Ahamotkt. A History And Mythos Of The Knights Templar.
aid. An extraordinary grant of tax to the king. From the reign of King John of England it was customary to have the assent of the lay and ecclesiastical magnates, later afforced by representatives of the knights of the shires and burgesses.
amercement. A punishment for minor infringements of regulations, especially fiscal or judicial, or minor offences, imposed in the form of money and at the mercy, which is to say discretion, of the king or his justices.
apprentice pillar. The pillar in Rosslyn Chapel that was, according to legend, constructed by an apprentice while the master mason was in Italy studying how to make such a pillar. The master, upon returning and seeing what the apprentice had done, supposedly killed the apprentice with a hammer blow to the temple in a fit of rage. Faces said to be those of the master, the apprentice, and his mother, are carved in stone in Rosslyn Chapel. The apprentice pillar has even been said to be the repository of the Holy Grail and of the Holy Rood.
Arbroath. See Declaration of Arbroath.
Argyll Sinclairs. A group of Sinclairs who lived and live in Argyll, Scotland. Their relationship to the Roslin, Caithness, and Orkney Sinclairs is not well understood.
assize. Originally a rule, regulation or law imposed by the king, with the assent of the magnates, which changed or modified customary law.
Athling. The heir-apparent of a Saxon king, who had to be the oldest eligible male descendant of the current king. This title was equivalent to Dauphin in France, and was not used as a surname.
Baphomet. Baphomet was supposedly a head worshipped by the Knights Templar. This was one of the major accusations made against them that led to their supression, but it was never proven.
baron. A titled landholding noble. In early Celtic or Saxon countries, a baron could be a freeholder, which is to say not a vassal of anyone. In feudal society, which was imposed on England by William the Conqueror and in a slower manner on Scotland by Norman adherents of the Kings of Scots, there were no freeholders and every noble was vassal of a higher noble, up to the king, who usually claimed to hold his office from God. Some barons held their land and title directly from the king. Currently, a baron is the lowest rank of the British herediary peerage.
benefice. Originally a grant of land by a lord to one of his vassals. The word came to be used most often in the church, to refer more generally to a grant of a position or office of profit; a cure of souls with an income attached.
Black Rood of Scotland. See Holy Rood.
bothy ballad. There are many "bothy" ballads among the folk songs of Scotland, historically made up and sung by seasonal workers to pass the time in the evenings. They constitute a particular genre of folk song. Contributed by Jean Haddow.
bothy. In Scotland, a lodging house, traditionally for people working in the same employment, such as farm workers. There is a bothy at Noss Head Lighthouse. Contributed by Laurel.
Usually a place to house seasonal farmworkers, never someone's permanent dwelling. Nowadays it's sometimes used to describe a mountain hut or refuge that skiers and climbers would use as an overnight resting place. In either context it would be very basic. Contributed by Jean Haddow.
Caithness. The county of Scotland most associated with the Sinclair family. The name is from Norwegian, Cata-nes, and means ``the point of land of the people of the cat.'' See also firth, fjord, goe, Freswick, Stromness, Thurso, and Wick.
Cannon of Louisburg Harbor. A cannon in fourteenth-century Venetian style found in Louisburg Harbor, Nova Scotia; evidence that Prince Henry Sinclair was there.
carl. A churl, a peasant or a low-bred person. Niven Sinclair
Carucate. The amount of land that could be kept under the plough by a team of eight oxen in a year; approximately sixty to one hundred acres. From caruca, a plough. This measure of a carucate was the basis of an English land tax of 1194.
Castle at the Cross. An archaeological site in Nova Scotia that appears to have been built by fourteenth-century Norse and Scots; considered by some to be Prince Henry Sinclair's settlement.
Chanticleer. This word was used by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales, as Middle English Chantecleer, which means rooster, and is derived from Old French Chantecler, where it was used in the Roman de Renart, or in English in Reynard the Fox. It is a compound word from chanter (to sing) and cler (clear), and thus literally means clear singer. The word cler is from the same root as in Saint Clair, or Latin clarus, and the similarity of sound between chantecler and Saint Clair may be more than concidental. Since the word chanticleer refers to a rooster, there is a chanticleer on the Sinclair badge, where it is an allusion to the rooster windvanes on Norman churches, and thus a reference to the Norman origins of the Sinclair family.
