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THE SINCLAIRS OF DRYDEN, SPOTTS, WOODHOUSLEE, ETC.

[From Exchequer Rolls; Register of the Privy Seal, etc.]

NOTE - Edward Sinclair of Dryden is seemingly a son of William, Earl of Orkney, by first marriage.

I. An EDWARD SAINTCLAIR OF DRYDEN is referred to by Hay as witnessing a migratory procession of rats from Roslin Castle four days before the feast day of St.Leonard, 1447, and one of the witnesses to the instrument of infeftment of Herbertshire, dated 26th November 1447, and in favour of the Countess of Orkney is Edwardus de Sancto Claro, Armiger. Later on John St.Cler and Edward of St.Clair witness a bond by George, Lord Seton, to Sir Oliver St.Clair of Roslin, the 3rd July 1480, and in 1502 an Edward Sinclair defeats in the Orkneys an English incursion under Sir John Elder. On the 12th April 1481, David Sinclair has to restore to Edward Sinclair a brown horse he had taken from him. He had issue -

  1. SIR JOHN SINCLAIR, knight, next of Dryden.
  2. WILLIAM, brother-german [full brother] to Sir John, apparently identical with William Sinclair, "ostiarius" -usher of the outer door of the king's chamber, who in 1490 receives his fee of £13, 6 shillings and 8 pence, and gives a receipt for George Sinclair of Hefeld; in 1492 William Sinclare is tenant of the Mill of Culwen (Galloway); 1499 William Sincler hostiarius camele exteriorus; on 21st March 1499/1500, the hostiarius receives for good services land and a house in Edinburgh; in 1503, there is this enumeration - " And Andrew, Lord Avondale, first usher of the chamber to our lord King; Patrick Crichton, panitarius, Peter Crichton, in gardiroba, knights; Walter Leslie, John Stewart, Thomas French, John Inglis, and James Mercer, mariscallis; Williame Sinclair, ostiarius camera exteriorus; who are nine persons in number". In 1508 and 1509 there is William Sinclair, noted as usher of the Queen's chamber, and lastly a similar notice in 1514.
  3. GEORGE, brother-german [full brother] of Sir John, probably George Sinclair of Hefeld, who is frequent1y noticed: - In 1489 he receives payment on behalf of the Earl of Bothwell for expenses of the Duke of Ross, and various other payments; in 1490 he has a lease of Slewindaw, in Galloway, with building obligation; in 1493 he is stewart-depute of Kirkcudbright; on the 13th May 1503, he has a lease of the merk land of Kilbride, Galloway; on the 25th February 1505, he affixes his seal to a conveyance of the bordland of Lagan; on the 1st April 1506, he is fined by the Baillary Court at Dirleton, held at Dirleton Castle, he being present, for not entering suit for Hefeld; and he is lastly mentioned in 1513 in the charter by his brother-natural, Patrick Sinclair of Spottis.
  4. WILLIAM, brother-german [full brother] to the preceding, perhaps identifiable as Master William Sinclair, tenant of the Banks of Row, 11th April 1502, acquired by John Sinclair [of Dryden] the king's armiger, 11th May 1491. In 1503 the grassums of the quondam [the deceased] William Sinclair were remitted, and in 1505 Banks of Row were assigned with consent of the relict of William Sinclair, but in 1508 Master William Sinclair is still noted as tenant and feuar [heir apparent] of that property. He was alive in 1513.
Edward Sinclair of Dryden had also two natural sons.
  1. PATRICK SINCLAIR of Spottis
  2. HECTOR SINCLAIR, his brother-german [full brother]

Patrick Sinclair has a separate notice in the Historiettes. He was in great favour with the Scottish Court. On 23rd March 1502, a charter issues: Tenement land beneath the town of Linlithgow to Patrick Sinclair: our familiar; on the 21st February 1506-7, he is granted the lands of Spottis; on the 30th October 1507, he is assigned 27 front Lessualt and Monybrig: the same year he receives other sums; in 1508 there issues from King James IV a charter and precept to "our loved familiar for good and faithful services" of an annuity of £27 from the fee-duty of Lessualt and Monybrig, in Galloway, which is accounted for in due course in 1509 and 1510; and in 1512 Patrick Sinclair of Spottis receives a lease of Mote of Ur and Grange of Spottis, alleged to be feued to him.

