Thoughts On Glooscap
As I was writing my first book, Oak Island Missing Links, I came upon an idea that might finally make sense out of the name Glooscap. I mean no disrespect to the Mi'kmaq, and I only propose this theory as an alternative to the common theory that Glooscap was somehow Sir Henry Sinclair, who some say made a voyage to North America in or around 1398.
Though the Glooscap legend has no known original author, and there is no date of origin known, these legends exist throughout the region once considered as Nova Scotia, or New Scotland, as mentioned in the Nova Scotia charter –namely Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and parts of the northern United States. But going by what has been gleaned from his legend, he appears to have had an affinity for the modern day land of Nova Scotia.
Some of these First Nations legends were "enhanced" by later writers of European blood, and so there is a mix of legend and analysis about who Glooscap might be. Obviously, his name was written down by someone who wrote in English, most likely someone attempting to reproduce what a Mi'kmaq person was telling them.
While Sir Henry Sinclair has often been thought of as the inspiration for this man-god, or leader, or however you choose to categorize him, there has never been a way to adequately connect his name to the name of Glooscap.
There is no phonetic similarity, and no reason Sinclair would give this as his name. The same can be said for the name of the prince in the Zeno Narrative, whose name was Zichmini.
This is one reason that the theories that these names actually refer to Henry Sinclair have been disbelieved. Honestly, how could the name Sinclair be contorted into the name Zichmini? And, how could the name Sinclair be contorted into the name Glooscap? I believe I have found the answer to both mysteries!
In my book I conjecture that Glooscap may have been Gylascop Campbell. Gylascop and Glooscap have the same number of letters and also roughly the exact same sounds, especially since we don't know exactly how they were pronounced back in 1398 or thereabouts.
Others have suggested that he was King Robert III, or a man named Gylascop Scrymgeour.
Scottish clan history is complex. There were many similar names, records were burned or buried by time, the victors of the battles often wrote the history, and competing genealogies often exist.
For instance, my family comes from Clan Donald. There are five or six genealogical charts I have found that lead from ancient Ireland up to my family's Scottish progenitor Uisdean MacDonald (1436-1498). Although they are similar, each has its own twist.
I chose Gylascop Campbell as Glooscap, since he was a first cousin, one generation removed from Sir Henry Sinclair, he grew up in an area where St. Fintan was famous for having sailed to North America, and he was part Viking and would have probably heard of Vinland.
One reason I would doubt Robert III as having come to North America is because, in 1388, he was hurt in a horse accident, and had become so crippled that he couldn't even function as king, at which time Robert of Albany took over as Regent of Scotland, while Robert III's son languished in an English jail. It is said that Robert III died of a broken heart when he found his son had been captured.
It was Henry Sinclair Jr. who was taking Robert III's son to France when they were captured.
There is always the chance that Robert III escaped to North America with Sinclair to get away from the courtly intrigue and loss of his son, but we have to remember that he was somehow too handicapped to even be king, and would you leave with your son in jail?
Another choice proposed in the past was that Glooscap was Gylascop Scrymgeour, sometimes associated with Gylascop de Glassary.
The Scrymgeour/De Glassary family actually married into the Campbell family, and later, Colin Campbell, of this marital union, married Janet Sinclair, cousin to Sir Henry Sinclair.
One of their descendants was Gylascop Campbell, the man I proposed as having gone to North America with his first cousin, one generation removed, Sir Henry Sinclair.
What adds another unique twist to this theory is that Sir William Alexander, the man who was given Nova Scotia in 1621, began his career as a tutor for another Gylascop Campbell, generations down the road, but still part of the same family line and leadership of Clan Campbell.
One Gylascop, Gillespeck, Gilleasbuig, Celestine, or Archibald Campbell of Lochow succeeded to his father before May 2, 1343, as on that date King David II, the last male of the House of Bruce, bestowed on Campbell many forfeited lands, including those of Dowgall or Dougall Campbell, his brother.
This Gylascop also had a grant from Mary, Countess of Menteith, of “the whole land of Kilmun,” which was confirmed to him in a charter issued by King David.
Kilmun is located on Holy Loch, the home to the monk who claimed he sailed with St. Brendan to a Land of Promise, to the west, and who urged that the monk and his friends should do the same. I tell more about this monk in Chapter One of Oak Island Missing Links. Fintan swore his fellow monk to secrecy.
Kilmun would mean “servant of Mun,”
and St. Fintan, of the above story, was also known as St. Munnu, and lived in what became Campbell land.
On October 11, 1363, Gylascop Campbell is called Gilleaspoch Cambel, in a document written in Latin, as deeds and charters often were, in those days. On March 26, 1371, he did homage to the newly crowned Robert II, at Scone, along with the other “magnates of the realm.”
Where the story gets interesting is that in a much earlier charter, the name is written in Latin as Gylascop Kambel.
Gaelic etymologist Alexander MacBain, in 1896, tells us that the spellings of Gilleasbuig and Gilleaspoch were a fairly substantial departure from the original, which was the prefix Gille added to the word written in Old Irish as “Epscop,” thus making Gylascop much closer to the original version or spelling of the name than Gillespeck or Gilleasbuig.
Old Irish, by the way, derived from the same source as Scots Gaelic.
Gylascop was Anglicized as Archibald, which has puzzled a few people, since they sound nothing alike.
