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William ``the Seemly'' Sinclair, First Baron of Roslin

From: Niven Sinclair <>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 08:23:42 +0100

Dear Laurel,

"With" i.e. 'on the side of' or "against".

In the instance you quote, William 'the Seemly' was fighting against William 'the Conqueror' who was annoyed that Malcolm III (Canmore) of Scotland had given refuge to the Saxon Princess, Margaret and to Edgar 'the Atheling' who was the rightful heir (in some eyes) to the English throne.

William 'the Conqueror' sent a great army under the command of the Duke of Gloucester to invade Scotland.

William 'the Seemly' St Clair had been given the task of defending the border against the possibility of an English attack. When the attack came, Malcolm reinforced the Sinclair forces with those commanded by the Earls of March and Monteith. During the ensuing battle William Sinclair dashed forward with his forces 'to put the enemy out of order' . The report goes on to say: "He was slain by a multitude of his enimnes but not before he made fall many in heaps down by his feet".

The news of his death coming to the two other chietains, March and Monteith, they fell 'so boldly upon the enimie that they scarce left any alive'.

The King and the Queen lamented this misfortune and gave William's son, Henry Sinclair, the lands of Rosslyn 'in free heritage' (his father had held it in 'life rent'); made him a knight and a captain of 600 men.

Henry outlived King Malcolm but was equally respected by King David I of Scotland who gave him the lands of Cardain and the command of 8,000 men. He routed the English army at the Battle of Allerton (now in Yorkshire) thereby avenging the death of his father.

Niven Sinclair
This first Sinclair in Scotland arrived with Margaret, daughter of Edward the Confessor of England; she married Malcolm III Canmore and became Queen Margaret. Before that, he had fought with his father Walderne against William Duke of Normandy at the Battle of Val es Dunes. He may or may not have fought at the Battle of Hastings, for or against the same William, who became known as the Conqueror. William the Seemly died fighting William the Conqueror one last time when the later invaded Scotland.
Date: Thu, 06 May 1999 11:59:30 +0100
From: Niven Sinclair <>

Malcom III of Scotland was generally known as Malcolm 'Canmore' which name comes from the Gaelic Ceann-mor which means 'great or big head.' He lived between 1031-1093 becoming King of Scotland in 1053. He spent his youth in Northumbria with his uncle, Earl Siward who, in 1054, established Malcolm in Cumbria and Lothian. In 1057, after Macbeth was killed, he became King of all Scotland. His first wife, Ingeborg, was the widow of Thorfinn, Earl of Orkney. When she died, he married Margaret, the sister of Edgar 'the Atheling' who had come to Scotland with William ``the Seemly'' St Clair and others from Hungary. The date for this second marriage is given as 1069 but Margaret's own arrival in Scotland is pre-Norman Conquest.

She made William 'the Seemly' St Clair her cup-bearer (which has far greater significance than that name would seem to imply) because he was (and I quote) 'perfect in all his members'. The King gave him Rosslyn in 'life-rent' but this was changed to 'in free heritage' when William's son, Henry, took over when his father had been killed whilst fighting against the forces of his 'cousin' William, 'the Conqueror'.

The St Clair presence in Scotland came by a different route i.e. when William 'the Seemly', the third son of Walderne, accompanied the Saxon Princess, Margaret, to Scotland.

As all my reference books are now at the Sinclair centre in Caithness, I have no immediate access as to the date
of Malcolm's marriage to Ingeborg. One assumes that it would have been after the death of her first husband, Thorfinn, who had conquered half of Scotland, which was in 1064. As he is said to have maried Malcolm in 1069, his marriage to Ingeborg must have been short-lived although her son, Duncan, became the next King of Scotland - at least, for a short while before he was usurped by Donald Bane, the founder of the Macdonalds. Scotland was a turbulent place. If the Scots weren't fighting the English, they were fighting amongst themselves. As I write, they are voting for self-Government (God help us all).

Malcolm III was killed by Percy ("Hotspur") in 1093 at the Battle of Alnwick (pronounced 'Annick') by which time he had already knighted Henry, the son of William ' the Seemly' St Clair who must have married Agnus Dundar, the daughter of Patrick, the Earl of March, shortly after his arrival in Scotland. Men weren't normally knighted until they are reached the age of 21. We know that William 'the Seemly' St Clair was killed whilst fighting against the English under Malcolm III but, as Malcolm III made five separate attacks against the English before his own death at Alnwick in 1093, it could have been at any of the battles before 1093 - again the precise information is with my books in Caithness - some 600 miles away.

In the meantime, I trust the above information will suffice until I can give you more precise information. At 75 years of age, my memory is not, alas, as good as it used to be.

Last changed: 99/11/21 14:39:42 [Clan Sinclair]