On the 20th July 1513, there is Confirmation to Patrick Sinclere of Spottis of the lands of Spottis, with mill, in Kirkcudbright, remainder to the legitimate heirs of his body whom failing to

  1. Hector Sinclair, his brother-german [full brother]
  2. Sir John Sinclair of Dryden, knight
  3. William Sinclair, brother-german [full brother] of Sir John
  4. George Sinclair, also brother-german [full brother]
  5. M. William Sinclair, also brother-german [full brother]
whom all failing to the lawful and nearest heirs of the said Sir John Sinclair.

Insuper ex special grace concede Patrick and Hector, brothers, bastard sons of the late Edward Sinclair of Dryden, the right to make disposition. In 1515 Patrick Sinclair and the Lady of Coldonknowis, his wife, are to be cited (Brechin and Nevaire); in 1517 Patrick Sinclair is sheriff of Roxburgh - senescalis in hac parte; in 1522 he is noted as of Lesswalt and Monybrig, and in 1524 is named as of Spottis in the matter of the Mote of Ur. On the 29th September, 1529, a charter issues to Robert, Lord Max well, of Spottis, which Patrick Sinclair resigned, and the 11th October thereafter he is noted as witnessing a document. A charter issued to him on the 25th March 1530, of the lands of Castellaw, Est-Raw, Mylton, and Woodhouselee, Edinburgh, and on the 29th January 1545, he gave a charter as Patrick Sinclair of Woodhouselee to his natural son John Sinclare, and Isobelle Hamilton, his spouse, of the lands of Castellaw, Eistraw, Shaken yhole, Mylnton, etc., with the exception of Woodhouselee. This is his last appearance.

II SIR JOHN SINCLAIR OF DRYDEN, knight, has a separate notice in the Historiettes. The numerous entries in the records indicate that the Roslins and Drydens were at this period held in a special degree of favour by the royal household. On the 11th May 1491, the King's letters issued to John Sinclare, "armigero suo", and his successors, granting to him the lands of Wester Row, Banks of Row, Over Argathe, Lundylug, Easter-Argathe, Argath-Cornton, Lundyskeuch, Lundy Arthur, Lundy Makcane, Eglisdisdane, et Ballechragane in Menteith. In 1492 he has the dominical lands of Houston, with mill and cottages, assigned to him, to which reference is again made in 1496, 1497, 1498, and in 1502 when he is styled Sir John of Dryden, knight, in 1507, when they are assigned to him for life, in 1512, 1513, and finally in 1514.

It is not clear that subsequent notices of Sinclairs of Dryden are of his descendants.

III EDWARD SINCLAIR OF DRYDEN was the eighth son of Sir William Sinclair of Roslin. He appears so styled on several occasions. From a charter, of date 28th October 1583, he is identified as Edward Sinclair of the Isle of Ethay, in Orkney.

IV JAMES SINCLAIR OF DRYDEN, 25th October 1587, finds caution for James Giffard, younger, of Shereffhall.

V JOHN SINCLAIR OF DRYDEN, presently mentioned, was, by Katharine Crichton, father of:

VI JOHN SINCLAIR, to whom, on 15th July 1595, an order issued as son of the late (Number V) JOHN SINCLAIR OF DRYDEN and Katharine Crichton, his mother, and all other keepers of the manor place of Lasswade to deliver the same to officers within three hours under pain of treason. On the 5th June 1600, John Sinclair, sometime of Dryden, is charged with having assaulted his servant upon the latter's going to the said John's dwelling-house at Dalkeith. John Sinclair of Dryden gave a charter of Lasswade 21st May 1591, to John Nicolson, advocate, father of Sir John Nicolson of Lasswade, Baronet.

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