Here is the information about the voyage of Prince Henry Sinclair and Sir James Gunn from Scotland to North America from 1398 to 1399 A.D. I hope it will be of interest to you. If you would like more information, please contact me.
Susan M. Sinclair Green Grady
The Scottish Discovery of America
Ancient ‘footprints’ can be found in North America. These sparse bits of evidence provide justification for believing that Prince Henry Sinclair came to North America ninety-four years before Christopher Columbus sailed across the ocean! These are real things; you can see them and touch them. Then you can see with your own eyes how significant Prince Henry Sinclair was in the pageant of our history.
Prince Henry Sinclair was born in Scotland in 1345. He was Jarl (earl) of the Orkney Islands off the northeast coast of Scotland. He held these islands as a fief from the king of Norway. The mother of Prince Henry Sinclair was descended from two kings of Norway. Prince Henry was also Lord of Rosslyn, six miles south of Edinburgh, Scotland. From 1398 A.D. to 1399 A.D. Prince Henry sailed to North America. In
1400 A.D. the English launched a surprise attack on the city of Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands and the English soldiers killed Prince Henry Sinclair. He wanted to make a second voyage to North America in order to set up a colony there.
The family of Prince Henry Sinclair is descended from the Norwegian Viking Hrolf Ganger (Rolf the Walker) or Rollo. In French it is Rollon. He received this name because he was too tall to ride his horse, so he walked. The son of the Norwegian noble Jarl (Earl) Rognvald of Alesund (He served King Harald Farquar (Fairhair) of Norway.), Rollo kept raiding northern France. In order to make peace with this marauding Viking, Charles III, Charles the Simple, King of France, signed a treaty with Rollo in the village of St. Clair-sur-Epte (thirty miles southeast of Rouen, France) in 911 A.D. In return for Rollo’s being baptized a Christian and keeping new Vikings from raiding northern France, King Charles gave Rollo much land in northern France. This became the French province of Normandy (Northman’s land or Norseman’s land.) Rollo married Popa, the daughter of Count Béreanger of Bayeux, France. Their descendants were William the Conqueror and the Sinclairs. Rollo the Viking is buried in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Rouen, France.
At the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland, on June 23, 1314, King Robert the Bruce and his Scots army defeated King Edward II of England and his army, thus winning for Scotland its independence from England. Sir Henry Sinclair, the great-grandfather of Prince Henry Sinclair and his son William Sinclair, (the grandfather of Prince Henry Sinclair), joined this battle toward the end with a number of knights who carried shields and banners with no designs on them. They were Knights Templar whose military-religious order had been disbanded by King Philip IV (Philip the Fair) in France in 1307 A.D., but who had fled to Scotland in order to avoid persecution. Their shields and banners had no designs on them so that no one would know who they were. The English soldiers knew who they were and fled the battle because the Knights Templar were such fierce warriors.
A primary document of Henry Sinclair’s voyage to North America is the “Zeno Narrative.” From 1390 A.D. to 1404 A.D., Niccolo and Antonio Zeno of Venice, Italy kept a log of their travels with Prince Henry Sinclair. Their records lay forgotten until a great-great-great grandson discovered them in the family archives and published them in Latin in 1558. In 1398 A.D. Prince Henry Sinclair sailed in ten ships with 300 men and his Italian navigator, Sir Antonio Zeno, from the Orkney Islands to Iceland, then to Greenland and six days from Greenland to Newfoundland, Canada. The Indians in Newfoundland were unfriendly. They shot at Prince Henry’s men, wounding and killing some of them when Prince Henry stopped to take on fresh water. Therefore, Prince Henry left Newfoundland and continued on to Nova Scotia Province, Canada. A portion of the Zeno Narrative is as follows:
“We brought our barks and our boats to land, and on entering an excellent harbor,
we saw in the distance a great hill that poured forth smoke, which gave us hope that we should find some inhabitants. Neither would Sinclair rest, though it was a great way off, without sending 100 soldiers to explore the country, and bring us an account of what sort of people the inhabitants were.”
This land was Nova Scotia Province, Canada. Historians know this because that is the only place on the coast of North America having the open pitch deposits described in the Zeno Narrative. The deposits can be found at Pictou and Stellarton, where native Micmac Indians lived in caves. The year in which Sinclair explored America was determined by the tradition of naming discoveries from the religious calendar. Sinclair dubbed their anchorage “Trin Harbor.” Trin stands for Trinity. In Zeno’s words, the fleet arrived when “the month of June came in.” The only year between 1395 A.D. and 1402 A.D., the time frame of the voyage, when Trinity Sunday fell in early June was 1398 A.D.
