Monday, December 11, 2017

Royal Heraldry in St. Michael's Church

St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow is a substantial edifice, and so it is not surprising to find examples of the Royal Arms there.

For example, the Royal Arms of Scotland;

On a panel behind the altar;

Another on a ceiling boss;

 And even in one of the needlework tapestries which depict events from the history of the church.

There are also the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom as used in Scotland:

Again, from a panel behind the main altar;

And a Hanoverian carved achievement of arms (King George I and/or II) mounted on some of the stonework.

There is even, in another one of the needlework tapestries there, the Arms of the United Kingdom under the Commonwealth.

The arms depicted are, of course, Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent a cross gules (for England); 2, Azure a saltire argent (for Scotland); and 4, Azure a harp or (for Ireland), on an inescutcheon of pretense, Sable a lion rampant argent armed and langued gules. (This last is the arms of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. Nothing quite like saying, "Yeah, that's me. I'm the boss" heraldically.)

It was really nice to be able to see some of the historical, as well as the current, Royal Arms in the church.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Another Saint, and the Arms of an Earl

In the third panel of the stained glass window at St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, Scotland that I've been sharing with you, above the lower portion of King David I and his attributed arms, is the figure of St. Bridget.

Above her head is a knight on horseback, bearing a banner with fleurs-de-lis and whose pauldron (shoulder armor) marks him as a Crusader (Argent a cross gules). But especially, he carries a shield with the well-known arms of Douglas: Argent a heart gules on a chief azure three mullets argent.

I suspect that this is meant to be "Good Sir James" Douglas, who was slain in August 1330 fighting under King Alfonso XI of Castile against the Muslims of the Kingdom of Granada, carrying the heart of Robert Bruce as a token of Bruce's unfulfilled ambition to go on crusade.

According to John Barbour's description of Douglas' last battle, when the enemy broke, Sir James and his companions followed hard behind. Having outstripped most of his men in the pursuit, Douglas suddenly found himself far out in front with only a few of his followers around him. As he rode back to rejoin the main body, he saw Sir William St. Clair of Rosslyn surrounded by a body of Moors who, seizing their opportunity, had quickly rallied and counterattacked. With the few knights who were with him, Douglas turned aside to attempt a rescue but, outnumbered twenty to one, the group was overrun. It has become a popular legend that Douglas then took from his neck the silver casket which contained the heart of Bruce and threw it before him among the enemy, saying, "Now pass thou onward as thou wert wont, and Douglas will follow thee or die." (Alas, this story seems to be a 16th-century addition to Barbour's poem.)

By 1333 Bruce's heart was incorporated in the arms of Sir James' son, William, Lord of Douglas, and it has been a prominent part, sometimes with a golden crown, of the family's arms ever since.

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Saintly Coat of Arms

In the large four-panel stained glass window in St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, Scotland, which I showed you in my last post, one panel was dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew.

In addition to being shown with his cross, above his head is a shield Azure a saltire argent, which in flag form is probably the premier emblem of Scotland's people. (The arms with the red lion within a double tressure flory counter-flory is the emblem of the King or Queen of Scotland.)

The arms, as a symbol of Scotland, are also found elsewhere in St. Michael's Church, on a panel behind the altar;

and on one of the ceiling bosses.

Why, yes, I did almost get a dizzying  case of vertigo taking this picture. Why do you ask? All I can say is, "Thank goodness for a good telephoto lens!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A _Very_ Royal Heraldic Window

The next stop on our heraldic tour was St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, where we were treated to a very impressive display of Royal heraldry.

Across the bottom of the window, accompanied by their coats of arms, are:

King James IV, with the Royal Arms of Scotland by his left shoulder, in the first panel;

King David I of Scotland, bearing the same arms as those attributed to the canonized English King Edward the Confessor, Azure a cross flory between five martlets or, in the third panel. (St. Edward the Confessor died in 1066, well before King David's reign over Scotland.)

And at the right, in the fourth panel, Queen Victoria, with the Royal Arms as used in Scotland.

