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THE SINCLAIRS OF ESSENQUOY, ST.ANDREW'S

I. OLIVER SINCLAIR OF ESSENQUOY is the first on record of this family, which was one of the most important of the Orcadian branches.

He was probably a son of Edward Sinclair of Ethay, and is first noted in the rentals of 1595 in connection with lands in various mainland parishes, that is, Sandwick (Deerness), "ten pence one farthing land, for the Bishop; Set of old for 20 merks money to Oliver Sinclair with Grymsquoy in St.Ola's parish; and now augmented by my Lord ten merks money more; extending in the whole to £20. Note, Oliver Sinclair takes the scatt and teind of Sandiland and Stoiff. Stambuster (Saint Andrews) three penny land, for the Bishop, pays one barrel butter, and of teind conform to the rentals of old, 4 meils cost, now set in assedation to Oliver Sinclair for 2 m. 4 shillings cost, 9 poultry. Gryrnsquoy, Quoyland (Saint Ola) for the Bishop, but scat, pays 5 shillings silver, 2 poultry, which is contained in Oliver Sinclair's assedation".

On 30th June 1597, he is one of the landlords in Orkney and Shetland assessed at £1,000 for good rule.

In the Sheriff-Court book of Orkney and Shetland, under date 3rd October 1612, there is an appearance of Hew, son to Oliver Sinclair of Essenquoy, in connection with a case of Lawborrowis in Shetland. Oliver, first of Essenquoy, was succeeded by his son

II EDWARD SINCLAIR, SECOND OF ESSENQUOY, who first occurs on an assise in 1613, and thence continuously to 1641.

The rental of 1614 notes the bishopric lands of North Widfirth (St.Ola's) as in the hands of Sinclair of Essenquoy, feued to Robert Chalmer. He was Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland in the Scottish Parliament of 1617, on 4th November in which year he heads the list of suitors before the Earldom Court. On 15th August 1615, James, son of John Louttit (by Helene Sinclair his spouse), receives from Essenquoy a discharge for money lent to his people. On 25th November 1616, he appears for Robert Sinclair of Campston against Francis Mudie of Breckness; and on l0th May 1619, sues William Sinclair of Tolhop and John Sinclair, merchant in Kirkwall. He granted charter to Alexander Flet in How, Harray, of the houses and lands of Ramsgar in Overton in Harray, which was produced 23rd November 1621.

Edward Sinclair of Aestenquoy is Sheriff-Depute of Orkney 1st July 1623. He was conjoined with Robert Sinclair of Campston for the purpose of reporting upon the King's lands in the isle of Rousay, of which they were taksmen, and was sworn thereto at Kirkwall, 12th June 1627; and again in the Report of the Parish of St.Andrews. At St.Ringanís Chapel the 21st day of June anno 1627 the Commissioners elected thereto viz. Robert Sinclair of Campston, David Kinked of Yeinsta judicially sworn in that respect of their knowledge and insight in that business; and for their better proceeding did choose the most ancientest men within the parish to help them by their information, that is, Edward Sinclair of Essenquoy etc., who can testify their diligence. As for prebendries there is a part of St.John's prebendries in this parish of St.Andrews sett by Mr. Patrick Inglis, minister at Kirk, and prebender of the said stowke, with consent of ane reverant father in God, George Bishop of Orkney and the whole chapter, to Campston and Essenquoy for the payment of £20 money to the said prebender as it has been to his predecessors of old".

In the parish report at Our Lady Kirk in Deerness, 25th June 1627, "The worth of the Rowms of this Parish contains allusion to the ten penny half penny land in Sandwick bishopís land of old, and set to umquhill [deceased] Olefer Sinclair of Essenquoy for the payment of 20 merks money, and now in the hands of Edward Sinclair of Essenquoy his son for the payment of £20 to his Majesty's chamberlains, conform to the rental".

On the 2nd April 1630, he was Sheriff-Depute, and commissioned as such by the Lords of Session to take the Oaths of Verity of George Bishop of Orkney and Patrick Smyth of Draco, in the case of Mr. Alexander Bruce of Cultmulindie, etc. He was Sheriff-Depute 6th November 1632; and on 26th May 1637, when William Sinclair of Saba compeared in the matter of security for John Cromartie for the corns embarked by him in the "Gift of God", Essenquoy again fills that honourable office.

On 16th August 1635, he was judge of assise on the Dittay of witchcraft against Helene Isbuster. On 26th December 1616, he and his son Gilbert are als of James Baikie of Tankerness for 1,600 merks Scots, etc. In 1640 he is a bailie ordained for St.Ola's, and is a suitor present at the Curia Capitalis 24th May 1641.

He married Ursilla Fulzie, second daughter of Gilbert Fulzie, Archdeacon of Orkney (sasine 1641), and was succeeded by his son

III GILBERT SINCLAIR, FIAR OF ESSENQUOY, who has a few notices, mostly of a litigious description.

On 24th October 1620, Gilbert Sinclair, heir apparant of Essenquoy, became cautioner for Robert Sinclair, merchant in Kirkwall. On 26th December 1636, Edward Cok, merchant, burgess of Kirkwall, and Margaret Baikie his spouse, sue Gilbert Sinclair, Fear of Essenquoy, and Annis Bellenden his spouse; for £1000 Scots, usual money of this our realm: Inhibited. On the same date he and his father were similarly sued by James Baikie of Tankerness. On the 8th March 1637, John Grahame, Tailzeor in Kirkwall, and Cristane Carmichell his spouse, sue him for 200 merks Scots, and all the 20th October following William Spence, merchant there, also sues him. On 16th May 1637, Gilbert Sinclair, in Tankerness, sues David Fowbister, in Fowbister, and William his brother, for money due. July 2nd 1641, Compeared Gilbert Sinclair, Fear of Essenquoy, and became Caution for Barbara Sclaitter, servant to Edward Sinclair of Essenquoy, that she shall satisfy the Kirk.

During July 1626, the Kirk Session resolved and passed the following Act: - "Ordanis intimation to be made to the Laird of Graemsay, and to THE NAME OF SINCLAIR, that if their two seats be not completely built betwix this and Easter day next to come, the Session hereafter will dispose upon them, and outred them upon their charges as they shall find to be expedient, both for easing of their own congregation and likewise for strangers". On the 16th June 1673, Patrick Trail and William Mudie got an act of session giving them a seat which formerly belonged to Sinclair of Essenquoy, Provost [Chief Magistrate] of Kirkwall.

Arms: See Armoury. Taken from an oak pew in St.Magnus' Cathedral.

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