Earl Henry Sinclair's fictitious trip to America
This article appears in the New Orkney Antiquarian Journal, vol. 2, 2002. It appears here with a few amendments.
Endnotes are highlighted in the text thus (1) and clicking on the endnote number will take you to the endnote. Clicking [RETURN] at any endnote will bring you back to the section of text you were reading. You can e-mail Brian Smith from here.
Henry Sinclair, an earl of Orkney of the late fourteenth century, didn't go to America. (1) It wasn't until 500 years after Henry's death that anybody suggested that he did. The sixteenth century text that eventually gave rise to all the claims about Henry and America certainly doesn't say so. What it says, in so many words, is that someone called Zichmni, with friends, made a trip to Greenland. None of Henry Sinclair's contemporaries or near-contemporaries ever claimed that he went to America; and none of the antiquaries who wrote about him in the seventeenth century said so either, although they made other absurd claims about him. The story is a modern myth, based on careless reading, wishful thinking and sometimes distortion, and during the past five years or so it has taken new outrageous forms.
The main source that we must consult about this matter is a little book, with a curious map, published anonymously in Venice in 1558. (2) The part of it that gave rise to the modern fantasies about Henry Sinclair is a mere 7,000 words long. It was written by Nicolò Zeno, a Venetian, to honour two of his ancestors. I shall argue, as others have argued, that Zeno's tale is an elaborate practical joke. I begin by summarising its contents. They are different from what some of its modern expositors have suggested.
The text contains six main sections, linked by the author's explanatory comments. These sections allegedly derive from letters by Nicolò Zeno, the author's ancestor and namesake, and Nicolò's brother Antonio Zeno. These Zenos were real people: Venetian navigators of the second half of the fourteenth century. Some of the letters purport to be by Nicolò to Antonio, and the rest are supposed to be by Antonio to another brother: the famous Carlo Zeno, saviour of Venice in the war of 1380-1 with Genoa.
The first section describes how Nicolò Zeno set off on a voyage from Venice to England and Flanders in 1380. There is evidence that Nicolò made such a voyage, and came back again, in 1385. (3) In the text, Nicolò is shipwrecked on an island called Frislanda, which, the narrator says, 'is an island much larger than Ireland'. Frislanda (as will been seen from Zeno's map) is indeed large, and it doesn't exist. The place-names that Zeno has written on it are partly Faroese, and partly Icelandic.
'By chance,' says our narrator, 'a Prince with an armed following happened to be in the neighbourhood'. The prince had a curious name: Zichmni. He owned some islands called Porlanda, off the south coast of Frislanda, and ruled the duchy of Sorant, or Sorand, on the south-east of the same island. Just a year before, we learn, Zichmni had won a victory against the ruler of Frislanda, the king of Norway, and he is now engaged in conquering the island. Zichmni employs Nicolò as a pilot, and the Venetian refugee plays such a valiant part in the conquest of the island that Zichmni ennobles him.
After all this excitement Nicolò naturally writes home to his brother Antonio, and invites him north to the (imaginary) island. Antonio arrives, and stays for fourteen years. Zichmni makes Antonio his captain, and sends him to attack Estlanda, another island in the North Sea. Estlanda is clearly meant to be Shetland, as is obvious from its place-names: Brystund, for instance, an old form of Bressay Sound; Sumburgh Head; Scalloway (the latter wrongly depicted on the east side of the main island). But the king of Norway sends his fleet to defend Shetland, and Antonio retreats to an uninhabited island called Grislanda, off the south coast of Iceland.
Zichmni gives up his plan to attack Estlanda, and turns his attention to Iceland. But the main part of that island is too well defended, our narrator tells us, and Zichmni assails seven islands on its east side instead: Talas, Broas, Iscant, Trans, Mimant, Damberc and Bres. Like Frislanda, these islands do not exist. Zichmni builds a fort on Bres, and leaves Nicolò in charge there. Nicolò soon sets out on a voyage of discovery. He makes land in Greenland, and inspects a monastery there with central heating. But the cold is still too much for him. He returns to Frislanda and dies there. He has been in the far north for four or five years.
Soon afterwards word reaches Zichmni that some fishermen, presumably natives of Frislanda, have come home after an absence of a quarter of a century. They have been visiting previously unknown countries called Estotilanda and Drogeo in the far west. Once again, our author invented these names. In these lands they have had strange adventures: for instance, they had only avoided being eaten by cannibals by teaching the cannibals how to catch fish. Zichmni, fired up by these tales, resolves to follow in their footsteps.
The final two parts of Zeno's narrative describe Zichmni's voyage west with Antonio to look for Estotilanda and Drogeo. They don't make it. First they stop off at an island, apparently near Scotland, called Icaria. Then they land on the southmost point of Greenland, a promontory called Trin. Zichmni is delighted. He likes the climate and the soil, and although his sailors grumble, and eventually go home with Antonio, he stays on. He builds a town at Trin, and he explores the whole coast of Greenland. There we leave Zichmni, and that, more or less, is the story.
What can we say about this narrative, and the map that accompanies it? First, they are the work of someone who didn't know the North Sea very well. Apart from the fact that much of the action is set in islands that don't exist, another important island that does exist is missing. There's no reference at all, in text or map, to Orkney. If the Zeno map is the work of Venetian navigators who lived with the earl of Orkney for four and fourteen years respectively, they don't seem to have paid much attention to their surroundings.
My second point is that many of the commentators have been very careless, or worse, in their reading of the Zeno text and map. I'll deal at more length later with their mistakes and distortions, but I should stress that Zeno doesn't say that Zichmni, whoever he was, went to America. He says that he went to Greenland. (4)
Not surprisingly, it took a long time for anyone to suggest that Zichmni was the first Sinclair earl of Orkney. The lack of any reference to Orkney in the Zeno text, or any depiction of it on the map, might have seemed to rule Henry Sinclair out. It wasn't until the 1780s that a travel writer, John Reinhold Forster, tentatively suggested that Zichmni was Henry. (5)
Forster's arguments weren't impressive. At first he imagined that the fictitious Frislanda had 'been swallowed up since by the sea in a great earthquake'. Then he looked more closely at the name, and concluded that Frislanda must be one of the tiny Orkney islands called Faray. This is surprising because, you will recall, Frislanda was an island somewhat larger than Ireland, and Zichmni spent a long time trying to conquer it.