Zeno Map of the North
The Zeno Narrative tells of a careful survey of Greenland conducted by Niccolo Zeno in 1393 A.D. for Prince Henry Sinclair. This Zeno Map of the North proved to be the most accurate map in existence from the next 150 years. It is believed that Christopher Columbus had this map with him when he sailed to the Western Hemisphere in 1492 A.D. Prince Henry Sinclair’s grandson met Christopher Columbus on the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean and told him about his grandfather’s voyage. Columbus’ wife was born on Madeira. Her father was a ship captain and an explorer.
Not only did the Zeno map chart the sea with uncanny precision, it also showed certain landmarks. For example, it illustrated two cities in Estotilanda (Nova Scotia) possibly founded by Sinclair, at Louisburg Harbor and St. Peter’s. There is speculation that Zeno based his map upon a much older chart, drawn by Knights Templar in the Middle East, and carried in secrecy by them for safekeeping to Rosslyn Castle (Sinclair’s ancestral home, six miles south of Edinburgh, Scotland) at the time the Knights Templar (a military-religious order founded by eight French knights in the Middle East in 1118 A.D. whose job was to protect the roads traveled there by the pilgrims and one of whose founders, Hughes de Payens, was married to Catherine de St., Clair) was suppressed by King Philip IV (Philip the Fair of France on Friday October 13, 1307 A.D. King Philip did this for three reasons. The Knights Templar were wealthy and the king wanted their money and property. Also the king had borrowed money from the Knights Templar and he did not want to pay it back. The third reason was that the Knights Templar were politically powerful. They did not owe allegiance to any kings; they only owed allegiance to the Pope in Rome. King Philip felt they were a threat to his political power. Descendants of some of these Knights Templar sailed with Prince Henry Sinclair to North America in 1398 A.D. Some of the Knights Templar who fled from France to Scotland in order to escape being persecuted by King Philip settled at the village of Ballantrodoch (Now it is called Temple) near Rosslyn.
Castle at the Cross
In the backyard of the home of Glenn Pennoyer in the village of New Ross, 17 miles north of Chester, Nova Scotia Province, Canada, there is an area called The Castle at the Cross. Only ruins remain today of an ancient structure. Researchers believe it was built by 14th Century Norsemen and Scots, based on designs in the rubblework masonry. Several items were found around these ruins, including a much corroded pin, portion of a sword blade, wooden cones, and bits and pieces of iron implements. From the scanty ruins, it is thought that the Castle had guard towers, a main gate with pillars, and a dome or cone. Some historians believe this was a settlement by Prince Henry Sinclair, as shown in the lower left of the famous Zeno Map of the North.
At the Battle of Crecy in 1346 A.D., cannons were used for the first time in Europe. The English defeated the French in this battle. By the year 1381 A.D., Carlo Zeno, the hero of Venice, Italy, employed cannon on board his ships to win the Battle of Chioggia where he defeated the navy of Genoa. Niccolo and Antonio Zeno knew how to make these cannons. Prince Henry Sinclair needed not only the navigational talents of the Zeno brothers, he also needed their knowledge of the new weapons. (A ship carrying Niccolo and Antonio Zeno ran aground in a storm in the Shetland Islands off the northeast coast of Scotland. Prince Henry Sinclair was Lord of Rosslyn, six miles south of Edinburgh, Scotland and Jarl (Earl) of the Orkney and Shetland Islands off the northeast coast of Scotland. He held these islands as a fief from the King of Norway. Prince Henry came upon the Zenos’ ship just after it ran aground and he prevented the Shetland Islanders from killing the Zeno brothers and the ship’s crew and taking away the cargo.)
Found about 1849 A.D. on the shoreline of Louisburg Harbor on Cape Breton Island (part of Nova Scotia, Canada), was a primitive cannon. Presumably, this gun was from Prince Henry’s fleet in 1398 A.D. It had eight rings around its barrel, and a detachable breech with a handle. Several very similar cannons can be seen at the Naval Museum in Venice. These are the same type as those used by Carlo Zeno at the Battle of Chioggia. They became obsolete by the end of the 14th Century. Later cannon were made in a single piece without that kind of barrel rings.
Oak Island is in Mahone Bay of Golden River, near Chester, Nova Scotia Province, Canada, and is one of only two islands in a group of 350 where oak trees grow. Oak Island is believed to have served as a navigational aid to find the Castle at the Cross. From Oak Island, looking toward the mainland of Nova Scotia, the river leading to the Castle is to the right. The Celtic work for “oak” means both “right” and “door.” This island facing the Atlantic Ocean holds some mysteries, including the famous Money Pit.
