Solvitur eundo. The legendary theory of the lineage already risked must be given up, however reluctantly, for the plainer but more satisfactory findings of science. So many names have falsely sought for alliance with the descendants of Duke Rollo, preferring to be sprung from it, through bastards rather than not at all, that it would have been a pleasure and surprise, if the Sinclair name could have been traced to the saint of Rochester, Kent, who went to the cell at the river Epte, in France, and there got, after years of the cup of water and the wooden bowl of holy life and penance, for his honest accusation of an evil woman of rank, the martyrdom which has made him immortal. He is not, nor is any relation of his, the ancestor of the family. He got or took the name St.Cler, and gave it to the place of his dwelling, or others gave it, as populaces do.
It was the fixed name of the locality where Rollo came, after the archbishop of Rouen had been sent to him by the French king, with the offer, if he should become Christian, to give him, as Mathew of Westminster has it,
‘The sea-board territories from the river Epte as far as the boundaries of Brittany, with his daughter Gilia’. The archbishop undertook the embassy to the heathen duke, and was received pleasantly. Then this comes,
‘On the appointed day at St.Cler the king of the French and Robert, the duke, assemble beyond the Epte river’. Rollo and his people kept the maritime side till the meeting that is so famous occurred, which made him, 912, duke of Neustria or Normandy.
Neither do the old French earls of Senlis who were friendly to the foreign-blooded Rollo and his descendants, turn out to be the Sinclair lineage, and of the same strain as the Simons of Senlis, the English earls, proved to have been of this blood. Every step that has been gone, the scientific findings, or rather the absolute and recognised records, of Glover, the Somerset herald of that sixteenth century so faithful to this department of human knowledge and interest, become from other histories and records more and more impossible to escape. Brady and many such weighty authorities agree with the herald about these earls of Corbeil. The prejudice was all along against his account of the Hamo family, but it is fairly and fully overcome. One can sympathise with the strange ejaculation, in 1704, of the learned Bishop Tanner, “Oh ! the worthy Robert Glover”.
Saint Clare's ashes may have been carried about from the Norsemen, even previous to Rollo, as it pleased superstition to do: they were not “the ashes of the fathers” of this English family. The author of the Notitia Monastica and of the Bibliotheca Britannica-Hibernica gives more than such deserved but peculiar exclamatory assurance. In the latter work, published in 1748, he has a notice of the saint which would seem to settle the subject, and the more that he gives for authority Dempster, III., 251. So plain a statement cannot be too clear.
‘Saint Clair or Guillermus, Scottish by country, passed the life of a hermit in France, and there at last is crowned with martyrdom. He wrote The Ritual of Divine Duty, one volume. He flourished about 600. He is worshipped on the 17th of July. His memory is preserved in the town of Normandy of that name, on the public road at Rouen’. But the legendary wandering of an early chapter cannot be without its use and its pleasure, mixed as it is with imdoubted facts which may lead to firmer fields. With this acknowledgment, it can fairly hold its place, as at least an imaginative attempt so show an origin; and half of the greatest classics cannot plead more for themselves and their continued existence than this. On the firm solid ground of historic record the steps must now be taken, and if the conclusions may be strange, the facts, and not fancies, are to blame.
The Sinclairs are of the same male blood as William the Conqueror, and their line over and above is free from his bastardy; though in the annals of royalty and nobility the bar sinister is almost as much the rule as the exception. Indeed, the Norse cult, like the German, put not at all the value on legitimacy which Christianity, under papal direction, found right. If there is greater worth in being legally pure and wholly submissive in this respect to the Christian cult, the Sinclair lineage has it. Their connection with the Conqueror is earlier than himself, as will appear now.