chapter. The governing body of a cathedral. In a monastic cathedral such as at Canterbury, the prior and the priory monks. In a secular (non-monastic) cathedral such as at York, a Dean and canons. At the meetings of a chapter it was customer to read a chapter of the Bible aloud; thus the name.
clan. A group of families, especially in the Highlands of Scotland, claiming descent from a common ancestor. See also the longer definitions in the FAQ. In these web pages we use the slightly looser definition found on the main page.
cordwainer. A shoemaker. The word derives from cordwain, which was a type of leather preferred for shoemaking that originally was goatskin from Cordova in Spain.
corn. A cereal plant. In the American English, commonly meaning Indian corn, or maize. In Europe, usually retaining the older meaning of any cereal, such as wheat, oats, etc.
count. The chief noble of a county, from the French comte. The word count has more feudal connotations than earl, which see.
Crusader states. The states set up by Crusaders in the Levant. Here are maps of them. See also Outremer.
Crusades. A series of attempts by western Christendom to take the Holy Land back from the Muslims. At the time, they were considered by many to be a holy duty, although in modern perspective much of what was done is hard to justify. The crusaders set up a string of Crusader states that lasted for about 200 years.
curialis. A man such as a sheriff who derives his authority and influence from a position at the royal court.
dap'ifer. One who brings meat to the table. Formerly the title of office of the grand-master of a king's household. From Websters 1828 dictionary. Contributed by Mattie.
Declaration of Arbroath. A document declaring the independence of Scotland from England, addressed to the Pope, and signed 6 April 1320 by most major Scottish nobles, supporting King Robert the Bruce of Scotland against Edward II of England. Our ancestor Henry St. Clair 8th Baron of Rosslyn signed it in Latin as Henricus Sancto Claro. This Henry was the great-grandfather of Prince Henry Sinclair.
demesne. The principal domain of a lord, which was land farmed by him or his direct servants. The royal demesne was land from which the monarch derived rent or revenue, which is to say all land in the realm that was not owned by the church or others.
desideratum, plural desiderata. The word means roughly ``desirable things,'' and is the title of a prose poem written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann, and now owned by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York.
dictionary. An alphabetical list of definitions of words and terms. Here's a link to many online dictionaries, found by Joe Greigg. Another dictionary, found by Gary M. Sinclair. A Modern English to Old English Dictionary list and an Instant Old English convertor, both found by Laurel. For medieval terms, it is often useful to use a Latin dictionary. See also encyclopedia.
disseisin. Wrongful dispossession of land held in freehold.
earl. In modern British usage, a nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess. Earl was a title commonly used by Saxons. It was equivalent to the Norse jarl, and did not necessarily imply complete subservience to the king. Rognvald the Mighty, first Jarl of Orkney, was only nominally subservient to King Haakon of Norway, whom he helped create. The French and Norman count or comte is more or less equivalent to earl but has feudal connotations. The title of Earl of Caithness is the oldest in Britain.
encyclopedia. A comprehensive survey of knowledge, or a branch of knowledge. Darwin Ramsey notes: ``For anything religious in nature, try the Catholic Encyclopedia on-line.'' See also dictionary.
engrailed. Indented with curved concave notches, as in the Sinclair Engrailed Cross. The notches are an allusion to the Holy Grail.
escheat. Reversion of a demesne or other fief to the feudal lord of a person declared as an outlaw or without an heir. Edward I attempted to declare the entire kingdom of Scotland as escheated.
eyre. A circuit court held by the king or one of his justices, using passing through several counties, and regular in England after 1160.
factor. An agent for someone else, such as a local trading agent for a wealthy person or for a company.
factory. A business establishment for one or more factors.
familiaris. A member of a royal or noble household, often because of personal familiarity rather than formal office.
FAQ. Acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. We have a Sinclair FAQ.
farm. An annual or other fixed payment of rent. For example a sheriff's farm was the rent due annually by the county to the king's revenues; the sheriff could keep any monies he collected annually beyond that amount.
fealty. An oath of a feudal vassal to his lord, often sworn on holy scriptures or relics. The vassal normally agreed to supply a specified amount of military service and the lord normally granted the vassal protection and property or rents. Fealty to the king took precedence over fealty to ones direct lord.
fief. Property held from a lord in return for homage and services. The property was often a landed estate and sometimes money or rent. The services were often military. A fief could be for life or inheritable; in England they were usually the latter.
fine. Money paid to the crown to please the king or to obtain a concessio, grant, or privilege.
firth. See fjord.
