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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - February/March 2003
New Arms for MacTavish Chief


News of an ancient Highland clan. The Arms of MacTavish of Dunardry. 30 December 2002, at HM New Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland, The Honourable Robin Blair, Esq., LVO, WS, 34th Lord Lyon King of Arms, has agreed to a New Armorial in favour of the Chief of Clan MacTavish, the Much Honoured Edward Stewart Dugald MacTavish of Dunardry. It was just over five years ago that MacTavish was ratified as Chief after his clan had suffered a dormancy of over two hundred years. MacTavish arms were granted to Lachlan MacTavish of Dunardry in 1793 by Lord Lyon John Hooke-Campbell of Bangeston, co. Pembroke (1754 to 1796), who granted MacTavish a Campbell gyronny in the first, and predominant quarter of the arms on 17 April 1793.

The MacIntyre arms differed from those believed to be correct, and in 1991 James Wallace MacIntyre, 9th (recorded) of Glenoe saw the chiefly arms corrected. Earlier, James Burns, grandson of Poet Robert Burns’ cousin was granted arms in 1837 showing the ‘black and gold’ Campbell gyronny, which spawned a curious legend that the Burns family where of Campbell stock. This was corrected in 1851 with a new matriculation correcting the Burns arms, which completely omitted the gyronny. Likewise, there is a well known and often accepted legend that the MacTavish are actually Campbells. The MacTavish Arms of old were said to be a ‘gyronny of eight azure and argent’ (blue and silver), as researched by the Western Highland Clans historian, Niall Diarmid Campbell, later 10th Duke of Argyll, although these arms were never registered.

The Arms attributable to MacTavish dating from 1793 are: Quarterly, 1st and 4th a Gyronny of eight Sable and Or; 2nd and 3rd, Argent, a buck's head cabossed Gules attired or on a Chief engrailed Azure a cross crosslet fitchèe between two mullets of the Third. The troublesome nature of the MacTavish arms (of 1793), as is true with some other clans and families, expressed briefly above, stems in part from the Chiefs neglecting to register their arms at an earlier period, and often the ancient heraldry of these Clans and families was lost. Similarly, the 1793 matriculation of MacTavish of Dunardry arms were either those adopted by MacTavish, which is questionable, or more likely, they were devised by Lyon Campbell to fit a particular circumstance. There is no dispute that MacTavish descends from the same genealogic root as does Campbell, but well before the name of Campbell ever appeared. In that era of the early 1100’s the Campbell ancestors were known as MacDuine. In West Highland Scots heraldry, normally the 1st quarter of any shield of arms is the predominant one and shows the Ensign Armorial of the Name of the armiger. Therefore, the MacTAVISH shield of 1793 would be taken as that of a man whose surname was CAMPBELL, which, of course, is NOT the case.

Since his matriculation in 1997, Chief Dugald MacTavish of Dunardry has not been satisfied with merely bringing back an ancient clan and chiefship, but with correcting a long standing injustice to the Clan MacTavish itself. Ironically, a subject long overlooked is addressed in the annuls of the Craignish Campbells, wherein it is anciently affirmed that the Clan MacTavish were independent, describing them as having repuditated any dependency on the Argyll Campbells. Additionally, a newly found work by an historian for the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering, shows that MacTavish is one of 69 original Highland Clans, which makes clear the distinction.  The correct placement of Ensigns armorial now serves the MacTavish by lifting the shadow of the Argyll Campbells. With the affirmation of Lord Lyon, the ancient Clan Tavish of Dunardarie steps forward in vidication with new arms, and into a bright future; its once forgotten history of much interest to Scots the world over.

 At left, a depiction of the New Arms of MacTavish of Dunardry, as agreed to by Lord Lyon Robin Blair. The new, corrected arms: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Argent, a Buck's Head cabossed Gules attired Or on a Chief engrailed Azure a cross crosslet fitchèe between two mullets of the First; 2nd and 3rd, Gyronny of eight Sable and Or. Above the Shield is placed an Helm befitting his degree with a Mantling Azure doubled Argent, and on a Wreath of the Liveries is set for Crest a boar's head erased Or langued Proper, and in an Escrol over the same this Motto "NON OBLITUS".

The corrected arms places the MacTavish Buck’s Head in the predominant quarters, with the MacDuine/Campbell gyronny removed to the lesser quarters, expressing descent. The Livery colors are amended and corrected to Azure and Argent, reflecting the tincture and metal of those attributable to Clan Tavish.   

 


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