Rosslyn Chapel, and the family lineage responsible for the construction of the “Bible in Stone” takes us first back to Normandy in France, then back even further to the Scandinavian Vikings.
Hrolf also known as Rollo (860-932), was the son of Rognvald, the Earl of More, the Viking warrior who plundered Europe’s coastlines, and went on to create the French Dukedom of Normandy, at the mouth of the River Seine.
Rollo was the great – great- great grandfather of William I of England (William the Conqueror) who fought for the English crown at the “Battle of Hastings” in 1066 and won.
King Edward of England had no heir to succeed him, and William the Duke of Normandy his cousin had been promised the English throne and Harold had promised to support him. In 1066 upon Edward’s death, Harold claimed the throne backed by nobles.
King William I (William the Conqueror)
An angry William wanted revenge. He gained support from French nobles and received the Pope’s blessing.
William’s forces crossed the English Channel, landing at Pevensey, without resistance, for Harold was waging war in the north. William and Harold met at the “Battle of Hastings” where Harold was defeated and William became King of England.
Walderne of St.Clair (1006-1075) was appointed as one of William’s commanders and was granted land on the Medway River.
William Sinclair (1028-1090) son of Walderne also fought at Hastings. Following William’s victory he became disenchanted with his King’s aggressive side, in expanding his kingdom. He left England, becoming steward to Queen Margaret and King Malcolm III of Scotland.
Rosslin Castle, some 9 miles south of Edinburgh, home to the Sinclairs since 1070, and home of the Knights Templar. These warriors were formed by Hugues de Payens, after the First Crusade in the Holy Land, offering protection to pilgrims on route to Jerusalem.
Scottish forces led by Sir William Sinclair attacked lands in northern England. At the “Battle of Castle Alnwick” in 1093, victory was theirs. The King of Scotland was in the process of receiving the Castle Keys, when a spear flew through the air and killed him.
In the year 1135, King Henry I of England, son of William I and Matilda of Flanders, died. He had left the English throne to his daughter; Matilda, but the crown had been snatched by Stephen, the grandson of William I.
In 1136 at the “Battle of Allerton” Stephen took on the Scots in an attempt to capture Scottish lands. Sir William Sinclair defended Scottish lands against these English. Some years later William Sinclair, Scotland’s Ambassador represented Scotland in England’s disputes over land… victorious as ever, William Sinclair gained the lands in Northumberland for Scotland.
At the “Battle of Largs” in 1263, Scottish forces led by Sir William Sinclair (1190-1270) under orders of King Alexander III of Scotland, won a decisive victory against Norse invaders.
King Henry III objected to the “Provisions of Oxford” act drawn up by Simon of Montfort, which inturn led to Civil War. At the “Battle of Lewes” in 1265, Henry was taken prisoner. William Sinclair fought alongside Henry, under orders from King Alexander of Scotland, and managed to escape amid the commotions.
Sir William Sinclair (1260-1305) was one of William Wallace’s army commanders who like his leader, was intent on driving the English from Scottish lands. In the year 1297, they successfully overpowered the English at the “Battle of Stirling Bridge,” then captured Stirling Castle from the English and finally were successful against the 30,000 strong, English army at Roslin.
William Wallace had been executed by the English and Robert the Bruce, now led a mighty army of Scottish warriors against the English, seeking Independence. Sir Henry Sinclair (1275-1329) 8th Baron of Roslin was one of the signatories who played his part achieving a declaration of peace between King Robert the Bruce of Scotland and King Edward II of England.
At the “Battle of Halidon Hill,” Prince Henry Sinclair (1340-1402) of Roslin and Orkney, most remembered for his discovery of America, was slain in September 1402.
At the “Battle of Flodden” thirteen Scottish nobles and their men were slain by the English soldiers, along with King James, who left a son and heir barely a year old.
William Sinclair (1440-1513) received a Charter from King James of Scotland, written upon a drum head, renewing the Earldom of Caithness to William Sinclair. A runner was summoned to carry the Charter to Sir William’s Lady. Sir William Sinclair lost his life the very next day, and his son John, inherited the Earldom.
At the “Battle of Somersdale” John Sinclair (1490-1529) 3rd Earl of Caithness died in battle in May 1529, the leader of 500 Scots in the defence of the Orkney Islands, assisting fellow kinsman; James Sinclair.
In 1568, Henry Sinclair assisted Mary, Queen of Scots to escape Lochleven Castle.
Sinclair names have been carved into the floor of Holyrood Palace and its Abbey. They who played a part in Scotland’s history.
The “Battle of Worcester” took place in 1651, during a time of religious Reformation, when Scottish forces came under English attack led by Oliver Cromwell. Thousands were slain and other’s taken prisoner.
John Sinclair (1612-1700) fought at Worcester alongside John Bean, arrested and sent to Boston. For several years worked as lumberjacks to work off their indenture’s and gain their freedom. John Sinclair settled in Exeter, New Hampshire, America.