William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness, 3rd Earl of Orkney

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William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness, 3rd Earl of Orkney

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Rosslyn Castle, Roslin, Midlothian, Yr Alban (Caithness, Scotland), Scotland
Death: Died in Ravenscraig Castle,Kirkcaldy,Fifeshire,Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney and Egidia (Jill) Douglas, Countess of Orkney
Husband of unknown unknown; Elizabeth Douglas, Dowager Countess of Buchan; Marjory Sutherland of Dunbeath and Janet sinclair
Father of sir david sinclair; William "the Waster" Sinclair, 2nd Lord Sinclair; John St. Clair; Robert St. Clair; Alexander Sinclair and 15 others
Brother of Beatrice Sinclair
Half brother of Janet De Maxwell

Occupation: Chancellor of Scotland
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness, 3rd Earl of Orkney

William Sinclair (1410–1484), 1st Earl of Caithness (1455–1476), 3rd Earl of Orkney (1455–1470), Baron of Roslin was a Scottish nobleman and the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian.

He was the grandson of the explorer Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney and son of Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney, for a time protector of the young James Stuart, the later James I of Scotland. He was Lord High Admiral of Scotland, and was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1454 to 1456. He was First Lord St. Clair in Scotland 1449.

King James III gained the Earldom of Orkney for the Scottish Crown in 1470 (see History of Orkney), and William Sinclair was thereafter Earl of Caithness alone until he resigned the Earldom in favour of his son William in 1476.

In 1471 James bestowed the castle and lands of Ravenscraig in Fife on William Sinclair, in exchange for all his rights to the earldom of Orkney, which, by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland, passed on 20 February 1472, was annexed to the Scottish crown.

Family:

He was married three times, first to Lady Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas; secondly to Marjory Sutherland, daughter of Alexander Sutherland, and lastly to Janet Yeman.

He fathered two known children with Lady Elizabeth Douglas. Their son (William Sinclair, 2nd Lord St. Clair) was, in the opinion of the father, a wastrel, whereby he was disinherited consequently. His family received only the Castle of Ravenscraig. Their daughter (Elizabeth Sinclair) would marry Andrew Leslie, Master of Rothes.

He fathered four known children with Marjory Sutherland; Eleanor Sinclair, Catherine Sinclair, Sir Oliver Sinclair, and William Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Caithness.

The earl's third son (William Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Caithness), of his second marriage became the designated heir of the Earldom of Caithness, and continued that title. The Barony of Roslin went to his second son (Sir Oliver Sinclair).

All in all, the Sinclair ancestry is well represented in Scottish and British high nobility, thanks to marriages of his daughters and other descendants.

William's daughter of his second marriage, Lady Eleanor Sinclair, married John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl, a relative of the kings. Lord Henry Darnley and his son James I of England descend from Eleanor, and through them, quite a many royal house of Europe. His other daughter by this marriage, Catherine Sinclair, married Alexander Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany.

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ID: I52537 Name: William Sinclair 3rd Earl Orkney Caithness Surname: Sinclair Given Name: William Suffix: 3rd Earl Orkney Caithness Sex: M Birth: ABT 1408 in Rosslyn Castle, Roslin, Midlothian, Yr Alban Christening: Caithness, Sotland Death: BEF 28 May 1480 in Ravenscraig Castle, Kirkaldy, Fifeshire, Yr Alban 1 _UID: 8D67C2B781A67B4BA22115776C20D1DAE0B3 Death: ABT 1480 Event: Info 2 3rdEarl Orkney & 1st Earl Caithness Note: 3rd Earl of Orkney, 1st Earl of Caithness. Lord Sinclair. Admiral of Scotland & High Chancellor. Resigned Earldom of Orkney over to King James III. Created Earl of Caithness. Resigned Earldom of Caithness to his son

William [Sinclair], Earl of ORKNEY [SCT], who had succeeded his father in that honour before 1418, was one of the hostages for James I when allowed to return to Scotland in 1421 was Admiral of Scotland and, as such, conveyed the Princess Margaret of Scotland to France on her marriage, in 1436, to the Dauphin (Louis XI). He was a Lord of Parliament, as Lord SINCLAIR [SCT], as far back as 1449. HIGH CHANCELLOR [SCT], 1454-58. On 28 August 1455, he was created EARL OF CAITHNESS [SCT] "to him and his heirs." The isles of Orkney, having, on the marriage of James III, come under the Scottish dominion, he, in 1470, resigned the Earldom of Orkney [SCT] to the King, receiving the Castle of Ravenscraig, &c., co. Fife, in exchange, by charter 17 September 1470. He was Ambassador to England 1471-73. On 2 December 1476 he resigned his Earldom to his son and successor, William.

