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[from Burke's Peerage and Henderson]

I JOHN SINCLAIR, Rector of Leckpatrick at the time of the siege of Derry, was the first of the Holyhill family. The tradition of the family was that he was a son of a Sir James Sinclair of Caithness, from which we may infer that his known father, James Sinclair of Wester-Brims, was perhaps a clerk in holy orders. From the mural inscription referred to in the notice of "The Sinclairs of Borlum" and a deed of 1660, his paternity is clear. He was succeeded by his son

II JOHN, father of

III JOHN, whose son

IV WILLIAM SINCLAIR died during the lifetime of his father. He married Isabella, daughter of Thomas Young of Lough Eske, County Donegal, and had issue -

  1. JAMES of Holyhill
  2. THOMAS, married Alicia, daughter of Thomas Young of Lough Eske, and died 1808
  3. REBECCA (died 1845), married John de Cluzenn
V JAMES SINCLAIR OF HOLYHILL, D.L., born 1772, married, 1805, Dorothea, daughter and heiress of Rev. Samuel Law, and died, having issue -
  1. WILLIAM, now of Holyhill
  2. JAMES, married, June 1862, Katharine, daughter of Rev. Robert Alexander of Augnachoy, County Derry, and has issue -
    2. MARY
    4. MARION
  1. REBECCA, married 1847 Lieut.-Colonel Sinclair, Hon. East India Company Service (who died May 1861), and has issue a daughter ANN
  2. ISABELLA, died May 1864
Mr. Sinclair died February 1865.

VI WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF HOLYHILL, County Tyrone, and of Drumbeg, County Donegal; J.P.and D.L., County Donegal; High Sheriff, 1854; and J.P., County Tyrone, Barrister-at-Law: born 17th April 1710; married December 1839, Sarah, daughter of James Cranbourne Strode, and has issue -

  1. JAMES MONTGOMERY of Bonnyglen, Inver, County Donegal, B.A., J.P.; born November 22nd 1841; married January 29th, 1868, Mary Everina, youngest daughter of Lieut.-Colonel Hugh Barton (late 2nd Life Guards) of The Waterfoot, County Fermanagh, and has issue -
    1. WILLIAM HUGH M0NTGOMERY, born December 1868
    2. EVERINA MARY CAROLINA, born 31st May 1870
    3. ROSABEL born November 1883
  2. WILLIAM FREDERICK, born May 1843; died August 1843
  3. WILLIAM FREDERICK (II), of the Bombay C.S.
  5. ALFRED LAW, Captain Bombay Staff Corps.

There are one or two further references to this family: -

  1. Early in the 18th century Robert Lowry, grandfather of the first Lord Belmore, married Miss Sinclair, daughter of the Rev. James Sinclair of Holyhill, County Down, and granddaughter of Sir James Sinclair of Caithness. [Henderson]

  2. ROBERT SINCLAIR, recorder of York, who married, in 1811, Elizabeth Sothern, daughter of Sothern of Darrington Hall, Yorkshire, was of this line. [from The Sinclairs of England]
John Sinclair of Freswick writes in 1782 from Knaresboro': "At York there is a very respectable sensible man, Councillor Robert Sinclair, of the Holyhill family, in Ireland. He has a property there of £400 a year; is marry't here to a lady of good family, by whom he will get £10,000. The late Mr. Pope of Reay knew to what family in Caithness they were connected. He wants to know his descent, when they emigrate, or when came of the Caithness family. " [Henderson]


This branch of the family has been located in the town of Belfast since the closing years of the seventeenth century.

I WILLIAM SINCLAIRE was born in the neighbourhood of Newtonards, County Down, in 1679, and became one of the leading merchants in Belfast. He died in 1759, leaving several sons and daughters.

II THOMAS SINCLAIRE, eldest son of the preceding (born 1719, died 1798), succeeded his father in business, and was for many years one of the largest shippers to America of linen cloth. He married, in 1753, Esther Eccles, daughter of Thomas Pottinger of Belfast (by his wife, Lady Grisetta, daughter of the sixth Earl of Dundonald}, and by her had a large family.

III THOMAS SINCLAIRE, the eldest son, died without leaving male issue.

IV JOHN SINCLAIR, the second son (born in Belfast, 1764, died 1857), married, in 1792, Margaret, daughter of Surgeon John Clarke of Belfast, and had nine children, of whom -

  1. THOMAS, born in Belfast
  2. WILLIAM, married and had issue; died in New York
  3. JOHN, unmarried; died in early manhood.
  4. RICHARD SINCLAIRE, of Upper Falls, Belfast, the youngest son of John Sinclaire, is now the senior representative branch of the family at present resident in Ireland. He was born in 1811, and married Isabel McKee, who died in 1881, by whom he has issue -
    1. MARGARET married W. Allardice
    2. ISABEL married Mr. Neill
    3. RICHARD KER, resident at Auckland City, New Zealand; born 1857; warded 1889, Ellen Stevenson. Issue.
  5. ELLEN
  6. GEORGE HUTCHINSON, resident in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
  8. HENRY
  9. CLARA
  11. MABEL
  12. ARTHUR, deceased
V THOMAS SINCLAIRE, eldest son of John Sinclaire; born in Belfast, 1796, died 1860; married, in 1830, Augusta, daughter of Conway Montgomery, barrister-at-law, Issue -
  3. MARY
  4. CONWAY (all dead. )
  5. JOHN, of whom as VI
  6. EMILY, married William Millar, Merchant, and died without issue

