An incredible name to have in your SNP connections

Our St. Clair / Sinclair DNA members have thousands of different surnames in our SNP matches. But only one Sinclair DNA Lineage that i know of has the surname Mandeville in their matches - the Herdmanston St Clairs.

Why this is important

The Mandeville family were associated with the following priories”

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Eye Priory - William de Mandeville (d.c. 1130) married Margaret, daughter of Eudo Dapifer. Most of you will be very familiar with the relationship between Eudo and the St. Clair family in England and Normandy. Loyd (p. 88) has “William de St. Clair gave the church of Hamerton, co. Huntingdon, to St. John’s abbey at Colchester, and also his ‘tenura’ in Greenstead, Essex, for the health of Hamo de St. Clair his brother, mentioning his lord Eudo dapifer.” Just above that, Loyd says this branch of the family are of Saint-Clair-sur-Elle in the department of Manche, arrondissement of St-Lo, the canton of Saint-Clair.

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Hurley Priory - Hurley Priory was founded circa 1087 by Geoffrey I de Mandeville. Hurley was located far from the Mandeville seat of power, Pleshey, in the heart of Essex, 14 kilometers north-west of Chelmsford.  Mandeville had received Pleshey, in the parish of High Easter (southwest of Braintree), from William the Conqueror after Mandeville’s help leading the Norman Conquest. Unfortunately, Pleshey was far enough away that Hurley didn’t receive the attention that such priories expected from wealthy benefactors.

Hurley was a cell of Westminster Abbey. 

Wethered (p. 229) has Henry de Ver (Vaux) witnessing a chatter of William de Mandeville, 3rd Earl of Essex (1166 - 1169) to Hurley. In this charter, he granted his entire rent in Hurley and property in Little Waltham to the monks. Some other witnesses of interest were William, Abbot of Mortemer; Richard de Monteinni; and Robert de Luuetot.

That Vaux witness is of interest because they later gave land to Dryburgh Abbey in the Borders of Scotland, built by Hugh de Morville, whose descendant (Richard de Morville) gave the St. Clairs their land of Herdmanston.

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Westminster Abbey - Geoffrey de Mandeville granted the estate of Eye to Westminster Abbey c. 1085 x ‘97 (Wareham p. 118).

William Martel’s father, Geoffrey, was a tenant of Geoffrey de Mandeville in Essex in 1086 (Brown p. 27). I’ve done a lot of digging into the Martel family. You don’t have to dig far before you get back to Charlemagne. This is very interesting.

Geoffrey I de Mandeville and his first wife were buried at Westminster Abbey.

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Walden Monastery (c. 1190)

Earl Geoffrey de Mandeville II (d. 1144) founded Walden. Wareham (p. 118) uses the Mandeville relationship with Walden Monastery as an example of how the powerful people of the 12th century had changed their attitudes about supporting religious houses. Mandeville didn’t grant them many churches or great farm land.

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Plympton Priory 

Plympton Priory, founded in 1121, was a priory in Devon, England which was important to bother Devon and Cornwall. It was a house of Augustinian canons (Fizzard, p. 15).  There was a collegiate church at Plympton in the 11th century.  Henry II gave Plympton priory a confirmation charter in 1158.

By the early 12th century, Plympton benefited from the arrival of the Redver family of Devon. Richard de Redvers received the Honour of Plympton from Henry I. Redvers granted the priory lands of Ridgeway in Plympton, and an aqueduct. Baldwin de Redvers also was a benefactor of Plympton. Given the Redvers connection to the Morville family, and thus the St. Clairs of Herdmanston, this does not surprise me.

Stephen de Mandeville, lord of the Honour or Erlstoke in Somerset, was associated with Baldwin de Redvers. Stephen also gave land to Plympton - specifically, the manor of Strete. 

During the reign on Henry II, Roger de Mandeville (son of Stephen) confirmed the gift of the church of Avetona (Blackawton) to Plympton priory. William Fitz Stephen may have given the church of Dean (Fizzard p. 61).

In her footnotes on page 79, Fizzard mentions a confusing fragment referring to Wimundus and “Claritia de Vaus.” As explanation, she mentions that Hubert de Vaux was a tenant of the Redvers family who left England in 1149. (Her source Bearman, p. 38). This makes a great deal of sense given what we’ve discovered about the de Vaux connections to the Herdmanstons in Scotland both at Fidra Island and at Dryburgh Abbey.