The quarrel which separated the sons of Rogenwald, surnamed “The Rich”, the favourite of Harold Fairhair, king of Scandinavia, is well-known Danish early history. Rollo ”the Ganger”, a younger son, went to the Orkneys in first search after a kingdom, when he had to leave his country, which was Norway. Burke's Peerage gives under “Lord Sinclair” detailed account of these early ancestors of the best of the nation. In essential points his historic references are right. The father of Rollo he calls Rogenwald, earl of Maere and Raumdahl, in Norway; and he describes him as getting in 888 a grant of the Orkneys, which meant also as many of the Hebrides as his valour could add to them, from King Harold Harfagr, the student erst at Rome who had to kill a lion set on him as punishment for one of his youthful relapses into barbarism. Rogenwald's son Eynar, Burke makes rightly the permanent prince of the Orkneys, Rollo's hopes stretching to the south very soon. For five centuries his brother's descendants ruled there, while his were conquering Neustrias, Apulias, Sicilies, and Englands. That he spent good part of his youth among those dreamy heroic islands, where in winter it is all tragic bare sea-storm, and in summer always afternoon, is assumed by his better biographers. Torfaeus in his Orcades, seu rerum Orcadiensium Historiae, gives worlds of the earlier genealogy and deeds of this greatest family of the north. Why Rollo was not made permanent count of Orkney was that his father thought he was too brave, and that the principality needed civil administration most, which he knew his second son was not yet ready for. Some historians vary from this account a little.
It is said that Rollo himself was prince of those northern islands of Britain as well as of the parts of Britain next to them, and strangely do extremes meet in history as elsewhere if this could be thoroughly established. To the expeditions and conquests there by Prince Rollo with his dragon vessels of the ninth century, there is almost exact parallel in those by Prince Henry Sinclair, his own genuine full-blooded descendant of the fourteenth century. Says Pinkerton, the Scottish historian,
‘In 1380 happened the strange voyage of Nicolo Zeno to Shetland’. Published as the curious tale was, at Venice in 1558, with quaint rough maps of those northern seas and islands, no little book has so much puzzled the learned. The “Frisland” of it is the Faeroe islands, and the Prince Zichmni who is so splendid a hero is Prince Sinclair, well known to Scottish history as Henry, lord of Roslin, Nithsdale (the capital of which district was Sanquhar, after the name so capable of peculiar but quite realisable metamorphoses), Caithness, and Stratherne.
The London Hakluyt Society, named after a clerical compiler of all voyages, have their eager eyes on the little work, The Voyages of the Venetian Brothers, Nicolas and Antonio Zeno, Navigators; and they have had influential correspondence and literature between themselves and the Americans, on the necessity of deposing the heroic Columbus of 1492 as the first discoverer of America, in favour of Prince Zichmni of 1380. They are enthusiastic as to the genuineness of the record by the two Zenoes of Venice. These were rich men who equipped two strong ships to navigate for discovery; the descendants, as the book shows, of one of the doges of the mistress of the seas. They were wrecked on Frieslanda, and saved out of the fierce hands of the islanders, getting infinite kindness from Sinclair, who spoke to them in Latin. Being first-class navigators, he got them to command a fleet of thirteen ships of war, besides many supporting vessels, on his expedition to conquer those Faeroe islands, and, it would seem, Iceland. They stayed with him thus many years, and in their account never tire of extolling the generosity, the patience, the courage, the ability of “the great prince”, who loved them so much that he could not let them ever get a glimpse of their dear Italy again.
The strangest portion of the narrative to moderns is the brave voyages of the heroic Aeneadic Zichmni. He went along the east coast of America, called “Kerry” there from an Irish colony; the inhabitants rushing along the coast, naked and bearing spears, exactly like South-sea islanders, but fiercer, opposing his landing with everything in their power, barbaric howling included. He does land and fight them at intervals as his voyaging requires.
But the most delightful passages to the literary colonels and admirals of the Hakluyt and American Societies, are those in which the adventures in Greenland and Vinland are related. The men were cannibals, the Zenoes say. Their houses were built round, with a hole at the top. They were naked, and suffered cruelly from the cold, but, the narrative adds, they had not enough of brain to cover themselves even with the skins of animals. Several “cities” or gatherings of people were visited, and Zichmni wished his people to stay with him to found colonies there to add to the Orkneyan and Norwegian princedom. But there was as pitiful complaining of the unheroic, except under such leadership, common men, as was with the Spaniards of Columbus, that they never should see their mothers, sisters, children, or friends any more if they did not get back speedily. There were attempts to build cities, and if the climate and district of America had been more favourable. Prince Zichmni, for all his kindness of heart, would have given full rein to his ambition and intelligence. The narrative is made up of storms, fightings, deaths, sorrows, and braveries that have their counterparts only in such poetry as that of Homer and Virgil. Perhaps the Sagas may be added, as that was the very scene of their strange romance, founded on the genuine action of the brave northern ancestors of Englishmen.
