Prince Henry
In Memorium
Pete Cummings
To promote recognition of Henry Sinclair, 14th Century explorer of North America, and to celebrate the 600th anniversary in 1998

23 August 1997 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:
HTML by John S. Quarterman

The Sinclair Symposium 1997

This is the final programme, provided by Josh Gourlay.


On 2nd August, 1379, Henry Sinclair was installed as Earl of Orkney. The ceremony took place on the Swedish island of Marstrand.

Nineteen years later, in 1398, he set sail from Orkney and Shetland with an armada of twelve ships. After a journey of some months, he arrived in the New World at Nova Scotia, nearly 100 years before Columbus.

Or did he?

His installation in Sweden is not in dispute, but his discovery of North America has been the subject of much, sometimes heated, debate.

The Sinclair Symposium is being held in Orkney in September this year, as part of the Seventh Orkney Science Festival. Both sides of the argument will be presented in a balanced, objective manner.

Can this matter be settled once and for all? Will the experts convince you? Will they convince each other?

The Symposium, which is open to all, starts on the evening of Friday, 5th September and finishes on Sunday afternoon, 7th September.

An autumnal weekend in the islands of Orkney when the main question will be, did he or didn't he?


During the 1300s, a series of wars involving Scotland resulted in a decrease of its influence in the north.

In 1349, the Black Death had a catastrophic effect on Norway. Nearly half the population died and its economy lay in ruins.

This weakening of the power-bases on both sides of the North Sea allowed the Orkney earls to regain some of their previous independence.

The earls of Orkney were now Scottish, rather than Scandinavian. This was due, in part, to marriage pacts between Orcadian and Scottish dynasties. From the 1330s, the line had passed to the Earls of Strathearn, of whom Henry Sinclair (or St. Clair) was descended.

Combined with the reinforced autonomy of the Orkney earls, his own wealth, power and influence were such that Henry was able to build, sometime around 1380, the stronghold of Kirkwall Castle. This was only a short period after his installation as earl and was in direct contravention of his charter from the Danish King of Norway.

From here, the fascinating mystery of ancient maps and charts, pirates, rivalries, royalty, secrets, plant carvings in Rosslyn Chapel, the forests of Nova Scotia, sites in Massachusetts, the City of Venice, Knights Templar and the Native American Micmac (Mi'kmaq) tribe, begins.

Symposium Programme

Friday 5th, September, 1997
1500 - 1700Video Film Showings
[1] "The Templar Legacy"
[2] "The Templar Renaissance"
1930Opening Address
Cllr James Sinclair JP, Vice-Convenor, Orkney Islands Council
1940"Rivalries, Royalty, Secrets - and Pirates!"
Dr Peter Waddell, Author & Inventor, University of Strathclyde
2100"Earldom & Castle"
Dr Peter D Anderson, Deputy Keeper of the Records in Scotland
Saturday 6th, September, 1997
0900"The Knights Templar: Myth & Reality"
Dr Tim Wallace-Murphy, Templar Historian
1000"The City of Venice & The Brothers Zen"
Dr Andrew Sinclair, Author and Historian
1100"Plants with Purpose - Carved Stone Vegetation"
Dr Brian Moffat, Director SHARP
1200"Points of Departure "
Dr Jonathan Wills, Writer & Boatman
1400"The Voyage & The Vision"
Mark Finnan, Broadcaster and Writer
1500"In The Footsteps of Prince Henry Sinclair"
William F Mann, Author
1600"The Micmac Connection"
Don Julien, Chief Kerry Prosper & Dr Peter Christmas
1700"The Newport Stone Tower & Westford Knight"
James P Whittal, Jr, Arch. Director, Early Sites Center Rowley, Mass.
Sunday 7th, September, 1997
0945Early Morning Service in St Magnus Cathedral (Founded 1137)
1100"Why Henry Sinclair Didn't Do It"
Brian Smith, Shetland Archivist and Writer
1200"Beyond A Shadow Of Doubt"
Niven Sinclair, Founder-President, "The Friends of Rosslyn"
1430"The 600th Celebration"
Pete Cummings Jr., Chair, Prince Henry Project
1530Final Summation

Symposium Venue

The Sinclair Symposium 1997 is being held in the Function Suite of The Ayre Hotel, situated along the seafront of Kirkwall in Orkney.

The following is the appropriate contact information for the Hotel:

Tel: +44 1856 87 30 01 Fax:+44 1856 87 62 89 E Mail:

Travel Information


Flights to Orkney arrive at Kirkwall Airport, only four miles, from Kirkwall. Internal UK flights arrive from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh And Wick.

There are connecting flights from all major UK cities and some North European cities via Aberdeen. Flight time from Aberdeen is approximately 45 minutes.

There is no coach service from the airport but ample taxis/cabs.


P&O Scottish Ferries run a daily ferry (travel time under 2 hours) from Scrabster in Caithness to Stromness.

John O' Groats Ferries operates between John O' Groats and Burwick (journey time 45 minutes).

Coach services to Kirkwall connect with ferry arrivals.

Road & Rail:

Motorists should head north on the motorway network and connect with the A9 to Inverness and subsequently to Scrabster (via Thurso).

Thurso is also the railhead for the ferry port and there is a connecting coach service.

The Easy Option:

To get to Orkney, a wide variety of routings is possible. To take advantage of special fares, the symposium travel agents will assist with advice and direct booking.

Contact Ridgway Travel, Albert Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, quoting the code: SS97

Tel: +44 1856 87 33 59 Fax:+44 1856 87 26 80 E Mail:

Symposium Contact Information

You can contact the Symposium Office by E-Mail, Fax or Post. Please note there is no telephone service.
Fax: +44 (0) 1856 87 09 92
The Sinclair Symposium
First Floor, 8 Broad Street
Kirkwall, Orkney KW15 1NX
Scotland, United Kingdom

Web Links

You'll find more information about the symposium on the following web page:
and further links on this subject at:

Clan Sinclair .
Last update: 99/08/01 16:20:23