The Fess Chequy:

the origin and development of the Stewart fess (2)

Arms of the High Stewards
WE CONCLUDE with some quartered Stewart shields. Perhaps the most interesting of these were borne by the Stewart Lords of Lorne, for at a time when Scottish heraldry was yet to conform to strict principles, they had several attempts to produce what they could consider satisfactory. Their intention was to include the Stewart fess, a galley for Lorne, the buckles to denote their descent from the Stewarts of Bonkyl, and the garbs of Buchan (Azure three garbs Or).
Arms of Stewart of Lorne Arms of Stewart of Lorne
Arms of Stewart of Lorne Arms of Stewart of Lorne
James Stewart, before he became Earl of Buchan, bore the first of these shields, with the galley having fires on the deck and at the masthead, and no sail. As a descendant of Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl he added a buckle in chief above the fess chequy. With the acquisition of Buchan he had the problem that the golden field of the Stewarts could not bear the three golden garbs, but this could be solved by reversing the tinctures and the garbs thus became blue. In the second of the shields above, the galley has lost its fires and acquired a sail and pennants, and in the fourth quarter the fess has become a chief to leave room for a garb. It was not a satisfactory solution.
The third of the shields shows the fess chequy to have four tranches instead of three. This was an intermediate stage before the galley quarters were added. In the fourth shield they have been added and the garb has moved sideways to appear as the principal charge of the fourth quarter. As quarters the Lorne galley hides (absconds is the correct word) portions of the fess chequy and gives the arms a most unusual appearance ~ one that is quite awkward to blazon.
The conventional version is ~ Quarterly: 1st Or a buckle in chief Azure. the base counter-compony of the Second and Argent; 2nd and 3rd Or a lymphad Sable the sail Argent; 4th Or a garb Azure and a chief counter-compony of the Second and Argent. Preferred by this writer is ~ Or a fess chequy of four tracts Azure and Argent between in chief two buckles and in base two garbs of the Second, surmounted of in sinister chief and dexter base two quarters Or each bearing a lymphad Sable with a sail of the Third. This avoids the artificial move sideways of the garb in base by deeming there to be two garbs, one being absconded.
Arms of Stewart of Albany Arms of Stewart of Angus
Arms of Stewart of Atholl
Stewart of Angus
Stewart of Atholl
Stewart of Albany
Arms of Stewart of Buchan Arms of Stewart of Craigie
Arms of Stewart of Traquhair
Stewart of Buchan
Stewart of Craigie
Stewart of Traquhair
In the arms of the 1st Duke of Albany, the first and fourth quarters are for Albany. Thomas, Earl of Angus, was the first to quarter his mother’s Abernethy arms. The first Stewart Earls of Atholl and of Buchan were brothers and in the second and third quarters bore the arms of their territorial earldoms. The first and fourth quarters of Stewart of Craigie (now Craighall) show the descent from Stewart of Bonkyl, and the second and third quarters are for Craigie (sometimes Craig). The first Stewart of Traquhair was a son of the 1st Earl of Buchan and bore the Buchan garbs in the second quarter. The third quarter was for Traquhair, the fourth for Rutherford.
Arms of Stewart of Hornhead The last arms (left) to examine are those of Captain Charles Stewart of Hornhead, a High Sheriff in Ireland. They demonstrate that he was a cadet of the d’Aubigny Stuarts who became Earls of Lennox. The arms in the second and third quarters will be recognised as those of Stewart of Rosyth, seen earlier in the first and fourth quarters of the arms of the Stewarts of Lennox, carrying a bordure of buckles for the descent from Bonkyl. The first and fourth quarters are the arms of France differenced by an engrailed bordure, borne to signify loyalty to the French King.
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