In the discussions about the little book (which is preserved at the British Museum, and in Hakluyt's compilation), these Sinclairs who figured thus in Scotland and Scandinavia, are said to have got the principality of the Orkneys and Shetlands before this, by fighting a cousin, their rival, till he got the worst of it in death. There is knowledge of Spere building a fort at Bressay before Lerwick had existence. The usual account is that they got the principality by marriage to the lady of his surname whose wonderful lineage and claims Burke stands in such admiration at, Odin being the first of the pedigree. Prince Henry Sinclair was in blood as other respects probably as good a match as then lived, the descendant of the Rollo prince of the Orkneys, afterwards the better celebrated duke of Normandy of every one's knowledge.
The Prince Zichmni is one of the world's men. It would be too narrow even to call him an American Sinclair, if the Venetian tale of him and his doings is to be substantiated by literary navigators and lovers of discovery.
The truth of the story of the Italian Zenoes is strongly supported by the findings of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of the North, Copenhagen. In their printed memoirs of the years 1836-1839, Professor Rafn has an able paper on the discoveries of America before Columbus, beginning as early as the tenth century. He found and edited 18 ancient parchment codices, which form quite a literature on the subject. Bjarne Heriulfson in 986 reached Greenland, Leif Ericson in 994 got south as far as Vinland (New England of the United States), Thorwald Ericson in 1004 came to Kialarnes or Cape Cod, Thorfinn followed further, and Florida is thought to have been reached. Bishop Eric of Greenland went south to Vineland in 1121. There seems to have been an Irish colony even then somewhere on the eastern American coast, but it would be difficult to conjecture what became of them. Whether they amalgamated with the Esquimaux, to become the heroic Red Indian, is a question. But
‘the last document upon America which exists in the ancient manuscripts, has reference to a voyage from Greenland into Markland (Nova Scotia), undertaken in 1347 by 17 men on the same ship’. It was in 1380 Prince Henry Sinclair made his far more important voyage, evidently with valuable political purpose; and if any man is to have fame out of the ante-Columbian discoveries, he may well be remembered as the first for purpose and enterprise.
The colonisation of North America was, in the end, a history of miseries and sacrifices and wholesale withdrawals from the country, which fact prosperity now all but entirely hides; and Henry broke ground gallantly on the forlorn hope it was, despite its fine climate and the berries which gained the name Vineland for its best part.
Burke's Peerage under “Caithness” gives relevant account of this Roslin Sinclair; and under “Sinclair”, baronet of Ulbster, the first paragraph is a condensed history of some of the Roslin family. He says,
‘the most powerful and illustrious of the Scottish magnates during the reigns of Robert II, Robert III, and the three first Jameses’. Henry's principality he calls the “princely fief” of Orkney, held by homage to the Norwegian king. It was given him, says Torfaeus, the great Latin historian of the Orkneys (which included the Zetlands), of the Faroe isles, and of Greenland and Vinland, the year before the Zenoes met him. In the chief work of Torfaeus, Orcades, seu Rerum Orcadiensium Historia, published Hauniae 1697, there are copious high-historical Latin pages of the treaties made between him and the king of Norway.
The tale of the Italians referring to war and conquest in 1380, the conditions of homage being settled in 1379, would give the inference that Henry thought these too severe, and thus got his principality made freer and wider. As it reads in Torfaeus, did we not know how particular feudalism was about details afterwards little attended to, the homage was extremely regulated. The scribes of the time dearly loved composition on such occasions, and there is no ground for believing that the prince of the northern isles was the least more bound to the king of Norway than any duke of Normandy was to the French king. The Chronica Regum Manniae et Insularum (especially that published at Perth in 1784 with the additions of the Norwegian account of Olave the Black, the king of Man, and of Haco's expedition to Scotland to resist the invasion of his islands by Alexander III of Scotland) throws the most valuable light on the preponderating importance of the Norwegian kingdom, in the thirteenth century particularly, over all the north. Torfaeus tells of a John Sinclair, lord of Hjaltland, and of a Thomas “Sencler”, who both had full ruling powers in those periods over Orkney and Zetland.
