Grant of Arms for The Clan
Buchanan Society International Inc. almost completed! Thanks to Claude A.
Buchanan! Claude Buchanan Gartincaber
firstname.lastname@example.org Pro Me Si
Merior In Me Herald at Large - The Clan Buchanan Society International 429
Kiwitahi Road, Helensville, FD #2 Auckland, New Zealand.
Grant of Heraldic Arms to a
individual or Company or Society is always fraught with some degree of
difficulty and especially can it be so when as in the case of the Clan
Buchanan Society there is a long history of Heraldic grants to members of
the Clan both prior to the establishment of the Lyon Register and in the
years since it was established. Much misinformation about the right to
bear arms and the use of arms has unfortunately established a belief that
any Buchanan can use the arms of the chief or the crest of the chief as
their heritable right, and of course quite clearly this is not, and never
has been so. The crest of the chief, can be worn as a badge, when
surrounded by a belt and buckle to denote membership of the Clan. The
shield with the chiefly blazon is not the property of clan members and can
only be used by the chief of the Clan. These two facts should be clearly
The problem of how to
establish a suitable blazon for the Clan Buchanan Society was settled by
using the following criteria.
1. An obviously Clan
2. A link to the chiefly crest which so many Clan members seem to focus
3. A link to the heraldic past of the Clan.
4. A distinctive motto setting out in brief the aims of the Clan Society
5. A crest which established clearly a society identity and gave a link to
the heraldic past of the Clan to answer these criteria the following
blazon was presented to the Lyon Court and was approved.
1. Or a lion rampant Sable
( Black ) within a royal tressure Sable ( Black ) armed and langued Gules
(the lion showing claw and tongue extended - Red )
This blazon is clearly Buchanan. But how to difference the grant so as to
distinguish the Clan Buchanan Society from other heraldic grants. This was
done as follows.
2. Three boars heads erased ( Gules - Red )
The Clan Buchanan, prior to the establishment of the Public Register of
all Arms and Bearings in Scotland used both Bears and Boars as part of
their Heraldic Blazon. The Leny Branch of the Clan do in fact, to this
day, use three bears heads as part of the blazon on the shield. ( See the
Clan Buchanan Web site covering the Clan Heraldry )
My own family it appears
used a chevron between three boars heads, and the chief of the clan used
three boars heads. With this in mind it was a very easy choice to select
three boars heads as the distinguishing feature of difference for the Clan
Buchanan Society grant of arms. This blazon gave a link to an established
Heraldic form used by the Clan both prior to Lyon Register and in
subsequent years. ( Lord Lyon agreed that this was an acceptable approach
The matter of the crest
The chiefly crest shows a hand holding a cap of honour turned up ermine.
The important feature being the cap of honour. The Criteria for a Society
crest being as follows.
1. To establish a crest of distinction.
2. To retain a link to the chiefly crest.
3. To show a new beginning.
In heraldry a new beginning is shown by a phoenix rising, so, (3) of the
blazon was easy. 'A phoenix Azure ( Blue ) with flames Proper'
A cap of distinction, or a cap of honour, Gules, tuned up ermine, tufted
on top with Rose Gules on the head of the phoenix satisfies ( 2 )
The heraldic symbols are strong, distinctive, establish a different look,
and convey to the viewer a feeling of a new beginning. These images were
again agreed upon by Lord Lyon as being suitably differenced.
Criteria ( 1 ) is thus satisfied.
The Motto used was already established some years ago by the Society.
'Colligate Fragmenta Ne Pereant' ( Gather up the fragments in case they be
lost ) or perhaps ( lest they be lost )
Lyon Court requires a
petition to be made using a standardized format setting out the identity
and aims of the petitioner, the requested blazon of the petitioned arms,
including the requested Motto. Should these satisfy the requirements of
the court the arms are approved. If not then additional correspondence
with the court is necessary to establish a blazon suitable to both the
courts criteria and the petitioners requirements. In practice there should
be little delay, as a good deal of these matters can be settled during
preliminary discussion, and prior to the actual petition being submitted.
Once the court has approved
the blazon a copy of the 'Letters Patent' are sent to the representative
of the petitioner for final approval. Should there be no further matters
related, and all fees have been paid, the court will then send a copy of
the Letters Patent to the Heralds Painter who will prepare, by hand, the
final document, on parchment.
This is the stage the Clan
Buchanan Society International Inc grant of arms is at.
Lyon Clerk ( Mrs. Elizabeth
Rhodes indicated in a letter to me dated 24 June 2002 that the document
was finalised and was being sent to the Herald Painter. An indication of
three to four months was given before we could expect to see the finished
Letters Patent. I have asked that the document be sent to me in the first
instance. This will allow me to check the document for errors ( I don't
expect any ) and to copy the letters patent for inclusion on my web site.
The grant will then be sent being to the president of the Society.
I hope that a lapel badge
may be produced for sale to members which will display either the crest
and motto, or the shield and motto. My own preference would be for the
shield and motto. Such a badge would establish quite clearly membership of
the Clan Buchanan Society. I have found the project exciting, and quite
challenging to establish a design for the Clan Society, to prepare the
petition and present it to the Heraldic Court in Edinburgh. I thank the
Society for giving me this opportunity.