Heraldry in Scotland, part 4

Scottish court of Heraldry

The establishment of the Lyon office in Scotland consists of three Heralds, Albany, Marchmont, and Rothesay; three ordinary pursuivants, Unicorn, Carrick, and Dingwall or Kintyre; and two pursuivants extraordinary, Linlithgow and Falkland. These officers are members of the Royal Household in Scotland  and wear a special uniform. The arms worn on their tabards ( Herald’s sleeveless coats ) show the lion of Scotland in the first and fourth quarters. There is also an Ormond Pursuivant who takes his name from the Castle of Ormond which was forfeited by the Douglasses on June 9th 1445. Around 1475 King James III of Scotland made his second  son, James, Marquess of Ormond. The first mention of an Ormond Pursuivant occurs in 1488, as being in the immediate company of the King and as carrying the royal letters. Since that time there have been 23 Ormond Pursuivants, but the office became vacant in 1879 and was not filled again until 1971.

The succession to the offices of Lyon has never failed, not at least since 1452 when the holders became unidentifiable. Even during the troublesome times of the Civil War in the 17th Century, Cromwell recognized the quality and necessity of the office. He deposed the Lord Lyon, Sir James Balfour of Denmilne and Kinnaird, because he had officiated at the Coronation in Scotland of Charles II; Cromwell inserted into the post first a Lyon deputy, Mr. Skene, in 1655, and then Sir James Campbell, 7th Laird of Lawers in 1658. The latter was superseded at the Restoration of the Monarchy in the 1660’s.

The man who designed the version of the Coat of Arms which welcomes thousands of visitors to St Andrews each year was appointed to a prestigious position by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in June 2009. Mark Dennis has been selected as the next Ormond Pursuivant of Arms of the Court of the Lord Lyon - a standing court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland and maintains records of genealogies. The Court also manages the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, containing an official copy of every Coat of Arms granted in Scotland since 1672.

Ormond coat of armsThe Ormond Persuivant is one of six officers of arms who assist the Lord Lyon in jurisdiction over heraldic matters in Scotland as well as on ceremonial occasions. Records first mention the position in 1488, but it was probably created in 1475 when James III made his son Duke of Ross and Marquess of Ormond.The author of a number of heraldic texts and a frequent lecturer in the topic, Mr Dennis is also the Chair of the Heraldry Society of Scotland, winner of the de Moffarts Prize for Heraldic Art and Chair of the St Andrews Fund for Scots Heraldry.

The fund, administered by the School of History at the University, supports heraldry in Scotland and Scots heraldry abroad through artistic grants, academic research and publications. Mr Dennis also organised the 27th International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences at the University in 2006, during which the University received a grant of an armorial crest and supporters to its arms and the Congress presented the University and the town with heraldic processional banners

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published