As of January 11, 2006 no excavations are going on at the Money Pit. Oak Island is now owned by two elderly men. These men want to sell it for $7 million.
Mystery shrouds the Money Pit, which is a deep hole at the center portion of Oak Island. Is it the source of the gold panned from the nearby Golden River? Or did Prince Henry deposit some Knights Templar treasures in this hiding place? Was the Holy Grail placed here for safekeeping by the Knights Templar who were looking for a new place to live where no one would ever bother them again?
The pit was discovered by three boys in 1795 A.D. At a depth of two feet there was a layer of stones. At ten feet lay the first of many oak log platforms, set at ten foot intervals, as the depth increased. In 1802 A.D., the Onslow Company discovered more of the log platforms, going down to ninety feet. In 1849 A.D. the Truro Company drilled augur holes near the existing cavity. At the 154-foot level the drill went through a 5-inch oak platform and dropped twelve inches further until it struck another oak platform. Then it went through 22 inches of metal scarp, including an ancient watch chain! At further depths, the oak reappeared, followed by another 22-inch layer of metal fragments. After the next layer of oak, the diggers found six inches of spruce wood. Still other digs produced some scraps of parchment, with letters that looked like “vi” in hand script. At the 171-foot level an iron plate appeared. Excavation is very difficult because tunnels go diagonally from the ocean into the pit, constantly filling the pit with water. Then in 1909 A.D., the famous treasure hunter Franklin D. Roosevelt, later U.S. president, purchased many shares in the Old Gold Salvage and Wrecking Company, which did more exploring at the money pit, but to no avail. More than $2 million has been poured into this Money Pit in search of treasure!
Evidence suggests that Prince Henry Sinclair sailed south of Nova Scotia in 1399 A.D. to the shores of Massachusetts, leaving his historic impact. On a hillside next to the present Depot Street in Westford, Massachusetts, twenty miles west of Boston, lies a ledge bearing the carved outline of a medieval knight. He holds a broken sword, a symbol that a brave knight died in the field. This figure bears a shield displaying the arms of the Gunn family, kinsmen of the Sinclairs. The helmet is of the bascinet type, in common use among North Britons only between 1375 and 1400 A.D. The Gunn family has its roots in Caithness, Scotland (northeast Scotland), near the Sinclair lands. It is probable that the Westford Knight represents Prince Henry’s friend and kinsman, Sir James Gunn. In the J.V. Fletcher Public Library in Westford there is a stone that has a carving on it of one of Prince Henry Sinclair’s ships, and an arrow and the numeral 184, presumably giving the distance and direction to Prince Henry’s campsite in Westford.
While no written documents are preserved from the Micmac Indians of the 14th Century in Nova Scotia, Canada, their songs and legends have carried history forward, generation after generation. In fact, the Micmac legends record what Sinclair, whom they called “Glooscap” the “deceiver” (This term is a compliment because it means that he was skilled in deceiving his enemies.) did in Nova Scotia after he sent his navigator
Sir Antonio Zeno back to Europe in the fall of 1398 A.D. Historians believe that Sinclair and his men remained with the Micmacs throughout the winter and left the next summer. Then, according to the songs, “Glooscap” ventured southward, perhaps to the Massachusetts coast. It is obvious that the Europeans gained the respect and the affection of the Indians. So great was the influence of Sinclair that the Micmacs still celebrate “Glooscap” every year! The saga records that this white god explored much of Nova Scotia. His winter base may have been at Cape d’Or, Nova Scotia, where it is said that he and his men built a new ship. One of the ballads still chanted by the Micmacs today asserts:
“Glooscap was the first,
First and greatest,
To come into our land
Into Nova Scotia”
Sinclair’s kind and friendly manner won the hearts of the local Indians. He treated them fairly and he taught them useful crafts. One such skill was how to fish with nets. For Sinclair’s sailors from the Orkney Islands, fishing was a natural pastime. Even today, references to “Glooscap” abound throughout Nova Scotia and the Glooscap Legends have been written down.
Prince Henry Sinclair and his men had a mission to explore and to establish settlements. There were some “rubblework” ruins and walls along the Charles River in Waltham, Massachusetts, a suburb west of Boston, from which the Norumbega Tower was reconstructed. While local tradition holds that this structure dates back to the Viking Age, it is possible that it was built by Prince Henry Sinclair.
