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The Heraldry Society of Scotland
25 Craigentinny Crescent
Edinburgh, EH7 6QA
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Scots Heraldry - The Heraldry Society of Scotland

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Some Distinctive Characteristics of Scots Arms - By Alex Maxwell Findlater

 

We frequently see three charges, two and one, as the many boars' heads, Nisbet, Swinton, Gordon, all from Berwickshire, or the stars of Moray. When combined with a chevron, these retain their position, but when a straight ordinary, bend, chief, fesse, is introduced the three charges are usually placed on the ordinary, as in Pringle, Mure, Douglas. Thus we see the (probably) ancient arms of Scott still carried by the Scotts of Harden, now Lords Polwarth as Or, two stars and a crescent Azure (compare ancient Kirkcaldy Gules, two stars and a crescent Or), while the chiefly line of Buccleuch carries Or on a bend Azure a star between two crescents of the first.

Nisbet 

Swinton
Gordon

Murray

Scott of Buccleuch

Scott of Harden

Sutherland

Kirkcaldy

 

The other particular charge born in Scotland, by the most highly honoured and by their descendants, is the tressure flory counter flory, otherwise known as the Royal Tressure. It is known that the daughters of the House of Charlemagne were accustomed to wear a ‘tresson’ which framed their hair. 

Lady wearing Tresson

It is a curiosity that the tressure seems only to be common in the arms of Flanders and of Scotland. In fact the tressure probably derived from the influx of Flemish blood into Scotland in the early twelfth century.  The tressure was adopted by the King, probably denoting his descent from Charlemagne, and was granted by the monarch as an honourable augmentation, although doubtless not thus known at that time.  The recipients were those who had served especially well, or who had intermarried with the royal family.  It may also be borne by families which have roots in Flanders, perhaps because the blood of Charlemagne also coursed through their veins.

Seton  

Royal arms

Charteris

 

Fleming

Lyon

 
 
Artwork: Martin Goldstraw of Whitecairns

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© The Heraldry Society of Scotland   last Update 05 Jun 2017