Fisher King. The keeper of the Holy Grail.
fjord. From: Niven Sinclair <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 07 Sep 1999 22:20:11 +0100
In Scotland it would be a 'firth'. From: Lena A L firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Fri, 03 Sep 1999 20:35:30 +0200
Fjord is something much more special then a bay, an ordinary bay that is. A fjord is what they have on Island and in Norway, a bay surrounded on three sides by huge mountains. It is also very deep and narrow. And of course there's a lack of word in English for it but I believe that you usually call it a fjord too.
Swedish entry word
fjord [fjå:r_d] fjorden fjordar noun lång, smal vik
English translation fjord
This translation came from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Swedish board of education.
franchise. A right, often of limited self-government, granted to a person, town, or monastery by a lord or the king.
freeman. Not a noble and not a serf. A freeman was usually a tradesman or craftsman such as a fisherman, bargeman, fishmonger, leather worker, miller, or the like. A serf could become a freeman by serving as an apprentice to a freeman; by buying his freedom, or by being the son of a freeman.
Freswick. From: INSLaird@cs.com
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 04:38:02 EDT
"Freswick", north of Sinclairs' Bay, is actually written "Fresweek" on old maps and is linked to Fresvik in Sognefjord, Western Norway. Watten comes from Vatne, a wet place. See also Caithness.
genealogy. An account of ancestors or descendants of a person, or the art or discipline of researching such an account.
geneology. A common misspelling of genealogy.
Glooscap. A Micmac Indian culture hero often considered to be Prince Henry Sinclair.
glossary. A brief dictionary, often tailored for a particular task or audience.
glossery. A common misspelling of glossary.
goe. From: Niven Sinclair <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 07 Sep 1999 22:20:11 +0100
A narrow inlet of the sea with high cliffs on either side as with the Sinclair Castle at Girnigoe.
Grail. See Holy Grail.
gringo. See the page about this word.
haugh. A flat piece of land along a river bed. The Sinclair Castle at Ravenscraig was once known as Ravenshaugh but the word 'haugh' fell into disuse. Niven Sinclair
Henry Sinclair. There were many Sinclairs named Henry, such as the Crusader Henri ``the Holy'' de St Clair (1060-1110), Henry St. Clair (1275-1336) 8th Baron of Rosslyn who both fought at Bannockburn and signed the Declaration of Arbroath, and his great-grandson Prince Henry Sinclair who sailed to the New World in 1398.
hide. An Anglo-Saxon measurement of land, originally calculated as that sufficient to support a household for a year but by the eleventh century a unit of assessment for the geld or land tax, similar in nature to the carucate.
Holy Grail. A mysterious object that is the subject of the most elaborate cycle of quest stories in western literature. It is often supposed to be the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, which according to legend has been preserved and exists to this day. The Grail is the central symbol of the Grail Legends, also known as the Legends of King Arthur, or The Matter of Britain. This is one of the most elaborate and layered story cycles in western literature, with treatments by Chretien de Troyes in ``Le Conte del Graal'', Tennyson, Mallory, and others, not to mention in the movie The Last Crusade. Sinclairs have long been associated with the Grail because of William (1028-1070) the Seemly's role as guardian of the Holy Rood. The long association of the Sinclairs with the Templars and the Masons has also led to their association with the Grail. The Grail has even been said to be hidden in the apprentice pillar in Rosslyn Chapel. More recently, the pseudo-historical book Holy Blood, Holy Grail promoted a more direct but much less likely connection. Here is a more traditional view.
Holy Rood. A relic of the True Cross, also known as the Black Rood of Scotland, which was brought to Scotland by Queen Margaret, wife of King Malcolm, and guarded by William ``the Seemly'' St. Clair (1028-1070). Both Holyrood House and Holyrood Abbey, both in Edinburgh, were built to house it. Rumor has it that during the Reformation it was hidden in Rosslyn Chapel.
Holyrood Abbey. Founded in 1128 by King David I to house the Black Rood of Scotland The Catholic Encyclopedia has a detailed writeup about the origins of this abbey, and here is a picture of it.
homage. The oath and ceremony of fealty, which traditionally required the vassal to place his hands between those of his lord.
hundred. A part a shire with its own court.
interdict. A prohibition, usually by the Pope, from performing certain religious functions. In 1208 Pope Innocent III interdicted all priests in England from performing their priestly functions, including the administration of the sacraments, except for baptism of infants and hearing of confessions of the dying, both of which were matters which could be conducted by laymen.
jarl. The Norse word equivalent to earl, which see.
knight's fee. The unit by which fealty was granted, corresponding to the service owed by one knight and the maintenance required for him and his horses, pages, foot soldiers, and household.
laird. A Scottish baron or other noble. See also lord.
