To promote recognition of Henry Sinclair, 14th Century explorer of North America, and to celebrate the 600th anniversary in 1998
November 15, 1996 Issue
Published by Prince Henry Project Committee
65 Hartwell Street, West Boylston, MA, 01583, USA
Phone: 508-835-2900 Fax: 508-835-2944 E-Mail: email@example.com
HTML by John S. Quarterman
An important component of this display is the welcoming role expressed by the Native Americans. Chief Kerry Prosper of the Micmacs has been consulted. Approval was granted by him through the Executive Director of the Confederacy of the Mainland Micmacs.
Dedication of the monument and the park is expected in the Spring of 1997.
The 600th Celebration Committee has prepared a guideline for helping people form "grass-root" committees. If you are interested, or if you know of someone who might want to consider forming a 600th Anniversary Committee, contact the adress on this masthead. We will send information to you. Volunteers and leaders are needed!
The Sinclairs/St. Clairs remained loyal to the Roman Catholic faith until the late 17th century. Their commitment to defend the faith was expressed in their motto, "Commit thy work to God." So strong was their belief that they resisted the Reformation in 1517, long after most fellow Scots and many Europeans became Protestant. It was their strict loyalty to the Catholic Church and to the ruling Stuarts in Scotland which caused the Sinclairs/St. Clairs to lose favor with the succeeding Scottish Monarchs. Many branches of the Sinclair/St. Clair family still remain of the Catholic persuasion to this day.
Was Prince Henry a Catholic? There was no such religion as Protestantism at that time. Certainly Henry was not Hindu, Muslim, or a pagan. We know Henry was a Templar. Let us briefly review history during the earlier centuries. In 1118 AD the Templars were established to protect the Christian Pilgrims as they traveled to the Holy Land in Jerusalem. They served under the sole direction of the Pope! They remained in this capacity for two centuries, until Pope Clement V moved his seat from the Vatican to Avignon in France. Some say he was an impostor. There, he came under the strong influence of his nephew, King Philip "le Bel" of France. This was also the time when France had borrowed vast sums of money from the wealthy Templars. So huge was this indebtedness that King Philip chose to exterminate the Templars, rather than to pay back his obligations. This triggered the fateful Suppression Order, supported by the Pope. All nations were asked to capture the Templars. Scotland refused to obey the Suppression Order; because its King Robert the Bruce had been excommunicated from the Church for murdering John "the Red" Comyn in a church. Consequently, many Templars fled to safety with their treasures to Scotland. They went to Balantrodoch, their ancient outpost, located on the Sinclair estates near Edinburgh. The Sinclairs had been members of the Knights Templar ever since its founding in 1118. Were these Templars following the Catholic faith? They were! Ritual used by the Templars today attests to their firm religious beliefs. Of course the division of the Papacy between Rome and Avignon, underscored by the Suppression Order, disrupted their lines of affiliation with the Avignonese Pope. Bear in mind, Protestantism had not yet been born. The Templars maintained their Catholic faith.
During the 14th century, England under King Edward I (known as "the hammer of the Scots") was constantly attacking Scotland. It began with the Battle of Rosslyn in 1303 when the Scots beat the English decisively in three separate engagements. The English army had advanced in three columns, with 10,000 men in each. They were engaged and decisively defeated by the 6,000 stong Scottish army. This infuriated Edward I. In 1314 he marched North with a highly trained army, intent upon getting revenge in a battle at Bannockburn. The Scots won the battle, largely due to the intervention of the Knights Templar on the side of King Robert the Bruce, assisted by Sir William Sinclair and his two sons, William and Henry.
In appreciation of the role played by the Templars at the Battle of Bannockburn, and in an effort to disguise the presence of the Templars within his kingdom, he created the Royal Sovereign Order of Scotland. Robert the Bruce also appointed William Sinclair as the Grand Master of the Crafts and Guilds of Scotland. This became a hereditary position with the Sinclairs until another William Sinclair resigned the hereditary post of Grand Master for himself and his heirs. He was then immediately elected as the first Grand Master in the Scottish Grand Lodge of Speculative Masons in 1736.
In this hereditary chain, Prince Henry Sinclair became the Grand Master of the Crafts and Guilds of Scotland, as well as being a Knight Templar, pledged to protect the Christian ideals. He was known as Henry "the Holy" St. Clair. He was a true leader and was chosen as the Commander of a Templar inspired expedition to the New World in 1398. The Templars had found a temporary refuge in Scotland, but Scotland had neither the space nor the scope to accommodate them. They wanted a new land where their ideals could take root and flourish. They knew about the New World. Trade was already taking place. The New World beckoned.
His Venetian admiral, Antonio Zeno, said Prince Henry was a man "worthy of immortal memory because of his great bravery and goodness." He reached America 94 years before Columbus. He treated the indigenous people with respect, understanding, and consideration. He called them his "beloved sons", as he recognized they had the same underlying beliefs he had himself, namely that God and Nature was One. There is no doubt, Henry St. Clair practiced his faith in everything he did. Before he ended his stay in the New World, it is thought that he applied his experience and religious beliefs in building the Newport Tower, following the design lines of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.