He married, 1stly, Elizabeth, widow of Sir Thomas STEWART [illegitimate son of Alexander [Stewart 11th Earl of Mar [SCT], and before that of John (STEWART), 3rd EARL OF BUCHAN [SCT], daughter of Archibald (DOUGLAS), 4th EARL OF DOUGLAS [SCT], by Lady Margaret STEWART, daughter of ROBERT III. She died about 1451. He married, 2ndly, before 15 November 1456, Marjory, daughter of Alexander SUTHERLAND, of Dunbeath. He married, 3rdly, Janet YEMAN. He died apparently between Martinmass and Whit-Sunday1480, when his pension ceased to be paid, leaving by his 1st wife a son and heir, William Sinclair (e), who succeeded. him in such honours and lands as he had not otherwise disposed of, and a younger son, by the 2nd wife, also named William,, who succeeded to the Earldom of Caithness. His widow was living 5 July 1483. [Complete Peerage II:477-78, XIV:133, (transcribed by Dave Utzinger)]

(e) This William Sinclair, who was reputed to be more or less imbecile, was ancestor of the Lords Sinclair. He received from his father, in 1359, the Barony of Newburgh, co. Aberdeen, but seems, in consequence of his prodigal habits, to have been almost disinherited by him, the Earldom of Caithness being left to William, 2nd son by the 2nd wife, and the estate of Rosslyn, etc. to Oliver, 1st son by the 2nd wife. ----------------------- William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, obtained from King James II a grant of the earldom of Caithness, to himself and his heirs, 28 August 1455, in compensation, as the charter bears, of a claim of right which he and his heirs had to the lordship of Nithsdale, and he was afterwards designed Earl of Orkney and Caithness. In this Earl's time, and in that of his father and grandfather, there had been serious differences between the Kings of Norway and Denmark and their vassals with regard to the former's suzerainty and other rights in the islands of Orkney and Shetland, and such strained relations between superior and vassal may have made it more easy for the King of Denmark to cede these islands to Scotland on the marriage of his daughter Margaret to King James III in 1469. In the following year the Scottish King having set his heart on obtaining entire possesion of the islands, 'awakened and set on Foot a dormant Claim against [Earl] Wiliam, for the Profits of the Orknays during his Non-age; and under Pretence of that sent him to Prison till he should renunce his Title, which the King accordingly extorted from him, and that too, at his own Rate, which William was forced to accept, or lose all. An Annuity of forty Merks for the Term of Life, the Castle of Ravenscraig, and certain other Lands in the County of Fife, of very inconsiderable Income, were all the Equivalent.'

It is worth noting that the King by his own hand gave sasine of the castle and lands to the Earl. The original instrument under the hand of John Tailliefere bears that on the 16 September 1470, in the royal chamber in Edinburgh Castle, King James III gave sasine to William, Earl of Caithness, and his heirs, of the King's castle of Ravenscraig, and other lands adgacent in the sheriffdom of Fife, by delivery out of his own royal hand of a staff into the hand of the Earl, in the presence of the Bishops of Aberdeen, Ross, and Orkney, the Earl of Crauford, and other great nobles and ministers of State.

This Earl founded the Collegiate Church of Rossyln in Midlothian for a provost, six prebends, and two singing boys in the year 1446.

On 7 December 1476 he resigned his lands of the earldom of Caithness,and offices pertaining thereto, in favour of William Sinclair, his son of the marriage between him and his second Countess Marjory, but under reservation of his liferent; and King James III, the same day, granted charter in favour of said William, the son, of the said lands and offices. Earl William died sometime between the date of the charter and 29 march 1482. He was three times married; first, to Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of Archibald, fourth Earl of Douglas, by Lady Margaret Stewart, daughter of King Robert III. She was already widow of John, Earl of Buchan, Constable of France, and of Sir Thomas Stewart, son of Alexander, Earl of Mar.

William, Earl of Caithness, married, secondly, before 15 November 1456, Marjory Sutherland, daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath, sometimes, but wrongly, called Master of Sutherland. [The Scots Peerage II:332-334] -------------------- Sir William Sinclair, third Earl of Orkney and first Earl of Caithness (1404?-1480), chancellor of Scotland, born about 1404, was the only son of Henry Sinclair, second earl of Orkney, by his wife Egidia or Giles Douglas, daughter of Sir William Douglas of Nithsdale, and of the Princess Egidia, a daughter of Robert II.

Earl William succeeded about 1418, his father being then dead. In 1421 the earl was named as a hostage for James I (then a prisoner in England), who desired to visit Scotland, and on the king's release in 1424 Sinclair met him at Berwick. He was one of the assize who condemned Murdac Stewart, second duke of Albany, and his sons to death in 1425, when he was doubtless of age. He appears also about this time to have made claim to the earldom of ORkney, a Norwegian fief which was held by his father. In 1420 Eric, king of Norway, had committed the earldom after the death of Earl William's father, during the young earl's minority, to Thomas Tulloch, bishop of Orkney, as a trust to be delivered up to the king when required. Later, the trust was conferred on David Meyner or Menzies of Weem, who between 1423 and 1426 was charged with many acts of oppression, among others his detention of the Earl William's rents, and his refusal to set the public seal to a testimony of the earl's right. The earl apparently visited Eric's court, but did not receive formal investiture of the earldom of Orknay until 1434. The terms of his tenure were similar to those required of his grandfather, Henry Sinclair, first earl of Orkney, and he acknowledged the jurisdiction of the Norwegian king, promising to hold for him the castle of Kirkwall.