But all this belongs more to Norse than English history, though the principality has got divided between the countries as matter of fact, and England has her part yet only as a redeemable pledge. A skilful claimant of the right strain might recover the princedom and its crown. Scotland itself was in exactly similar homage to the English king with that which the Orkneys, Faroes, and the rest gave to the Scandinavian monarch. It was this equality which bred jealousy at Edinburgh against the lords of Roslin, says Burke; and there are only too clear evidences of its base results. There are materials to clear up this chapter of history, and Prince Henry Sinclair and his sailors may yet stand out strongly as some of the world's soundest heroes.
It would, however, be delaying the right progress to say more of him, and Prince Rollo, his ancestor, must now be followed to some extent. It was from this northern principality he fitted his ships and made his voyages of conquest, to England, and ultimately to Normandy, his final home. He died there, 917, leaving behind him his son, William Longsword, who succeeded him as duke of Normandy; a daughter, Gerlotte, who married William, earl of Poitiers; and a son, Robert, earl of Corbueil. This Robert had no issue. Duke William Longsword, who died 948, left Richard, duke of Normandy, who died 960. It is his family to whom it must be looked for the immediate ancestor of all the Sinclairs. His eldest son Richard was duke till his death in 1026, and Robert, earl of Evreux, was the second son, of whom came Raoul, the constable, who fought so gallantly against the king of France for the young son of Arlotta, Malger, earl of Corbueil, was the third son, and the direct founder of the house of Sinclair, the only traceable stock perhaps extant of the legitimate lineage of Rollo. They had two sisters, Hedwiga, married to Geffrey, earl of Brittany, and Emma, queen of England by Ethelred II, and of England and northern Europe by Canute the Great, her second husband. As far as the Rollo male kinsmanship is concerned, this is enough. It may be useful for general purpose to follow the lineage, however, down to the Conqueror.
Duke Richard, Malger Sinclair's brother, had two of his sons dukes after him, Richard who died without issue in 1027, and Robert, the devil and saint, the father of William the Conqueror by Arlotta the tanner's daughter at Falaise, the great illegitimate who has made dishonour into honour. The Conqueror had an uncle Malger, Duke Robert's brother, the archbishop of Rouen, who with William of Arques fought so bitterly against Arlotta's son, William, as not proper heir of the line. He had two aunts, Alix, countess of Burgundy, and Eleanor, married to Baldwin, earl of Flanders, whose daughter Matilda he married, to make her queen of Normandy and England.
It was his grand-uncle, Mauger, earl of Corbeuil, that was the first of the Sinclairs, when the royal direct line is left. According to modern, and even Norman ideas, they have better claim in France or England, apart from conquest, than William had; and when his male dynasty ended in Prince William, son of Henry I, it was the descendants of the earl of Corbeuil, the Hamoes, the Ryes, and the sons of Walderne, who had the rights of the house of Rollo. Had it been a property entailed, and not a matter of intrigue for female relationships, the throne of England (and with the family vigour quite of another character than that of the miserable Fulc, robber, murdering, inefficient Plantagenets, the cruel, displaying, really effeminate, Celtic Tudors, and the degenerate Stewards, probably that of France also) would now be held by one of the genuine and entirely legitimate lineage. Were the monarchy really hereditary, and not the prize of mere adventurers, the heir of William the Conqueror, as of Rollo, would have been the present earl of Caithness, or one of his near kinsmen. There lie also the clearest claims to be inheritors of the fame of the Hamo and Eudo Ryes, he being of one blood with them. It was this that Principal Miller of Madras meant long ago when he wrote that the queen of England's blood from which she holds her kingdom, has its best living representatives in her farthest mainland county.