I want to discuss a couple of the other panels in this window in the near future, but I wanted to share this impressive display of Royal heraldry with you first.

Monday, November 27, 2017

We're Not Sitting With the Hoi-Polloi

For our last look at the heraldry contained in the church at Abercorn, Scotland, I have saved the best, or at least the largest and most "in your face," for last.

I am speaking, of course, of the Hopetoun Loft, a separate enclosure with its own private entrance built behind and above the altar by the Earl of Hopetoun.

This is the view from the floor of the church, looking up into the Hopetoun Loft. (You really need to click on the image above to get the full effect from the larger image.)

Here's a closer view, with the achievement of arms sandwiched in between the two pillars of fruit, between two copies of the letter H surmounted by a very large earl's coronet.

If you are going to "mark your territory" heraldically, by golly, this is how you do it! Just sayin'.

The foliate framing around the upper edge of the front of the Loft has two copies of the arms, one facing the church (top) and the other facing the Loft (bottom), each surmounted by an earl's coronet and supported by, well, I'm not sure what they are. At first blush I thought that they are mermen or mermaids, but closer inspection shows no fish tails, only a continuation of the green foliage. In any event, they are not the supporters found in the full achievement painted on the back wall of the Hopetoun Loft.

But, of course, it is that large achievement of arms painted on the back wall that really catches the eye.

It is the marital arms of Charles Hope, the 1st Earl of Hopetoun, on the dexter (left side of the viewer) side, and his wife, Lady Henrietta Johnstone, daughter of William Johnstone, the 1st Marquess of Annandale, on the sinister side. The Hope and the Johnstone/Johnston families, both coming from the same area and moving in the same social circles, intermarried over the course of several generations, some generations becoming Hope-Johnston and other Hopes taking Johnstone as a middle name.

The Hope of Hopetoun arms are blazoned Azure on a chevron or between three bezants a bay leaf slipped vert. The Johnstone of Annandale arms are blazoned Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent a saltire sable on a chief gules three cushions or (Johnston); 2 and 3, Or an anchor gules (Fairholm of Craigiehall). The shield is surmounted by the coronet of an earl. The crest is the same we have seen in the Hope of Craighall window a few posts ago: A globe fracted at the top under a rainbow with clouds at each end all proper. The supporters are: Two female figures in loose garments hair dishevelled each holding in the exterior hand an anchor all proper. (Again, the anchor is an emblem of hope, and thus cants on the surname.) The motto is At spes infracta (But hope is undaunted), also playing on the surname.

All in all, the Hopetoun Loft is a magnificent display of heraldry, and as I said above, if you are going to "mark your territory" heraldically, this is how you do it! (Though I do wonder how the regular members of the parish felt about being literally "looked down upon" by Lord and Lady Hopetoun and their family during services there.)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Monument for a Wife

In another part of the church at Abercorn, in a narrow alcove where I could not get directly in front of it - hence the angle of the photographs here - was a monument to the memory of the wife of the man memorialized in my last post, Thomas Dalyell of the Binns: Janet, daughter of Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss.

The inscription reads, to the extent I can make it out from this angle, as follows (I have placed what I believe are the missing letters in brackets):

[H]ere Rest The Remaines [of J]anet Brvce, wife of Thomas [Dal]yel of Binns, who when [she] had lived 61 yeeres changed [her] transittorie life with that [bles]sed and eternal the 1 Dec[ember] Anno M DC XXXIIII [1634].

[Within] the closure of this narrove grave
[Lie all] those graces a good wyfe could have
[But o]n this marble they shall not be be read
[for th]en the living envye wold the dead

[...] D maritus moerevs P

The four-line poem is is an epitaph by poet William Drummond. The last line on the memorial, in Latin, speaks of the grief of the husband.

But of course it is the coat of arms at the peak of the memorial which attracted me first.

