Sinclair of Dryden
The following descendant table commences with William, third son of Henry St. Clair, 1st Earl of Orkney and Jean Halyburton, daughter of Sir Walter Halyburton of Dirleton in East Lothian. The first reference to William in source documents notes that he and his brother John, together with eight servants, were granted safe conduct in 1405 by the English King Henry IV for six weeks to go to England where their brother Henry, 2nd Earl of Orkney, was being held prisoner in Durham castle. A second reference is on 20 November 1407 when he was a witness to the gift to his brother Henry and his wife Egidia Douglas of the barony of Herbertshire (Stirlingshire), along with an Edward St. Clair, both described as squires. [Note: it seems unlikely this Edward could be William of Dryden’s son because of the date.]
The documentation to confirm the grant of Dryden to William is now lost, however it formed part of the Roslin estate, being less than half a mile north of Roslin castle. ‘William Sanctclar of Dryden’ is a witness in 1444 to a document addressed to William, Earl of Orkney by Robert Earl of Mar and Garrioch and Lord Erskine and, in a much later court case in 1609, William is named as the ‘party contractor’ or original owner in a dispute about the inheritance of Dryden where each previous generation is named. Presumably William was gifted Dryden by either his father or, more likely, his brother Henry.
William married Agnes on 4 May 1428 when Henry, Bishop of St. Andrews, grants a charter in favour of ‘William St Clare and Agnes his spouse, of third part of sixth part of town of Lasswade and third part of a cottage in said town.‘ On 10 December 1455 another charter is recorded: ‘William Sinclar in favour of Edward Sinclar his son, of 10 acres (7 acres being arable) of land in Pentland.’ On 25 July 1468 a charter confirms a tack by Patrick the then Bishop of St Andrews to ‘Agnes Sinclare, relict of William Sinclare and Edward Sinclare, her son, a fourth and sixth parts of the town of Lasswade, the kirklands of Lasswade, known as Cotslake, and a cottage next to the bridge of Lasswade, for their lifetimes.‘
Despite source documents to establish certainty, the likelihood that Agnes was a Chisholm is supported by the fact that William’s aunt, Margaret Halyburton was married to Sir Robert Chisholm, the Constable of Urquhart Castle and, not only that, their son, Alexander Chisholm married Margaret de L’Arde, ‘Lady of Erchless’ in Inverness. Margaret was the daughter of Matilda de Strathearn, sister of Earl Henry Sinclair’s mother, Isabella. Agnes Chisholm’s birth is not recorded but that is not unusual for the time.
One further document dated 11 February 1449/50 is a resignation by William and Agnes of ‘sixth part of town of Lasswade in favour of Edward, his second son.‘ Unless this is a mistranslation of the wording in the original document, it seems their eldest son had died by then and although there is no record of his name, it would be logical to guess he may have been named after his grandfather Henry, in the usual Scottish naming pattern.
Nina Cawthorne, February 2020
Alexander ( -aft. 1455) [witness to his father’s charter, Pentland, 1455]
Margaret m. (1) John Ramsay of Corston (Fife), m. (2) Edmund Chisholm, 1st of Cromlix (Perthshire), son of Robert Chisholm of Chisholm (Roxburghshire) and Marion Douglas of Drumlanrig (Dumfriesshire)
Edward, 2nd of Dryden ( -aft. Jul 1496) m. unknown Crichton
Robert ( -bef. 1506)
George ( -aft. 1527), Rector of Aberfoyle (Perthshire)
Master William of Banks of Row ( -c.1513) [ancestor of Sinclair of Banks, Galivmor and Glassingal] m. unnamed 3rd dau. of James Drummond of Coldoch and Ballochard (Perthshire)
Henry of Nether Ardoch and Drumlaw (Perthshire) m. Beatrice Chisholm, dau. of Edmund Chisholm, 1st of Cromlix, and (2nd wife) Janet Drummond of Coldoch
Marion, m. bef. 1542 William Stirling of Glassingal and Dachlewne
Patrick ( -c.1545), natural son, of Spotts (Kircudbrightshire) and Woodhouselee (Midlothian), m. (1) bef. 1509 Margaret Gordon, dau. of John Gordon of Lochinvar (Dumfriesshire). m. (2) aft. 1513 Elizabeth Stewart, widow of Mungo Home of Coldenknowes
John St. Clair
Oliver St. Clair
Alexander St. Clair
Beatrice St. Clair
Margaret St. Clair
Jane St. Clair
James ( -aft.1587) [caution for James Gifford, younger of Sherrifhall, 1587]