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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - June/July 2003
Lord Lyon, King of Arms to visit Stone Mountain Games in October!

History will be made this October at Stone Mountain Highland Games when, for the first time ever, a reigning Lord Lyon King of Arms will be visiting the United States in his Official capacity. The Lord Lyon is the Sovereign’s ultimate arbiter in all heraldic matters and is also responsible for determining the Chiefship of the Scottish Clans.

The first Lyon was appointed by King Robert the Bruce at the beginning of the 14th century and one of his duties was to attend Coronations and to recite, in Gaelic, the pedigree of the newly crowned Monarch. Originally, the Lord Lyon was assisted by twelve Officers of Arms – six Heralds and six Pursuivants – but in 1672 the situation was regularised by an Act of the Scottish Parliament which created the Court of the Lord Lyon as we know it today.

The present Lord Lyon, the Rt. Hon. Robin Orr Blair, LVO, WS, is a Judge and presides over his own Court consisting of a Lyon Clerk, a Procurator Fiscal or prosecutor, Three Heralds and three Pursuivants. Under certain circumstances, he may also appoint additional Officers of Arms known as Heralds and Pursuivants Extraordinary. The Scottish Heraldic Executive is a separate jurisdiction from those in England and Ireland and, as such, the Court of the Lord Lyon has, since 1672, maintained its own manuscript record of all Coats of Arms borne in Scotland. This is known as the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. In terms of the Lyon King of Arms Act it is illegal to use a Heraldic Device in Scotland that has not been granted by Lyon and recorded in the Public Register and anyone contravening this Law is subject to prosecution.

The Lord Lyon and his Heralds also fulfil a ceremonial roll and appear, from time to time, in State Dress wearing Royal Household Uniform and splendid embroidered Tabards bearing the Royal Coat of Arms. Scottish Tabards are slightly different to those worn in England as the Royal Arms are shown with the Scottish ‘Lion Rampant’ taking precedence over the English ‘leopards’. Members of the Court can be seen on parade at such events as the annual St Andrew’s Day service at St Giles Cathedral and at the Installation of the Governor of Edinburgh Castle.

A number of Officers of Arms have visited North America in the past on a private basis, either on holiday or visiting family and friends, but this will be the first time in history that a reigning Lyon will be visiting an American Highland Games in his Official capacity.

As well as being a special distinguished guest at Stone Mountain, Mr Blair will also be attending the first Annual General Meeting of the Society of Scottish Armigers. This organisation, of which the Lord Lyon is Patron, was established in 2001 and is composed of individuals who bear Coats of Arms which are recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland or are entitled, as heirs, to use the Scottish Arms of their parents or grandparents. The general membership of the Society consists of some of the most active participants within the various Scottish Cultural Heritage organisations in North America.

As well as having the Lord Lyon as its Patron, the Society is also honoured that the previous Lord Lyon, Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight, Orkney Herald Extraordinary, has consented to serve as Chairman of the Advisory Board. George Way of Plean, the Procurator Fiscal to the Lyon Court is also a member of the Society, and Romilly Squire of Rubislaw, Secretary of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and Chairman of the Heraldry Society of Scotland, is a member of the Board of Governors.

The Society was formed with the purpose of assisting and helping to educate the Scottish-American community and the public at large about Scottish Heraldry and Clan Tradition. To this end, the Society, as well as the Lord Lyon, encourages those Scots who may have a right to bear Arms to do so and to join the Society. Members of the Society are available to speak to groups, appear at Highland Games and other appropriate events, or to write short articles for publication in clan and society newsletters. The Society also encourages its members to support the Heraldry Society of Scotland.

The Society has recently petitioned the Lyon Court for a corporate Grant of Arms and it is hoped that the Lord Lyon will consent to make an Official presentation of the Letters Patent at the Stone Mountain Highland Games in October.

For further information concerning the Society of Scottish Armigers, please contact:

Major Randal Massey of Dunham
PO Box 361924
Birmingham, AL 35236

The Heraldry Society of Scotland’s website is at and the Society’s Delegate to North America is:

Donald Draper Campbell
4031 Ellicott Street
Alexandria, VA 22304-1011

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