The Kirkpatrick/Rosslyn connection

One of the things I really wanted to see when we were in Scotland last year (and which will be on my must-see list for our next visit) was Rosslyn Chapel. This gorgeous structure has become the topic of much debate and even some controversy over recent years. The St. Clair family (now more commonly known as Sinclair) began work on the chapel back in 1446.

One of the first St. Clairs to settle in Scotland was allegedly “William the Seemly.” He is said to have brought a portion of the True Cross or ‘Holy Rood’ to Scotland, according to the Rosslyn Chapel website. Wikipedia says that in a later generation, William Sinclair, Second Earl of Caithness, was “the person reputed to have brought Enochian Magick to Scotland.” Whoa!

Believe it or not, there is a Kirkpatrick connection to Rosslyn, found in the marriage of Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick to Margaret Sinclair, daughter of the famous St. Clairs. Here is what Alexander de Lapere Kirkpatrick has to say in his Chronicles of the Kirkpatrick Family, published in the 1800’s:

Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick of Closeburn [son of Henry, who married Dame Elizabeth Grierson, daughter of the Baron of Lagg] m. Margaret Sinclair, dau. of the Lord of Rosslyn, d. 1515, succeeded by his only son, Thomas…

There sure were a lot of Thomas Kirkpatricks back then – and Rogers!

More about Sir Thomas is given in Records of the Closeburn Kirkpatricks, written by Major-General C. Kirkpatrick in the early 1900’s. He says:

Thomas was taken prisoner at the battle of Solway Moss 1542. He married Dame Margaret Sinclair, daughter of the second Earl of Caithness [the Enochian Magick guy mentioned above]. According to sasine record he was succeeded by his son Roger.

But here’s where it gets confusing. The Chronicles, quoted above, says that our Sir Thomas died in 1515 and Burke’s Landed Gentry of Scotland agrees. But this quote says he was captured in 1542, which would have been impossible if he died in 1515, and Kirkpatrick of Closeburn (unknown author) says it was Sir Thomas’ son, another Thomas, who married Margaret Sinclair:

Sir Thomas, who, on the 22nd June, 1515, got a Brief from the King’s Chancery to be served heir to his father, married Margaret Sinclair, daughter of the second Earl of Caithness, who was killed at the battle of Flodden, 1513, and sister of the third Earl who was killed in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession of the Orkney islands, to which he alleged a claim…

Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick was one of that convention of Prelates, Earls, and great Barons, appointed to meet in Edinburgh, 24th June 1545, (Keith’s History) which led to the signal successes of that year, when the English army was defeated at Ancram, their generals killed, and above 1000 men made prisoners; which was followed up by an inroad into England, and avenged by the Earl of Hertford, who ravaged the western borders of Scotland; the result being great misery inflicted on both countries, without any advantage to either.

He died in 1560, without issue [offspring], and was succeeded by his nephew Roger. In the following year his widow, Dame Margaret Sinclair Lady Closeburn, granted a discharge of her jointure, to her dearest and best beloved nephew, Roger Kirkpatrick of Closeburn.

Because of the detail of this last quote, my inclination is to accept it as the accurate one, but more research will be needed to prove it.

Not much else is known of Dame Margaret but here’s an interesting tidbit; Margaret Trudeau, wife of the late Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, was also Margaret Sinclair. I wonder if there’s a connection.

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About Dawn-Ann

I grew up in British Columbia but now reside in Calgary. Nature lover, thinker, CE-5'er and far-seer. Devoted gramma to adorable twin grandchildren. My life just keeps getting richer and better all the time!
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