Forster then pondered on the name Zichmni, and, using the same type of reasoning, proposed that it was a corroption of 'Sinclair'. Finally, he asked what Henry Sinclair was doing in 1380, the date that Zeno assigns to these events in the north. Remember that, according to Zeno, Zichmni had defeated the king of Norway a year before his conquest of Frislanda. Forster noticed that, in 1379, Henry had beaten several other claimants to the earldom of Orkney, and had persuaded the king of Norway to make him earl of Orkney. 'It might with no great impropriety be affirmed,' he said, 'that [Henry Sinclair] had beat the king of Norway, viz. in the person of [the other claimants]'. (6) It would be difficult to imagine a more threadbare argument. Unsurprisingly, Forster's theory didn't attract many followers. (7)
Had Forster looked more closely at Henry Sinclair's career, or the careers of the brothers Zeno, he wouldn't have made his proposal. No contemporary document or commentator ever suggested that Henry Sinclair was an explorer, and there is no hint in any fourteenth century Italian record that the Zeno brothers had the adventures described in their descendant's narrative. Less than fifty years after Henry's death his grandson commissioned a genealogy of the Sinclair family, full of praise of his ancestors' achievements. (8) Did he mention his grandfather's alleged maritime exploits? He did not.
Even more tellingly, none of the antiquarians and biographers who wrote about Henry Sinclair, or the Zeno family, in subsequent centuries, made any reference at all to such adventures and explorations. Henry Sinclair had two enthusiastic seventeenth century biographers: a Dane called Van Bassan and a cleric, Father Richard Augustin Hay. These authors wrote pages of absurd praise about Henry: they credited him with military campaigns that took place before he was born, and with a marriage to a princess that never took place at all. They invented titles and dignities for him, including the title 'prince', that he never possessed. (9) The only thing they didn't mention was his alleged voyage of discovery.
My impression of Henry Sinclair, from looking at the documents that have survived about him, is that he was a minor figure. He played little or no part in the politics of his native country or of Norway. His name doesn't appear in the records of the Scottish parliament or exchequer, and he only figured in Norwegian affairs on a few ceremonial occasions. (10) One historian has claimed that he was 'a powerful earl of Orkney very much in the old tradition', and that he was 'very active in his northern earldom and integrated with the people of the earldom and their customs'. (11) I can find no evidence at all for such claims. Henry's tenure of the Orkney earldom was hedged around with a large number of royal restrictions: far more than Orkney earls like Thorfinn Sigurdsson would have brooked. And of course Henry's Orkney estates were far smaller than those of his Norse predecessors. (12) There is only one extant document by Henry signed in Orkney, from 1391, where he bargains with his brother to consolidate his lands in the north. (13)
The Zeno narrative portrays Zichmni at war against Frislanda and Iceland, with different degrees of success, and unsuccessfully waging war against Shetland. There is no evidence, or likelihood, that Henry had interests in Iceland, or in Faroe, if that is what Frislanda is meant to be. (14) Even Frederick Pohl, Henry's most devoted admirer, admitted that Henry's realm didn't stretch that far. (15)
The case of Shetland is even clearer. At his installation as earl of Orkney, in 1379, Henry promised that 'if any persons design to attack or invade hostilely the ... lands and islands of Orkney, or even the land of Shetland ... in any way', he would 'defend the said lands with the men which we shall be able to gather for this purpose ... not only from the said lands and islands but also with the whole strength of our kin, friends, and servants'. (16) Had Henry attacked Shetland, or any other part of her realms, Queen Margaret of Norway would have taken a dim view of such a breach of his obligations. But when Henry's son later got a feudal grant of Shetland, the then king praised Henry, by then dead, for his 'fealty and obedience'. (17)
My guess, and it can only be a guess, because there are so few documents extant about Henry, is that he spent much of his life at Roslin in Midlothian. His rents and revenues in Orkney would have been welcome additions to his patrimony, but there is no evidence that he spent much time there. There isn't even proof that he, as opposed to his son, built a castle in Kirkwall. (18) We know that, like many of his Scottish contemporaries, he participated occasionally in warfare against the king of England. (19) He may well have died in some such skirmish. The only reliable account of his death says that he was slain cruelly by enemies 'for the defence of his country'. (20) That might mean Orkney; it might mean Scotland.
Forster's theory that Zichmni was Henry Sinclair wasn't popular. Cardinal Zurla, who was impressed by the Zeno text, was unenthusiastic about the Henry Sinclair idea. (21) Admiral Zarhtmann, a Dane, tore it to pieces in the 1840s. (22) And there the story would have ended if a geographer and map librarian called Richard Henry Major hadn't taken it up, in an evil hour, in the 1870s. (23)
Major is the villain of this story. He made it his business to rehabilitate the Zeno text, and, following in Forster's footsteps, to prove that it was all about Earl Henry Sinclair. Obviously, he had to come up with something better than Forster. He discovered that the only way he could achieve these aims was to rewrite Zeno: by giving us what Zeno should have written, had he known what he was speaking about.
Major began by rewriting Zeno's date: 1380. Cardinal Zurla had already shown that Nicolò Zeno was in Venice throughout the 1380s, and that he couldn't possibly have been visiting Greenland then. But Zurla had unearthed a manuscript work in Venice, by a genealogist called Marco Barbaro, which seemed to give an alternative date. Marco (or someone else) inserted a note in his text that Antonio Zeno (24) 'wrote with his brother Nicolò the knight the voyages of the islands under the Arctic Pole, and of those discoveries of 1390, and that by order of Zichno, king of Frisland, he went to the continent of Estotilanda in North America. He dwelt fourteen years in Frisland, four with his brother, and ten alone.'
At first sight this looked convincing, or at least interesting. Zurla and Major claimed that Marco Barbaro had written his work in 1536, 22 years before Zeno's book was published, and that it was independent proof of the Zeno voyage. However, the date that Zurla and Major proposed for Marco Barbaro's work is wrong. Marco's manuscript was never finished, and there is evidence that he was still adding to it in 1569, eleven years after Zeno's book appeared. (25) The date 1536 on some copies of the manuscript is ambiguous: it may refer to the moment when Marco Barbaro started work, or to the date by which the families discussed in his text had been ennobled. (26) There is little doubt that he took his material from Zeno's published text - rather than vice versa - although, like others, he hadn't read that text very carefully. (27) The argument that Marco Barbaro is an independent alternative source for the Zeno story is unconvincing.