The earl was high admiral of Scotland in 1436, and commanded the fleet which bore the Princess Margaret of Scotland to France to be married to the Dauphin. According to Father Hay, the earl was gloriously apparelled and magnificently attended, and received the order of St Michael form the French king. He was summoned to Bergen on 24 June 1446 to take the oath of allegiance for the Orkneys to Christopher, king of Norway, and it seems probable that to this date belongs the well-known diploma, attested by Thomas Tulloch, bishop of Orkney, setting forth the earl's pedigree. The instrument was drawn up by the bishop and his canons, with the lawman, nobles, and people of Orkney, assembled in the churhc of St Magnus, in presence of the earl, in May or on 1 June of a year hitherto uncertain, but held by some to be 1446, a date corroborated by the summons referred to. In this year also he began the foundation of the collegiate church of Roslin, for the residence of a provost, six prebendaries, and two singing boys. The chapel of this church still remains to attest the wealth and taste of the founder, and, though not completed as originally designed, it forms one of the most beautiful examples of church architecture in Scotland.

In 1448 the earl joined with the earls of Douglas, Ormonde, and others, in repelling an English invasion, and was created Lord Sinclair apparently the following year. In 1454 he was appointed chancellor of Scotland in succession to William, lord Crichton. When the king in 1455 resolved to put down the power of the Douglases, the chancellor took an active part, and personally superintended the transportation of a 'great bombard' from Edinbrugh to Threave Castle in Galloway. In the same year he received the earldom of Caithness in exchange for his lordship of Nithsdale, and in 1465 his town of Roslin, probably formed by the masons who worked on the college and chapel, was erected into a burgh of barony with the usual privileges.

In the latter part of 1456 Sinclair ceased to be chancellor, and thenceforth seems to have taken little part in public affairs, though his is opccasionally referred to in safe-conducts to England and documents relating to truces between the realms. He was in 1460 summoned to tender his allegiance to the new king of Norway, Christiern I, but his presence was required in Orkney, where John, earl of Ross, lord of the Isles, was committing violent deparedations; and he was still unable to leave Scotland in the following year, as he had been appointed one of the regents after the death of James II. He was also in that year named as an ambassador to England. But he was opposed to the party of the Boyds, then rising into power, and he chiefly figures in connection with his earldom of Orkney, where in 1467 one of his sons, perhaps William 'the waster,' had seized and imprisoned William Tulloch, bishop of Orkney (cousin of the former bishop, Thomas), as to which, and the oppressive conduct of the earl himself, King Christiern I made a special appeal to the Scottish king.

In 1468 and 1469 the earl again appeared in the Scottish parliament, and in 1471, after the Orkneys were ceded to Scotland, he resigned all his rights in them to the crown, in exchage for the castle and lands of Ravensbeugh and Dysart in Fife and a pensions of four hundred merks yearly. During the next two years he is named as an envoy to England, and in 1476 he made a diposition of his great estates. He resigned his earldom of Caithness in favour of William, apparently the elder son of his second marriage, and granted to Sir Oliver, apparently the younger son of the same marriage, the lands of Roslin and others, forming a considerable territory.

The earl died apparently in the early part of 1480, when his pension ceased to be paid. He was twice married first: before 1437, to Margaret, eldest daughter of Archibald, fourth earl of Douglas, and widow of John Stewart, earl of Buchan, and also of Thomas, master of Mar. By her he had a daughter Catherine, who married Alexander Stewart, duke of Albany, and one son, William Sinclair of Newburgh, styled 'William the Waster' from his spendthrift habits, and who on that account was passed over by the earl in disposing of his estates, though he and his half-brother, Sir Oliver Sinclair, afterwards entered into a compromise as to their lands. The title of Baron Sinclair was first conferred, 26 Jan 1488-9, on Henry, son of William Sinclair of Newburgh. This Lord Sinclair, at whose request Gavin Douglas translated the Æneid into Scots, was slain at Flodden on 9 Sept 1513. His grandson Henry, third lord Sinclair, was a strenuous supporter of Mary Queen of Scots, signed the bond for her against Moray on 12 Sept 1535, and joined the association in her support at Hamilton after her escape for Lochleven in 1568.

The second wife of Earl William was Marjorie Sutherland, daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath, and by her he had, with four daughters, four sons - William, Oliver, David, and John.

