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HENRY II, 43RD EARL, 1404-1420

Born about 1375. - married Egidia Douglas, Lady of Nithsdale

SCOTLAND: 1390 Robert III; 1406 James I
ENGLAND: 1399 Henry IV; 1413 Henry V
FRANCE: 1380 Charles VI
DENMARK: 1387 Margaret; 1412 Eric VII
NORWAY: 1389 Margaret; 1412 Eric III
SWEDEN: 1389 Margaret; 1412 Eric XIII
ROME: 1404 Boniface IX; 1404 Innocent I; 1406 Gregory XII; 1410 Alexander V; 1410; John XXIII to 1415; 1417 Merlin V
AVIGNON: 1404 Benedict XIII to 1424
ORKNEY: 1397 John & Patrick; 1418 Thomas de Tulloch - [See Historiettes]

Next to Prince Henry Saint Clair succeeded his eldest son Henry, second of the name. He was in nothing inferior to his predecessors. He married Giles Douglas, daughter to the most valiant Sir William Douglas, son to Archibald, Earl of Douglas and Lord of Galloway, who for his valour at Carlisle got in marriage the fair Algidia, excelling all in her time, grand-daughter to King Robert the Second, surnamed Stewart, of whose beauty it is reported that it did so dazzle the eyes of the beholders that they became presently astonished, but revived in admiring the same. The Earl of Orkney's Lady, Giles Douglas, was of a family no less famous abroad for their love of noble acts than at home for their eminent nobility and generosity. She added the rays of vertue and holiness to a noble extraction, to the glory of ancestors, and the splendour of her family. Her sweetest delights were retreate, solitude, and reading of good books. She was noways taken with the deceitful appearances of the goods of this world, with pleasures that delight the senses, and with honours that bewitch the most part of mankind. In a word, she listened only to the voice of God. Among the flatteries, applauses and bad examples that often infest the palaces of princes, nature did endow her with all qualities requisit to a comely person, and with so much advantage that nothing could be added to make up a perfect beauty that was not concentered in her. She was of stature somewhat above ordinary, but the excellency of her mind, the candour of her soul, and the holiness of her life made her incomparably more pleasant. "Commendebatur excellentis formae bonitate, et maturescentis aevi vigore, et ingenii elegantia, quam vel auxerat, vel certe non falsis virtutem coloribus, gratiorem fecerat aulica educatio, ad honesti quidem similitudiuem adulllbrata. [From Van Bassan] In further reference to her parentage Tytler has: "Sir William Douglas, Lord of Nithsdale: This young knight appears to have been the Scottish Paladin of those days of chivalry. His form and strength were almost gigantic, and what gave a peculiar charm to his warlike prowess was the extreme gentleness of his manners; sweet, brave, and generous, he was as faithful to his friends as he was terrible to his enemies. These qualities had gained him the hand of the king's daughter Egidia, a lady of such beauty that the King of France is said to have fallen in love with her from the description of his courtiers, and to have privately despatched a painter into Scotland to buy him her picture, when he found to his disappointment that the princess had already disposed of her hand in her own country". [Fordun]. The Lord of Nithsdale was known as "The Black Douglas", and on the borders English nurses would hush their children by saying, "The Black Douglas comes", "The Black Douglas will get thee". He married the Lady Algidia in 1387, and immediately set out for Dantzig to assist Waldenrodt, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, against the then pagan Prussians under Udislaus Jagello. For his conspicuous services he was made Prince of Danesvick, Duke of Spruce. [These titles are given Sir William Douglas in Hume of Godscroft's book, but the authority he cites is "The Monuments of the Sinclairs"] and Admiral of the Fleet, while the Scots were made for ever free citizens of that town. In 1390 Sir William was foully murdered on the ancient bridge of Dantzig by a band of assassins employed by Lord Clifford, who had insulted him, and yet dreaded to meet him in mortal combat. By his wife he left a daughter known in the encomiastic language of the age as "The Fair Maid of Nithsdale". [Scottish Soldiers of Fortune]

