In close hand-to-hand combat the battle-axe was a savage and powerfully effective weapon inflicting deadly wounds, even piercing armour with ease. Identified by his heraldry, this man served in the train of Sir Henry Sinclair, of the family which rose to be Earls of Orkney.
TheSinclair initially favoured John Balliol’s claim to the empty Scottish throne but threw their weight behind Bruce long before Bannockburn. Indeed, such was Bruce’s valuation of the importance of Sinclair's part in the final victory he presented him with his sword to in the aftermath of battle.
Surprisingly, but as so often happened on the long road to Bannockburn, allies started their journey on opposite sides. And so was it was for Sir Henry Sinclair who swore fealty with his father to King Edward in 1292. Despite this he later joined his father in choosing to raise arms against Edward.
After that, by a somewhat circuitous route, Sinclair became a close friend of Bruce, for whom he fought at the Battle of Bannockburn..
After the death of the King Robert, Sir Henry’s two sons, William and John, were chosen along with Sir James Douglas and Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig to carry the King’s heart on Crusade to Jerusalem, there to deposit it in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. But it was not to be.
During a fierce battle with the Moors at Teba in Spain in 1330, William was slain, along with his brother John, and Douglas. The Moors were so impressed by the courage of the Scottish Knights that they allowed the survivors to take their dead back home for burial - and Bruce’s heart for interment at Melrose Abbey