The eldest son, William, second earl of Caithness, was killed at Flodden in 1513, leaving two sons, of whom the eldest, John, succeeded as third Earl of Caithness; along with Lord Sinclair, the third earl in 1529 invaded Orkney to endeavour to make good his professed claims to the earldom of Orkney, but was defeated and slain by the Orcadians under James Sinclair, governor of Kirkwall Castle, at Bigswell in Stennes on 18 May. His son George, fourth earl, is noticed seperately.

The second son, Sir Oliver Sinclair of Roslin, was father of Oliver Sinclair, of Henry Sinclair, bishop of Ross, and of John Sinclair, bishop of Brechin.

The third son, Sir David Sinclair of Svenburgh or Sumburgh, was sometime captain of the castle of Bergen and governor of Shetland; and the fourth son, John, was bishop of Caithness. [Dictionary of National Biography XVIII:309-310] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Change Date: 10 Mar 2009 at 00:00:00

Father: Henry Sinclair 2nd Earl of Orkney b: ABT 1375 in Rosslyn Castle, Roslin, Midlothian, Yr Alban Mother: Egida Douglas b: ABT 1387 in Nithsdale, Dumfriesshire, Yr Alban

Marriage 1 Elizabeth Douglas b: ABT 1405 in Douglas Castle, Douglas, Lanarkshire, Yr Alban Children

William "the Waster" Sinclair 2nd Lord Sinclair b: 1430 in Caithnesshire, Yr Alban
Catherine Sinclair Duchess of Albany b: ABT 1458

Marriage 2 Marjory Sutherland b: ABT 1441 in Dunbeath Castle, Caithness, Yr Alban Married: BEF 15 Nov 1456 9 Children

Elizabeth Sinclair Of Orkney b: 1440
Eleanor Sinclair b: ABT 1457 in Ravenscraig Castle, Kirkaldy, Fifeshire, Yr Alban
William Sinclair 2nd Earl of Caithness b: 1458 in Girnigoe Castle, Wick, Caithness, Yr Alban
Oliver Sinclair b: ABT 1460 in Ravenscraig Castle, Kirkaldy, Fifeshire, Yr Alban

Marriage 3 Janet Yeman

Sources: Title: Magna Charta Sureties, 1215 Author: Frederick Lewis Weis Publication: 4th ed, Genealogical Publishing, Baltimore Page: line 41C pp 45-46, line 165 p 166 Repository:

Title: Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom Author: GE Cokayne Publication: Sutton Publishing Ltd Note: Source Media Type: Book Page: II:477-478 Repository:

Title: The Scots Peerage Author: Sir James Balfour Paul LORD LYON KING OF ARMS Publication: EDINBURGH : DAVID .DOUGLAS, 1914 Page: II:332-334, VI:571 Repository:

Title: Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th Edition Author: Charles Mosley Publication: {1999} Note: Source Media Type: Book Page: 469 Repository:

Title: Dictionary of National Biography Author: Ed by Sir Leslie S Publication: George Smith, Oxford Press, Vols 1-21 (Orignially published 1885-90), Page: XVIII:309-310 Repository:

Title: Magna Charta Sureties 1215 Author: Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Sheppard Jr, 5th Ed Publication: 1999 Note: Source Media Type: Book Page: 41c-10, 41f-10 Title: Magna Charta Sureties, 1215 Author: Frederick Lewis Weis Publication: 4th ed, Genealogical Publishing, Baltimore Page: line 41C pp 45-46 Title: A General And Heraldic Dictionary of The Peerages of England, Ireland, And Scotland, Exitinct, Dormant, and in Abeyance Author: John Burke, Esq., Publication: London: Henry Colburn And Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street. 1831 Title: Magna Charta Sureties, 1215 Author: Frederick Lewis Weis Publication: 4th ed, Genealogical Publishing, Baltimore Page: line 41C pp 45-46, line 41F p 48, line 91A p 101 Text: his 2nd m

-------------------- This person and their pedigree are currently documented from "The Royal Lineage of Our Noble and Gentle Families together with Their Paternal Ancestry" Compiled by Joseph Foster, 1885 [Source: http://www.archive.org/details/royallineageofou02fost ] -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Sinclair,_1st_Earl_of_Caithness

William Sinclair (1410–1484), 1st Earl of Caithness (1455–1476), 3rd Earl of Orkney (1455–1470), Baron of Roslin was a Scottish nobleman and the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian.

He was the grandson of the explorer Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney and son of Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney, for a time protector of the young James Stuart, the later James I of Scotland. He was Lord High Admiral of Scotland, and was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1454 to 1456. He was First Lord St. Clair in Scotland 1449.

King James III gained the Earldom of Orkney for the Scottish Crown in 1470 (see History of Orkney), and William Sinclair was thereafter Earl of Caithness alone until he resigned the Earldom in favour of his son William in 1476.