Through this marriage the Prince of Orkney obtained great lands and authority, as all the Lordship of Nithsdale, the Wardonry of the Three Marches betwixt Berwick and Whithorne, with the Baronies of Hectfoord, Herbertshire, Grameshaw, Kirktone, Cavers, Roxborough, and the Sherrifship of Nithsdale, with the town of Dumfries. He was a valiant Prince, well proportioned, of midle stature, broad bodied, fair in face, yellow haired, hasty and sterne. He had the greater part of the Nobility in the Countrey, his Fialls, and their bonds of Manrent; as the Lord Salton named Abernethy, for a hundred pounds a year; the Lord Crighton, so named; the Lord Seton, so named; the Lord Dirleton, named Halyburton; the Lord Halifexburne (sic); the Lord Levingstone of Kalendar, so named, who holds lands in Herbertshire, as Castelough and Akinloch: the Lord Fleming of Cumbernald, so named, who was his bailiff of Herbertshire, and held lands therof, as his house, the Castle of Rankens, Easter and Wester Summers, Easter and Wester Thomastones, Banknocks, Bangkerne, Brackiulies and Dapes, for the which he was bound to pay yearly one pair of gold spurres, and one course of hunting, with a banquet att the Pentecoste: the Lord Borthwick, who hath as yet the liberties of the Earn Craig yearly, pertaining to the Barony of Pentland Hills, and the Lord of Dalkeith: with these barons, the Laird of Westendrie named Foster, who got the lands of Tavensmock, Easter and Wester, the lands of Carne, altogither with twenty-four merks yearly of the Barony of Roslin; the Laird of Craigmiller, named Prestone: the Laird of Gilmertone, named Heron; the Laird of Hermistone, named Saintclaire (his cousin); the Laird of Niddrie, named Wachope; the Laird of Edmistone, so named; the Laird of Penniecooke, so named; the Laird of Henderleith, and the Laird of Pompharstane, named Douglas, who got the lands of Mertone, holden of the Barony of Pentland, with sundry other noblemen and gentlemen which to recite were impertinent and tedious; for one part of the countrey were his allies, ane other held lands of him, the other were his Fialls, so that there were very few except Douglas and the Earle of Marche, two also of the peers of the land, but were some way bound to him, whom also he used to entertain into his house, att sundrie times of the year, with their Ladies, and servants, as att Easter, Christmess, and other solemne feasts.

He had continually in his house three hundred Riding Gentlemen, and his Princess, fifty-five Gentlewomen, wherof thirty-five were Ladies. He had his dainties tasted before him; he had meeting him, when he went to Orkney, three hundred men with red scarlet gownes, and coats of black velvet. He builded the great dungeon of Roslin, and other walls therabout, togither with parks for fallow and red deer, and he was much esteemed of by King Robert the Third, surnamed Stewart, and therfore he got the Prince James, the first of that name, in keeping, lest he should be taken away by the treason of Robert, Duke of Albany and Earl of Fife and Monteith, who had the whole government of the kingdom, the King being now deceased, and aimed at the crown after the King's death, for by treason he had slain the King's eldest son, and thought to do the same by Prince James if he could catch him. But the King fearing the term of his life to draw near, and considering the trouble that might befall the Prince of Orkney after his death, by the deceit of him that was to be Governor: therfore writing letters both to the Kings of France and England, he caused the Prince of Orkney to commit himself, together with his son, Prince James, and young Percy, nephew to the Earl of Northumberland, to the sea's mercy; but when they had sailed a little space, Prince James not being able to abide the smell of the waters, desired to be at land, where, when they were come, for they landed at his request (30th March 1405, upon the coast of England at Flamborough) upon their journay to the King, they were taken and imprisoned till aterwards, by the King's command, they were brought to him, to whom they delivered the letters; who, when he had perused them, and consulted with his Nobles what to do, at length he resolved to keep them as prisoners, yet so that he caused instructors to teach Prince James, where through he became so learned and expert in all things that he had no equal. The rumour of this imprisonment (1405) coming to the ears of the King of Scotland, through displeasure he died, and Robert, his brother, Duke of Albany, was made Governor. [from Hay's Genealogie]

