom
of Orkney with its 200 islands and 5,000 square miles on the sea lanes
between the two countries made him in effect all but an independent king.
The title of Prince has been alleged for him, although it is not clear
that he ever used it or that it was applied to him in his lifetime.
Again according to Fredrick J. Pohl,
not content with successfully bringing Orkney,
Shetland, and perhaps Faroe
under his control,
Henry built a fleet of ships larger than the navy of Norway.
He gained adherents from the princely
Zeno family of Venice,
who were great sailors and who made available to him the new invention
He and the Sinclair family have often been associated with the
who were also great sailors.
According to Pete Cummings and others,
soon Henry used many of his ships and his Italian expert to sail to
Nova Scotia in 1398
He may even have gone to Rhode Island, where evidence suggests that
William, first Sinclair Earl of Caithness,
voyage (among many other things)
in stone at
Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh.
The Forces Which Shaped Our Past
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 08:46:45 +0100
From: Niven Sinclair <email@example.com>
We have to understand the religious, political and economic forces
which shaped our past and, more paticularly, the great family dynasties
which were being forged through marriage alliances No-one, for
example, can suppose that Knut needed to marry Emma (St Clair) who was
the relict of Ethelred. He could have had any nubile female but, then,
that nubile female would not have cemented racial or territorial
Marriage was not the lovey-dovey partnership we expect (but seldom get) today.
Henry Sinclair could have taught Queen Victoria a lesson or two.
His 13 children were married into all the leading Scottish families.
When I was studying our family history, I reached a point when I could
almost predict who was going to marry whom. Just as we returned to
root stock with our Aberdeen Angus cattle, the Sinclairs did this every
third generation. Many marriages were annulled on the grounds of
consanganuity but were 'restored' after paying the Church money - an
example of this can be fond with Earl William Sinclair who, like his
father Heny II, married a Douglas. The Sinclairs and the Stewarts were
inextricably interwoven - more is the pity because it was our adherence
to the Stewart cause and the Catholic religion (when Protestantism was
sweeping Northern Europe) which led to our downfall.
As I have written elsewhere, Bonnie Prince Charlie actually travelled
under the name of Sinclair and used the Sinclair seal until he was of
I'll post some material to you today. I am deeply impressed by the
interest which is being shown in the
It augurs well for the Clan and Brad's stint as
We must use the internet to disseminate information and to stimulate a
lively interest in family research. We must embrace the young because
anything we might achieve in our own lifetimes is as naught unless we
can pass on our ideals to the younger generation.
As I am wont to say: "We are nothing without our roots" and who else
have more enduring roots than ourselves? If I may quote from the
St Clairs of the Isles
by Roland St Clair: ``No family in Europe beneath
the rank of Royalty boasts a higher antiquity, a nobler illustration or
a more romantic interest than that of St Clair.''
Let us be worthy of our lineage. Let us be worthy of our heritage.
True, it can no longer be measured in vast acres or in gold and jewels
but it can be measured in something which is much more enduring:
Courage, loyalty, integrity, compassion, example and, dare I say it,
humility because no man can be truly great without a due measure of
humility. Prince Henry had this.
And who can look at the wonders of
Nature without being humble?
Earl William Sinclair
brought Nature into
his Chapel at Rosslyn
because he believed that God and Nature was ONE.
He believed that there had been far too much talk about the Father on
high and far too little concern about Mother Earth. He believed that
every leaf was a word of God. He understood the necessary balance
between Man's physical and spiritual needs.
Last changed: 00/01/08 11:41:54