In 1471 James bestowed the castle and lands of Ravenscraig in Fife on William Sinclair[1], in exchange for all his rights to the earldom of Orkney, which, by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland, passed on 20 February 1472, was annexed to the Scottish crown.

-------------------- William Sinclair (1410–1484), 1st Earl of Caithness (1455–1476), 3rd Earl of Orkney (1455–1470), Baron of Roslin was a Scottish nobleman and the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian.

He was the grandson of the explorer Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney and son of Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney, for a time protector of the young James Stuart, the later James I of Scotland. He was Lord High Admiral of Scotland, and was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1454 to 1456. He was First Lord St. Clair in Scotland 1449.

He was married three times, first to Lady Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas; secondly to Marjory Sutherland, daughter of Alexander Sutherland, and lastly to Janet Yeman.

He fathered two known children with Lady Elizabeth Douglas. Their son (William Sinclair, 2nd Lord St. Clair) was, in the opinion of the father, a wastrel, whereby he was disinherited consequently. His family received only the Castle of Ravenscraig. Their daughter (Elizabeth Sinclair) would marry Andrew Leslie, Master of Rothes.

He fathered four known children with Marjory Sutherland; Eleanor Sinclair, Catherine Sinclair, Sir Oliver Sinclair, and William Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Caithness.

The earl's third son (William Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Caithness), of his second marriage became the designated heir of the Earldom of Caithness, and continued that title. The Barony of Roslin went to his second son (Sir Oliver Sinclair).

All in all, the Sinclair ancestry is well represented in Scottish and British high nobility, thanks to marriages of his daughters and other descendants.

William's daughter of his second marriage, Lady Eleanor Sinclair, married John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl, a relative of the kings. Lord Henry Darnley and his son James I of England descend from Eleanor, and through them, quite a many royal house of Europe. His other daughter by this marriage, Catherine Sinclair, married Alexander Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany. -------------------- Rosslyn Chapel was built in 1446 by William St.Clair (the family name was later changed to Sinclair during the Scottish reformation), Baron of Rosslyn and the last Prince of Orkney from Scotland.

William Sinclair (b.1415 - d.1482), 11th Baron of Rosslyn and the third (and last) Sinclair Prince of Orkney, was also named Grand Master Mason by King James II of Scotland and the First Hereditary Protector of the Freemasons in Scotland. -------------------- 1st Earl of Caithness, 3rd Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin, Lord High Admiral of Scotland, Lord Chancellor of Scotland, built Rosslyn Chapel, one of the wealthiest persons in Europe. -------------------- William Sinclair (1410–1484), 1st Earl of Caithness (1455–1476), 3rd Earl of Orkney (1455–1470), Baron of Roslin was a Scottish nobleman and the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian.

He was the grandson of the explorer Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney and son of Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney, for a time protector of the young James Stuart, the later James I of Scotland. He was Lord High Admiral of Scotland, and was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1454 to 1456. He was First Lord St. Clair in Scotland 1449.

He was married three times, first to Lady Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas; secondly to Marjory Sutherland, daughter of Alexander Sutherland, and lastly to Janet Yeman.

He fathered two known children with Lady Elizabeth Douglas. Their son (William Sinclair, 2nd Lord St. Clair) was, in the opinion of the father, a wastrel, whereby he was disinherited consequently. His family received only the Castle of Ravenscraig. Their daughter (Elizabeth Sinclair) would marry Andrew Leslie, Master of Rothes.

He fathered four known children with Marjory Sutherland; Eleanor Sinclair, Catherine Sinclair, Sir Oliver Sinclair, and William Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Caithness.

The earl's third son (William Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Caithness), of his second marriage became the designated heir of the Earldom of Caithness, and continued that title. The Barony of Roslin went to his second son (Sir Oliver Sinclair).

All in all, the Sinclair ancestry is well represented in Scottish and British high nobility, thanks to marriages of his daughters and other descendants.

William's daughter of his second marriage, Lady Eleanor Sinclair, married John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl, a relative of the kings. Lord Henry Darnley and his son James I of England descend from Eleanor, and through them, quite a many royal house of Europe. His other daughter by this marriage, Catherine Sinclair, married Alexander Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany. -------------------- Builder of Roslin Chapel in Midothian, Lord High Admiral of Scotland, Lord Chancelor of Scotland, 1st Lord St. Clair of Scotland -------------------- Rosslyn Chapel, properly named the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Roman Catholic collegiate church (with between 4 and 6 ordained canons and two boy choristers) in the mid-15th century. Rosslyn Chapel and the nearby Roslin Castle are located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland.

The chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness (also spelled "Sainteclaire/Saintclair/Sinclair/St. Clair") of the Sinclair family, a noble family descended from Norman knights, using the standard designs the medieval architects made available to him. Rosslyn Chapel is the third Sinclair place of worship at Roslin - the first being in Roslin Castle and the second (whose crumbling buttresses can still be seen today) in what is now Roslin Cemetery.[1]

The purpose of the college was to celebrate the Divine Office throughout the day and night and also to celebrate Holy Mass for all the faithful departed, including the deceased members of the Sinclair family. During this period the rich heritage of plainsong (a single melodic line) or polyphony (vocal harmony) would be used to enrich the singing of the liturgy. An endowment was made that would pay for the upkeep of the priests and choristers in perpetuity and they also had parochial responsibilities.

After the Scottish Reformation (1560) Roman Catholic worship in the Chapel was brought to an end, although the Sinclair family continued to be Roman Catholics until the early 18th century. From that time the Chapel was closed to public worship until 1861 when it was opened again as a place of worship according to the rites of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

In later years the Chapel has featured in speculative theories regarding Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.

Interior of the chapel.Contents[hide] 1 Architecture 1.1 Apprentice Pillar 1.2 'Musical' boxes 1.3 Green Men 1.4 'Ears of corn' 1.5 Crypt 2 Templar and Masonic connections 3 Alternative histories 4 Fictional references 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links [edit] Architecture Pendant keystone in the roofThe original plans for Rosslyn have never been found or recorded, so it is open to speculation whether or not the chapel was intended to be built in its current layout. Its architecture is considered to be some of the finest in Scotland.[2]

Construction of the chapel began on 20 September 1456, although it is often been recorded as 1446. The confusion over the building date comes from the chapel's receiving its founding charter to build a collegiate chapel in 1446 from Rome. Sinclair did not start to build the chapel until he had built houses for his craftsmen. Although the original building was to be cruciform in shape, it was never completed; only the choir was constructed, with the retro-chapel, otherwise called the Lady Chapel, built on the much earlier crypt (Lower Chapel) believed to form part of an earlier castle. The foundations of the unbuilt nave and transepts stretching to a distance of 90 feet were recorded in the 19th century. The decorative carving was executed over a forty-year period. After the founder's death, construction of the planned nave and transepts was abandoned - either from lack of funds, disinterest, or a change in liturgical fashion. The Lower Chapel (also known as the crypt or sacristy) should not be confused with the burial vaults that lie underneath Rosslyn Chapel.[1]

The chapel stands on fourteen pillars, which form an arcade of twelve pointed arches on three sides of the nave. At the east end, a fourteenth pillar between the penultimate pair form a three-pillared division between the nave and the Lady Chapel.[3] The three pillars at the east end of the chapel are named, from north to south: the Master Pillar, the Journeyman Pillar, and most famously, the Apprentice Pillar. These names for the pillars date from the late Georgian period — prior to this period they were called The Earl's Pillar, The Shekinah and the Prince's pillar.

[edit] Apprentice Pillar The Apprentice PillarThe "Apprentice Pillar", or "Prentice Pillar", gets its name from an 18th century legend involving the master mason in charge of the stonework in the chapel and his young apprentice. According to the legend, the master mason did not believe that the apprentice could perform the complicated task of carving the column, without seeing the original which formed the inspiration for the design. The master mason travelled to see the original himself, but upon his return was enraged to find that the upstart apprentice had completed the column anyway. In a fit of jealous anger the mason took up his mallet and struck the apprentice on the head, killing him. As punishment for his crime, the master mason's face was carved into the opposite corner to forever gaze upon his apprentice's pillar.[4]

The pillar is also referred to as the "Princes Pillar" in An Account of the Chapel of Roslin (1778). On the architrave joining the pillar, there is the inscription Forte est vinum fortior est rex fortiores sunt mulieres super omnia vincit veritas: "Wine is strong, a king is stronger, women are stronger still, but truth conquers all" (1 Esdras, chapters 3 & 4)

Author Henning Klovekorn has proposed that the pillar is representative of one of the roots of the Nordic Yggdrasil tree, prominent in Germanic and Viking Mythology. He is of the opinion that the dragons at the base of the pillar are also found eating away at the base of the Yggdrasil root, and the top of the pillar is carved tree foliage, and argues that the Nordic/Viking association is plausible considering the many auxiliary references in the chapel to Celtic and Nordic mythology.[5]

[edit] 'Musical' boxes Among Rosslyn's many intricate carvings are a sequence of 213 cubes or boxes protruding from pillars and arches with a selection of patterns on them. It is unknown whether these patterns have any particular meaning attached to them — many people have attempted to find information coded into them, but no interpretation has yet proven conclusive.