The arms here would be blazoned Or a saltire and chief gules on a canton argent a lion rampant azure armed and langued gules. There is a difference, though, which you can see more clearly on the larger photo (click on the photo above to see it), in that the lion on the canton is debruised by a ribband. I am not certain why the ribband is here. It does not appear on the tomb of her father (,_1st_Lord_Kinloss), nor can I find it in any other Bruce-related arms. And yet, there it is on her memorial here. Like so many other things in life, I guess it's a mystery.

Yet how special to see two separate monuments to a husband and wife, both beautifully carved, both armorial, in this old Scottish church in Linlithgow.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Nice Try, But No Cigar, err, Heraldic Medallion

There was an auction on Saturday, November 18, of a bunch of movie props, artifacts, jewelry, and so on created by Joseff of Hollywood. I had gone and signed up to submit a proxy bid on one particular item:

It is a medallion worn by actor Vincent Price as "Prime Minister" Richelieu in the 1948 movie The Three Musketeers (starring Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, Van Heflin, June Allyson, Frank Morgan, and Angela Lansbury, besides Mr. Price).

I was especially interested in it because of a confluence of three factors: heraldry, movie history, and genealogy.

First, it's not only heraldry, but it is historically correct heraldry used in a movie. The medallion is the arms of Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu and Fronsac, Argent three chevronels gules. (The coronet of sitting atop the shield is not accurate, being the coronet of a French count, not a duke. Still, they used the correct coat of arms in the movie!) So there's that.

Second, it's from an old movie, and more specifically, an old costume drama, and people who know me well know that I have an interest in such movies. Indeed, I have a regular monthly movie review, mostly of movies set before the 17th Century (which "definition" has been expanded to include, for example, the various incarnations and remakes of The Three Musketeers) and in pre-technological fantasy worlds (such as The Lord of the Rings, among others). You can find a new movie review each month on my website at So there's that.

And, finally, there is a familial link, in that it turns out that Vincent Price is my sixth cousin, twice removed. (Don't tell my children about this connection yet. I've written about our family connection to Mr. Price in their Christmas present for this year, Appleton Family Stories 2017. So, shhhh!)

So, naturally enough, with all three of these factors connecting to this one object, I was very interested in acquiring it if I could. I carefully considered my options, looked at what the auction house estimate was, reviewed my budget, and submitted a bid for a little over the high estimate.

Alas, I was informed by email on Saturday that I had been outbid for this medallion. Am I disappointed? Well, yeah, of course. I mean, I have a personal interest and familial connections to this medallion. Am I really upset to have lost out on it? No, because I had submitted the bid that I thought my budget would bear, and I wasn't going to pay so much that I would worry about next week's or next month's groceries. I can only hope that whoever won the bidding on it will put in somewhere in pride of place in his or her collection. I know that I would have.

Another (Even Older) Monument to A Dalyell of the Binns

Back in that corner of the church at Abercorn, Scotland, was another monument to another member of the Dalyell of the Binns family.

The inscription reads:

What was mortall of Thomas Dalyell of Binnes lyeth heere. Hee was descended of the auncient race of the Lo[rd]s of Dalyel now Erles of Carnwath. He left successours of his verteous fortunes, a sonne and a daughter maried to William Drummond of Rickertoune. Efter 69 yeeres pilgramage on earth hee was removed to the rest of heaven the 10 day of Februarie Anno 1642

The angels on each side of the banner with the legend appear to be blowing shofars, or ram's horns.

But of course, it's the heraldry on top that held the bulk of my attention.

The arms are those of the oldest of Dalyell of the Binns, Sable a naked man arms extended proper, in dexter chief a crescent for difference. (A crescent is often seen as the heraldic difference for a second son.) The crest is slightly different from the Dalyells we have seen, being: In dexter hand a sword proper, instead of a scimitar. The motto above the crest, too, is different: Non mihi sed alns (Not for myself, but for the high [God?]), instead of I dare.

It is possible that the crest is a transitional one; the crest of the Dalziel Earls of Carnwath is A dagger erect proper (without being held by a hand).