From: "Privateers" <Privateers@privateers.org>
lord. The head of a feudal estate, or other nobleman. In modern England, a holder of a title of baron, viscount, earl, or marquess. A Scottish baron might be called a Laird, even though an English baron wasn't necessarily called Lord.
Mac ca Ceardadh See Mhic nan Ceardadh.
maize. Indian corn. The English word maize comes from the Spanish word maíz, which comes from the Taino word mahiz. The earliest citation in English is from 1555. The use of the word in Spanish probably dates from Columbus's arrival on the island of Hispaniola in 1492, where he met the Taino Indians, who lived in what is now Haiti.
Manisola. A name used in some spiritual groups for a land of light. Seems to have Cathar and Grail connotations.
manor. The lord's demesne the land farmed by his tenants, often seen as a territorial unit and a center of collection of taxes.
mark. A monetary unit, 2/3 of a pound sterling.
Mhic nan Ceardadh. The Gaelic form of St. Clair. This Gaelic name was apparently first applied to the Argyll Sinclairs, and Clann Mhic nan Cearda means Clan of the Craftsmen.
Money Pit. A deep hole in Oak Island, Nova Scotia with elaborate security precautions. Here's a map showing its location, pictures of the pit, a diagram showing what's down there, a long version of all the efforts to retrieve it, a version with both diagram and text, and a version with a lot of detail on some of the early efforts and an elaborate justification attempting to indicate that it was Sir Francis Bacon who dug the pit in the first place. Finally, here's a swashbuckling version that implicates Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Wayne, and Errol Flynn. Plus a bibliography of 200 years of Oak Island treasure hunting. Most any web search engine will turn up still more pages about the Money Pit.
mort d'ancestor. A legal procedure for redress of wrongful dispossession of inheritance; developed under Henry II of England.
Newport Tower. A stone tower in Newport, Rhode Island that is apparently pre-Columbian and that has been associated by many with Prince Henry Sinclair.
nobles. See titles of nobility.
Noss Head Lighthouse. A historic lighthouse near Girnigoe and Sinclair castles in Caithness where Ian Sinclair is compiling a genealogical library and has arranged a bothy.
noss. A word of Norse extraction that means Nose of land, or promontory -point of land, hence lighthouse on noss or Noss Lighthouse. There are also other speculations.
novel disseisin. A legal procedure for redress of wrongful dispossession of freehold; developed under Henry II of England.
Orcades. The ancient Latin name of the Orkney Islands.
oriflamme. An ancient banner used by medieval French kings in times of grave danger. It was carried on a lance, and the lance itself was said by some to be the sacred object.
Orkney. The islands just to the north of the mainland of Britain. The name is ancient, being recorded in Latin as Orcades, and possibly meaning Boar Islands or Seal Islands.
Outremer. French word that literally means ``overseas.'' Used by the French to refer to the Crusader states across the sea from France in the Levant. Here is a brief history of Outremer.
pipe roll. The record of the annual audit of accounts of debts to the crown from sheriffs and others. The first English Pipe Roll is from 1130, with a mostly continuous series from 1155 on.
pleas of the crown. Offenses that could only be tried by officers of the crown; these were serious crimes and certain specific offences.
Prince Henry Sinclair. First Sinclair Earl Orkney, Duke of Oldenburg in Denmark, Baron of Rosslyn, who sailed to the New World in 1398.
reeve. 1. In English history the chief officer, under the king, of a town or district. The overseer of a manor; steward. 2. the elected head of a village or town council in certain Canadian provinces. See also sheriff.
relict. A widow. Several other definitions also.
relief. Basically an inheritance tax, paid by a vassal to his lord on taking possession of his inherited fief.
Rood. A large crucifix, or the True Cross itself, or a relic thereof. See Holy Rood.
Saltire. A cross of St. Andrew. More generally, any X-shaped cross. The national flag of Scotland, consisting of a white Saltire on a blue field; it is one of the oldest national flags in the world. The word is derived from an Old French word referring to an X-shaped barrier for animals that a human could jump over, and is related to a Latin word for stirrup.