The Ryes and the Hamoes, from the accident of saving William's life, became his staunch and highly-favoured supporters. Signs, however, are not wanting that they once were among the grumblers against the illegitimacy of their ruler. The earls of St.Clere, as of the archbishop's district, never seem to have acknowledged fully or heartily his right; and this is the explanation of the departure of William Sinclair, cupbearer of Queen Margaret Atheling of Scotland, from England, in 1072 as Scot states in his history, with various others of “the emigrants”, as they were called. Tindal supports this as the date, and six years after the Conquest questions had got their fiercest fullest discussion.
The comparatively small estates secured by his brothers Richard and Brito in England are accounted for by the well-known historical fact that the Conqueror systematically slighted his father's family, and feared their claims also. They undoubtedly had made it the hardest possible of struggles for him to get and keep his dukedom. He gave all the honours and property he could to the relations of his despised mother. Odo, bishop of Bayeux and earl of Kent, with Robert, earl of Moreton, the two greatest sharers in England's division, are examples, being his brothers by his mother. The Ryes, Hubert the ambassador and his sons Ralph, Hubert, Eudo, and Adam, with their sister, wife of Peter de Valence, had done so much for him, and had been so loyal, that he could not escape acknowledging their public deeds; but even of them he was jealous. The Hamoes, the Ryes of the English place, in the second instance, had uphill work, with all their gallantry and devotion in his cause. Without study of such family claims and circumstances of legitimacy and its opposite it is not possible to understand that period. If Richard Sinclair, the son of Walter or Walderne, earl of St.Clare, did greatly distinguish himself in the battle of Hastings, probably it was the more reason why his politic relation should neglect him as much as he could safely do. The third son, William, certainly preferred the Athelings as the true successors of the English crown to his own blood relation. It might have been different if the tanner lineage had not mixed with that of the Norse Rollo.
Walter, earl of St.Clare, was married to the Conqueror's aunt by the father's side; so that the young sons were his first cousins, and too dangerously near, by male lineage also, to be over much benefited. The favoured Clares of Tunbridge, earls of Clare, Hertford, and Gloucester were of the same Rollo lineage, but they had the bar sinister like himself over their shield, and it was both safe and sympathetic to give them high place and, what was perhaps more testimony of the monarch's real feelings, wide lands. The Clares and the St.Clares are united in another way than the legendary, and the honour of the connection by blood as also by many marriages, is probably with the first, at least on principles of the Christian cult.
The Cottonian MS., which is a transcript in 1600 by Smith, the Rouge-dragon, of the then dead Glover's MS., Somerset herald, has the clearest possible account of the descent of the Hamo St.Clairs from Malger, earl of Corbeuil. Duke Richard was married to Gunnora, a princess of Norway, and Malger was their third-born son. He is described as not only the earl of Corbeuil but as the first archbishop of Rouen, to distinguish him from his nephew, the second Malger, also archbishop of Rouen, the uncle and bitter enemy of the Conqueror when the young duke of Normandy. The elder Malger's son was Hamo called “Dentatus”, and no more powerful baron was there than he in Normandy. Hamo's son was earl of Corbeuil and also lord of Torigion. He was the great Hamo who came to England to aid William the Conqueror. His sons were Robert Fitz-Hamo, the “knight of Rye”, and Hamo, viscount of Kent, and, as Glover says, also the dapifer. The roll 31 Henry I (1131) shows that they had a sister, the mother of Robert Crevecour. This finishes to full satisfaction the lineage of the Hamoes, but the question next arises, what were the actual degrees between them, the Rye Sinclairs (as they themselves also were), and the earl of St.Clare's branch of the family ? It could not be expected that full mastery were possible in such inquiry, even with the pedigrees of reigning royalties of much later periods, but sufficient may be gathered to make strong assurance of the unity of the Rye Sinclairs and Walderne's people in very near degrees. More is not wanted for use or ornament.