The prince was long kept in England, but Earl Henry was soon liberated, or rather obtained leave of His Majesty to return to Scotland, upon leaving his brother John as hostage for his returning as prisoner in to England by the following Christmas. Van Bassan has a different version of his release, and narrates:- "About this time one John Robinson, in dweller at Pentland, and tenent to the Prince of Orkney, came to England, where his master was imprisoned, and there he played the fool so cunningly, that without any suspicion what he was, he had entrance to the prison at his pleasure; and so, watching his time, one evening he convoyed the Prince of Orkney without the gates in disguised apparel, which he had prepared for the same purpose, where they stayed all the next day, and afterwards made them for journey next evening, for they travelled in the night and rested in the daytime, lest they should be taken by those who were appointed for that purpose by the King. They travelled to the borders, where there was great inquiry made for them, when, behold, two southerns, not knowing what they were, made them hold their horses, which the Prince perceiving, and catching hold of one of their necks, struck him to the ground, and so bereft him of his life, and then followed the other who fled with shreiks and lamentable cries, whom he made partake of his companion's reward; so he with his servant prepared themselves, and in short time, being well mounted, arrived in Scotland; where when he was come he desired this Robison to ask his reward, who desired nothing but that he might go to Pentland, before he went to Roslin, and pass three times about the Linstone therof, which he did. He was no sooner come to Roslin, but the noble Douglas, and the Earl of March, together with all the nobles, his servants and fialls, came to welcome his return, enquiring of his welfare, where these three Princes, Henry Saintclair, Archibald Douglass, and George Dumbar, consulted about their affairs, and then departed to their several dwellings. Robert, Duke of Albanie and Governor, being a malicious tyrant, was mightily commoved hereat, and carrying hatred in his heart at the Prince of Orkney for keeping Prince James from his terrible treason, therefore he forges a cause whereby he might be revenged upon him, to wit, the treasonable delivering of the Prince of Scotland into the hands of the English, and thereupon caused summons against him, appointing a day for his forfeiture, against which day he had prepared a company of men to resist the Prince's friends who would be most against his pretence; and sent Heralds through all the countrey, discharging all under pain of treason to assist him, but that he should compear that day himself, with a few number of his servants to defend his cause. The Prince, considering how unjustly he was accused, in great rage warning his friends and servants, who promised their aid and assistance, and bringing great forces from Shetland and the Orcadian Isles, sent the Governor this answer, that at the day he should compear, but so that one town should not contain them both, and in derision desires him to prepare lodgeing for himself and stabling for his horses, for he thought the city not sufficiently furnished. Whereat the Governor was mightily offended, and vowed to contain him in less bounds; but the day of forfeiture appointed being come, Duke Robert came to Edinburgh with (10,000) men. The Prince hearing this, haveing with him in company (40,000), resolved to meet him there, where, when he was come, the Duke, mightily afraid, fled with 3 more besides himself to Falkland, where he remained; whereof the Prince having knowledge, after great search, made, sent one of his company, and he, togither with the other two Princes of the Land, Douglas and Dumbar, constitute a Parliament, in which they appointed to forfeit Duke Robert, with all his favourers, for his tyrannie and treason used against David, eldest son to King Robert, which cruelty consisted in this, that after he was licensed by the King, he imprisoned him for his licentious life, denying him all nourishment, and any that pitied him he punished with death, as he did a poor woman that gave him meal in at a hole, and one other that gave him the milk of her breast. At the news of this new Parliament Duke Robert was sore afraid and became penitent; Wherefore he sent his friends to the three Princes to make sure for him, promising to amend his life in time to come, who excused all he had done, imputing it to bad counsell. At this excuse they being content, and accepting his promise of amendment, received him into favour and restored him to office. "

It is stated that the year following 30th January 1405-6 the Earl, with a son of the Duke of Albany and eleven other Scottish magnates, obtained letters of safe conduct for coming into England with a company of fifty persons, in order to be received as hostages for the Earl of Douglas. [From Barry] But in the list of hostages preserved in an indenture of 14th March 1407 for the release of Archibald II, fourth Earl of Douglas, the only St.Clair mentioned is Sir William of Hermiston, nor is it likely that a noble of equal importance to Douglas would have been proposed or consented to be exchanged for him.

