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COUSINS

“Cousins” must be used in its general sense. It is impossible to reckon exact degrees, though there is ample security of nearness between various others mentioned and the Bradfields. Contemporary with Gilbert or Gereberd, Robert Sinclair appears as signing a mandate for the viscount of Lincoln from the king, 2 Henry III (1217). Gereberd was viscount of Norfolk and Suffolk at that very time. Fulc Baynard, one of the Baynards of Baynard's Castle, beside the Thames, London, was to be possessed of land in Lincolnshire, and in the Rotuli of secret letters in the tower of London this is, ‘In the same manner it is written to the viscount of Suffolk for Robert Sinclair’. It would be only a guess to say that Robert was own brother to the viscount Gereberd, and it is enough perhaps that they were thus friends in all senses. As the pious gravestone puts it, “In their death they were not divided”.

One of the open rolls of the tower, 36 Henry III (1251), the year of Gereberd's death also, gives account of Robert and his son Robert. ‘Concerning homage taken: The king took homage of Robert Sinclair, the son and heir of the late Robert Sinclair, for all the lands and tenements which the aforesaid Robert, his father, held from the king in capite in the day on which he died, and he restores to him those lands and tenements. And it was ordered to Master William Clifford, escheator for this side of the Trent, that having accepted security from the aforesaid Robert about his reasonable tax to be rendered to the king at the treasury of the king, he make him heir, without delay, with full possession, to the same Robert with regard to all his lands and aforesaid tenements, and in respect to which the aforesaid Robert, his father, was possessed in his own demesne as of a fief in the day on which he died, and what by reason of the death of that Robert was taken into the king's hand: with the king witness, at Saint Edmundsbury, 14th Feb, 1252’. The two records taken together, show that these Roberts held much of their lands in Lincolnshire, the “escheator for this side of the Trent” being the rather general title of the officer north of the home counties; and the king's business being done at St.Edmundsbury, gives the inference, otherwise substantiated, that they held in Suffolk also.

That Robert junior had Edmund for successor, and that he was the Edmund de Seincler who was one of John Sinclair the baron's followers when from the isle of Ely they raided against those who hated parliaments, is rendered likely by a charter among the “additional charters” in the British Museum. The carrying away of Robert de Bois for ransom was in 1266, and in 1294 Edm. de Sco Claro and others are witnesses to a gift of lands to a gentleman and his wife in Codeham of Croffield, in the county of Suffolk, by Hamo Wygge of Croffield, whose green seal is still attached. William Leneday of Codeham also gives a charter of lands similarly, to which an Edmund de Sco Claro is witness with others, in 13 Edward III (1339). To one by Robert Sacc of Codingham he also at the same time subscribed. John Loneday of Croffield gives lands in Croffield to three several holders; and to this charter, with a broken seal of black wax yet preserved, Edm. Seynclowe and others are witnesses, 25 Edward III, 1351. Edmund was seemingly the continuous name for the heads of this family. John de Hochara, parson of the church of Eston Gosebek, granted a charter of lands to Gilbert Debenham and others to which Edm. Synclowe is one of the witnesses, 34 Edward III (1360). But not much more can be got out of such details than substantial proof of the existence of these cousins to the Bradfield Sinclairs.

Those in Buckinghamshire are somewhat better known. Stone or Stanes in the hundred of Stanes in this county was their seat. It has been noticed that Gereberd gave it to a Hugo who had also Essex properties. Hugo dying in 1227 the seat reverted to Gereberd's heir presumptive, John, who died in 1252. A younger son again got it at a later period. He appears as Robert de Seyncler of Stone at an inquiry in which he took part about the rights of the dean and chapter of Be. Marie, Lincoln, to certain houses and tenements in the town of Aylesbury, Bucks. In the Hundred Roll of 2 Edward I (1274) William de Sco Claro, a proprietor of large substance, appears as of Stanes, Bucks., having tenentes and hominies and the other grades of clients common to a feudal lord. He held Suthcote by serjeanty, which most honourable tenure implied personal service at court to his king. He had lands also for which he paid certain sums directly to the king's treasury, the usual method of doing when one possessed part of a barony escheated to the crown and farmed.