I have not found a lot of information about this Thomas Dalyell of Binns; much more is found about his son (unnamed in the inscription), General Thomas Dalyell of Binns (ca.1599-1685), also known as "Bluidy Tam" and "The Muscovite De'il". See, e.g. What I have found (in the Dictionary of National Biography, in an article about his son Thomas) about this Thomas Dalyell of Binns is that he acquired the property of Binns in Linlithgow in 1629, that he was the second cousin of the Earl of Carnwath, and that he married Janet Bruce, daughter of the first Lord Bruce of Kinloss. (More about Janet (Bruce) Dalyell of Binns in our next post.)

This memorial is a beautiful piece of carving; the helmet and mantling is especially well done and striking, as is the hair of the angels, and it was a pleasure to be able to see it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Heraldic Memorial to Another Dalyell of the Binns and His Family

Deeper into the less traveled portions of the Abercorn Church, we found this beautifully carved heraldic memorial.

As you can see, it's carved in deep relief, and is placed there in memory of Sir William Cunningham Cavendish Dalyell, Baronet; his wife, Maria Sampayo (sister of the French minister at Hesse, Anthony Sampayo); their son, Osborne William Dalyell (who predeceased his parents); their daughter, Maria Christina (Dalyell) Taylor; and their other son, Sir Robert Alexander Osborne Dalyell, Baronet.

Sir William was the 7th Baronet, succeeding his older brother. Sir Robert was the 8th Baronet. He died unmarried, and the baronetcy became dormant until 1914.

Sir William Cunningham Cavendish Dalyell has his own entry on Wikipedia, and you can learn about his naval career and the actions in which he took part during the Napoleonic Wars at

But, of course, it's the heraldry that is the reason we're discussing this memorial here.

The arm in the crest of the Dalyells of the Binns we looked at in the last post has now become simply A hand holding a scimitar both proper. The motto above the crest is still I dare, but the motto below the shield has lost a word, becoming Right and reason instead of For right and reason. The supporters are more unambiguously Two lions sejant erect (gules armed and langued azure).

The badge of a baronet of Nova Scotia depends from a circlet (it is not a belt or garter) bearing the legend Fax mentis honestæ gloria (Honest fame is the torch of the mind).

The shield is a beautiful work of carving; much of it is even hatched. It consists of the arms of Sir William impaling those of his wife, Maria Sampayo. The blazon for these arms comes from the Lyon Ordinary and my translation of the French blazon found for these arms in Rietstap's  Armorial Général:

Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or a bend checky sable and argent between three buckles azure (Dalziel of Binns); 2 and 3, Sable a naked man arms extended proper on a canton argent a sword and pistol in saltire proper (Dalziel of Binns); impaling, Quarterly: 1, Azure a cross potent or; 2, Quarterly: i and iv, Or an eagle displayed gules; ii and iii, Checky or and azure; all within a bordure gules charged with eight letters S or; 3, Or six crescents pendant two two and two azure; 4, Azure five fleurs-de-lis two one and two or.

The oddity of have two different quarters, both for Dalziel of Binns, in Sir William's arms comes from the fact of the naked man in the second and third quarters being the first matriculation in 1685 and the checky bend in the first and fourth quarters coming from the second matriculation in 1772, when the quarterly coat here was registered.

My take on all this: It's a beautiful memorial to a family with an interesting history. And it includes some great heraldry.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Heraldic Memorials to Two Cousins

Continuing our heraldic tour of Abercorn Church in Scotland, we found two memorial plaques to different members of a family, both of whom had military service, one of whom had been an officer of arms in the Court of the Lord Lyon.

The family is Dalyell of the Binns, with their very unique coat of arms: Sable a naked man his arms extended proper on a canton argent a sword and pistol in saltire proper. (Other branches of the family bear the arms within a bordure instead of the canton. The earliest form listed in the Lyon Ordinary, 1672-77, borne by Dalziel, Earl of Carnwath, is: Sable a naked man his arms extended proper.)

One of these plaques was in memory of Sir James Bruce Wilkie Dalyell of the Binns, 9th Baronet, and of his wife, Dame Mary Marjoribanks Robertson.