Sancto Claro. The Latin version of the surname St. Clair. For an example, see Declaration of Arbroath.
Sanctus Clarus. The Latin name of the saint from which the surname St. Clair or Sinclair or Sinkler is derived.
scryer. ``A "scryer" is one who predicts or discerns the future, who reads the runes, like the Greek oracles. Someone who has "second sight."'' Contributed by Jean Haddow.
One who performs scrying.
scrying. Fortune telling using a visual object, such as a crystal ball. Contributed by Christine of Cornwall. Here's how.
scutage. Money paid instead of military service, and measured in knight's fees.
William St. Clair. The first Sinclair Baron of Roslin was William ``the Seemly'' St. Clair (1028-1070) who accompanied Queen Margaret to Scotland as guardian of the Holy Rood.
His namesake Sir William St. Clair (c1300-25 August 1330) died at the battle of Teba in Andalusia, Spain, while, with Sir James Douglas, attempting to carry the Heart of Bruce to the Holy Land.
seism. The rights and revenues derived from possession of freehold land.
sept. A branch of a family, particularly of a clan. See also the longer definitions in the FAQ.
serf. A peasant bound to the land, unable to move his residence or to change his occupation, and usually required to pay his lord for the land he worked. Not exactly a slave, but close. Not a freeman.
sheriff. A shire reeve (from the Anglo-Saxon), or local magistrate. After the Norman Conquest the sheriff became the chief officer of the king for taxation and justice in a district.
Shetland. The islands between Orkney and Norway. Known to the Romans as Ultima Thule and to the Norse as Zetland.
Sinclair. A common English form of the surname Saint Clair or St. Clair.
Singlear. The Gaelic form of Saint Clair or St. Clair. It can be interpreted as meaning shingler or flax-dresser, although it is probably simply a phonetic transcription of Sinclair.
Sinkler. A common English form of the surname Saint Clair or St. Clair.
St. Andrew. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland (and Russia). He was crucified on an X-shaped cross because he said he was not worthy to be executed in the same manner as Christ.
St. Clair. A common English form of the surname taken from the hermit St. Clare or St. Clere or Sanctus Clarus. Also spelled as Sinclair, Sinkler, and many other ways. The Gaelic form (according to Scotclans) is Mac ca Ceardadh; see also Argyll.
Stromness. From: INSLaird@cs.com
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 15:23:43 EDT
Stromness is not listed, but I would expect it to come from "Strøm-nes", modern Norwegian would = "Stream-point of land", as the County is "Cata-nes" = "the point of land of the people of the cat.". "Nes" features in modern Norwegian names e.g. "Åndalsnes" near where George Sinclair landed. See also Caithness.
tacksman. - middleman who leased a large piece of land from the owner and sublet it in small lots'' http://cpcug.org/user/jlacombe/terms.html
``Next in dignity to the Laird is the Tacksman; a large taker or
lease-holder of land, of which he keeps part, as a domain, in his own
hand, and lets part to under tenants. The Tacksman is necessarily a
man capable of securing to the Laird the whole rent, and is commonly
a collateral relation. These tacks, or subordinate possessions, were
long considered as hereditary, and the occupant was distinguished by
the name of the place at which he resided. He held a middle station,
by which the highest and the lowest orders were connected. He paid rent
and reverence to the Laird, and received them from the tenants. This
tenure still subsists, with its original operation, but not with the
``Wadsets, by the present practice, are commonly made out in the form of mutual contracts, in which one party sells the land, and the other grants, the right of reversion.
``Wadsets are proper or improper. Proper, where the use of the land shall
go for the use of the money. Improper, where the reverser agrees to make
up the deficiency; and where it amounts to more, the surplus profit of
the land is applied to the extinction of the principal.''
``WADSETTER - Scotch law. A creditor to whom a wadset is made.''
Chiswick (here in London)From: "David & Gloria Bouschor" firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 16:20:18 -0500
Wick, vik ,means harbor in Norse! Keep up the good work, we enjoy your efforts.
writ. A written command of the king. William the Conqueror introduced the custom of both signing a writ and sealing it with a personal seal or a seal of office. The term took on more specific legal meanings, including the initiation of legal proceedings in the royal court.
Zeno Map. A map composed by the Antonio Zeno related to his voyage to North America with Prince Henry Sinclair, or perhaps composed by his descendant who published it.
Zetland. The Norse name for Shetland.
Last changed: 00/06/01 18:20:24