At Edinburgh on the 17th November 1407, Archibald, II, fourth Earl of Douglas, Lord of Galloway, grants the barony of Herbertshire to Earl Henry and his Countess, the Lady Algidia, and their heirs. This was confirmed by the Regent Albany on 20th November 1407. Amongst the witnesses in the instrument of infeftment to Egidia, Countess of Orkney, are Willielmus de Sancto Claro and Edwardo de Sancto Claro, Armigeri. The date of the infeftment in Hay's Genealogie is 1447. The Barony of Herbertshire was probably granted on the occasion of the Earl's nuptials with the "Fair Maid of Nithsdale", who was born in 1390, These two events enable us to arrive approximately at the age of their son, Earl William, who was a minor at the death of his father in 1420, and in 1426 was evidently of age, taking his place as Earl of Orkney in the assize on Murdoch, Duke of Albany.

On the 20th November 1411, Earl Henry authorised his brother John to redeem in his name from Sir Walter de Lindsay the lands of Johnston and Brumiston in the shire of Mearns, which were wadset to Sir Walter. [Rosslyn Chartulary]. The same John received from Henry V a passport into England, in order to treat of the redemption of the King of Scots; and Earl Henry himself another from the same prince for coming into England with a retinue of twenty persons of whatever degree to remain until the August following. [From Barry]. In the spring of 1412 Earl Henry went to France with Archibald Douglas to assist the French against the English. Bower relates: "The Earl of Douglas was thrice driven back by hostile winds, and having, on the advice of Henry St.Clair, Earl of Orkney, landed at Inchcolme in the Forth, and made offering to St.Columba, the saint sent him with prosperous wind to Flanders, and brought him safely home again.

"At this time the Prince of Orkney had all his victuals brought by sea from the north in great abundance, for his house was free for all men, so that there was no indigent that were his friends but received food and raiment, no tenents sore oppressed but had sufficient to maintain them, and, in a word, he was a pattern of piety to all his posterity, for his zeal was so great that before all things he preferred God's service, which appeared in this, that he gifted the Abbey of Holyroodhouse so richly, with the back and fore Spittles, with the Middle, and Lochrids and Skipperfields, together with the tithes of St.Katherine's Church in the Hopes, which lands were estimated able to feed 7,000 sheep. He gave also to his brother John Saintclair the Kirktone, the Loganhouse, the East Craig, the Easter and Wester Summerhopes, with the pertinents thereunto upon this condition, that if he had no heirs-male they sbould return again to the House of Roslin". [Roslyn Chartulary]. Henry, Earl of Orkney, Lord St.Clair and Nithsdale, granted to James St.Clair of Longformacus a charter of twenty merks yearly, to be uplifted out of the lands of Leny, 20th February 1418. [From Nisbet's Heraldry]

In 1418 John St.Clair swears fealty to King Eric at Helsingborg for the kings lands of Shetland, having been specially commissioned by Earl Henry to that effect, and becomes bound to administer the Norse laws according to the ancient usage, and it is stipulated that at his death Shetland should again revert to the crown of Norway. [From Orkneyinga Saga].

The Earl executed an indenture at Roslyn the 23rd November 1419, with Adam of Dalkell of the Buthagh. In the instrument the Earl is described as "a noble lord and a mighty Prince, Henry Earl of Orkney, Lord Sinclair and Niddisdale". [Rosslyn Chartulary]

Adam was married to Sabey Menzies, perhaps niece of the Earl. It is stated [Douglas Peerage] that in 1418 the Countess of Orkney received papal dispensation to re-marry, but this is inconsistent with the execution of the deed with Adam of Dalkell, and as Bower in his continuation of Fordun assigns 1420 as the date of the Earl's death, the latter date and that of the deed seem to support each other.