The arms are those of Dalyell of the Binns blazoned above, with a second, sinister canton bearing the badge of a Baronet of Nova Scotia.

The crest is A naked arm embowed brandishing a scimitar both proper, with a motto (above the crest) is I dare with a second motto below the compartment (which is a vert mound scattered with thistles proper), For right and reason. The supporters are two lions rampant [or are they really sejant erect?] gardant gules armed and langued azure.

The second memorial plaque is for Gordon Dalyell of the Binns, once Unicorn Pursuivant of Arms in the Court of the Lord Lyon.

His arms are: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Sable a naked man his arms extended proper on a canton argent a sword and pistol in saltire proper; 2, Or a saltire engrailed sable between two swans naiant in fess undy or in a loch proper, in chief a mullet gules for difference (Loch of Drylaw); 3, Or a bend checky sable and argent between three buckles azure (Dalziel of Binns).

(And this, children, is why you should never place charges that don't contrast with the field on which they are placed. I had to enlarge the picture below a lot before I noticed the swans! Click on the picture below to see the larger image where they are slightly more noticeable.)

The crest is the same as for Sir James, above, as well as the mottos and compartment. The supporters, however, are each bearing a banner of the Dalyell canton. The pendent ribbon and medal of St. Andrew holding his cross are, I assume, for his service to the Crown in the political service and/or as Unicorn Pursuivant (1939-1953).

Next time, another monument to another Dalyell.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

An Heraldic Memorial Window in Abercorn Church

Moving now from the heraldry on the exterior of the church at Abercorn, Scotland, we went inside to find, among other heraldic displays, this large armorial stained glass window.

It's a beautiful window, of Christ holding a lantern and knocking at a door ("I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." Rev. 3:20)

Of course, the part of the window that most attracted me was the achievement of arms at the bottom.

For such simple arms, the crest (which is unusual in that it has a torse sitting atop a crest coronet; normally the crest coronet is used in place of the wreath) is a fairly complex one. You can click on the image above to go see the full-size picture, which shows the details of the crest more clearly.

It is the arms of Hope of Craighall (first matriculation 1672-7; second matriculation 1780): Azure a chevron or between three bezants. The crest is A broken globe surmounted of a rainbow with clouds at each end proper. The supporters are Two females vested vert winged or on their heads garlands of roses proper each sustaining in her exterior hand an anchor azure. The motto is At spes non fracta (But hope is not lost).

The anchors are a common symbol of hope, and the motto, of course, also plays on the surname.

The Hopes of Craighall have been Baronets of Nova Scotia since Thomas Hope was created baronet on February 19, 1628. They also use the motto At spec infracta (But hope is undaunted).

Monday, November 6, 2017

Missed It By _That_ Much!

A news article about heraldry popped up in one of my notifications recently, about the Town Council of Andover, England (the namesake of a town that one of my ancestors helped to found in Massachusetts Bay back in the 1600s) obtaining official permission to use a coat of arms that it has been using for the last seven years.

It's an interesting article, and explains that the Town Council, created in 2010, had been using the arms granted to its predecessor, the Andover Borough Council, in 1949.

But it's pretty clear that the person who wrote the article, David Harber, had missed taking, or had misread, his notes. Witness the following:

1. At two different places, he calls the coat of arms a "logo." (It's true that the Town Council may use it as a logo, but it's a coat of arms.)

2. He states specifically that: "Heraldic devices were first used in the 16th century...." So he's only about 500 years off, since heraldry, defined by Garter King of Arms Sir Anthony Wagner as "the systematic use of hereditary devices centred on the shield," began sometime in the 11th century.

3. He states specifically that: "Fines for not registering use of an heraldic device could have been up to £17,000." I have no idea where Mr. Harber got the idea that the College of Arms or anyone else in England could fine anyone for the illegitimate use of arms there, nor does he note where the monetary figure comes from. The Lord Lyon King of Arms is a Scottish judge, and can put some teeth into his orders about the unlawful display of heraldry, but even in Scotland I've not heard of a fine that large.