Major next re-examined the geographical details of the Zeno story. As I have pointed out, there is no reference to Orkney in Zeno: a strange omission if we believe that he was writing about Earl Henry Sinclair. Major set out to put that right. Zeno said that Zichmni owned some 'islands called Porlanda, near to Frislanda on the south side, the richest and most populous in all those parts', and that he was duke of 'Sorant' or 'Sorand'. Major ignored the fact that Zeno had marked these mythical places on his map of Frislanda. Porlanda? said Major. Obviously the Pentland Firth. And Sorant? What could that be but the minute island of Swona! (28)
And then there was the large uninhabited island of Grislanda, where Zichmni's fleet headed after their unsuccessful attack on Shetland. Zeno's map makes it clear that Grislanda, another figment of his imagination, was on the south coast of Iceland. Major knew better. For him Grislanda was the Orkney mainland, which appears as 'Hrossey' in the sagas. 'Grislanda', Major tells us, 'occupies the position of Gross-ey [sic] in the Orkneys, the wild coast of which would give it the aspect of being uninhabited to any one driven on it in a storm'. (29) Only an Orcadian can appreciate how truly absurd these suggestions are.
Major's treatment of Shetland is even more outrageous. Like Forster, he forgets that Henry Sinclair had promised to defend Shetland when he became earl of Orkney. So he has Henry attack Estlanda or Shetland, just as Zeno describes. As we have seen, Zeno says that Zichmni's attack on Shetland was a failure, and that he headed north to attack seven mythical islands on the east side of Iceland instead: Bres, Mimant, Talas etc. Major is having none of that. He says that Zichmni desisted from his attack on Shetland, headed for Grislanda (which he takes to be Orkney), and then travelled back to Shetland again! He says that Zichmni's fort at Bres was in Bressay in Shetland. But Zeno's map, and his narrative, make it clear that there are hundreds of miles between Bressay Sound in Shetland, and the mythical Bres in Iceland.
That little sleight of hand landed Major in terrible problems. Because Zeno said clearly, in his text, and on his map, that Bres was in Iceland. Major's solution to that is to suggest that for Zeno 'Islanda' was another way of writing Estlanda or Shetland. As a result, Major's translation is full of absurdities. For instance, Zeno, writing about the Greenland monastery that Nicolò Zeno discovered, says that it housed 'friars from Norway, Sweden and other countries, but the greater part come from 'Islande'. Major calmly writes that the majority came from Shetland! (30)
Sometimes Major just couldn't have translated Iceland as Shetland without blushing. When Antonio Zeno sails back from Greenland to Frislanda, he realizes that he has passed Iceland. On this occasion Major doesn't have the gall to say that Iceland is Shetland, but he doesn't explain why he has made an exception in this case. And right at the end of the text Zeno cites an alleged letter by Antonio, which refers to 'Islanda' and 'Estlanda' side by side. Again, Major has to admit that, on this occasion, 'Islanda' is Iceland and not Shetland.
Why did Major behave in this way? Because he wanted, for some reason best known to himself, to prove that Zeno was writing about Henry Sinclair, and Orkney and Shetland. The only way he could do that was to mistranslate Zeno's original. It's a shocking piece of deception.
But it was very successful. Major had a good scholarly reputation, and most of his readers swallowed his distortions whole. Some of the people who were most impressed were members of the Sinclair family. Roland Saint-Clair, an Orkney emigrant to New Zealand, was delighted. Saint-Clair was a fanatical admirer of the Sinclair family, who had changed his name 'by public announcement' from dreary old Sinclair to Saint-Clair. (31) He dedicated his massive work The St Clairs of the Isles to Earl Henry. (32) He actually christened him 'Henry the Holy', although there isn't an atom of evidence that Henry did or said anything holy in his life. (33) In addition, Saint-Clair devoted a long appendix, a 'historiette', as he called it, to Henry's career as an 'Orcadian argonaut', based on Major's work. Major's 'able exposition of what had been previously considered irreconcilable inconsistencies,' Roland gushed, 'and his copious elucidations, have completely established the genuineness of the discovery.' (34)
Another enthusiastic Sinclair of that era was Thomas Sinclair, a member of the Caithness branch of the family. In 1893, during the Chicago celebrations of Columbus's voyage west, Thomas read a paper about Earl Henry to his 'Society of Sancto-Claro' there. It was weak on detail: like others, Thomas mixed up Earl Henry and his son. But his contribution is notable in another way: he was one of the first writers to suggest that Earl Henry Sinclair sailed to America, as opposed to Greenland. 'In a very true sense', trumpeted Thomas, (35) 'Henry as a civilised man, in the modern sense of civilisation, was the one and only discoverer of America. ... With his Zeno admiral, Prince Henry first placed really civilised foot on that continent which is now the home and glory of more than fifty millions of the earth's pick of white men and women. ... From the time when Prince Henry first annexed America to his principality (for such is the technicality of the proceeding), that continent never lost white representatives to this day.'
That was the situation in the early 1890s: Major seemed to have taken all before him. Then, in 1898, came the first of two earthquakes that would destroy the Zeno theory for ever.
A geographer called Fred. W. Lucas had a discussion with his friend Charles Henry Coote about the whereabouts of Frislanda. Of course, neither of them believed that any such island existed; but they wanted to know where Zeno had got the idea for it. Lucas was erudite about ancient maps, and the result of his research was a very large book. It was entitled The Annals of the Voyages of the Brothers Nicolo and Antonio Zeno in the North Atlantic about the end of the fourteenth century, and the claim founded thereon to a Venetian discovery of America: a criticism and an indictment. (36) Lucas went about his work systematically. First he dealt with the literary sources whence Zeno derived his ideas. He was particularly informative about the section where the Frislanda fishermen go to Estotilanda and Drogeo. 'It seems certain', says Lucas, 'that the whole of this story is pure fiction, built up by Zeno the younger from the Columbus letters, Vespucci's letters of 1503 and 1504', and various other works. (37) He shows that Zeno's account of the fishermen's adventures corresponds closely with that of Jeronimo Aguilar, who was shipwrecked in Jamaica in 1511. Similarly, he demonstrates that Zeno's description of Estotilanda and Drogeo is drawn from sixteenth century printed accounts of Mexico, Cuba and South America. Zeno's portrait of Estotilanda, for instance, closely resembles Benedette Bordone's account of Mexico of 1528, right down to a vivid description of a mountain from which four rivers rise.