Sources -

Brown, Vivian, “Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, Part 2,” The Boydell Press 1994 ISBN 0 85115 347 X

Fizzard, Allison D., “Plympton Priory: A House of Augustinian Canons in South-Western England in the Late Middle Ages,” Hotei Publishers, 2008. ISSN 1572-4107, ISBN 978 90 04 16301 0

Heale, Martin, “The Dependent Priories of Medieval English Monasteries,” The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2004. ISBN 1 84383 054 X

Loyd, Lewis C. “The Origins of Some Anglo-Norman Families,” Genealogical Publishing Company, 1951 ISBN 0806306491

Lee, Frederick George, “The history, description and antiquities of the prebendal church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Thame, in the county and diocese of Oxford” Mitchell and Hughes, 1883

Tanner, Heather J., “Families, Friends, and Allies: Boulogne and Politics in Northern France and England, c. 879 - 1160,” Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2004  ISBN 90-04-13243-0

Vincent, Nicholas, “Warin and Henry Fitz Gerald, the King’s Chamberlains: The Origins of the Fitzgeralds Revisited,” a paper published in “Anglo-Norman Studies XXI: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1998,” Edited by Christopher Harper-Bill, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge 1999 ISBN 0 85115 745 9

Wareham, Andrew, “Lords and Communities in Early Medieval East Anglia,” Boydell Press, Jan 1, 2005 ISBN 1 84383 155 4

Wethered, Reverend F.T., “St. Mary’s, Hurley, in the Middle Ages: Based on Hurley Charters and Deeds,” Printed at the Bedford Press, 1898

Sinclair DNA Connnections
By 1086, the Bigod family held land in 692 locations in southeastern England. A study of the families who held of the Bigod is very informative. Among them are Vaux and St. Clair.
It seems Roger Bigod, Richard St. Clair and others were not necessarily nice to the Saxons in England -
"Multiplied vexations ruined its Saxon Citizens, and rendered it uninhabitable to a great number of them, who emigrated into the province of Suffolk, to the neighborhood of Beccles and Halesworth. There three Normans, Roger Bigot, Richard de St. Clair, and Guillaume des Noyers, seized their persons and made them tributary serfs, although they were at the time too few to be an advantageous property." (1)
King (pages not numbered) has a nice account of the ascension of King Stephen (‘of Blois’) in 1135. In this chapter, he writes of the
"noble officers of the household: the constables Robert de Vere [Vaux], Miles of Gloucester, Robert d’Oilly, and Briad Fitz Count; the stewards William Martel, Hugh Bigod, Humphrey de Bohun, Simon de Beauchamp, Robert Malet, and Robert Fitz Richard de Clare; the butlers William d’Aubigny and Eudo Martel; the chamberlains: Aubrey de Vere [Vaux?], and William de Pont-de-l’Arche. There there are the barons Robert de Ferrers, William Peverel of Nottingham, Simon of Senlis, Geoffrey de Mandeville, William d’Aubigny Briton, Payn Fitz John, Hamo de St Clair, Ilbert de Lacy, Geoffrey Talbot, Walter Espect, Roger of Valognes, Henry de Port, Walter Fitz Richard de Clare, Walter de Gant, Walter de Bolebec, Walchelin Maminot, William de Percy. (2)
Sources -
(1)Scale, Henry “Ancient history, English and French: exemplified in a regular dissection of the Saxon chronicle; preceded by a review of Wharton’s Utrum Elfricus grammaticus?, Malmesbury’s Life of St. Wulstan, and Hugo Candidus’ Peterborough history: wherein the principal Saxon annalists are now (for the first time) identified,” J. Hatchard and son, 1830
(2) King, Edmund, “King Stephen,” Yale University Press, 2010 ISBN 978-0-300-11223-8

Sinclair DNA Connnections

By 1086, the Bigod family held land in 692 locations in southeastern England. A study of the families who held of the Bigod is very informative. Among them are Vaux and St. Clair.