So, as I say, it's an interesting article, but like secret agent Maxwell Smart in the old TV spy spoof series Get Smart, he "missed it by that much."

You can read the entire article, which is illustrated with an image of the arms as well as a photograph of the College of Arms in London, on-line at LoveAndover at

Friday, November 3, 2017

Old Heraldry For Sale! Act Now!

Are you related to the Hewitt or Allen families of Cheshire in England? You might want to try to save this particular piece of heraldic family history.

An article today in the Knutsford Guardian discusses the upcoming auction of a 17th Century armorial and genealogical scroll, and notes that Wright Marshall Auction House in Church Hill is looking for descendants of this prominent Cheshire family in the hopes of returning it to the family. Otherwise the scroll will be auctioned on Tuesday, November 7.

The picture on the left is of the lowest portion of the scroll, while the inset on the right is of the entire scroll.

It covers the history of the family (the Allens from Brindley and the Hewitts from Knutsford and then Northwich) from the time of Edward III up to about 1675.

Or, of course, it could be yours if you want it. The auction price is expected to be up to £300.

You can read the full article about this rare heraldic and genealogical scroll on-line on the website of the Knutsford Guardian  at

A better picture, and a little more information, as well as a link to place a bid on-line for this scroll can be found on the website of the auction house at

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Well, Phooey.... Wait, Maybe Not!

I had high hopes for this one, I really did. And (initially) for nought, apparently.

We were still walking about the exterior of Abercorn Church in Abercorn, Scotland, and ran across the following carved coat of arms and crest.

You can see why I had to photograph it. It's a beautiful work of carving, with a very dynamic rampant lion on the shield, and I just love the face and mane of the demi-lion in the crest. Not to mention the very exuberant mantling around both the crest and shield. (You can click on the image above to see the larger image with more detail.)

But identification of the owner of this heraldry has been a little frustrating. First off, without any colors to go by, trying to identify this particular lion rampant within a bordure would simply take more time than I can give to the task; there are a lot of lions rampant within a bordure.

The crest I cannot find anywhere. One would think that a demi-lion gardant issuant from a hurst of oak trees/oak bush, however differently it might be blazoned, wouldn't be that hard to track down. One would be incorrect.

I had thought that the motto scroll below the shield might be helpful. It is badly worn, but it is easy to make out the letters S A Y E possibly followed by a Z, which might then be interpreted, assuming that the first two letters, hypothetically E and S, would make the same motto as the family in my last post, Dundas of Duddingston, who used Essayez (Try).

And, indeed, I found a couple of other Dundas families - Dundas of Dundas, and Dundas of Arniston - who use a crest of which the one carved here might be a mistake for: A lion's head affronty looking through a bush of oak proper. Both of these branches of the Dundas family used the motto Essayez.

A quick search through Burke's General Armory for those two families shows: Dundas of Dundas bearing Argent a lion rampant gules, with no bordure; but Dundas of Arniston bears Argent a lion rampant gules a bordure ermine.

So in the end, I think maybe we've solved it. (Something that none of the websites about Abercorn Church were able to do; they spend much more time on a bit of the interior heraldry, which I'll get to in another post, because it really is pretty impressive.) I'm going to commit myself at this point and identify these arms and crest as those of Dundas of Arniston. It was a bit of a long row to hoe, but we finally made it.

And isn't that lion (and the mantling) worth that trip?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Is It Heraldry or Not?

On the exterior of the vault for the Duddingston family on the south side of the chancel is an old plaque inset into the wall.

It's worn, as you would expect from something that's been left out in the Scottish weather for all of these years (look so good you would not, hmm?), but much of it remains clear. I just can't decide if it's really heraldry or not.

There's a rampant lion in the center which may or may not be placed on a shield. (You can click on the image above to see a larger, more detailed version.)

The arms of Dundas of Duddingston (to give this branch of the family its full name) were Argent a lion rampant with a heart between its paws gules. Their crest (not shown on this plaque) were A dexter hand holding a star azure, and their motto Essayez (Try).

