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[from Burke's Peerage; Hay's Genealogie; Exchequer Rolls; Register of the Privy Seal; etc.]

I. HENRY II, EARL OF ORKNEY, is the first of his line to whom the title of Lord Sinclair is found allotted in public documents. By his Countess, the Lady Egidia Douglas, he had an only son

II WILLIAM ST.CLAIR, Lord Sinclair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness. He was twice married: first, to Elizabeth Douglas, Countess-Dowager of Buchan and the Garioch, by whom he had -

  1. WILLIAM, the disinherited Master of Orkney and Caithness
and secondly, to Marjory, daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Duffus, by whom he had with other issue -
  1. SIR OLIVER of Roslyn
  2. WILLIAM II, Earl of Caithness
Earl William had resigned the Earldom of Orkney in 1471, and obtained in exchange the Castle of Ravenscraig and the lands of Wilton, Carberry, and Dubbo in Fife. In 1476, in supersession of his eldest son, he assigned Roslin, Pentland, Pentland Moor, Morton, Mortonhall, and Herbertshire to his son Sir Oliver, ancestor of the subsequent line of Roslins; and in the same year resigned the Earldom of Caithness to the Crown, upon which a new charter issued to his son William of the second marriage in derogation of the rights of the elder William, son of the first marriage.

Various reasons have been assigned for the disinheritance. Hay informs us that Earl William and his first countess were separated on account of consanguinity and affinity, but the issue of this marriage could hardly have been considered as unlawful, for we are told that the Earl, not contented with this separation, sent to the Pope, who dispensed therewith, and so he married her anew again into St.Mathew's Church, where they were separated.

The Earl may have taken a deep dislike to his son on account of his mother being a Douglas, as after his wife's death to be identified with that family meant being a mark for attack from the Crown, and we find the Earl on the side opposed to the Douglases.

The most likely reason, however, is to be found in the action of the Master of Orkney himself, who, by his imprisonment in 1466 of William Tulloch, Bishop of Orkney, was the primary cause of the loss of that Earldom. But it seems questionable whether the Master was disinherited at all, for we find him possessed of Newburgh (which had formerly belonged to David St.Clair, brother of Earl Henry I), and there is no doubt that he had also numerous lands in the Isles.

The Earl's devise was probably an equitable one, in keeping with his life. He died about the year 1480, and was survived by his eldest son William, 3rd Lord Sinclair.

Subsequent Lords Sinclair were:

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