Westford Knight

The Westford Knight is chiseled into the rock at Prospect Hill in Westford, Massachusetts. It is a carving of a fourteenth century knight in basin, chain-mail, and surcoat bearing a shield identified by a former Lord Lyon as being from the Gunn family. His sword is described as being from the period 1375-1400.

All this might be taken for so much stuff and nonsense, a modern day prank, except for the stories and relationships and the fact that the carving is very old and no one can remember a time when it wasn’t there. It seems to have been there when the first settlers arrived.

There is also the matter of a canon dredged from the sea at Louisburg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in 1849, identified by experts as a Venetian naval gun from the late fourteenth century.

And then there is the maize carved into the decoration of Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland, in 1446, and the story related by the Lords of Rosslyn concerning a voyage to the New World made by their ancestors. A companion and cousin of Prince Henry Sinclair, Sir James Gunn of Clyth, fell ill and died shortly after the landing in Massachusetts. It is suggested that the Westford Knight marks his grave. See Rosslyn Chapel by The Earl of Rosslyn. The Westford Knight and the Newport Tower

The Massachusetts Micmac Indians have a legend of the man/god Glooscap, the great lord who came from the east in a ship, taught them to fish with nets, and is still spoken of today. He sailed in what the Micmac described as ‘an island with trees growing on it’. He ran into bad weather and was forced south, landing in Massachusetts.

The Earl of Rosslyn relates the tale:

“In fourteenth century Venice lived three brothers, Carlo, Antonio, and Nicolo Zeno. Carlo successfully repelled a Genoese attack on the city in 1380 and became known as ‘the Lion of Venice’. Nicolo, it is said, was sailing around the north coast of Scotland when he was caught in a storm and shipwrecked in the Faroes. Rescued by a local chieftain called Zichmi, he summoned his brother Antonio from Venice and they entered Zichmi’s service as admirals of his fleet. In 1393, they led an expedition to Greenland and successfully mapped the island, but in the following year Nicolo died.

“Antonio made another expedition in 1398, this time with Prince Henry Sinclair. With a fleet of 12 vessels and some two hundred men, they left the Orkney Islands and sailed, via Shetland, first to Newfoundland, where an unsuccessful attempt was made to land, and then into the heartland of Nova Scotia. Five ships were lost during the voyage. On arrival in Nova Scotia, Prince Henry Sinclair is said to have sent the fleet back to Orkney, while he and his shore party of carpenters, shipwrights, sail-makers, and soldiers wintered with the Micmac Indians.”

The story, first published in 1558 with a map, was doubted until 1784, when Johann Forster, a companion and chronicler of Captain Cook, published a book in which he argued that Zichmi was an Italian corruption of the name Sinclair, the surname of the Earl of Rosslyn whose family built the Rosslyn Chapel. Vikings sailed to Newfoundland. The lords of the northern isles were Vikings settled in Scotland. Gunn is a Viking surname.

One Response to Westford Knight

  1. magnificent post, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this sector don’t understand this. You must continue your writing. I’m confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

Leave a Reply