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Castle at the Cross

From: Margaret Rintoul/Neil Sinclair
Date: Friday, April 17, 1998 3:28PM

Dear John and Michael;

"The Sinclair Castle" at the cross Nova Scotia needs to be introduced to some of our clan. For Sinclairs that are interested in the Sinclair expedition this site is initially mentioned in Michael Bradley's book Holy Grail Across the Atlantic, Honslow Press 1988. In this book it was put forward that there was a settlement created which became the Castle at the Cross in the middle of Nova Scotia by Henry Sinclair and the site has received some mention in his other books and other writings of the expedition...

I visited the site which is on private lands in 1996 and there is little evidence remaining of any edifices but what what there was became certainly significant. I saw physical remains of a well, and stone foundations that were certainly old. It was not a castle in the sense that we would think of castles. Anything built and referred to as a castle in 1398 or so referred to more correctly to a building or buildings that could be fortified but really used as habitation. There may have been a buildings that were constructed but from eye level one did not see a huge area being involved. However in my uneducated eye it was very old, located on a height of land and in the middle of Nova Scotia between the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic. It was a logical site for an old habitation and certainly far removed from water access. That sid some backyard digging had occurred. I had the opportunity to write the owner and speak to them with the following advice;

First that the site should be closed and left as is until experts could be found to properly conduct an examination. I further urged that while the site was interesting and controversial (there are many skeptics) it should receive proper designation as an historical site. Again the property is on private lands and no site preservation was undertaken from day one. To make matters worse there was speculation as how to make money from the site and should anything be of historical interest then the worst one could do would be to commercialize it with no evidence of what existed. I would add that the Government of Nova Scotia is not only short sited on historical matters but when it came to historical preservation it was grossly negligent. I only hope the site is "preserved" and not dug up until a proper archeological study can be made. The lead of Clan Sinclair in Nova Scotia may have some more insights.

I also have no insight whether the site is still rapidly found. It was known to locals and was the very dickens to find from any published material and it was not on the historical sites being stuck in the middle of nowhere. If you are interested in the NS Sinclair Historical tour you may want to check out another travesty to historical preservation, Oak Island. While I have satisfied myself that Henry Sinclair did not bury any treasure there this site is one of the most significant mysteries on the eastern seaboard and should have been preserved from an historical perspective, and again the people of Nova Scotia and their government let that site get destroyed too with no care or preservation of artifacts no study of any kind and a terrible treasure hunt that turned up nothing. What I did leave this site with is a curiosity as to how Red Oaks came into the region. Planted from 1398? Again no studies and hence only books of speculation.

If anyone is following the History in Nova Scotia this summer a couple of spots are interesting and worth visiting. Louisburg has plaques suggesting that Prince Henry landed there, and the cannon mentioned in Sinclairs book are there mostly replicated but they did exist. Of most historical interest is that the Basques had been visiting Nova Scotia well before 1400 for the Fish and the Grand Banks. I would not be surprised if others did as well. This area as a fishing destination was not a surprise to every European. By the way of interest, Guysbouough NS has also laid some plans for significant celebrations and the most recent published history of Nova Scotia by Lesley Choyce does mention the Henry expedition as historical fact.

Hope this helps. Because this network runs on shared information is it helpful for all of us, if some background is put forward when making an inquiry so we may all be educated at the same time. Keep up the fine work, it is a most interesting communication network of clansmen.

Neil Sinclair, Toronto
Descendant of Argyll Scotland
Last changed: 99/11/21 14:41:27 [Clan Sinclair]