It seems Roger Bigod, Richard St. Clair and others were not necessarily nice to the Saxons in England -

"Multiplied vexations ruined its Saxon Citizens, and rendered it uninhabitable to a great number of them, who emigrated into the province of Suffolk, to the neighborhood of Beccles and Halesworth. There three Normans, Roger Bigot, Richard de St. Clair, and Guillaume des Noyers, seized their persons and made them tributary serfs, although they were at the time too few to be an advantageous property." (1)

King (pages not numbered) has a nice account of the ascension of King Stephen (‘of Blois’) in 1135. In this chapter, he writes of the

"noble officers of the household: the constables Robert de Vere [Vaux], Miles of Gloucester, Robert d’Oilly, and Briad Fitz Count; the stewards William Martel, Hugh Bigod, Humphrey de Bohun, Simon de Beauchamp, Robert Malet, and Robert Fitz Richard de Clare; the butlers William d’Aubigny and Eudo Martel; the chamberlains: Aubrey de Vere [Vaux?], and William de Pont-de-l’Arche. There there are the barons Robert de Ferrers, William Peverel of Nottingham, Simon of Senlis, Geoffrey de Mandeville, William d’Aubigny Briton, Payn Fitz John, Hamo de St Clair, Ilbert de Lacy, Geoffrey Talbot, Walter Espect, Roger of Valognes, Henry de Port, Walter Fitz Richard de Clare, Walter de Gant, Walter de Bolebec, Walchelin Maminot, William de Percy. (2)

Sources -

(1)Scale, Henry “Ancient history, English and French: exemplified in a regular dissection of the Saxon chronicle; preceded by a review of Wharton’s Utrum Elfricus grammaticus?, Malmesbury’s Life of St. Wulstan, and Hugo Candidus’ Peterborough history: wherein the principal Saxon annalists are now (for the first time) identified,” J. Hatchard and son, 1830

(2) King, Edmund, “King Stephen,” Yale University Press, 2010 ISBN 978-0-300-11223-8

Sinclair Family Records and DNA

By Steve St Clair

If you spend some time on reliable records websites which specialize in the medieval time period, you can learn a lot about your family. 

One of my favorite is People of Medieval Scotland. If you look into their “Database” you’ll be able to search by place or family name. It’s been very illuminating for me to study all the available records of both the Roslin Sinclairs and the Herdmanstoun St. Clairs. So far, I’ve found no witnessing of charters or documents between these two families. It’s as though they didn’t know each other until the 1300s. Yet I’ve found lots of interesting coincidences between the witnesses of charters and our Sinclair DNA matches. More on that later.

Below, Herdmanstoun

Herdmanstoun Castle

Seaton - Oliphant - de Vaux - Sinclair DNA

By Steve St Clair

Being a fan of Beryl Platts, I now keep an eye out for armorial bearings. This one popped up today for the town of Pont-de-Vaux.

pont-de-vaux

That symbol - the crescent - is also found on the arms of the medieval Oliphant family (below).

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And, as Beryl Platts pointed out, those arms are nearly identical with the Seaton / Seton family. 

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I find this very interesting because Thomas Sinclair’s book, “The Sinclairs of England” says the Seaton family were of the same blood as the St Clair family. Other researchers think the crescent entered heraldic devices for those families who had participated in the crusades. Perhaps 3 crescents means the Seatons went on 3 crusades. I haven’t found any evidence that the St Clairs were ever on crusade.

The Sinclair DNA study is looking for connections between documents and DNA, armorial bearings and DNA, as well as St Clair / Sinclair family stories and DNA. 

De Laval and Sinclair DNA

By Steve St Clair

I’ve been working with a great researcher in the UK who’s working on the Counts of Boulogne. Along the way, the usual suspects begin showing up. Then a family we hadn’t seen before began to appear in the records - the De Laval. As is often the case, research into K.S.B. Keats-Rohan cleared this up. 

The name De Laval is the same as de Vaux. Take a look at Keats-Rohan’s “Domesday Descendants” (if you can lift the book - it’s quite large). On page 543 is Gilbert de Laval. KR goes into depth about Hubert de Vallibus (the Latinized spelling of de Vaux) and how he was a knight of Robert de Mowbray, earl of Northumberland. This De Laval / de Vaux gave tithes of Seaton Delaval (that name Seaton is terribly important in our family) to St Albans.. He was also a benefactor of Hexham Abbey. 

Hubert had a son, Robert, who used the alias Setun. This family were involved with the Bolum / Boulogne family.

The St. Clair / Sinclair family are matching the DNA of the de Vaux family in a SNP called R-L193, a relatively recent match.