The plaque is sufficiently worn that I cannot tell if there is (or is supposed to be) a heart between the lion's forepaws, but there is certainly sufficient room for one there. Presumably all of the initials carved onto (and into) the plaque are the initial of some of the family members buried in the vault at the church.

I'm not sure that it's actually a coat of arms, but it's almost certainly heraldic.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Heraldry at Another Old Scottish Church

The next stop on our heraldic tour around Scotland was the church at Abercorn in West Lothian.

It's an interesting church - and I don't mean just heraldically - with parts of the building dating from the 12th Century, and with major renovations having been done in the late 1800s.

Of course, we couldn't even get inside before we started seeing some heraldry there.

Over against one of the walls surrounding the churchyard was this enclosure, from the looks of it used now mostly for storage of tools and materials. But over the doorway leading into it, there is a very nice armorial plaque, that looks to be cast metal.

The plaque is of a crest, A dexter arm erect couped below the elbow grasping a crescent, with the motto above it, Sans tache (Without stain). The only family I found that used both this crest and motto is that of Napier, which bore the arms Argent a saltire engrailed between four roses gules barbed vert. If this identification is correct, then the blazon with tinctures for the crest is A dexter arm erect couped below the elbow proper grasping a crescent argent.

There is an inscription below the crest, but I can only partially make it out, and it does not obviously relate to Napier at all:

M ? R(?) C/G(?) E ? S T O N
H A L L(?)

As you can see, I'm not entirely certain of the second L in HALL, but that's what it looks like to me.

If it is, indeed, "Hall," then presumably it is the home of this branch of the Napier family.

If it is not, well then I'm just shooting in the dark and coming up with nothing.

In any event, though, it's an interesting heraldic display in a not-very-common medium (I've mostly seen arms in cast iron for firebacks), and it's a good start to our visit to this heraldically interesting Scottish church.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Another Serendipitous Semi-Heraldic Sighting

So there I was, just sittin' at the airport between the cities of Midland and Odessa, Texas, waiting for my flight home after a long day of presentations to the Permian Basin Genealogy Society there.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, then you know that I often have said that, "You can find heraldry everywhere!" And it proved to be true once again.

There on the wall was a poster for one of the local oil industry businesses there (west Texas has a plethora of oil industry businesses, owing to the huge oilfield it sits atop), Patriot Premium Threading Services.

But, of course, what really caught my eye (and yours, too, already, I suspect) is the company's logo, a shield based on the coat of arms of the United States of America (though I don't know that the designer knew that's where the design comes from):

Unsurprisingly, there are some differences between this logo and the arms of the U.S. The latter are blazoned Paly of thirteen argent and gules a chief azure. Here the paly is of the correct number (13), but the tinctures are reversed, being here gules and argent, and they've added an eagle's head (presumably from the bald eagle supporter of the arms of the U.S., but I have also noticed a passing similarity to the logo of the New England Patriots football team. See the image below) and the word "Patriot" to the chief, while adding the rest of the name of the company below the chief.

Finally, here's a late 18th Century depiction of the arms of the U.S. for comparison:

Still, I suppose, if you're going to have the word "patriot" in your company's name, you might as well go ahead and use elements from the arms of the nation, too. How else would anyone know that you're a patriot, if you didn't, right?

Still, it was fun to see something heraldic in an unexpected place, and it helped make the wait for my plane pass a little faster.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Final Heraldic Memorial in Dalmeny, Scotland

Our final heraldic stop at St. Cuthbert's Church in Dalmeny, Scotland, is the impressive memorial to Adam Alexander Duncan Dundas, 27th Chief of Dundas, Commander (retired) of the Royal Navy, 1822-1904, and his wife, Charlotte Maria, 1831-1905, daughter of Rear Admiral Charles Hope.

You can see why I felt it necessary to include his service in the Royal Navy and his wife's father in the description above, given the broken mast, broken chain, and anchor fouled with a broken rope which are the greater part of this stone memorial, all of which are clear and obvious allusions of naval service.

