The Heraldry Society
of Scotland
4 Dryden Place
Scotland, UK.




Acquiring Arms - The Heraldry Society of Scotland


The Acquisition of Scottish Arms through the
Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

Those who wish to use arms in any personal sense must petition for a Grant of Arms or if they can trace their ancestry back to a direct or, in some cases collateral, ancestor - a "cadet matriculation" showing their place within the family. When a grant, or matriculation, of arms is successfully obtained, an illuminated parchment, narrating the pedigree as proved, is supplied to the Petitioner, and a duplicate is recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland and/or the Public Register of Genealogies and Birthbrieves.

Application for such a Confirmation, by Letters Patent or Matriculation, from the Lord Lyon King of Arms is the only way to obtain a genuine coat of arms.

British Commonwealth - Anyone domiciled in His Majesty's realms overseas or in the Commonwealth (except those of English, Welsh or Irish ancestry who should approach Garter King of Arms in London or the Chief Herald of Ireland in Dublin or Canadians who should approach the Chief Herald of Canada in Ottawa) can apply to the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland for grant or matriculation of arms.

Foreign Countries - Arms are not granted to non-British citizens (though those of Scottish ancestry can apply to the Lord Lyon King of Arms for cadet-matriculations, as above described) Moreover even if not of direct armigerous descent, foreigners of Scottish descent can often arrange for a cousin in Scotland, or in one of Her Majesty's overseas realms get arms established by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, and thereafter themselves to obtain a cadet matriculation. Each party is in such cases is supplied with an illuminated parchment.

Applying for Arms - Introduction


Lord Lyon King of Arms - Dr Joseph J. Morrow

On behalf of the Sovereign, the Lord Lyon King of Arms exercises the Royal Prerogative committed to him by the Acts of 1672 cap. 47 and 1867 30 & 31 Vict. cap. 17, to grant Arms to .virtuous and well deserving persons". The Court of the Lord Lyon is a court of law, and applications for Arms are made by a formal "Petition". This is done on the initiative of the person wishing to obtain Arms, who submits a Petition to the Lord Lyon stating who he is and asking for Arms to be granted to him.

The process is not complicated, and there are four main varieties of Petition:

Petition for a new Grant of Arms
Petition for a Grant of Arms to an Ancestor
Petition for a Matriculation of Arms
Petition for a Grant of Arms to a Company

For further Information on how to obtain a coat of arms, samples of the above paperwork required, and the fees involved please visit Applying for a Coat of Arms on The Lyon Court Website.

Advice on any special difficulties or any matters not covered can be obtained by writing to the Lyon Clerk at the Court of the Lord Lyon, H.M. New Register House, Edinburgh, EH1 3YT, and to whom all completed Petitions should be sent. All such correspondence is 'CONFIDENTIAL:.

Once Arms have been granted and recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, they are protected under the law of Scotland. Any infringement of a person's armorial rights in Scotland may be drawn to the attention of the Procurator Fiscal to the Court of the Lord Lyon, who may mount any necessary prosecution of the offender.

In return for this permanent legal protection and for the maintenance of the permanent registration of Arms in the Court of the Lord Lyon, Fees are charged to the Petitioner. These fees are made up of the dues to H.M. Treasury, Herald Painter's fees and costs of materials in preparing the Petitioner's Letters Patent. This is his title deed to his Arms, written in a formal script on vellum, illustrating his Arms in full colour, and sealed with the Seal of the Lord Lyon King of Arms. The fees are fixed by Statute, and rise from time to time.

All statements made in Petitions must be accompanied by legal proof, usually Certificates of Birth and Marriage for statements of parentage and ancestry. It is the Petitioner's responsibility to provide this proof. Neither the Lord Lyon nor the Lyon Clerk may take any part in providing the proof. Petitioners may employ their own genealogists to provide the proof. They may employ any of them directly, at their own responsibility, or with the assistance of an Officer of Arms.

Petitioners requiring assistance in preparing the Petition may write to the Lyon Clerk at the Court of the Lord Lyon stating their requirements and objectives. If an Officer of Arms is engaged he will provide an advance estimate of his fees for his professional assistance. If required by the Petitioner he will take charge of any genealogical research needed, employing the researchers and supervising their work on behalf of the Petitioner, and will periodically report on its progress as the Petitioner may require.


The Heraldry Society of Scotland   last Update 27 Oct 2021