By Steve St Clair
If you watch the Tour de France, you’ll see lots of landmarks that are familiar to members of our Sinclair DNA study. This is the Abbey of St Wandrille. The Tour went right past it. Our close cousins made (and witnessed) many gifts to this abbey:  The families of de Vaux, Meullen, Bigot, Bellmont, Vilers, Talebot, and Longuespee are written in the Cartulary (register) of St Wandrille.

By Steve St Clair

If you watch the Tour de France, you’ll see lots of landmarks that are familiar to members of our Sinclair DNA study. This is the Abbey of St Wandrille. The Tour went right past it. Our close cousins made (and witnessed) many gifts to this abbey:  The families of de Vaux, Meullen, Bigot, Bellmont, Vilers, Talebot, and Longuespee are written in the Cartulary (register) of St Wandrille.

U106 in the Sinclair DNA Study

By Steve St Clair

The U106 SNP has an unusually high number of researchers working on understanding their ancient roots. Maybe it’s because there are so many people alive today who have this SNP. There certainly are a lot in our Sinclair DNA study who have it.

So, what are they learning. Well, over the past few years, there has been a lot of SNP activity “downstream” of U106.

U106* - We’ve got a small group showing U106, but nothing so far downstream of it, thus the asterisk.

Z9* - We’ve got one participant who shows this SNP, but nothing yet below it. This participant has a Burkes Peerage paper trail that claims a connection to the Earl of Caithness.

Z2 - This is our Argyle Lineage and it’s got over 10 members as of this writing.

Z1 - Our Northern Scotland Lineage. This is a large group, many of whom have good documents back to Caithness in the 1700s.

So, what can we prove?

Very little, to be exact. DNA is not a “silver bullet.”  However, the fact that this U106 group divides up by geography is extremely interesting.  Some researchers think we might be proving that people with the U106 or its downstream SNPs were in the UK before the adoption of surnames. 

If you’d like to keep up with the latest on the SNPs of U106, Click Here.

Researching your Sinclair DNA and Genealogy

signature of Alexander Sinkler

By Steve St Clair

Recently, a good friend of mine sent something he’d found online about my ancestor, Alexander Sinkler.  As we often find, the person who posted this online didn’t list sources - not a single source. The document also claimed to know the wife of the man, something no researches have ever found (again, no sources). It also claimed to know his father and mother, an obvious attempt to tie him into the Rosslyn bunch. 

I followed many others who did good genealogy research on Alexander Sinkler, the 1698 immigrant from Glasgow to Prince William County, Virginia. The main genealogist, for 35 years, was Jean Grigsby who is now retired from all that work. She wrote the main book on the descendants of the man and several addenda as her research continued.  I verified much of what Jean had done, added some new information in Richmond County Virginia, and then spent the next 7 years focussing on his possible connections in Scotland and the wider U.K. 

My point is this:  If you’re doing research on your family, be stubborn about listing your sources. The questionable research mentioned above had Alexander Sinkler’s birth date as 1672. Here’s more accurate research, with the source shown - 

Alexander testified in a court regarding a land dispute on behalf of John Mercer. 

In a deposition given in Virginia on September 7, 1745, Alexander stated he was born in Scotland, and was about 79 years of age, which indicates a birth year of around 1666. [Source - John Mercer Land Title Book, page 17; VA State Archives Acc. #20487.]

The “A” above is from October 13th, 1736, when Alexander Sinclair picked up a quill pen, leaned over the Will of James Redish, and marked that he was a witness of the will with his initial. (Stafford County Will Abstracts 1729-1748)

Ravenscraig Castle was planned by King James II of Scotland. Unfortunately he was killed in an accident. Hi wife, Mary of Guelders completed Ravenscraig and lived there until about 1463. James III gave it to William Sinclair in exchange for vast estates in the Caithness Scotland. The Sinclairs completed the castle about 1471.

Ravenscraig Castle was planned by King James II of Scotland. Unfortunately he was killed in an accident. Hi wife, Mary of Guelders completed Ravenscraig and lived there until about 1463. James III gave it to William Sinclair in exchange for vast estates in the Caithness Scotland. The Sinclairs completed the castle about 1471.

Built by George, the Fouth Earl of Caithness for his son, William Sinclair. Built c. 1570 on the north coast of Scotland.

Built by George, the Fouth Earl of Caithness for his son, William Sinclair. Built c. 1570 on the north coast of Scotland.