Sinnott – brave and victorious Norman warriors

History of the Irish name Sinnott. Image copyright Ireland Calling
History of the Irish name Sinnott. Image copyright Ireland Calling

The name Sinnott is found all over the world, and is generally considered to be an Irish name. There have been a large number of Sinnotts in Ireland for centuries, particularly in County Wexford and the surrounding areas.

However, the name was actually a Norman one, brought to Ireland in the late 12th century.

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History of the Irish name Sinnott. Image copyright Ireland CallingWilliam the Conqueror led the Norman invasion of England in the 11th century, with the famous victory in the Battle of Hastings. Over the next few years the Normans established their control over England.

One or possibly several of the leading soldiers in the Norman Army would have been given the name Sigenoth. This was made up of two medieval words, ‘sige’ which meant ‘victory’, and ‘noth’ which meant ‘brave’.

For his bravery on the battlefield Sigenoth would have been rewarded with titles and riches.

Settled in Wexford

When the Normans invaded Ireland, around a century later, many of them took land and settled. Sigenoth took territory in south-east Ireland, particularly County Wexford. All members of his clan would have taken his name, and as they integrated into Irish communities the name spread.

The name developed during this period, with the Norman Sigenoth evolving into a Gaelic pronunciation of Sionoid.

A few centuries later, Henry II became concerned about the lack of British authority in Ireland. Since the Norman invasion, the country had supposedly been under British rule. However, in actual fact the Normans had settled and formed alliances with the old Irish clans and the country was still divided up into mini-kingdoms of Irish families. There was a concern in Britain that the Normans had become “more Irish than the Irish”.

The name evolved into Sinnott

Henry ordered another invasion, with the aim of destroying the Irish culture and tradition and anglicising the country. This work was continued by Oliver Cromwell in the mid-17th century with brutal efficiency.

His forces swept across the country seizing control of Irish land and slaughtering thousands in the process. In the following years, most Irish names were changed to more English sounding versions.

This was because Irish people would struggle to find work on English-owned land if they had an Irish name, and also the British began taking written records of people’s names, and the English clerks recorded them as they interpreted them. At this time, the name developed from Sionoid to Sinnott, and also variations such as Synnot and Sennett.

The name travelled across the world when millions of Irish people left their homeland during the ‘Great Famine’. Many Sinnotts left Ireland to start new lives in America, Australia, Canada and Britain.

Famous Sinnotts around the world

Since then there have been several noteworthy people named Sinnott around the world.
Blake Sennett. Photo copyright Dese'Rae L. Stage CC3
David Synnot was the leader of the Irish forces in Wexford when Cromwell invaded the town. Knowing that his men were vastly outnumbered and had inferior weaponry, Synnot tried to negotiate a peaceful surrender with Cromwell. However, Cromwell’s troops went ahead without his order and slaughtered more than 3,500 people in the town. The Sacking of Wexford is known as one of the worst atrocities carried out during Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland.

Joe Sinnott is an American artist who worked as an inker on the pencil drawings for Marvel comics from the 1960s up to the 1980s. He was renowned as the best in the business and has contributed to comic book classics such as the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and Thor.

Kathy Sinnott is an American born Irish politician and campaigner for the education rights of children with disabilities. Her ex-husband is Declan Sinnott, the music producer who has worked with top Irish stars such as Christy Moore and Mary Black.

Blake Sennett is an American actor and musician. He has appeared in several popular television series including Boy Meets World and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was also the lead guitarist for indie rock band Rilo Kiley.

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