It isn't just in this section where Lucas finds literary sources for Zeno's text. He shows that Zeno's account of the central heating in the Greenland monastery, regarded by some people as an astonishing historical discovery, might well have been borrowed from either Bordone or Olaus Magnus. Olaus Magnus, for instance, wrote about hot springs in Sweden, Iceland and Scotland which suspiciously resemble the Greenland mod-cons.
Lucas is particularly informative when he deals with Zeno's map. (38) In a series of chapters and appendices he shows clearly that Zeno borrowed virtually all his place-names and geographical ideas from earlier charts, not least from Olaus Magnus's Carta Marina of 1539. (39) Even the imaginary island of Frislanda had its predecessors on earlier maps. The exceptions are names like Grislanda and Estotilanda: names that Zeno invented.
Lucas's work isn't immaculate. There are two aspects of it that I want to criticise. Lucas fairly hammered Major's work, but there is one place where Major's malign influence still shines through. Major, you'll remember, said that the seven islands - Mimant, Bres etc. - on the east coast of Iceland, were meant to be Shetland islands, and that Zeno had portrayed them in Iceland by accident. I've shown that Zeno didn't think for a moment that these islands were in Shetland. But Lucas falls into Major's trap: he says that 'The names of the seven Zenian Icelandic islands are apparently borrowed from the Shetlands, and they represent these islands in a vague, loose kind of way. The "Bres" of the narrative is the modern Bressay.' (40) I'm afraid this is nonsense. Bres is an invention by Zeno; in Zeno's narrative and on his map Bres is in Iceland, while Bressay Sound appears in its correct place on the map, in Estlanda or Shetland.
My second complaint about Lucas is his failure to investigate the careers of Nicolò and Antonio Zeno in Venice. Lucas wasn't a historian. But he should have looked at the Venetian records, instead of swallowing whole what Cardinal Zurla had said on the subject in 1808. It wasn't until 1933 that somebody did that; and the result was another earthquake: one which finally destroyed the Zeno story.
Andrea da Mosto published his article on 'I navigatori Nicolò e Antonio Zeno' in Florence in 1933. It is a genealogical work, based on hundreds of unpublished records in the Venetian archives. From the outset, da Mosto is careful to distinguish between different people called Nicolò Zeno in late fourteenth century Venice, because it wasn't an uncommon name. If there is a doubt about this or that Nicolò Zeno he says so.
From his meticulous work a clear picture emerges. Our Nicolò Zeno, the alleged visitor to Frislanda, was a well-known navigator and public official in Venice from about 1360 to 1400. Zurla and others had acknowledged that Nicolò couldn't have sailed north before 1390, because his career is well-documented until then. Da Mosto showed that it is well-documented after that date as well. In May 1389 Nicolò received the command of a squadron of naval galleys in the gulf. The following year he was re-elected as military governor of the cities of Corone and Modone in southern Greece, but by the end of 1392 he had returned to Venice. In the first semester of 1393 he resumed his duties as a prestigious ducal councillor there. In August that year he set off for Corfu, where he had been elected bailiff and captain. These are the years when, the Zenoites would have us believe, Nicolò was fighting battles in the North Sea and visiting a monastery in Greenland.
And then the crash came. In 1394 allegations emerged that Nicolò Zeno had been guilty of embezzlement whilst in charge of Modone and Corone. There was a lengthy debate on the subject in the Venetian Council of Forty during 1396. The Council's verdict was severe. They sentenced Nicolò to five years' exclusion from public office, fined him 200 gold ducats and ordered him to compensate the aggrieved parties. We don't hear about poor Nicolò again until 1400, when he wrote his last testament. He was no longer alive in 1403.
I don't need to stress how much this account diverges from Zeno's narrative of Nicolò's career. The Zenoites have him die in Frislanda about 1394, from frostbite; the records show that in 1394 he was hale if not hearty in Venice, preparing to face his peers in a trial for embezzlement. Da Mosto was a modest sort of fellow, but he couldn't resist a chirrup of triumph at the end of his article: 'With the new documents I have found, which amply illustrate the life of Nicolò Zeno, his [descendant's] account of the ... voyages becomes completely invalidated'. (41) Da Mosto's history of the Zenos is still the standard work on the subject. (42)
Lucas's book and Da Mosto's paper effectively killed the Zeno theory. One proof of that is that Zeno enthusiasts of the second half of the twentieth century don't dare confront these works and what they say. (43)
In two of the main works by Zenoites of the past thirty years, the books by Frederick Pohl and Andrew Sinclair, there are scarcely any references to Da Mosto or Lucas. Pohl cites Da Mosto's work in his bibliography, but refrains from mentioning it in his text; Sinclair doesn't refer to it at all. (44) Pohl's main comment on Lucas is a squeak of horror when Lucas dares to suggest that Henry Sinclair would have been 'a perjured rebel and traitor' if he had attacked Shetland in 1390. 'Unscholarly and foul slander!' yaps Pohl. (45)
Andrew Sinclair's response to Lucas is even more surprising. 'Many defenders of the general veracity of Nicolò Zeno have replied to Lucas's assault,' he says, 'beginning with Miller Christy'. (46) I'd like to quote a few sentences from Miller Christy, who, we should remember, was a close friend of Lucas, and actually read the proofs of his book. 'Mr F.W. Lucas,' says Christy, 'in one of the most masterly works recently published on any phase of the history of geography, has shown conclusively that the Zeno book was, at best, little more than a fraudulent concoction from earlier books and charts.' (47) That doesn't sound like a defence of Zeno to me.
There has recently been a revival of interest in the Zeno question in some quarters, and in Major's identification of Zichmni with Henry Sinclair. But I am afraid that it has become increasingly manic, like so many fads of the late twentieth century. Frederick Pohl, give him his due, wasn't very manic: he was just a big romantic. His longest work on the subject is more or less in the form of a novel. (48) Pohl believed just about everything that the seventeenth century antiquarians said about Henry, however foolish. He also mimicked Major in making absurd speculations about the place-names in the Zeno text. Take, for instance, Frislanda, the island larger than Ireland that so many generations of geographers have argued about. Pohl's view was that Frislanda is Fair Isle (6 square miles).
