Where Does The Name Sinclair Come From?


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Kathryn Amis Profile
Kathryn Amis answered

The name Sinclair is usually (but not exclusively) used as a surname and is generally associated with Scotland. It has a long and colorful history!  

No-one knows for sure, but the name is probably Norman in origin - maybe adopted by a family after a local Saint, St Clare. Not a lot is known about the family at this period but William St Clair is mentioned fighting with other Barons in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings when William the First launched his conquest of England.

The St Clairs found their way to Scotland and turned their allegiance to the Scottish King Alexander I. It would appear that this was a very good move, as 96 years later the barony of Roslin near Edinburgh in Midlothian was granted to 'Willam de Sancto Claro'. The family became rich and powerful landowners.

In the mid 15th Century an ancestor of that same William de Sancto Clara - now William St Clair, 1st Earl of Caithness, built the small but beautiful Rosslyn chapel in the village of Roslin.

In recent years this ‘architectural wonder’ covered with fascinating symbols and carvings, has become a tourist attraction - no doubt due to the fact that the chapel was mentioned in Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vince Code. All sorts of theories abound about what is buried in the crypt - is it the head of Jesus, the treasure of the Templars or the elusive Holy Grail?  If you are interested this video will tell you more!

There is a clan Sinclair with a clan motto and tartan and the Sinclair’s are found all over the world.

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