Thursday, February 13, 2014

Better Than the Average Self-Assumed Arms

I recently ran across a self-assumed coat of arms for a Scottish society (one of probably hundreds which exist in the United States; sometimes it feels like you can't swing a dead bagpipe without running into one or another society celebrating some folks' Scottish heritage.  Not that I have any cause to say anything; one family line goes back to Aberdeenshire in the early 1600s in the person of one Daniel Forbes).  The Tennessee Valley Scottish Society is based in Huntsville, Alabama, and I thought that their self-assumed arms did a nice job of combining symbols of both Scotland and Alabama:

The shield, of course, is divided per fess wavy (which I presume symbolizes the Atlantic Ocean and the voyage across it which their - and my - ancestors took to get to these shores), with the flag of the "Scottish saltire" (a white cross of St. Andrew on a blue field) with the flag of the State of Alabama (a red cross of St. Andrew on a white field).

The design also includes other symbols of the respective nation and state (the thistle and the three mullets), with the lion from the crest from the Scottish Royal Arms (only in gold instead of red, and issuing from a bunch of cotton plants and bolls) and holding the two flags.

All in all, I rather like the design.  It's clear just from looking at it what it represents, and isn't that one of the primary functions of heraldry?  So, kudos to the Tennessee Valley Scottish Society of Huntsville, Alabama, for their heraldry!


  1. David... I vaguely remember the designer explaining the wavy fess partition as representing the local river... But I really like your interpretation better than my memory of its intended symbolism.

  2. Hi, Jeremy! Maybe they were just following the heraldic equivalent of the ecological "thinking locally." But, yeah, I think it's an ocean and not a river that separates Scotland from Alabama, so it just makes more symbolic sense to me as the Atlantic. But what do _I_ know?

  3. Not bad at all! My only comment is regarding the mantling. It just looks wrong. Perhaps some parts of it has been "turned inside out"?

  4. I think it's just the hyper-symmetrical way it's drawn. I see the mantling as gules, lined argent, but the way the upper four portions of it have been turned upwards is unusual. It's almost like the mantling is made from three different strips of cloth rather than a single large piece.

  5. I also enjoy these arms. It was nice seeing the progression of these arms in the forums. Kudos.

  6. As the Designer of the arms I will pas along your kind review to our members. Thank you!

    Yours In Service,
    Harold Cannon
    Vice President of the T.V.S.S.

  7. I never tire of glancing at these fine arms.