Similarly, Pohl was for a time an exponent of the idea that 'Zichmni' was a mistranscription of 'Sinclair'. '"Zichmni"', he wrote in a work of 1950, 'is a not-too-remote misreading of "Siclair" or "Siclaro" in fourteenth century script.' (49) Then, just when we had got used to that, he changed his mind. In his book of 1974 he argues that 'Zichmni' is a mistranscription of 'd'Orkeney'. 'There is a certain inevitability to this equating', he says, naively. (50)
Pohl's innovation was to imagine that he had discovered Zichmni's, or Henry Sinclair's, footprints in North America. I shan't say anything about the Newport Tower, or the so-called Westford Knight, other than to say that the Zenoite statements about their age, and the theories that connect them with Earl Henry, or Zichmni for that matter, are scarcely worth considering. (51) Pohl's attempts to link Zichmni with the Micmac Indians, and their god Glooscap, are another example of the same syndrome. As usual, Pohl has a linguistic spin on the subject. 'The change from "Jarl Sinclair" to "Glooscap"', he says, optimistically, 'is phonetically reasonable ...' (52)
Most surreal is Pohl's method of pinpointing the date when his hero arrived in America. According to Zeno, Zichmni arrived at Trin, on the southmost tip of Greenland, just as the month of June came in. Pohl didn't accept for a moment that Zichmni's landfall of Trin was in Greenland, despite the fact that Zeno had placed it there on his text and map; he decided that it was in the Pictou region of Nova Scotia.
'It then occurred to me', Pohl says, (53) 'that Henry Sinclair would have followed the custom of explorers from Christendom, which was to name a newly discovered harbor, cape, etc., from the day in the church calendar upon which he discovered or entered or formally took it into possession. The name Trin seemed to be an abbreviation of Trinity. ... I did not know the church calendar, and while I was wondering how I might most quickly acquire the desired information, I saw in the village street of Guysborough the revealing collar of an Anglican rector. I eagerly asked him whether there was in the church calendar a day devoted to the Trinity. "Yes," he replied, and added: "This year (1959) it was the first Sunday in June."'
It didn't take Pohl long to discover that in 1398 the second day of June was Trinity Sunday. 'The landing of the Orkney Expedition on the continent of North America', he concluded, 'is as definitely dated as to year, month, and day, as the landing of Christopher Columbus on an island in the West Indies.'
In the 1980s the Italian scholar Giorgio Padoan re-examined the Zichmni question, in a 100-page article. He read the Zeno text meticulously, and came down heavily in favour of Henry Sinclair as transatlantic explorer. It becomes clear immediately that Padoan is a devoted admirer of Pohl, and especially of Pohl's derivation of Trin from Trinity Sunday. (54) Armed with Pohl's notion that Henry Sinclair voyaged west in 1398, Padoan laboriously re-examines Da Mosto's biography of Nicolò Zen, convicts him of introducing an extraneous Nicolò Zen on several occasions, and points out (what we knew already) that Nicolò is not to be found in any document between the years 1396-1400. Ergo, hints Padoan, he must have been in America. But it is far more probable that Nicolò was skulking in Venice during those years, an old man in disgrace. Padoan concludes that, following his research, 'the structure erected by Da Mosto is ... shattered'. (55) In fact Padoan's new research reconfirms most of what Da Mosto discovered, with a few adjustments. (56) New evidence for a transatlantic voyage by Henry Sinclair, or anyone else, he has none.
Andrew Sinclair also follows in Pohl's footsteps; but Sinclair's Earl Henry is a much more imposing character even than Pohl's. He is a crusader (57), a gnostic (58), a knight templar (59) and a freemason (60), who 'tr[ies] to found a military and religious empire in the west.' (61) The Zenos are not just shipwrecked in the north: they are here on a 'secret mission', never fully explained but apparently 'known to the [Venetian] state'. (62) There isn't a morsel of evidence for any of these propositions, and they don't help at all in the identification of Zichmni with Henry Sinclair.
In fact Andrew Sinclair realizes that there are awful holes in the Sinclair theory. He dutifully reproduces Major's footnotes on the Zeno text, but modifies them here and there. He appreciates that a text about Henry Earl of Orkney should have had a few references to Orkney. Using the Major method of identifying Zeno's place-names, Sinclair helpfully suggests that the island of 'Neome' may be Westray! (63) When Zeno claims that Zichmni made himself master of a place called 'Ledovo', Sinclair claims that he was actually calling in at the Faroese island of Lille Dimon, for water and supplies. (64) Readers who have seen that barren precipitous rock will be surprised to hear this. And when Zeno says that 'Sir Antonio remained in Frislanda and lived there fourteen years, four years with Sir Nicolo, and ten years alone', Sinclair interjects that 'The Zen brothers would have lived on the Orkneys, for Prince Henry St. Clair did not succeed in holding the Faroes for long'. (65) But a few footnotes later he has them back in Frislanda again.
Not to be outdone by Pohl, Sinclair supplies a few extra 'external' proofs of Henry Sinclair's sojourn in America: an alleged Venetian cannon at Cape Breton Island, for instance, and the now notorious carvings in Roslin chapel. But despite the tens of thousands of words that Pohl and Sinclair produced on the subject, the situation remains the same as when Lucas and Da Mosto wrote, in 1898 and 1933 respectively. They have the last word.
By this time it should be obvious that I regard the Zeno narrative, and his map, and the work of Richard Henry Major and that of most of his successors, as tripe. The question remains: why did Zeno do it? He was a respectable Venetian official, with a reputation as an intellectual and polymath. But the most surprising people perpetrate practical jokes: Sir John Mandeville is a famous example, and Lucas helpfully lists many others. Zeno was simply one of the most blatant and successful hoaxers in the history of the art. He even left us his signature in his text. Of the 26 Greenland place-names on his map, 25 appear on earlier maps. The exception is the name of the monastery that Nicolò Zeno allegedly found there. Zeno gives it the name of a saint who never existed. The saint's name? St Thomas Zenobius!