But before taking this up there is another additional security of the unity of Sinclairs with Rollo's family. No arrival of any of the great lords from the continent in England has been more mysterious, by his seemingly unsupported success, than that of Simon of Senlis. A brave lame soldier, the historians cannot understand how it was that the Conqueror gave him the best he had to give in England as late as about 1076; and he was not, by anything which has been found, even one of the companions at Hastings, to aid his fortune. Waltheof's standing titles and lands were the most important in England, next to the king's own; and it is matter of notoriety how William tried to compel his niece Judith, Waltheof's widow, to marry the unprepossessing, at all events in body through his wounds, warrior, and nothing else, had we no insight beyond the usual accounts of him. He was a son of Warner, surnamed “The Rich”, and held under the king of France as well as in Normandy. The Rollo family had the annexation fever in them, and Senlis as well as Corbeil in Picardy were earldoms independent of the dukes of Normandy, though both branches of Rollo's descendants had lands there also, as will be shown. “The Rich” is the oldest substitute for a surname, the Scandinavian method of distinction, of the male blood of William the Conqueror. Rollo's father was Rogenwald “The Rich”. When, as Tindal has it, surnames really began in the eleventh century, this gave place to the more fashionable local surnaming from properties, but “Le Riche” survived well, and it is the key and clue to Simon St.Clair of Senlis as the successful relation of William I, and the happy husband of Matilda, Judith's daughter.
The various land possessions, externally to the duchy, of Rollo's descendants, in French dominions, are a virgin subject, which will yet become fruitful in the hands of the able and subtle historian. It is manifest where this set of facts points. Since the Simon earls of Huntingdon, Northampton, and Lincoln, have been proved Sinclairs, and since they are the Riches, of an earlier method of Danish as opposed to the later French system of surnaming, and since the Rollo family, down to Prince William who was drowned in 1120 from the White Ship, were also Riches, the unity of the lineages becomes a certainty. With all those whom history and record note as Sinclairs there can be no further question as to what their blood is. The steps of relationship, however, are as intricate, and often impossible to trace, as they are interesting and suggestive as to what might have been or yet may be. The Senlis Sinclairs were from a distant branch of the Rollo stock, and therefore quite safe to encourage, in comparison with the nearer Walderne, earl of St.Cler, and his sons. Family affection when safe was strong in the Conqueror. Hence the fortune in England of Simon, and also of a brother, Warner le Rich, was princely as compared with that of the relations nearer to the sovereign.
Being of the sons of the archbishop of Rouen, first of the ducal family who held this clerical office there, Walderne at the Conquest was in possession of the neighbouring earldom of which the famous town of St.Cler was the centre; but Sir Andrew Malet says that his habitual residence was the castle of St.Lo at that period, the site of which he asserts is still observable. Sir Francis Palgrave gives Charlemagne as the original builder of it; and of so imposing and numerously-served a character was it, that he adds it created the large town around it. Rollo himself besieged and took it by cutting off the water in his earlier wars. Walderne and the Rye Sinclairs were therefore, in their locality and training, central Normans, Caen being the star of their religious and, as Duke William was near at Falaise, political worship. Rouen at that time was hardly the metropolis had been under previous dukes. The duchy could not breathe at its fullest, so to speak, except near the heart of the territory, and thus is explained the personal, but not proprietary, absence of the Sinclairs of St.Cler, from the district which was destined to give the whole race its name.
The first earl of St.Cler seems to have been a brother or son of Hamo Dentatus, the son of Malger, earl of Corbeil and archbishop of Rouen. The position of Dentatus's son, Hamo, as earl of Corbeuil, but also and especially as the lord of Torignian, is explanatory of the strong connections with the province of the Cotentin which they had. He was lord of Astremerville also, but it is not easy to say whether this was in Normandy, or elsewhere under the French king, as was so common and so much liked by the independent lords who figure on both sides of the Channel about 1066. Fortunately there is a fine Latin description of this town of Torignian by the chronicler William Gemeticensis, which leaves no doubt as to what it was and where it was and whose it was. He is describing the great heritage which Henry I got for his son Robert Consul, earl of Gloucester, by marrying him to Matilda Sinclair, the daughter of Mabel Montgomery, sister of the Robert of Belesme who was earl of Arundel and Shrewsbury, and lord of many places beside in England and Normandy. She brought him, from her father Robert Fitz-Hamo, this Torrinneium, as the Latin has it. It was the head town, the chronicler says, of the lands; and he describes in detail how populous it was, and how thronged with merchandise, though the soil was not so fertile of itself as in many other parts of the duchy. Its site was on the borders of the bailliwicks or counties of Bayeux and Coustance. The feudal castle was near or within it, and stood on a height two miles on what Gemeticensis calls “the hither side” of the river Vire, which is the boundary between the consulatum Bayeux and its neighbour. Where this Vire joins the Ouve was the scene of the historical and romantic story of the assistance of Hubert of Rye to the young duke, William, galloping for his life from Valence, whence his enemies were pursuing him at full speed. The Duke's Way, still preserved there by tradition as the name of the ford, was over the river on which higher up the castle of Torignian stood, as that of Rye was on the Falaise side of the ford. Such juxtaposition of lands cannot be allowed to go for nothing.