One recent attempt to make sense of the boxes has been to interpret them as a musical score. The motifs on the boxes somewhat resemble geometric patterns seen in the study of cymatics. The patterns are formed by placing powder upon a flat surface and vibrating the surface at different frequencies. By matching these Chladni patterns with musical notes corresponding to the same frequencies, the father-and-son team of Thomas and Stuart Mitchell produced a tune which Stuart calls the Rosslyn Motet.[6]

[edit] Green Men Green Man of the chapelAnother notable feature of Rosslyn's architecture is the presence of 'Green Men'. These are carvings of human faces with greenery all around them, often growing out of their mouths. They are commonly thought to be a symbol of rebirth or fertility, pre-Christian in origin. In Rosslyn they are found in all areas of the chapel, with one excellent example in the Lady Chapel, between the two middle altars of the east wall. The green men in Rosslyn symbolise the months of the year in progression from East to West in the Chapel. Young faces are seen in the East symbolising Spring and as we progress towards the setting sun in the west the carvings age as in autumn of man's years. There are in excess of 110 carvings of Green men in and around the Chapel.

[edit] 'Ears of corn' In addition to the boxes, there are carvings of what the authors Robert Lomas and Christopher Knight believe could be ears of new world corn or maize in the chapel.[7] This crop was unknown in Europe at the time of the chapel's construction, and was not cultivated there until several hundred years later. Knight and Lomas view these carvings as evidence supporting the idea that Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, travelled to the Americas well before Columbus. Mediaeval scholars interpret these carvings as stylised depictions of wheat, strawberries or lilies.[8]

Carvings, which some believe depict indian corn (maize).[edit] Crypt The Chapel has also acted as a burial place for several generations of the Sinclairs — a crypt was once reachable from a descending stair at the rear of the chapel. This crypt has for many years been sealed shut, which may explain the recurrent legends that it is merely a front to a more extensive subterranean vault containing (variously) the mummified head of Jesus Christ,[9] the Holy Grail,[10] the treasure of the Templars,[11] or the original crown jewels of Scotland.[12] In 1837 when the 2nd Earl of Rosslyn died, his wish was to be buried in the original vault; exhaustive searches over the period of a week were made, but no entrance to the original vault was found and he was buried beside his wife in the Lady Chapel.[13]

[edit] Templar and Masonic connections The chapel, built 150 years after the dissolution of the Knights Templar, supposedly has many Templar symbols, such as the "Two riders on a single horse" that appear on the Seal of the Knights Templar.

The claim that the layout of Rosslyn Chapel echoes that of Solomon's Temple [14] has been analysed by Mark Oxbrow and Ian Robertson in their book, Rosslyn and the Grail:

An interior view showing the Apprentice Pillar and ornate carvings.Rosslyn Chapel bears no more resemblance to Solomon's or Herod's Temple than a house brick does to a paperback book. If you superimpose the floor plans of Rosslyn Chapel and either Solomon's or Herod's Temple, you will actually find that they are not even remotely similar. Writers admit that the chapel is far smaller than either of the temples. They freely scale the plans up or down in an attempt to fit them together. What they actually find are no significant similarities at all. [...] If you superimpose the floor plans of Rosslyn Chapel and the East Quire of Glasgow Cathedral you will find a startling match: the four walls of both buildings fit precisely. The East Quire of Glasgow is larger than Rosslyn, but the designs of these two medieval Scottish buildings are virtually identical. They both have the same number of windows and the same number of pillars in the same configuration. [...] The similarity between Rosslyn Chapel and Glasgow's East Quire is well established. Andrew Kemp noted that 'the entire plan of this Chapel corresponds to a large extent with the choir of Glasgow Cathedral' as far back as 1877 in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries. Many alternative history writers are well aware of this but fail to mention it in their books.[15]

With regards to a possible connection between the St. Clairs and the Knights Templar, the family testified against the Templars when that Order was put on trial in Edinburgh in 1309.[16] Historian Dr. Louise Yeoman, along with other mediaeval scholars, says the Knights Templar connection is false, and points out that Rosslyn Chapel was built by William Sinclair so that Mass could be said for the souls of his family.[17]

It is also claimed that other carvings in the chapel reflect Masonic imagery, such as the way that hands are placed in various figures. One carving may show a blindfolded man being led forward with a noose around his neck—similar to the way a candidate is prepared for initiation into Freemasonry. The carving has been eroded by time and pollution and is difficult to make out clearly. The chapel was built in the 15th century, and the earliest records of Freemasonic lodges date back only to the late 16th and early 17th centuries.[18] A more likely explanation however is that the Masonic imagery was added at a later date. This may have taken place in the 1860s when James St Clair-Erskine, 3rd Earl of Rosslyn instructed Edinburgh architect David Bryce, a known freemason, to undertake restoration work on areas of the church including many of the carvings.[19]

William Sinclair 3rd Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin and 1st Earl of Caithness, claimed by novelists to be a hereditary Grand Master of the Scottish stone masons, built Rosslyn Chapel.[14] A later William Sinclair of Roslin became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and, subsequently, several other members of the Sinclair family have held this position.[20]

These connections, to both the Templars and the Freemasons, mean that Rosslyn features prominently in romantic conjectures that the Freemasons are direct descendants of the Knights Templar.

