The Clan Sinclair and Henry St. Clair, Earl of Orkney (1371 AD to 1406 AD)

•     March 26, 1371 AD         Robert II, nephew of David II, becomes the first Stewart King (4-page 212)

•     1379 AD            William de Lask of Laskgaroune, Ellon, Aberdeenshire is the first
known specific Leask name appearing in Orkney in 1379. His first wife was Alicia de Rath, having no apparent issue. His second wife was Mariota de San Michelle. She is believed to be a descendant of Sir John de St. Michael. She had three children Thomas, Peter and William. Source: Sir Brian Chalmers Leask

•     1379 AD            Henry St. Clair of Rosslyn becomes the first Sinclair Earl of Orkney in 1379 when King Haakon VI Magnusson granted the Orcadian Earldom to him. He is William Sinclair’s (St. Clair) son. Henry will serve as Chief Justice of Scotland and Admiral of the Seas. He was given Shetland as part of the Earldom. King Hakon must have thought highly of him and his qualities as a future earl and faithful vassal. His mother was daughter of the Earl Malise of Stratherene and Orkney, and had married into the Sinclair family. One of the terms of Henry’s installation was “The Earl shall not build castles or other fortifications in the Islands without the King’s consent.” (11-page 25)

•     1380 AD           Henry builds Kirkwell Castle despite the prohibition against it (11-page 25)

•     1380 AD             Willelmi de Lask, the elder, lord of that ilk (believed to be the same William Lesk who was the first clan chief, or his son) “…bequeathed a pound of wax yearly to the altar of the Holy Rood in the church of St. Mary of Ellon, …and from his land of Logy, near Ellon, a stone of wax yearly, for lights to be burned on all Sabbath and feast days for ever on the tomb of himself and his wives Alice de Rath, and Mariot de St. Michael …and 12 silver pennies yearly from aforesaid land…for preparation of aforesaid wax…” The contract was witnessed by Alexander, Bishop of Aberdeen at Logy, 1380. The records continue “The ancient lords of Lask (or Leask), in Slains must have had some attachment towards the Church in Ellon. When the Session Records open, more than 200 years after this time William of Lask (Laysk) of that ilk and his tenants ware found as regular attendants in Ellon at the Reformed Church.” (i,j,k)

•     October 9, 1388 AD        Toma de Lask domino eiusdem (Thomas Leask, lord of that Ilk) appears as a witness to a charter dated October 9, 1388, at Aberdeen, by Johannes de bona Villa dominus de Balhelvy (John Bonevile, Lord of Balhelvy Boneville) to Johanni Fraser domino de Forglen (John Fraser, Lord of Forglen) of his two towns of Ardhendrachtis (now Ardendracht), in the parish of Cruden, and the earldom of Buchan, co Aberdeen. (m) Other witnesses include Thomas Hay-constable of Scotland, Alexander Fraser-Sheriff of Aberdeen, John Keith-Lord of Inverugie, and Andrew Turing-Lord of Foveran. (n)

•     January 8, 1388/89 AD           Toma de  Lask domino eisudem (Thomas Leask of that ilk-2nd Chief) appears as a witness to a charter, dated at Forglen, co Aberdeen, January 8, 1388/89, by Johannes de Boneville (John Boneville), son and heir of the late John Boneville of Balhelvy Boneville, to John Fraser, lord of Forglen, of the lands of Balhelvy, Boneville, Colynstoun, Ardendrachtys, Blaretoun, Many and Achlochery, co Aberdeen. (o)

•     March 18, 1389/90 AD             Thomas de Lask (2nd Chief) appears as Thomam de Lask in a precept of sasine, dated March 18, 1389/90 by William de Camera (Chalmers or Chambers), lord of Fyndon (now Findon), to Thomas Kynidy of the lands of Athquhorthy (now Auchorthies, Parish of Inverurie, co Aberdeen) in which he is designated baillie of Fyndon. (p)
•     1390 AD        Thomas de Lask or Laysk, second Clan Chief, was baillie of the barony fo Fyndon, 1390. (q)