At this same time there were Stephen Sinclair in the hundred of Balberg, Suffolk; Gerard Sinclair of the hundred of Piriton, in Oxfordshire; and a Geffrey in Upthorp, Huntingdon. Thirty years later a John held Calendon in Bedfordshire.
In Leicestershire, 41 Edward III (1368), John “Seincoler”, as the record spells it, had Lobenham, and his son John in 46 Edward III (1373) is put in possession of this same manor. Another John still, with his wife Alicia, held it in 3 Richard II (1379) Adam St.Clere, who was born out of wedlock, had, 11 Henry IV (1410), Warton, Stippershall, and divers messuages and lands as from the castle of Tamworth. These properties were in Warwickshire, but there is no certainty that he was of the Bradfield Sinclairs, because at this period the more southern members had got possessions by purchase or heirship in the central counties.

A Peter held Chaddesden, 11 Edward III (1337), and in 36 Edward III (1362) a Margaret Sinclair died possessed of Boyleston manor as of the honour of Tuttebury Castle in Derbyshire; but they are more probably of the Ralph of Rye family, whose chief possessions lay there.

Maria, the wife of Sir Roger Bellers, formerly the bride of John Sinclair, possessed, by the Inquisitions after Death, 10 Richard II (1387) Fromlond hundred, Grymston, Estwell, Goutby, some dues from the Leicester burghers, Scalford, and Thirsington, all in Leicestershire, and also Cryche in Derbyshire. Part of this she got with her first husband. Cryche, in particular, was always a Sinclair possession from the time of Ralph Fitz-Hubert, the brother of Eudo Dapifer, the Frescheville Sinclairs succeeding the Fitz-Ralph ones. The unity of the whole Rye lineage with Sinclairs is proved by this Maria, the widow of John Sinclair, holding Cryche, Derbyshire, in 1387. Grymston seems a reminiscence of the Norfolk manor, Grimston, where the baron, John Sinclair, of the Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, parliamentary party, is noted as having kept his first court in the 41st of Henry III (1257). Who the latest John is, has not been discovered, though it is likely he was of the more southern families also.

In 19 Richard II (1395) Rowland Sentclire had land from the fief of William de la Zouch, miles, of Haryngworth, in Northamptonshire.

Industry might add many more such names, rescued from periods often dark exceedingly, but it may be enough to notice one other remarkable family whose story is of similar broken, but fuller, kind. In the Roll of the Hundreds, 2 Edward I (1274) Philip de Sco Claro appears frequently as a prominent proprietor in Cambridgeshire. In the eighth year of this king, he is one of a jury sworn upon the articles of commission of the king's justiciary, Lord William Muschet, miles, and his colleagues at Cambridge. William de la Haye, miles, Warenne of Barenton, Ralph le Heyr, and four others are Philip's fellows. This Haye was of his own male lineage, as Duncan shows.

Roger of Thornton and Philip de Sco Claro appear again and again together in near relationship. Robert of the Island holds land of them in Westwyk and Hogytone, which they had from their wives, who were sisters. The ladies held as from the castle of Richmond, and certain dues had to be paid into the court of the earl of Brittany as the superior. Malketone, Cambridgeshire, was the place in which these properties were situate. There is account also of the villeins of Philip connected with some of his manors. Haslingfield manor had freeholders under him, and Cotes had his villenagii. In Cotes, Lord William Vesci held the third part of one military fee from Philip and Roger, as of the barony of Ledeth. In Wynepol also Philip Sinclair had various tenants.

There is a Robert de Sco Claro in this roll record who was of the family. He appears in the hundred of Bosemere, Suffolk, as doing certain things at the town of Cretyng which require challenge from the commission. The following up of the inquiry called the Hundred Roll was a long process, and the records are called Quo Warranto, because many had to prove their rights, or tell by what warrant they held lands, or did certain things the commissioners were not satisfied with. It was not till 27 Edward I (1298), that the king had business in this connection with the Cambridge Sinclairs. Nicolas de Sco Claro had succeeded Philip, and the affinity relationship to the Thorntons seems closer than before. Roger had been followed by Barthus Thornton, and he too had gone over to the majority, his daughter Alianor still under age being his heiress. She was in the wardship of Nicolas Sinclair. Her estates claimed exemptions and rights which the king challenged, and she was summoned to show warrant before the justiciaries. She came to the court, by her attorney, and also Nicolas. Nicolas seemed to be reaping benefits from the state of things, and was in no hurry to settle matters. Alianor through her attorney pleaded that she was under age. Nicolas followed up by maintaining that he could not answer without her, and for that time decision was deferred. Like the Thorntons, this family also must have ended in an heiress, and their lands may have gone to the building up of some newer English name. But they are further traceable in the Bodleian library, Oxford, where among the Rawlinson MSS. are notices of their genealogy. They are called in them the “family of Malton”.

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