[edit] Alternative histories Alternative histories involving Rosslyn Chapel and the Sinclairs have been published by Andrew Sinclair and Timothy Wallace-Murphy arguing links with the Knights Templar and the supposed descendants of Jesus Christ. The books in particular by Timothy Wallace-Murphy Rex Deus: The True Mystery of Rennes-le-Château And The Dynasty of Jesus (2000) and Custodians Of Truth: The Continuance Of Rex Deus (2005) have focused on the hypothetical Jesus bloodline with the Sinclairs and Rosslyn Chapel. On the ABC documentary Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci aired on 3 November 2003 Niven Sinclair hinted that the descendants of Jesus Christ existed within the Sinclair families. These alternative histories are relatively modern - not dating back before the early 1990s. The precursor to these Rosslyn theories is the 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln that introduced the theory of the Jesus bloodline in relation to the Priory of Sion hoax - the main protagonist of which was Pierre Plantard, who for a time adopted the name Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair.

[edit] Fictional references The Chapel is a major feature in the last part of Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, though many incorrect assertions were made about the structure. For example, Brown's book states that the Chapel was built by the Knights Templar, and contains a six-pointed Star of David worn into the stone floor although no such star is present. Many sources say that Brown never visited the Chapel until after the publication of his book, and most of his material came from previously published material.

Another claim from The Da Vinci Code is that the name "Rosslyn" is a form of the term Rose Line, and that a line starting in France also runs through the Chapel, however scholars point out that the name "Rosslyn" is most likely derived from two Celtic words: "ros", meaning promontory or point, and "lyn", meaning waterfall.[21]

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William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search William Sinclair (1410–1484), 1st Earl of Caithness (1455–1476), 3rd Earl of Orkney (1455–1470), Baron of Roslin was a Scottish nobleman and the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian.

He was the grandson of the explorer Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney and son of Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney, for a time protector of the young James Stuart, the later James I of Scotland. He was Lord High Admiral of Scotland, and was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1454 to 1456. He became the first Lord St. Clair in Scotland 1449.

He made several big territorial transactions during his life.

Te first important one was the exchange of his inherited lordship of Nithsdale to the estates of the earldom of Caithness - which soon led to his obtaining the title of Earl in the peerage of Scotland.

King James III gained his hold and rights of the Norwegian Earldom of Orkney for the Scottish Crown in 1470 (see History of Orkney), against a promised compensation (it turned out to be lands of Ravencraig, in 1471); and William Sinclair was thereafter Earl of Caithness alone until he resigned the Earldom in favour of his son William in 1476.

In 1471 James bestowed the castle and lands of Ravenscraig in Fife on William Sinclair[1], in exchange for all his rights to the earldom of Orkney, which, by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland, passed on 20 February 1472, was annexed to the Scottish crown.

[edit] Family He was married three times, first to Lady Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas; secondly to Marjory Sutherland, daughter of Alexander Sutherland, and lastly to Janet Yeman.

He fathered two known children with Lady Elizabeth Douglas. Their son (William Sinclair, 2nd Lord St. Clair) was, in the opinion of the father, a wastrel, whereby he was disinherited consequently. His family received only the Castle of Ravenscraig in Fife. Their daughter (Elizabeth Sinclair) would marry Andrew Leslie, Master of Rothes.

He fathered four known children with Marjory Sutherland; Eleanor Sinclair, Catherine Sinclair, Sir Oliver Sinclair, and William Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Caithness.

The earl's third son (William Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Caithness), of his second marriage became the designated heir of the Earldom of Caithness, and continued that title. The Barony of Roslin went to his second son (Sir Oliver Sinclair).

All in all, the Sinclair ancestry is well and thoroughly represented in Scottish and British high nobility, thanks to marriages of his daughters and other descendants.

William's daughter of his second marriage, Lady Eleanor Sinclair, married John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl, a relative of the kings. Lord Henry Darnley and his son James I of England descend from Eleanor, and through them, quite a many royal house of Europe. His other daughter by this marriage, Catherine Sinclair, married Alexander Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany, a nephew of the said Atholl.

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William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness, 3rd Earl of Orkney's Timeline

1410
1410
Rosslyn Castle, Roslin, Midlothian, Yr Alban (Caithness, Scotland), Scotland
1431
1431
Age 21
Scotland, United Kingdom
1433
1433
Age 23
Scotland
1456
November 15, 1456
Age 46
November 1456
Age 46
Roslin, Caithness, Scotland
1457
1457
Age 47
Ravencraig Castle,Kirkaldy,Fifeshire,Scotland
1460
1460
Age 50
Ravenscraig, Fifeshire, Scotland
1463
1463
Age 53
Ravenscraig, Fifeshire, Scotland
1482
March 1482
Age 72
Ravenscraig Castle,Kirkcaldy,Fifeshire,Scotland
????