Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 141 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR WILLIAM SINCLAIR, Or SAINT CLAIR (e. I260-c. 1303), was the descendant of a line of Anglo-Norman barons, one of whom obtained the barony of Rosslyn from King David I. in the 12th century. Sir William took part in the dispute over the succession to the crown of Scotland in 1292, and was one of the leaders of the Scots in their revolt against Edward I. One of his sons was William Sinclair (d. 1337), bishop of Dunkeld, who was responsible for the defeat of an English force at Donibristle in Fife in 1317. Sir William's eldest son was Sir Henry Sinclair (d. 1330), the friend of Robert the Bruce; and Sir Henry's son was Sir William Sinclair, who was slain by the Saracens in August 1330, while journeying through Spain to Palestine with Sir James Douglas, the bearer of the heart of Bruce. This Sir William Sinclair married Isabel, daughter of Malise, earl of Strathearn, Caithness and Orkney (d. c. 1350), and their son Sir Henry Sinclair (d. c. 1400) obtained the earldom of Orkney by a judgment of the Norwegian kingHaakon VI. in 1379. He then helped to conquer the Faeroe Islands, and took into his service the Venetian Travellers, Niccolo and Antonio Zeno, sailing with Antonio to Greenland. This prince of Orkney, as he is sometimes called, was succeeded by his son Henry (d. 1418), who was admiral of Scotland, and then by his grandson William (c. 1404-1480), the founder of the beautiful chapel at Rosslyn.

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