Saturday, 10 November 2018

350th Birthday of Francois Couperin le Grand

Today marks the 350th birthday of Couperin: his Scottish connection is that he worked as a young man in the exiled court of James VII at St Germain-en-Laye and the heraldic one is that he was granted arms and made a Knight of the now-defunct Order of St John of the Lateran.

Friday, 2 November 2018

All Souls' Day

Today is the day when we remember and honour those members of our families who have died. It seems a good time to think of the great heraldic funerals of the past - not least the greatest of them all, the 1st (and only) Duke of Rothes who died in Edinburgh in 1681 and whose funeral bankrupted the family for generations.

The cortege was reputedly 17 miles long. The brouhaha about Princess Eugenie's carriage procession at her wedding in Windsor and indeed, less recently, when the Prince of Wales chose to get married in St Paul's Cathedral and reputedly told the security advisers simply to stand the policemen on the route further apart, reminds us that grand processions are ruinously expensive.

and finally 

Thursday, 1 November 2018

All Saints Day 2018

In celebration of the Feast of All Saints, I thought I might have a look at some of the saints (other than St Andrew) in Scottish heraldry. There is a broad sweep in Western Art of the iconogaphy attached to saints and Catholic children are still taught many of the symbols associated with saints, like  the lily of St Anthony, the ox of St Luke, the monstrance of St Clare, the wheel of St Catherine and thousands more. Oddly for a Presbyterian country tho, most of the saints depicted on arms show figures of saints with mitres and crosiers.

Royal Burgh of Tain (above) St Duthac
Blazon: St Duthacus in long garments Argent holding in his dexter hand a staff garnished with ivy, in the sinister laid on his breast a book expanded Proper.
The arms are recorded in Volume 1 of the Lyon Register so there is no emblazonment (1672-1677)

Royal Burgh of Nairn - St Ninian (above)
Blazon: Azure the figure of St Ninian holding in his dexter hand an open book, his crosier in his sinister hand and pendent from the wrist thereof a manacle all Proper.
recorded: 31st July 1939

Burgh of Innerleithen - St Ronan (above)
Vert, issuant from a bar wavy Argent in base charged with a barrulet also wavy Azure, aboat Or therein standing the figure of St Ronan vested and mitred all Proper holding in his dexter hand a crosier of the Fourth.
recorded: 14th January 1930

Glasgow Cathedral Kirk Session - St Mungo (above)
Blazon: Azure a representation of St Mungo attired Argent mitred pretiosa his Proper crosier in bend in his left hand and a book in his right hand all Or between a salmon hauriant Proper with a ring Or in its mouth on the dexter and a martlet Gules sitting above a bell Or in the sinister, all within two branches of hazel in orle proper fructed Or which is depicted upon a vesical escutcheon within a vesical surround Or bearing these words: "Ad causas concilii ecclesiae Glasguensis".
recorded: 13th June 1960
What a lazy blazon by the way and why a martlet and not a redbreast as in the City arms?

Elgin Academy - St Egidius (aka Giles)
Blazon: Argent, St Egidius habited in his robes and mitred, holding in his dexter hand a pastoral staff and in his sinister a clasped book all Proper on a chief Gules a mural coronet between two books expanded of the First.
Recorded: 31st March 1933

Burgh of Banchory - St Ternan (above)
Argent the figure of St Ternan vested and mitre Proper with his crosier in hs dexter hand and a book and bell in his sinister hand, standing between two holly leaves in chief Vert and in base an hunting horn and an eagle displayed Sable, the former garnished Or and stringed Gules, the latter beaked and membered of the Last.
recorded: 4th May 1939

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Sir William Kerr Fraser GCB (1929-2018)

Snawdoun tells me that following his death last month, at the venerable age of 89, Sir (William) Kerr Fraser's banner as a Knight Grand Cross is displayed in  the Henry VII Chapel, the Chapel of the Order of the Bath, in Westminster Abbey, with a wreath bearing his dates.

I do not have a photograph of the banner but here is his crest, carved by Ian G. Brennan: Two quill pens in saltire surmounted by a cinquefoil Argent

New Grant of Arms

The Lord Lyon has granted arms to Johnny Sei-Hoe Hon.

The blazon is: Sable on a fess Or between two Chinese swords saltireways points upwards proper hilted and pommelled of the Second in chief and an ancient crown of the Second in base a horse in full gallop of the First.

The crest is: a demi-Chinese dragon Or langued Gules holding in its dexter paw an hour-glass Proper.

The artist is Yvonne Holton, Herald Painter.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

A new Grant of Arms

The Lord Lyon has granted arms to William Robert Wiseman. The blazon is: Argent, a chevron Gules between in chief three eight-pointed stars and in base an antique lion rampant of the Second. The crest is a demi- Azure. The arms have been most beautifully painted by Clare McCrory.

Fun Heraldry Afternoon - Edinburgh 10th November

The Centre for Research Collections at Edinburgh University is promoting a fun afternoon's introduction to Heraldry in St Cecilia's Hall, Cowgate, on Saturday 10th November. You can book a (free) place here:

Speakers include our Vice-President, Elizabeth Roads, Dr Bruce Durie and Dr Gillian Black,