Where did Zeno get his ideas? We have already seen that there were plenty of literary and cartographic sources available to pad out such a work. We have seen, too, that Zeno's ancestor Nicolò Zeno did sail from Venice to Flanders, in 1385, although he sailed right back again. Other background material springs to mind. The notion that a Venetian nobleman might be shipwrecked on a voyage to the north wasn't preposterous: in 1432 one such gentleman, Piero Qvirini, was the captain of a ship wrecked in the Lofoten Islands. An account of that accident was published in Venice a few months after Zeno's book appeared there. (66)
And there is one final source, the most bizarre of the lot. Admiral Zarhtmann, writing 150 years ago, was the first to point out that Zichmni's career bears more than a passing resemblance to those of the North Sea pirates who infested the North Sea around 1400. (67) The Victual Brothers, as they were called, built up weighty reputations, like that of Zichmni, because of swashbuckling exploits on the high seas. Some admirers actually believed that they made expeditions to distant lands and found strange tribes there. (68) And one of their leaders was called Wichmann. (69) I don't imagine for a moment that Wichmann was Zichmni, despite the resemblance between their names; but these are the kinds of tale that Zeno may have used while writing his story.
Let's sum up. Zeno's text is the only source, a very distant source, for the fable that Henry Sinclair was an explorer. Of course, Zeno didn't claim that Henry Sinclair sailed to America. He had never heard of Henry Sinclair. Zeno said that someone called Zichmni, who lived on an imaginary island, sailed to Greenland. His narrative and text don't mention Orkney, and hardly mention Shetland, at all. Similarly, no Scottish or Italian document of the fourteenth or later centuries suggests that Henry Sinclair or the Zenos ever essayed any such voyage. In fact, the only two real people in Zeno's book, its heroes, were in Venice at the time that Zeno said they were travelling and dying in the north; and Henry Sinclair was waging war and dying in Scotland and/or Orkney at the same time.
Richard Henry Major and his followers realized that it was impossible to implicate Henry Sinclair in the Zeno story without pretending that the text said something different from what it actually said. As a result, Major's translation of Zeno is full of distortions, especially concerning Shetland. And then, during the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyages, various members of the Sinclair family had the effrontery, rewriting Major in their turn, to allege that Earl Henry had travelled to America.
The work of Fred. Lucas, and later of Andrea da Mosto, exposed Zeno's practical joke for once and for all. The Zenoites licked their wounds for several decades. Then Frederick Pohl arrived on the scene. He and his successors claim, without the slightest evidence, to have found independent traces of Henry Sinclair's voyages, in America and in Roslin Chapel. Pohl's disciples are still amongst us. One recent writer claims to have found Henry's masonic (or is it Templarite?) 'labyrinth' in Nova Scotia. (70)
All this is perplexing, but it is harmless. Like the works of Baigent and Leigh, from whom some of the modern Zenoites take inspiration, the Henry Sinclair theory is playful, especially in its most recent forms: a story to while a night away. (71) I don't want to be ungenerous. We all want to know what happened in the past. The only way to find out, however, is to read carefully, and to listen to what our sources actually say. We must use our imaginations, if we want the documents to speak; but imaginations become disabled when they run amok.
1. Thanks for help, suggestions and information to Dr Peter Anderson, John Ballantyne, Professor Geoffrey Barrow, Dr Gerry Bigelow, Dr Steve Boardman, Dr Barbara Crawford, Dr Brian Cuthbertson, Michael Gunn, Alastair Hamilton, Dr Adolf Hofmeister, Professor Giandomenico Romanelli, John Shaw, Niven Sinclair, Audrey Sutherland, Ian Tait, Peter Ward and Rosemary Ward. I gave a version of this paper at the 'Sinclair Symposium' in Kirkwall in September 1997: I'm grateful to Josh Gourlay for assistance on that zany occasion. [RETURN]
2. Anonymous, De i Commentarii del Viaggio in Persia di M. Caterino Zeno ... et dello Scoprimento dell' Isole Frislanda, Eslanda, Engrouelanda, Estotilanda, & Icaria, fatto sotto il Polo Artico, da due fratelli Zeni, M. Nicolò il K. et M. Antonio ..., Venice 1558. There is a photographic reproduction of the whole text in Fred. W. Lucas, The Annals of the Voyages of the Brothers Nicolo and Antonio Zeno in the North Atlantic about the end of the fourteenth century, and the claim founded thereon to a Venetian discovery of America: a criticism and an indictment, London 1898. The best translation into English is in Lucas, Annals, pp.6-23. [RETURN]
3. Andrea da Mosto, 'I navigatori Nicolò e Antonio Zeno', in Ad Alessandro Luzio, Miscellanea di studi storici, i, Florence 1933, p.298. Da Mosto concedes that we cannot be certain that this Nicolò Zeno is the right man, but gives reasons why it is likely. His critic Giorgio Padoan, in 'Sulla relazione cinquecentesca dei viaggi nord-atlantici di Nicolò e Antonio Zen (1383-1403)', Quaderni Veneti, ix, 1989, pp.37-8, confirms Da Mosto's account. [RETURN]
4. Lucas, Annals, pp.21-2. Or, to be strictly accurate, 'Engrouelanda'. Zeno used this form after misreading a map of Greenland of c.1420 by Claudius Clavus Swart. [RETURN]
5. John Reinhold Forster, History of the Voyages and Discoveries made in the North, London 1786, pp.181ff. [RETURN]
6. Forster, History, pp.208-9.[RETURN]
7. An exception was Arthur Edmondston, A View of the Ancient and Present State of the Zetland Islands, i, Edinburgh 1809, pp.66-72.[RETURN]
8. 'Diploma of Thomas, bishop of Orkney and Zetland, and the chapter of Kirkwall, addressed to Eric king of Norway, respecting the genealogy of William Saint Clair, earl of Orkney', in Miscellany of the Bannatyne Club, iii, Edinburgh 1855. The brief account of Earl Henry I is on p.81.[RETURN]