More information about the Dundas family in general, and Adam Dundas and his family in particular, including a portrait of him in his naval uniform, can be found on-line on the Dundas Family website at

Of course, the part that most attracted my eye (well, after all the naval bits) was the achievement of arms at the base of the memorial.

Burke's General Armory (the stem arms do not appear in Sir James Balfour Paul's An Ordinary of Arms, though the arms of a number of cadet branches do appear there, mostly differenced with a bordure, either plain - e.g., gules, ermine, compony - or "bumpity" - e.g., engrailed) gives the following entry for Dundas, of Dundas, co. Linlithgow:

Argent a lion rampant gules. Crest - A lion's head full-faced [e.g., a leopard's face, or a lion's head cabossed] looking out of an oak bush proper. Supporters - Two lions gules, and below the shield, for a compartment, a salamander in flames of fire proper. Motto - Essayez ("Try").

The salamander "compartment" is easily seen even in the smaller image, but you really have to go to the larger image to see the surrounding flames. And I still cannot find the oak bush from which the leopard's face is supposed to be showing.

The scroll below the supporters and compartment is worn (well, it is over 100 years old, after all!), but says "Dundas of Dundas." (The second "Dundas" is very difficult to make out.)

Taken as a whole, it's a wonderful memorial to this couple and their Royal Navy connections.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Same Arms, Different Media

There are two displays of the same coat of arms at St. Cuthbert's Church in Dalmeny, Scotland.

The display in the interior of St. Cuthbert's is another work of embroidery, and bears the legend "Stewart of Craigiehall and Newhalls."

Burke's General Armory blazons the arms of Stewart of Craigiehall, co. Linlithgow (1672) Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or a fess checky azure and argent in chief three buckles azure; 2 and 3, Ermine on a fess sable three crescents argent (for Craigie).

Sir James Balfour Paul's An Ordinary of Arms blazons Stewart of Newhalls (1672-7) as: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or a fess checky azure and argent in chief three buckles azure; 2 and 3, Ermine on a fess sable three crescents argent.

The display of these arms on outside the south door of the church adorn the tomb of several members of the family of "Stewart of Newhals": John Stewart of Newhals, d. 1670; Alexander Stewart of Newhals, d. 1684; John Stuart of Newhalls, d. 1730; and Archibald Stewart, d. 1792; in addition to their spouses.

The or field and azure checks of the fess are hatched, and of course ermine is easy to make out, but the remainder of the tinctures of the shield are not hatched. (Well, it's not really very easy - or clear - to hatch the buckles azure or the other fess sable in the space allotted here.)

The crest is blazoned in Fairbairn's Crests as The trunk of an old oak tree sprouting a branch on the dexter side fructed proper. The motto, Resurgam, means "I shall rise again." (One branch of my own family, the Winslows, has a similar crest, the stump of an oak tree sprouting new branches, but this one is more specific that it is only sprouting on the dexter side. The Winslow motto has a similar general meaning: Decoptus florio (or, deceiptae flores), meaning roughly "cut down, I shall flourish again." But I digress; I just found the similarities between the crest and motto of the Stewarts of Newhalls in Dalmeny and the Winslows in my own family interesting.)

Some might make an issue of the way the buckles are oriented in the Stewart quarters in these two depictions: to sinister in the embroidery; and to chief on the tomb outside. For myself, I think the direction of the buckles (or more specifically, the tongues the buckles) is something that makes no real difference and can probably be ascribed to the preferences of the artists involved. Just my two cents' worth. If you know of some case in heraldry where the direction of the buckles is clearly considered to be a difference, I'd love to learn about it.

I will note that Sir John Brooke-Little in his An Heraldic Alphabet says that "In blazon it is safest to detail the type of buckle, the way it lies on the shield (if not upright) and the position of the tongue," but he gives no rationale for this statement. I can see blazoning the type of buckle if that is important to the owner of the arms, but I'm not so sanguine about the rest. Still, I remain a student of heraldry, and can certainly be swayed in my opinion about this by evidence that it is a more important detail than I currently believe.