NOTE - The indenture of 1419 between Earl Henry II and Adam of Dalkell is in the Scots' vernacular, it requires payment when made to be "between the rising of the sun and the down passing of the sun". This Earl and his brother, William de St.Clair, died, says the Book of Cowper (1422), "of a deadly disease which the vulgar call the quheu", which would make them the earliest recorded victims of influenza in Scotland. This notice has been erroneously applied to Earl William on page 125.

Van Bassan continues: "As for the rich ventures that he gave for the service of God at that time, I mind not to insert particularly; only they were of gold and silver and silks. Here is to be admonished that the affectionate zeal and love to God's glory and service, which was tenderly cherished in the hearts of these our worthy ancestres, should serve as a spur to prick us forward in the way of devotion and vertue to imitate their pious example, otherways God will make their zeal to accuse us at the last day.

But to our purpose. Not long after this died Prince Henry Saintclair. He was "vir militire terrestris ac navalis scientia plurimum valens, qui ab adolescentia, magnis rebus, summa fortitudine et felicitate, gestio, apud omnes, gloriam et authoritatem comparavit". He was a man of sharp wit, and projected great mutters, when he breathed out his life. I find in the Martyrologe, or obituarium St.Mary of Newbattle what follows: - " Obiit Kalendis Februarii, Henricus Comes Orchadiae, qui super ceteros, ecclesiam nostram diligens multa nobis coutulit beneficia: habuimus de bonis ejus, multa pecora, unam crucern argenteam valentem L lib. vel circiter, in cujus lateribus Maria et Johannes assistunt, libros et alia, unde ei in perpetuum obnoxii esse debernus; statuimus pro inde, ut singulis annis, redeunte die obitus fui, fiat pro eo commemoratis mortuorum, et commendatio ante missam; et habeant die ilia fratres xii, solidos ad refectionem".

Prince Henry Saintclaire left behind one son named William, his successor, and one daughter. The daughter was Beatrix, who married Sir James Douglas, brother to Archibald II, 3rd Earl of Douglas, and who appears as of Balveny (1409), Earl of Avondale, 1437 on the murder of William, 6th Earl of Douglas, in 1440, the Earl of Avondale became 7th Earl of Douglas. Beatrix may well have been termed the "Mother of Earls". She had issue William and James, 8th and 9th Earls of Douglas; Archibald, Earl of Moray; Hugh, Earl of Ormond; John, Lord Balveny: and Henry, Bishop of Dunkeld. During the life-time of William, 8th Earl of Douglas, a singular question was raised, whether James, afterwards 9th Earl, or his brother Archibald, Earl of Moray, was the elder twin of the marriage between James the Gross and Beatrix Sinclair, daughter of Henry, Earl of Orkney. After an enquiry before the official of Lothian, who took the evidence of their mother, the Countess-Dowager, and other worthy women, the priority of James was declared, and ratified by a writ under the Great Seal on 9th January 1450. [Dictionary of National Biography, Article Douglas]

Beatrix, Countess-Dowager of Douglas, was buried in St.Bride's at Douglas, and on a monumental wall-tomb are the arms of Douglas impaling Sinclair, with the following inscription: "Hic jacet Domina Beatrix de Sinclaire, filia Domini Henrici, Comitis Orcadum, Domini de Saintclaire, Comitissa de Douglas et Aveniae, Domina Gallovidiae. [from Hay's Genealogie]

