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Are the Sinclairs a Highland Clan?

From: "Rory Sinclair" <>
Date: Sat, 8 May 1999 12:56:24 -0400

To say we have Scandinavian roots is correct but to place undue emphasis on this fact at this great distance in time, is perhaps pushing it. Alexander MacLean Sinclair, author of quite a few articles on Scottish History and The Sinclairs of Roslin, Caithness, and Goshen [Clan Sinclair Canada] (privately published 1901 and available from the Secretary, Clan Sinclair Association (Canada) @$12.00) has this to say on this subject:
Are the Sinclairs a Highland Clan? As the Normans and the Lowlanders had a good deal of Celtic blood in their veins, it would be folly to look upon the Lords of Roslin as Scandinavians. Sir Henry Sinclair, fourth of Roslin, was the son of Celtic mother. William Sinclair, second Earl of Caithness and progenitor of the Sinclairs of Caithness, was also the son a Celtic mother. The Scandinavians who settled in Caithness occupied only parts of the country. They did not slay the whole of the original inhabitants. It was indeed quite a common thing for a Norwegian to marry into a Celtic family. Leod, the progenitor fo the Macleods, was the son of a Scandinavian father. He married a Highland girl and two sons by her, Torquil of Lewis and Tormod of Dunvegan. These sons were only half Scandinavians. Tormod of Dunvagan married a Celtic girl and had a son named Malcolm by her. Malcolm was very far from being a half Scandinavian. He was certainly a Celt rather than a Scandinavian. Before a Sinclair, a Macleod or a Gunn talks about his Scandinavian origins, it would be wise for him to calculate with some degree of care to what extent his blood is Scandinavian blood. Patrick Sinclair, third of Ulbster,was the son of Jane Chisholm. John fourth of Ulbster, was the son of Elizabeth MacKay. John, fifth of Ulbster, was the son of Janet Sinclair. John, sixth of Ulbster was the son of Jane Munro. Geroge, seventh of Ulbster, was the son of Henrietta Brodie. Sir John Sinclair, eighth of Ulbster, the most eminent man Caithness ever produced, was the son of Janet MacKay. Was Sir John a Scandinavian? He believed himself to be a Highland Chieftain.

The Gaelic form of the name Sinclair is Singlear. The Sinclairs of Argyleshire call themselves Clann-na-Cearda or the Children of the craft or trade. It is probable that the name was given them by their neighbours would naturally take for gratned that Singlear meant shingler or flax-dresser. The Sinclairs of Argyll are out-and-out Highlanders.

The Earls of Caithness held their lands of the Crown and were in no way subject to the Saint Clairs of the Lowlands. They lived in the Highlands, were Chiefs of the Sinclairs of Caithness, they ruled over a large number of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders and they were to some extent Celts by blood. They thus had a perfect right to regard themselves as Highland Chiefs and to wear tartans and bonnets and use bagpipes if they saw proper. The Sinclairs of Caithness are thus a Highland Clan just as much as the Sutherlands, Gunns and Macleods are Highland Clans; but they are not Celts to the same extent.
I think this 100 year old analysis is still valid today.
Yours aye, Rory

Rollo the Viking [Rollo the Viking]

[Rollo's baptism] Rollo the Viking (855-931) brought his Normans ( northmen, vikings) from Norway to the northwest of France. church This is the Rollo, or Rollon in the French spelling, who in the year 911 at the church in St. Clair sur Epte signed the treaty with King Charles III the Simple of France Rollo and Louis that created him hereditary Count of Rouen; his descendants would call themselves Dukes of the new Duchy of Normandy. He was descended from the Jarls of Orkney. Rollo in Rouen There are statues of him in Alesund in his ancestral homeland of Moere in Norway, as well as in Rouen and Falaise, Normandy, France, and in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S.A.

Some pages in English, Rollo of Normandy homepage by Robert Helmerichs.

If you're looking for French materials about Rollo, try the French spelling, which is Rollon. Here are some other web pages about him, many of them found by Kristin Hussein

[Rollo Clan]

See also Rollo Clan for more about Rollo and his descendants.

Some say that Rollo was the same as Ganger-Hrolf, or Rollo the Ganger, who was called that because he was so gangly, to be specific, his legs were so long that when he rode a horse it looked like he was walking; Ganger means Walker. However, according to Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, Ph.D., the early sources all distinguish the two men.

From: "Privateers" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1999 17:19:47 -0000

The entire knowledge we have of Rollo is based on Dodo's colourful accounts. The title they both adopted was "Count". in 1015 Richard II was the first to style himself "Duke" and "Patrician". He asserted his right to control the church and appoint Dukes under it.

In 925 Rollo was defeated in the East at Ett at the place which would become the Norman border. His son William married a Christian, Lutegrade, the daughter of Count Verrnadois II. Her dowry was a frankish one and the mint at Rouen bore not the picture of the King of France but that of the Count, William Longsword. Very little is known about William Longsword.

William's murder in 942 by Arnulf of Flanders, threw the young dukedom, really a principality, into chaos. Richard I who succeeded William and ruled 942-946, was an illegitimate child of his Breton mistress, whose name is unknown. In a twist of fate, both William and Richard had to fight off Scandinavian warbands. A certain Harold, rejecting Christianity, established an independent power base at Bayeux. The Frankish kings attempted to reunite Normandy but failed due to internal rivalries in France. A concerted attack on Rouen came from Flanders and Angou. The Viking Legacy lived on. The language of power remained that of Charlemaine, the Normans by now no longer Vikings provided the fiscal foundations of ducal powers. They married into Frankish society, Rollo for example married Poppa, the daughter of the Count of Bayeux. The Norse tongue survived longer in England than in Normandy. This may have been due to the similarities between the Anglo Saxon and Norse. The Normans, by the first half of the 11th Century had lost their maritime ability and concentrated on the feudal warhorse and land army.



Last changed: 00/05/04 08:26:32 [Clan Sinclair]