9. Father Richard Augustin Hay, Genealogie of the Sainteclaires of Rosslyn, Edinburgh 1835, pp.16-18, 33, 55. David Hume (fl. 1600) seems to have been one of the first to use the title 'prince' for members of the Sinclair family: David Reid ed., David Hume of Godscroft's 'The History of the House of Douglas', i, Edinburgh 1996, p.242. Hume bestows it on Henry II. The Rev. James Wallace, writing in 1693, gives it to Henry I: A Description of the Isles of Orkney, Edinburgh 1883, p.93. Until recently no-one (so far as I know) had made the error of confusing Henry Sinclair with Prince Henry the Navigator (1394-1460). Genevieve Cora Fraser ('David Thomson, the Scottish founder of New Hampshire', Scottish Genealogist, 46, 1999, p.82), has now rectified the omission. [RETURN]
10. Many of the documents about Henry's career are now conveniently abstracted in Gunnar I. Pettersen and Knut Sprauten eds., Regesta Norvegica, vii, Oslo 1997, nos. 812-13, 820, 872-4, 901, 1173, 1528-9, 1534. Eldbjørg Haug has recently made the interesting suggestion that Henry may have fought in the battle of Falköping in 1389 (Provincia Nidrosiensis i Dronning Margretes Unions- og Maktpolitikk, Trondheim 1996, p.219). [RETURN]
11. Barbara Elizabeth Hall or Crawford, 'The earls of Orkney-Caithness and their relations with Norway and Scotland, 1158-1470', unpublished University of St Andrews PhD, 1971, p.224. [RETURN]
12. Barbara E. Crawford, 'William Sinclair, earl of Orkney, and his family: a study in the politics of survival', in K.J. Stringer ed., Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland, Edinburgh 1985, p.234. [RETURN]
13. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, i, no.824 [RETURN]
14. That doesn't stop Andrew Sinclair from saying (The Sword and the Grail, London 1993, p.15) that 'these conquests are matters of fact', and that 'one of the proofs of the truth of most of the Zeno Narrative ... is the accurate description of obscure campaigns and wars in the islands, reports of which would usually never have reached Venice'. [RETURN]
15. Frederick J. Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair: his expedition to the New World in 1398, London 1974, p.79. [RETURN]
16. J. Storer Clouston ed., Records of the Earldom of Orkney, Edinburgh 1914, no. xii. [RETURN]
17. Diplomatarium Norvegicum, ii, no. 647. Barbara Crawford ('The earls' pp.238-9) has suggested that Henry's slaughter of his cousin Malis Sperra in Shetland in 1389 or 1391 (Gustav Storm, Islandke Annaler indtil 1578, Christiania 1888, pp.284, 367) may be the same as this incident. This is imaginative but unwarranted. Even if the Zeno account bore any resemblance to what little we know of the event involving Malis Sperra - and it doesn't - we would have to accept Marco Barbaro's date of 1390 for the Zeno 'events' (see note 26, infra). In fact, Marco's '1390' is likely to be a mistranscription of '1380' from the Zeno book. [RETURN]
18. As Crawford points out: 'The earls', p.240. [RETURN]
19. Edouard Perroy ed., The Diplomatic Correspondence of Richard II, London 1933, no. 130. [RETURN]
20. Diploma, p.81. We have no idea when Henry died. He might well have perished before 1398, the date when Pohl & Co. imagine he sailed to the west. Stephen Boardman has found evidence that the earl of Orkney was fighting in the Borders in 1398 and subsequent years: this might well be Henry II (The Early Stewart Kings: Robert II and Robert III, East Linton 1996, pp.205, 219). [RETURN]
21. See in particular Placido Zurla, Di Marco Poli e degli altri Viaggiatori Veneziani piú illustri, i, Venice 1818, pp.49-52. [RETURN]
22. Capt. C.C. Zarhtmann, 'Remarks on the voyages to the Northern Hemisphere, ascribed to the Zeni of Venice', Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, v, 1835. [RETURN]
23. Richard Henry Major ed., The Voyages of the Venetian Brothers Nicolò and Antonio Zeno, to the Northern Seas, in the xivth century, comprising the latest known accounts of the lost colony of Greenland; and of the Northmen in America before Columbus, London 1873. [RETURN]
24. Museo Correr, Venice, Ms. Cicogna, mss. 2498-2504, vol. 7, ms. 2504, c. 203r. [RETURN]
25. Da Mosto, 'I navigatori', p.302. [RETURN]
26. I am indebted to Prof. Giandomenico Romanelli of the Museo Correr for assistance on these points. Andrew Sinclair argued passionately at the Sinclair Symposium that the presence of the date 1536 on some copies of the Marco Barbaro ms. proved that all its contents were complete by that date: an elementary mistake about the status of a date on a manuscript as opposed to a printed date on a published work. [RETURN]
27. Attentive readers will note that several phrases in Marco's brief account are also in the title and text of Zeno's work. The obvious conclusion is that Marco, or someone else, copied his account from the published work of 1558. [RETURN]
28. Major, Voyages, pp. xxi-xxii. [RETURN]
29. Major, Voyages, p. xxv. [RETURN]
30. Major, Voyages, p.16. This was too outrageous even for Major's admirer John Fiske: The Discovery of America, i, London 1892, p.240. [RETURN]
31. Roland William Saint-Clair, The Saint-Clairs of the Isles, being a history of the sea-kings of Orkney and their Scottish successors of the sirname of Sinclair, arranged and annotated, Auckland 1898, p.161. [RETURN]
32. Another Zenoite has dedicated a work to Henry Sinclair: Tim Wallace-Murphy, The Templar Legacy and the Masonic Inheritance within Rosslyn Chapel, n.d., no prov. [RETURN]
33. Andrew Sinclair states that Henry received his nickname after 'a pilgrimage' that he undertook, and that it was 'coined by the rival first Earl of Douglas' (The Secret Scroll, London 2001, p.113). No source is given; none, I suspect, exists. [RETURN]
34. Saint-Clair, St Clairs, p.445. [RETURN]
35. Thomas Sinclair, Caithness Events, 2nd edn. Wick 1899 , pp.138-9, 165. [RETURN]
36. 1998 was the centenary of its publication. I suggested to my friend Niven Sinclair that a reprint of Lucas's splendid work of research would be a project worth pondering. Niven resisted my proposal. This is a pity: Lucas's book is very rare, and some of the commentators do not appear even to have seen it. [RETURN]
37. Lucas, Annals, pp.78ff. [RETURN]
38. Lucas, Annals, pp.98ff. [RETURN]
39. This is now the standard view: cf. Robert W. Karrow jr, Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century and their Maps, Chicago 1993, p.601. [RETURN]
40. Lucas, Annals, p.73. [RETURN]
41. Da Mosto, 'I navigatori', p.301. [RETURN]
42. Cf. Enciplopedia Italiana, Rome 1937-40, s.v. 'Zeno, Niccolò', and Frederic C. Lane, Venice: a maritime republic, Baltimore etc. 1973, p.281. [RETURN]
43. An exception is Giorgio Padoan, whose work is discussed below. [RETURN]
