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The Westford Knight: Heraldic Evidence of pre-Columbian Scottish Explorers in America

The Westford Knight: Heraldic Evidence of pre-Columbian Scottish Explorers in America

By David B. Appleton

Paper given at the 28th International Congress on Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences (2008)

Introduction: In the little town of Westford, Massachusetts, situated some 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Boston, by the side of Depot Street, not far from the local high school, stands a stone monument next to a small section of a rock ledge cordoned off with stone pillars and chains.  The monument was erected in 1976 and memorializes “Prince Henry First Sinclair of Orkney” and his voyage to North America in the year 1398 (nearly 100 years before Columbus’ more better known voyage) and the death of one of his party in 1399 on or near Prospect Hill in Westford. The stone ledge next to the monument is said to bear an “armorial effigy … memorial to this knight”. What is this effigy, popularly called the “Westford Knight”, and what is it doing carved into a rock ledge in Massachusetts?

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