Monday, January 8, 2018

Well, That Was Disconcerting

I mean, really, it should have been fairly easy! And yet ....

Still in St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, Scotland, there was lovely, large brass candelabra.

And it had on its base two engraved coats of arms. (You can just make them out on the base in the photo above.) With hatching.

So I thought to myself, "Self, these arms should be fairly easy to identify. They seem to be pretty unique, with elements that should make finding them in or or another of the several Scottish and/or British ordinaries of arms pretty straightforward."

Well, apparently I has misinformed myself. Because I have not been able to identify either one of these coats of arms. I have found nothing like them in either of the two volumes of An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, nor in the more recent An Ordinary of Scottish Arms From Original Pre-1672 Manuscripts, nor in Burke's General Armory.

The arms that I found which were the nearest to either of these coats were two variants of Maxton which were similar to the second one above: Or a chevron gules between crosses crosslet fitchy azure and Or a chevron gules between three crosses crosslet fitchy sable.

Neither is really close enough to warrant an identification as a branch of Maxton.

So there you go. A beautiful artifact with some great heraldry on it, and even after a pretty comprehensive search, no identification. As I noted in the title of this post, it's disconcerting.

If you should happen to know the owner of either of these coats of arms, please feel free to leave your identification in the comments. (If the comments are not working for you - some folks have had difficulty posting a comment recently, and I still haven't figured out why - please email me at and I will post your identification on here; with full credit to you, of course!)


  1. Clare College, Cambridge

  2. Sir William Fettes of Wamphray, who left a bequest to found Fettes College near Edinburgh: Or a chevron between two mullets in cheif and a cross crosslet fitchée in base gules (Paul's Ordinary of Arms, p. 59).

    1. François, thank you so much for both of those! I am not sure how I managed to miss Fettes of Wamphray; it's right there (#864) in my copy of Paul's "An Ordinary of Arms," on p. 59, as you pointed out. I am left without excuse. For Clare College, I can only say that I am not as familiar with the arms of the colleges within the universities as I perhaps should be. Thank you again for identifying these two coats for us!