The Sinclair Voyage to America
by Mistress Isa
In 1393, Henry Sinclair, Prince of the Orkney Islands, sent a Venetian
admiral, Nicolo Zeno, to carry out a survey of Greenland, in preparation for
their journey to the New World. Before embarking on what was considered a risky
endeavor, Sinclair made provisions for transferring some of his lands to his
brothers and eldest daughter. He then took to the sea with 12 vessels, Zeno
navigating, and 200-300 fellow voyagers, made up of monks and fugitive Templars.
They set foot on American soil on June 2, 1398.
Eminent historians have corroborated the saga of their voyage from Zeno's
ship's log-"Zeno's Narrative"-which documented the exploration of Nova Scotia
during the next year. The explorers then supposedly traveled to Cape D'Or and
Advocate and built a ship there. There is evidence that they erected a small
castle in New Ross, near Oak Island. In fact, today, a 14th-century cannon in
Louisburg Harbor dates back to Henry's time and a stone wall near Halifax, which
also dates back to the 14th century, has a distinctly Scottish design to it.
Later, Zeno returned to Orkney while Sinclair continued to explore the
coastline of Massachusetts. One evening, upon seeing smoke, the explorers
traveled inland for a better view. Along the way, Sir James Gunn, lifelong
friend to Sinclair, died. In honor of his memory, they carved his effigy on a
horizontal stone ledge in Westford, MA which depicts the helm of a medieval
knight, a shield bearing the coat of arms of the Gunn family, a sword with a
break in the blade (indicating the death of a knight), a falcon, and a rosette,
which served as a lance rest. The carving is comprised of various sized holes
punched into the stone by a sharp tool, driven by a mallet. Archaeologists have
confirmed that the holes were punched into the rock 600 years ago and the effigy
contains elements known only by northern Europeans.
Located in the basement of the library in Westford, MA is an oval-shaped
"boat" stone, measuring about 2 feet in diameter. Carved into its surface is the
image of a 14th-century ship, an arrow, and the numbers 184, presumably
indicating the distance to where a campsite was located.
A construction crew discovered the boat stone over 30 years ago when a road
was being built; the stone was subsequently moved to someone's garage, until it
was recently donated to the library. Archaeological evidence indicates these
images were probably carved at the same time as the Westford Knight carving,
most probably by the same voyagers.
Researchers believe that the Sinclair expedition then sailed southward to the
Rhode Island coast, where they built the Newport Tower as part of a settlement.
Prince Henry was familiar with the style of architecture of the the Tower, which
is similar to European strongholds built by the Knights Templar in both the
Orkney Islands and in Scandinavia.
Certainly, the number of Norse and Gaelic words in the languages of the
Algonquin tribes indicates that trade had been taking place between Europe and
America before the time of Columbus. Micmac indians of the 14th century tell
legends of a blond haired, blue eyed god who they called "Glooscap," whose
friendly manner won the hearts of the natives. He treated them fairly and taught
them to fish with nets. Indeed, fishing was a natural pastime for Sinclair's
companions. According to a Micmac Legend, "[Glooscap] built himself an island,
planted trees on it, and sailed away in his stone canoe." They also spoke of the
men who built Newport Tower as "fire-haired men with green eyes."
Prince Henry Sinclair's historic voyage of 1398 is even indelibly hewn in
stone at the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, where there are stone carvings of
Indian maize and American aloe cacti, which were carved before Columbus was born
and were native only to the Americas.
So what was the ultimate purpose of such a long journey? Speculation as to the
purpose of their voyage has ranged from exploration and settlement to a mission
to move the Templar's treasure to safer ground. Certainly Oak Island's "money
pit" may someday prove the reason behind their voyage.
It seems that a complex hole in the ground was discovered a few hundred years
ago. Before the original treasure hunters were able to find the treasure, the
pit was flooded (a safety feature which had been built into the pit by its
original builders). Since then, the only clues to have been found are scraps of
parchment and some gold dust. However, many treasure hunters are certain that
what lays still buried within the money pit is the Templar's lost treasure,
buried for safekeeping by Henry Sinclair and his shipmates 600 years ago this
Source: Prince Henry Project / Peter Cummings
© 1999 Renaissance Magazine
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