Some archaeologists believe that the Newport Tower in Touro Park in Newport, Rhode Island was constructed in the 1400’s. Is it possible that Prince Henry’s crew built it? Some people believe so. Its stone architecture is certainly that of northern Europe in the Middle Ages (Romanesque Architecture). All its measurements are based on the Scottish “Ell Stick”, not the English foot, which was the standard of measurement in ancient Scotland. One ell equals about 45 inches. The Newport Tower has eight arches within a round tower, bearing a striking resemblance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Orphir, Orkney, where Sinclair was Prince. He certainly was aware of its shape and design. Also it is the design of the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem which existed when the Knights Templar were living in Jerusalem (1118 A.D. to 1244 A.D.). Knights Templar accompanied Prince Henry Sinclair on his voyage to North America. The closest source for the gypsum used to hold the stones of the Newport Tower together was Nova Scotia, Canada, where Prince Henry first landed. The tower was used as a watchtower and a signal tower. A fire was constantly kept lit in a fireplace inside the tower on the second floor. The light from the fireplace showed through a window out into Naragansett Bay so that arriving ships would know where Prince Henry was located and so that Prince Henry could send signals to encampments further down the coast. Archaeologists have studied the remains of the fireplace and have said that this type of fireplace was not built after 1400 A.D.
Prince Henry Sinclair’s grandson, Sir William Sinclair, built Rosslyn Chapel, six miles south of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1446 A.D. Rosslyn Chapel is mentioned in the novel The Da Vinci Code. Rosslyn Chapel contains pagan carvings, religious carvings, and carvings of Knights Templar. Sir William Sinclair, the grandfather of
Prince Henry Sinclair, is buried in Rosslyn Chapel and his tomb is on the main floor. There are two plants known only in the New World that are carved in Rosslyn Chapel. They are: Indian corn and aloe cactus. “”This is further proof that Prince Henry Sinclair made his voyage because this chapel was built before Christopher Columbus made his voyage to the Western Hemisphere in 1492.
Prince Henry Sinclair’s great-grandson, John Affonso Escorcio de Drummond, met Christopher Columbus on the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean before Columbus made his voyage in 1492. John Drummond told Columbus about the voyage of his great-grandfather, Prince Henry Sinclair to North America from 1398 to 1399 A.D. Columbus’ wife was from Madeira. Her father was a ship captain and an explorer.
If you would like more information about Prince Henry Sinclair, please contact Mr. Neil St. Clair of the Prince Henry Sinclair Society of North America. His e-mail address is:firstname.lastname@example.org
His mailing address is:
Mr. Neil St. Clair
19 Soley Cove Road
Nova Scotia BOM 1J0
Books About Prince Henry Sinclair
Pohl, Frederick J. Prince Henry Sinclair. NY, NY: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. 1974.
The author is deceased.
Sinclair, Andrew. The Sword and the Grail. NY, NY: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1992.
White, Richard W. Sword of the North. Ottawa, IL: Jameson Books, Inc. 1983.
A novel about Prince Henry Sinclair and his voyage to North America in 1398 A.D.
The author is deceased.
These books are out of print in the United States. They may be purchased from:
Mr. Ian Sinclair
Noss Head Light House
Caithness K W 1 4 QT
Finnan, Mark. The Sinclair Saga. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: Formac Publishing
Company Limited, 1999. This book may be obtained from Barnes and Noble
Bookstores. Their Internet website is: www.barnes
Mann, William. Knights Templar In The New World. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny
Books, March 2004. This book may be purchased from Amazon.com. Their Internet
website is: www.amazon.com
Fowler, Elaine Sinclair. Who Was the Scottish Medieval Knight Prince Henry Sinclair?
This is a children’s book. Price $6.95. You may also purchase from her a teacher’s
curriculum guide for children about Prince Henry Sinclair. Price $7.95. These
books may be ordered from: Elaine Sinclair Fowler P.O. Box 11 South Hero,
Vermont 05486. Telephone: (802) 372-4557. E-mail address: email@example.com
Wallace-Murphy, Tim. The Templars in America. Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weisser
Publishers: November 2004. Telephone: 1-877-359-3128.
Other Books about Early Explorers of North America
The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Book
Company 1978 This book is out of print. It describes the voyage of the Irish
priest Saint Brendan from Ireland to the Bahamas in 550 A.D.
Madoc by Pat Winter. New York: New York. Bantam Books 1990. This book is
out of print. It is a novel. It tells of the two voyages of Prince Madoc of Wales
in 1170 and 1171 A.D. On his second voyage he sailed up the Mississippi
River and then up the Ohio River as far as Louisville, Kentucky.
Madoc’s Hundred by Pat Winter. New York. New York: Bantam Books 1991.
This book is out of print. It is a novel.
They All Discovered America by Charles Michael Boland. Garden City, New York:
Doubleday, 1961. This book is out of print. It tells about everyone who
visited America before Christopher Columbus.