Egidia, relict of Sir Henry Sinclair, is stated to have received the Papal dispensation to marry Alexander Stuart in 1418, but from the indenture of Earl Henry with Adam of Dalkell, we know he was alive on the 3rd November 1419, and from the entry in the obituarium of St.Mary of Newbattle - which can hardly refer to the death of Earl Henry I, or it would surely have recited the fact of his being mortally wounded in battle with the English invaders - we ascertain he died on the 1st February 1420. It is said that she married secondly Alexander, third son of Murdoch Stuart, Duke of Albany, who was beheaded along with his father at Stirling, 25th May 1425; yet when she next appears, [Hay's Genealogie Introduction] confirming the charter of 10th September 1425, by John de Blare, dominus de Adamton, of the lands of Catscleuch to Alexander de Levingstone de Calentare, she is simply Egidia, Countess of Orkney, Lady of Nithsdale and the barony of Herbertshire. Her seal appended to this confirmation displays her arms impaling those of her husband on the right. As daughter and heiress of Sir William Douglas of Nithsdale, she bears the Douglas arms on the right, and in the fourth quarter the Lion of Galloway, which it will be observed is turned to the left. The Saintclairs subsequently bore the Lion, which has been mistaken by Heralds for the arms of Spar, the Norse Lords in Orkney. Again, when complaining of the spoliation of her Nithsdale dominions in 1438, she is similarly described, and there is no indication of a second marriage. She was certainly young enough to re-marry at the time of Earl Henry's death, as she was only born in 1390.

There are many references to this Earl Henry in addition to the foregoing. On the 24th March 1405, be receives a payment for Sir John Drummond, and on the 28th May following witnesses the grant of a cocker to the Bishop of St.Andrew's, On the 15th March 1406, Henry IV from Westminster, gave a safe conduct to Henry, Earl of Orkney, and Walter, Lord Haliburton, to come in to England with forty persons, to remain till the feast of St.John the Baptist. His seal is appended to a charter he gave to Forrester of Corstorphine, of date 26th November 1407. At Westminster 8th April 1407, Henry IV signed a passport to Patrick Thomson and Henry Shipman, the masters of a ship from Scotland; and to Alexander Johnson and Robert Black, of Scotland, with twelve persons accompanying them, to London by ship with goods and merchandise - coming with Henry, Earl of Orkney. On the supplication of Henry, Earl of Orkney, Alexander Ledale and Robert Williamson, armorials-bearing gentlemen and followers of that earl, had a safe conduct with eight persons by sea and land within England, dated by private seal at Westminster 4th January 1478, from Henry IV, their permission to last till Pentecost. On 20th July 1408, he attests the Regent's charter of Strathbolgie to Sir Alexander of Seton. Henry, Earl of Orkney, and a Lord William St.Clair signed a charter of Gogar at Dirleton 8th June 1409, and in the same year he is noted to receive payment from the customs of Linlithgow if so entitled, and in May 1409 £20 was paid to him for travelling to England on affairs of the Scottish King. In 1410 there is a similar entry about the customs of Linlithgow, and also the Edinburgh customs, while on the 15th May 1409, and 14th July 1410, this is noted at Aberdeen: "Et memorandum quod non onerant ae de quatuor dacris et quatuor coriis que veuerunt de Orcadia per coketam comitis Orcadie. "

On 12th September 1410, the Earl, at Roslin, gave to "our brother-german [full brother] John and his heirs" a charter of the lands of Sunellis, Hope, and Logan house in Pentland Moor, near Edinburgh, ratified twelve days later by the Regent; and about the same time Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine, Edinburgh, to whom the Earl's sister Jean was married, had the confirmation of a loan of 300 nobles, receiving 12 merks yearly from Dysart and coals till repayment. In 1415 the Earl of Orkney took £42, 6 shillings and 8 pence from Edinburgh customs: and Henry V, at Westminster, of date 14th April 1416, gave his protection in England till 15th August to Henry, Earl of Orkney, with 20 persons coming from and returning to Scotland. Hen. Com. de Orcadia is printed as a witness in the Exchequer Rolls during the years 1424-5-9; but this must surely be a mistake. On the 10th July 1424, there is confirmation to Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine, and Margaret his quondam [deceased] spouse, of a charter from Sir John Drummond de Cargill, of Uchtertire in Perth, which Henry de Sancto Claro, Earl of Orkney [had] resigned; and also a confirmation of an impignoration [mortgaging] by Henry St. Clair, Earl of Orkney, to Sir John Forrester de Corstorphine, knight, his brother.

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