44. Sinclair at last catches up with Da Mosto in his most recent book on the subject (Scroll, p.212). Sinclair's preferred work on Zeno genealogy is Philip M. Giraldi, 'The Zen family (1500-1550): patrician office holding in Renaissance Venice', unpublished University of London Ph.D., 1975. On p.130n. of this work Giraldi makes the astonishing statement that Da Mosto endorsed the Zeno narrative. [RETURN]
45. Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair, p.181. [RETURN]
46. Sinclair, Sword, p.228, Scroll, p.213. [RETURN]
47. Miller Christy, The Silver Map of the World: a contemporary medallion commemorative of Drake's great voyage (1577-80): a geographical essay including some critical remarks on the Zeno narrative and chart of 1558 and on the curious misconception as to the position of the discoveries made by Martin Frobisher in 1576-7-8 which crept into the cartography of the north Atlantic and of the north-eastern coast of America through the errors of the Zeno chart, London 1900, p.23. [RETURN]
48. There is a Henry Sinclair novel, based almost entirely on Pohl's work: Richard White, Sword of the North, Ottawa, Illinois 1983. [RETURN]
49. Frederick J. Pohl, The Sinclair Expedition to Nova Scotia in 1398, Pictou 1950, p.9. [RETURN]
50. Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair, pp.86-7. [RETURN]
51. For cogent remarks on these sites see Brian Cuthbertson, 'Voyages to North America before John Cabot: separating fact from fiction', in Collections of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, 44, 1996, pp.135, 139. Birgitta Wallace, 'Viking hoaxes', in E. Guralnick ed., Vikings in the West, no prov. 1982, pp.54-7, is good on the Newport tower. [RETURN]
52. Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair, p.139. A recent notion by one of the faithful is that 'Glooscap' was actually one Gillascop Scrymgeour, bannerman of Scotland in the late fourteenth century (Robert Shenton Wright, For Liberty Alone: how Scotland changed the world, North Bend, Oregon 1999, p.48). The main objection to this is that Gillascop Scrymgeour did not exist, as some elementary research into the family would have established. [RETURN]
53. Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair, pp.128-9. [RETURN]
54. Padoan, 'Sulla relazione', pp.47n., 57 and n., 59n., 61n., 70n., 75n., 81n., 99n.; and, in particular, the paean of praise on pp.11-12n., and the comment on p.61. Padoan also follows most of Major's and Pohl's flawed commentary on the place-names of the Zeno narrative and map: see pp.80ff. [RETURN]
55. Padoan, 'Sulla relazione', p.44. [RETURN]
56. Cf. Padoan, 'Sulla relazione', pp.34ff. [RETURN]
57. Sinclair, Sword, pp.13, 121-2, 227. A glance at Sinclair's sources shows that there is no evidence that Henry Sinclair took part in any crusade. [RETURN]
58. Sinclair, Sword, pp.78-9, 218. Sinclair states without qualification that Henry Sinclair scribbled what he describes as 'gnostic' notes on a missal, now in the National Library of Scotland. His own source, however (Rev. Prof. H.J. Lawlor, 'Notes on the library of the Sinclairs of Rosslyn', in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, xxxii, 1898, p.117), suggests that the missal in question didn't come into the hands of the Sinclair family until the Reformation. Sinclair's most recent claim (The Secret Scroll, p.163), is that the author of the 'gnostic' notes was Henry Lord Sinclair (d. 1513), with no explanation for his change of mind. [RETURN]
59. Sinclair, Sword, passim, Scroll, passim. Sinclair's notion that Henry was a Templar is based on the well-worn tale that Templars fled to Scotland after 1307: cf. the marginally more cautious account in M. Baigent and R. Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge, London 1990. For accounts of unusual views about the Templars see Malcolm Barber, The New Knighthood: a history of the order of the Temple, Cambridge 1994, chapter 9, and Peter Partner, The Knights Templar and their Myth, Rochester 1990, pp.89-190. [RETURN]
60. Sinclair, Sword, pp.48-50, 166-8. According to Sinclair, 'Robert the Bruce required the Templars to become a secret organization, which was to originate [sic] the later fraternities of Masons.' Later we learn that 'the building of Rosslyn Chapel ... marks the passage of the knightly heirs of the templars into the democratic Masons'. Furthermore, 'the earliest Masonic document in existence in Scotland may well be the Kirkwall Teaching Scroll, which is held to date from the late fourteenth century, when Prince Henry St Clair became the Earl of Orkney' For much more about the Kirkwall 'scroll' see Sinclair, The Secret Scroll, pp.187ff., where we learn that it is simultaneously a gnostic, Templar and masonic document, and Brian Smith, 'The not-so-secret scroll: priceless relic or floorcloth?' (Orcadian, 29 March 2001 and http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/historicalfigures/henrysinclair/kirkwallscroll2.htm) showing that it is nothing of the kind. For a good account of Freemason/Templar fantasies see J.M. Roberts, The Mythology of the Secret Societies, London 1972, passim. [RETURN]
61. Sinclair, Sword, p.43. [RETURN]
62. Sinclair, Sword, p.15. However, Sinclair's account is sober compared with that of Michael Bradley. In his Holy Grail Across the Atlantic: the secret history of Canadian discovery and exploration, Ontario 1988, chapter 4, Bradley reveals that Henry Sinclair carried the ... holy grail across the Atlantic! [RETURN]
63. Sinclair, Sword, p.206n. [RETURN]
64. Sinclair, Scroll, p.132. [RETURN]
65. Sinclair, Sword, p.197n. [RETURN]
66. Amund Helland, Norges Land og Folk: topografisk-statistik beskrevet xviii: Nordlands Amt, anden del, Kristiania 1908, pp.865ff. [RETURN]
67. Zarhtmann, 'Remarks', pp.127f. [RETURN]
68. Philippe Dollinger, The German Hansa, London 1970, p.81. [RETURN]
69. K. Koppmann, 'Der Seeräuber Klaus Störtebeker in Geschichte und Sage', in Hansisches Geschichtsblätter, 2, 1877, pp.40-1. [RETURN]
70. For more about this 'labyrinth' see the Internet web-site 'The labyrinth and the grail', http://www.laughingowl.com/grail/grailchapters.htm It contains the immortal sentence: 'The Lord of the Rings refers to Prince Henry Sinclair, an agent of the Knights Templar and hereditary Grand Master of the Freemasons'. [RETURN]
71. Amusingly, Baigent and Leigh drag Henry Sinclair into their The Temple and the Lodge, p.161. Partner, The Knights Templar, p.179, is good on the playfulness of modern Templarite fantasy. [RETURN]