VI JOHN SINCLAIRE, of Richmond Road, Auckland City, New Zealand, was born at Cushenhall, County Antrim, Ireland. He married Mary Carson. Issue -

  1. JOHN, born 1863
  4. EMILY, married in 1896 to W.J. Blair, of Karangahake, New Zealand.
  5. HENRIETTA, twin, dead;
  6. MARY, twin, married in 1897, C.C. Ferguson, of Auckland
  8. AMY
  9. FREDERICK, collegiate, Auckland College and Grammar School
The Sinclairs of Holyhill, County Tyrone, and this Belfast family have been considered as descended from two brothers who came from Scotland at the time of the Plantation of Ulster early in the seventeenth century. It is to be observed that the members of this branch have, since the earliest times, used a final "e" in spelling the surname - the family tombstones show it since 1759.


[Contributed in 1891 by Abraham Sinclair to the Hon. C.H. St.Clair, of Morgan City, Louisiana: See tombstones in Mullaback churchyard]

I. GEORGE SINCLAIR, from Scotland, settled in County Armagh, and held until his death the agency for the estate of Viscount Gosford. He is described in deeds as "Esquire and Gentleman", and his descendants account him to be a nephew of John St.Clair, the attainted Master [heir apparent] of St.Clair. He died on the 10th October 1787, aged 67 years. Issue -

  2. ROBERT, died in Jamaica, 1st April 1784, aged 32
  3. ALEXANDER, died 10th April 1804, aged 37
  4. ARCHIBALD ACHISON, died 4th May 1843, aged 69. Issue - GEORGE, died 7th January 1811, aged 27

II ABRAHAM SINCLAIR, born in 1749, predeceased his father, dying 26th June 1787. He married Elisabeth Johnston of White Hall, a connection of the Peels of Cumberland. She took her children to England for their education, returning to Market Hill when her son became of age. She died on the 16th April 1824, aged 68. Issue -

  1. JAMES, died 24th January 1779, aged 16 months
  2. GEORGE, died 16th November 1825, aged 44 years
  3. ELIZABETH, died 27th February 1814, aged 30 years

III ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR, born 1786; died 28th January 1827, aged 41; married Frances, daughter of Compton of College Hall, County Armagh, and Mary, his wife, daughter of Arthur Richardson of Rich Hill Castle, County Armagh. Mrs. Sinclair died 15th March 1833, aged 30. Issue -

  1. ABRAHAM, unmarried
  2. GEORGE, married
  3. MARY JANE, married Dr. William Gray of Market Hill, and died in 1843, aged 24, predeceased by her husband and son
  4. ELISABETH, died unmarried in 1850, aged 29
  5. ANNE, married Robert Greene (+ 1852), and died in 1885, aged 69. Issue -
    1. GEORGE GREENE, resident at Cape of Good Hope
    2. FANNY HARPER GREEN, residing at Ballymena
James St.Clair, son of George Sinclair, senior, went to America, and was never afterwards heard of.

ROBERT SINKLER, of Comber, County Down, was born in, 1595; married, about 1619, Giels Gordon, who died in 1673, aged 74 years. Issue -

JOHN SINKLER, born 1620; died 1681.

WILLIAM SINCLAIR, born in Drumbloo, Down, in 1676, went to New England in 1729, settled in 1735 in Spencer, Massachusetts, U.S.A., where he died 4th July 1753. His wife, Mary, died 9th August 1765, aged 79. Issue -

  1. ANNA, married John Cunningham
  2. MARY, married 5th May 1738, Jonas Mayes
  3. AGNES, married 11th December 1746, William Breckinridge of Palmer, Massachusetts
  4. ELIZABETH, married John Dunn of Northbridge, Massachusetts

SIR EDWARD BURROWES SINCLAIR (son of the Rev. Richard Sinclair, Vicar of Cashel, Longford), born 1824; married, 1849, Louisa, daughter of John Munn, M.D.; knighted 16th December 1880; B.A., Trinity College, Dublin, 1847; M.A., 1859; M.D., 1861; King's Professor of Midwifery in School of Physics, Trinity College, Dublin; Physician to Sir P. Dun's Hospital at Dublin; and Secretary of the Vaccine Department, Local Government Board, Ireland. Residence - Upper Sackville-street, Dublin.

MR. T. SINCLAIR of Hopefield, Belfast, one of the new Privy Councillors for Ireland, is a prominent and popular Ulster Unionist. He has helped to organise a number of great meetings in the province to protest against Home Rule. He is a magistrate of Belfast City, and also of County Antrim, of which he is a Deputy Lieutenant. He has more than once refused to become a candidate for Parliament. Graphic, 11th January 1896.

NOTE - Captain John St.Clair died at Mountmellick, Ireland, in 1784. His will was proved in Dublin the same year. He had been an officer in the 17th Light Dragoons, and had served with his regiment in the American War. He had a son James, who was a boy at the time of his father's death, and who subsequently became an officer in the 1st Royals which, from the army lists of that period, would appear to have hardly ever been without one or more of the name amongst its officers (Notes and Queries, 8th Series).

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