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Sinclair Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: COMMIT THY WORK TO GOD

Your family name, Sinclair, has a rich and storied history that traces back to the Norman land of St Clair in Pont d’Eveque, Normandy. This is where your clan’s journey began, as the landowners adopted the designation ‘de St Clair’ in the eleventh century, which eventually evolved into your distinguished surname, Sinclair. The name is rooted in dedication to the first bishop of Nantes, a historical figure from the third century.

Your family’s Scottish lineage can be traced back to 1162, when Henry de St Clair was granted a charter to lands near Haddington, known as Herdmanston. The St Clairs of Herdmanston rose to peerage status as ‘Lord Sinclair’ in 1449. Your chiefs can trace their ancestry to Sir William Sinclair, a sheriff of Edinburgh, who was bestowed the barony of Roslin in 1280. His allegiance to Bruce and his role alongside Sir James Douglas on the expedition to the Holy Land with the king’s heart further enriched your family’s legacy.

William’s grandson, Henry, embraced the title of Earl of Orkney through his mother, Isabel, and even conquered the Faroe Islands in 1391. The third earl, a prominent figure as High Chancellor of Scotland, added to the family’s laurels by acquiring the earldom of Caithness in 1455. This era marked the shift from ‘St Clair’ to ‘Sinclair’ in the name’s spelling, a transformation that has persisted through the centuries.

Yet, your family’s path has had its share of trials and triumphs. The sixth Earl of Caithness, George, faced the necessity of selling off much of the family’s cherished lands in 1672. Nevertheless, the determination and spirit of your lineage remained undiminished. The title’s rightful succession was challenged, leading to dramatic events like the pitched battle near Wick, where the Campbells are said to have crossed the water without wetting their feet due to the valorous sacrifices of the Sinclairs.

In 1681, the Sinclairs reclaimed their earldom through the intervention of Parliament. The legacy endures in landmarks like Rosslyn Castle and its splendid chapel, testaments to your family’s enduring presence. Your family’s story is one of resilience, determination, and the unbreakable bond that has withstood the test of time.

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Family Crest Motto: COMMIT THY WORK TO GOD

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