SINCLAIR, JAMES [SSNE 538]
- First name
- BARON MURCKLE, 2nd of MURCKLE, MORK, MORKEL, MURKHILL
- MURKHILL, MURCHIL, MURCIL, CAITHNESS
- Social status
Text sourceJames Sinclair, styled 'Baron Murckle', was the son of James Sinclair, first of Murckle who had received a charter to the lands of Halcro in 1593 and was given the quarter lands of Murcil by his brother George, the fifth Earl of Caithness in 1613. His son James, second of Murckle was one of three Scottish nobles who engaged to raise regiments for Danish service in 1626-1627: along with Alexander Lindsay, Lord Spynie [SSNE 177] and Robert Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale [SSNE 531]. James Sinclair was appointed a lieutenant colonel in colonel Donald Mackay's [SSNE 93] regiment of 2,000 Scots by Charles I 22/4/1626. He engaged himself on November 1626 to levy a regiment of 3,000 Scots for Danish service on condition of Charles I's authorization, and was appointed colonel round about 18/12/1626. Sinclair became involved in litigation with his captains in autumn 1626, and the case was apparently to be submitted to Donald Mackay for ajudication. His authorisation came on 8/3/1627 from the Scottish Privy Council to recruit 3,000 Scots for Danish service, but he initially only engaged 1,600, allegedly because his captains cheated him. James along with Lord Spynie and the Earl of Nithsdale received a total of £8000 Sterling for their levies. On arrival in Denmark, his regiment were garrisoned at Stade and took part in its defence in 1627. Sinclair returned to Britain in autumn 1628 in order to levy the remaining troops. However, he was to be pursued at the English court and at the Privy Council of Scotland because he had recruited 1,000 men but not repaid the remaining recruitment money to Christian IV. He was discharged on 29/6/1629 for the £4,000 Sterling granted by Charles I for the recruitment of soldiers for Danish service. James Sinclair is sometimes confused with a captain of the same name who is said by Gunner Lind to have served in Lord Synie's Own Regiment between 25/12/1627 and 06/07/1629 and whom he styled 'Baron Mork'. James married firstly Margaret Dundas and secondly to Jean Stewart, daughter of William Stewart, brother of the first Earl of Galloway.
National Archives of Scotland, GD 84/152, 22/4/1626; R. Monro, His Expedition with a worthy Scots Regiment called Mac-Keyes (London, 1637), I, p.36; Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, 2nd Series I, II, and VIII, passim, III, pp.147 and 214-5, IV, pp.315 and 381-2; G. Lind, Danish Data Archive, 1573; Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage, vol, II, (Edinburgh, 1905), p.340; J. Henderson, Caithness Family History (Edinburgh, 1884), pp.24-25; T. Riis, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot (Odense, 1988), II, p.134.
Thanks to Thomas Brochard for his corrections to this article. He also provided the following references; Scottish Catholic Archive, Edinburgh, BC14/14, Inventory of documents concerning the Caithness peerage, - no. 13: Colonel Sinclair of Murkle goes abroad 1627 and appoints Francis, his brother, to manage the estate. - no. 14: Sir James, colonel, and Francis, his brother, settling the accounts, 1627; NAS, CC4/2/1, bundle 1633, Harry Sinclair vs. Janet Sutherland, 16 Novembre 1632, in which he appears as "James Sinclair fiar of Murkill colonell".