I also go into greater detail about this in my Oak Island Missing Links book, but basically Gylascop begins with Gille = servant (of the) Escop or bishop. Think of the word Epi-scop-alian/Episcopalian. This religion was based around bishops and was actually to some degree the catalyst for the British Civil Wars that saw the beheading of Charles I, the benefactor of William Alexander and the Baronets of Nova Scotia.
How Archibald is said to have come about is that certain bishops were often called archbishops, thus explaining the Arch, and bald actually meant bold, so Archibald meant "the bold protector of the Archbishop," and Gylascop meant "the servant of the bishop."
There is no record of Robert III, whose real name was John Stewart, as also having the name Archibald or Gylascop.
Even Gylascop De Glassary was known both ways as were most of the Archibald Campbells that descended from him on their maternal side, including the one taught by William Alexander.
Colin, or Cailean, the son of the elder Gylascop Campbell, was married to Janet, a first cousin of Sir Henry Sinclair, through his uncle John Sinclair, according to the 17th Century compilation. "Ane Accompt of the
Genealogie of the Campbells."
This means that Colin Campbell and Janet Sinclair’s son, the younger Gylascop Campbell, would have been a first cousin, one generation removed, to Henry Sinclair, giving Gylascop a possible reason to want to join in
Henry’s voyage to a new land in the west.
It has been said that Sinclair took a few hundred men with him to North America. No doubt, some of these men were of the Sinclair family, but others were likely from neighboring or related clans. In the case of the Gunn family, they were beholden to the Sinclairs, since they lived in Caithness, which had been under Sinclair control for many generations.
In the case of the Campbells, Gylascop was a first cousin (once removed) to Sir Henry Sinclair. The Campbells also lived in the land of St. Fintan, who had told the tale of a Land of Promise to the west that he and St. Brendan had reached using hide-covered boats.
Either man, Gunn or Campbell, would be a likely candidate to join Sir Henry Sinclair on his voyage.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but Gylascop and Glooscap are extremely similar in sound and appearance. Each name has the same number of letters, they each begin with a “gl” sound, and end with a “scop” or “scap” sound.
In fact, if the “a” in Gylascop was replaced
by the letters “oo,” you would have Gylooscop, which is incredibly close to Glooscap.
Though we usually think of the pronunciation of the vowel “a” as in the word “fate,” and the pronunciation of “oo” as in the word “foot,” the short “a” pronunciation, as found in the word “far,” sounds a bit like the short “oo” pronunciation, as in the word “floor.”
It is possible that this added some confusion as to the correct pronunciation of the names Glooscap and Gylascop.
The same type of phenomenon might account for the difference in the endings “scap” and “scop,” which could also be a case where a short “a” sound was interchanged with a short “o” sound, as in the example of the Caribbean pronunciation of “man,” often pronounced as “mon.”
Scottish names, in general, are an extreme testament to early variations in spellings. We’ve already seen how Gylascop was spelled a few different ways in Gaelic and English, and also two different ways in Latin, not to mention two replacement names of Archibald and Celestine.
So it is not beyond reason to believe that Gylascop could become Glooscap, or that Gylascop Campbell, a first cousin, once removed, to Henry Sinclair, would travel with him to North America, and could have become the source of the legend of Glooscap.
I’m not here to say that it was absolutely Gylascop Campbell who was the inspiration for Glooscap, but it is, in fact, quite possible. The only record available for Gylascop Campbell’s death, says he “died apparently, before 1394,” although his son is said to have been born “about 1400.” Sir Henry Sinclair sailed in 1398 or thereabouts!
It was a later Gylascop or Archibald Campbell who introduced William Alexander to King James VI of Scotland, who then became King James I of England and Ireland, thus combining all three kingdoms peacefully under one king. His nickname, "Gillesbuig Grumach" is Gaelic for "Archibald the Grim."
James I wrote the charter for William Alexander for Nova Scotia. He also approved the Baronets of Nova Scotia program, but died only four days later. The cause was then taken up by his son Charles I.
The kicker is that, as young men, William Alexander and this later Gylascop Campbell traveled together to Italy, where the "Zeno Narrative" was written, within about a generation of that writing.
Below is Duncan Campbell, Baronet of Nova Scotia, and a relative of Gylascop Campbell.
To my knowledge, as with most of my postings, I am the first person to propose this solution to the Glooscap name. I am not in any way saying that Henry Sinclair had anything to do with Oak Island. But what I will conjecture is that he set a certain group of Scottish clans on a path to create a New Scotland to escape the societal collapse in the old Scotland.
There is so much more in my books on this, and on many other important subjects. All of this is clearly spelled out in my books, along with supporting evidence and context, which often gets lost in shorter posts on social media.
This is why I would recommend that those who seriously want to understand this and many other theories should purchase one or all of my books – Oak Island Missing Links, Oak Island 1632, and/or Oak Island Knights, and also look over the theories posted on this website.
The stories are complex and very interrelated. But they are also very intriguing and often exciting.
This is an ongoing project for me. I am discovering and exploring virtually every day concerning Oak Island and sharing with many high-level people who very much appreciate it.
There appear to be plans for even closer cooperation throughout this year, and so, while the information in my books is enlightening and I think enjoyable to read, there will be even more to come.
I've now written three books on Oak Island, each one developing my theories more until the final book, which I believe tells the Who, What, When and Why of the Money Pit.
The legend continues, as will my research, guided by my decades of the study of Scottish clan history, my Fellowship with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and my close association with the folks on Oak Island.