•     May 10, 1390 AD         As Thomas de Lask dominus eiusdem (Thomas de Lask, lord of that ilk) had a charter dated May 10, 1390, from Henry Brogan (de Brogane), Lord of Achlowne, now Achlowne, Parish of Foverane, co Aberdeen (r), to Thomas granting him half of Henry Brogan’s lands of Achlowne Moness. now Minnies, Parish of Foveran (s), and Touyhafe (Tillveve) in the barony of King Edward, co Aberdeen. (u) Thomas Leask (2nd Chief) was granted a confirmation, dated at Aberdeen, co Aberdeen October 21, 1391, by James Lindsay, lord of Buchan, of the above mentioned charter to him of Auchloun by Henry Brogan. (v)

•     May 10, 1390 AD         The other half of the Brogan lands were granted by charter, dated May 10, 1390, by said Henry Brogan, to his father, John Fothes (de Fothes) (w), who was granted a charter of confirmation by James Lindsay, Lord of Buchan, dated October 21, 1391. (x)

•     1391 AD             In 1391, Thomas de Laysak (Lethe or Lask), a knight, (believed to be the second clan chief) witnessed a charter by Henry St. Clair, who became Earl of Orkney in 1379 when King Haakon VI granted the Orcadian Earldom to William Sinclair’s son Henry Sinclair (St. Clair). According to Brian Chalmers Leask, Thomas Leask’s son-James de Cragy or Jamis of Leask married Prince Henry’s daughter.

•     April 23, 1391 AD         In Kirkwall (Kirkwaw), Orkney on April 23, 1391 Thomas de Laysak (Lask), a knight (believed to be the second Leask clan chief), among others, witnessed a charter that transfers lands in Auchdale and Newberg to David Sinclair from Henry St. Clair, who became Earl of Orkney in 1379 when King Haakon VI granted the Orcadian Earldom to William Sinclair’s son Henry Sinclair (St. Clair). (aa)

•     1391-1398 AD               Nevin Sinclair believes the reason so many people signed the 1391 document is that the gathering was to plan Prince Henry’s trip to America. Some claim Thomas joined Prince Henry on his voyage to the new world with about 300 of Prince Henry’s men in 12 ships. Nevin Sinclair claims he believes Thomas transferred from Aberdeen to Orkney to accompany Prince Henry to the new world. Sir Brian Chalmers Leask says both Prince Henry and Sir Thomas de Lask were Knight’s Templar and therefore that they were both on a crusade. (ab)

•     August 20, 1392 AD           By a charter, dated August 20, 1392, Thomas Lask and John Fothes, son of Alan Fothes, granted the whole of the former Brogan lands to David Fleming, son of Malcolm Fleming, lord of Biggar, co Lanark. (y)

•     August 28, 1392 AD           As Thomas de Lask, he is a witness to the consent by Alicia Brogan, wife of Henry Brogan, of the instrument of renunciation of Christian Brogan, sister of Henry Brogan, and to the renunciation of Alicia’s own right of terce in the lands of Auchloun. (z)

•     June 2, 1398 AD           Nevin Sinclair claims Prince Henry St. Clair (Sinclair) landed in Nova Scotia, having sailed from Orkney. With Prince Henry was hundreds of his men in twelve ships. They also are believed to have stopped in Labrador, Massachusetts, and to Newport, Rhode Island. Nevin Sinclair believes it is likely that Thomas de Lask was on the trip. It is claimed they left traces of the voyage in Nova Scotia, Massachusetts (The tomb of the Chief of Clan Gunn) and Newport, Rhode Island (The Tower on the Green near the Tennis Center).

•     1400s AD           English attacks on Orkney and Orcadian fishermen are recorded from early in the 1400s. Prince Henry St. Clair dies at Kirkwell in one of these battles. (10-page 150) Henry St. Clair is succeeded by his son Henry II who spent little or no time in the Islands. He serves until 1420 AD. (11-page 25)

•     September 14, 1402 AD           Homildon (Humbleton) Hill (near Wooler): The Percy’s on behalf of Henry VI of England defeated the Scots led by the Earl of Douglas. (2 page 81-85)