The French historian of England, Rapin, has a special claim to be heard on William's enemies. Says he:
‘Guy of Burgundy, son of a daughter to Duke Richard II, was the next that appeared on the stage. He had concerted his measures so well, that he was like to have surprised the duke's person who was then at Valognes without any guard, ignorant of what was practising against him. But a certain fool whom the conspirators did not mistrust, hearing their design, travelled all night to give the duke notice, who had but just time to put on his clothes and ride full speed to Falaise. What haste soever he might make, he was so closely pursued that he must have been taken, his horse not being able to carry him thither, had he not been assisted by a gentleman whom he accidentally met on the road’. This “gentleman”, according to the sober hue of history, was the lord of Rye Castle, whose tale is told with brighter fire in the rhymed chronicle of the dukes of Normandy, as already noted.
Freeman has written of the incident more picturesquely, though, in the balance, he is light against the honest sobriety of Rapin's account of Hubert Sinclair's needed aid to his distressed relation. Eudo got to be seneschal for this by and bye; and, in passing, it may be noted that he had his name from the husband's family of another sister than this one married to Guy of Burgundy, she who married Geffrey, earl of Brittany. Being the sister of Malger, the direct founder of these Ryes, these Torignians, and the St.Lo Sinclairs, it can be understood how Eudoes and Geffreys were noticeable as names in the families. So much was this the case that it took considerable pains to find that, as to male lineage, the earls of Brittany, of Celtic origin, had nothing to do with the purely Norse Sinclairs. The names are, however, at least another indication of the identity of these families with the ducal house. An attempt will not be made, on the evidence at present secured, to draw the lines between the lords of St.Cler and St.Lo, of Torignian, and of Corbeil, of Rye on the Norman and on the English sides. Torignian, St.Lo, and Rye could well have been families founded by three sons of Hamo Dentatus. Malger, the first archbishop, is still more probable, as being the provider for other two sons, as well as this Hamo Dontatus, about whom Glover's Cottonian codex makes us certain. In those times of the church archbishops as princes were universally family men. Malger being of royal blood had more freedom, if that were at all possible, than even the less high-born prelates.
That the lineage is at last settled, and that all these are worthy and unsullied branches of the family tree of Rollo of Scandinavia, prince of the Orkneys, and the first Norse duke of Normandy, are findings sufficient to satisfy the greatest aspirations after high descent. The much humbler (for could anything be lowlier than a crust and a bowl beside the well still good for the eyes near the Epte ?) origin from the good Saint Clair, who went to that place to which his probably assumed Latin name ever afterwards clung, was something much to be desired. But it could not be. The men who had heraldry as the substitute for all our modern science, cannot be put down on questions which they investigated with what might be called the sorrow and sweat of the brain. His martyrdom was in 894, and this date will in no way assort with facts which cannot be denied, such as French Moulin gives in his History of Normandy. Out of this wood of royalties, and Dantean thrills of joy assail. War of words is tame stuff. Elsewhere than here is that game to be got. Investigation, not pleading cases, is the inspiration that gives sufiicient enthusiasm to arrive through journeyings by night and day of obscurity and sunshine at conclusion. The road is now on English soil, and the guide-books are wonderfully full, and more wonderfully authentic. The world-thinking Jew that Sir Francis Palgrave was, like the best men of his race, called the state papers of England the admiration of all nations. They are mainstay for what has yet to be said of the English Sinclairs.