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Grant of Arms for The Clan Buchanan Society International Inc.


Grant of Arms for The Clan Buchanan Society International Inc. almost completed! Thanks to Claude A. Buchanan! Claude Buchanan Gartincaber cbuchanan1@orcon.net.nz 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 understood.

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 Buchanan grant.
2. A link to the chiefly crest which so many Clan members seem to focus upon.
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 remained.
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.


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