The Feudal Herald header



An Online Newsletter from The Baronage Press
featuring Heraldry and related subjects

Vol. 2, No. 8, August 2000

The Baronage Press Website
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Copyright (c) 2000 by Pegasus Associates Ltd and The Baronage Press

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* A Welcome and an Explanation
* Clan Stewart
* The Journalists' and Authors' Guide
* Patersons - a Clan without a Chief
* Mary and Diana
* Miss Spence - a final word
* Chivalry - a Russian view
* A New Scottish Chief
* Robert Riddle Stodart, W.S.
* Lords of the Manor
* Estoile's scrapbook
* Subscription


The purpose of this newsletter is to link regular BARONAGE readers to those articles in the magazine that might interest them, so in it you should find mention of the art, symbolism and meaning of heraldry, and, from time to time, of the history, politics, warfare, chivalry, books, cinema and other entertainment to which heraldry has thematic links.

The extra work occasioned by the censorship problems together with the plans for our expansion reduced the resources available for the editorial work, and from the August schedule we postponed Baronage articles on the Pegasus and on the early origins of the Bruces. We can however confirm that these will appear in the September-October issue due out late in September.

We intend to publish also in September a special issue of this newsletter to inform our readers of some details of the expansion to be introduced in October.


Arising from our insistence that arms as an identification system require that no two men bear the same has been a series of e-mails asking for details on how this can be achieved. We decided that perhaps we could explain the technical aspects best by publishing an explanation in JAG (the Journalists' and Authors' Guide) and a series of articles illustrating collections of arms borne by men of the same surname.

We have started this series with the most famous name in Scotland.

Arms of Stewart


Amendments to a coat of arms to distinguish it from another borne by a family relation are known as changes/additions "for cadency" or as "differencing". There are various ways in which this can be done, some sufficiently organised to be considered formal systems. The best known of these is not the most effective, but being the one that everyone had encountered somewhere at some time, it has been chosen as the most suitable to describe in the first article.

In the second article we shall look at the ways in which arms were differenced in the very early days of heraldry, and in the third article we shall describe the system generally recognised as the best.


Earlier this year we published an article on arms borne by men of the name of Anderson. We insisted that although there is no formal clan structure for Andersons, Scottish heraldry (effectively Lyon Office) treated them all as cadets of indeterminate relationship belonging to a single clan. Our policy at Baronage is to encourage Scottish names outside the formal clan structure to band together, and the Patersons are another such grouping. There is no chief (yet), but one might be recognised by the Lord Lyon if there should be a candidate with appropriate probatory documentation.

Arms of Paterson of Dunure
In this article we publish a selection of arms known to have been borne lawfully by men of the name of Paterson (and we add to it a shocking tale of evil-doing and cross-dressing).


The third anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, provided an opportunity for editors and journalists to exercise their judgement and to surprise us. Oh, well! Anyway, it was worth noting that Mother Theresa, who died one week after Diana, was mentioned in one story listed by Yahoo, while Diana featured in 37.

What especially shocked the Baronage staff was the prediction ~

"Diana will have a tragic niche in history, like Mary, Queen of Scots."

~ a comparison of inexcusable irrelevance. All our readers will have their own view of Diana. They might like to compare it with that of Mary held by the Baronage editors.......

Mary's tragic life stirs strong emotions, even today, yet for most of us the half-remembered lessons of distant schooldays suggest she was of no permanent importance, just a shooting star that briefly illuminated our history and drew all men's eyes before disappearing forever. With very few exceptions, most modern commentators perpetuate that view, no matter how sympathetic they are to her, and they do so because they describe the events of her brief life in Scotland from a modern perspective. However, to her subjects in the 16th century, and to the rulers of those great European nations whose own peoples' security might depend on whatever whims she indulged, her character and her decisions and her fate all had immense significance for their future.
Scotland today, stuck on the end of an off-shore island at the edge of the European Union, governed partly from London, partly from Edinburgh and partly from Brussels, cannot act as a frame of reference. When Mary ruled, Scotland still played its traditional role as a decisive factor in the European balance of power. When united with France, Scotland threatened English ambitions; but united with England, Scotland weakened France; and a weakened France could be exploited by Austria and Spain, both of which proposed their candidates for Mary's hand, to strengthen their own. All Europe was caught up in the spread of the new Protestantism, and while the Pope strove to enlist Mary's support to resist its advances, Mary, aware of the fires that would burn throughout Europe if she acted incautiously, set Scotland to follow the path of moderation.
That Mary failed in her aims, that Scotland went on after her defeat at Langsyde to suffer many decades of religious conflict (whose consequences shaped the history of the British Isles, of continental Europe and subsequently of the New World), was not owed to any weakness in Mary's character, nor to any inherited defect of intelligence. She had all the intuitive genius of her Stewart forefathers, and this gift she invested wisely in the traditional Stewart vision of a united Scotland (although despite those innate political skills her lack of experience in statecraft allowed her to blunder too easily). The majority of her subjects loved her, a significant majority was still Catholic, and in the light of the past successes of Scottish sovereigns who succeeded to the crown as minors, they all expected much of her. She did give them much, but she did not give them the ruthlessness her situation required. As a poor substitute she gave them charm, a quality that makes enemies far faster. (John Knox, one of many, commented acidly on her "enchantment" over men.)
The Stewarts were a precocious race, and in those days youngsters matured rather earlier than now. Mary had the optimism of youth, for she was only eighteen when she returned as Queen Dowager of France to rule the country she had left as a five-year-old. She had also courage and wit, and although, despite the glowing skin and eyes that so often accompany red-gold hair, her portraits indicate she was not beautiful by the standards and criteria of today, she had won an international reputation for exquisite grace in carriage and voice. Her height of six feet gave her the commanding presence so many of her contemporaries noted, and on campaign she lived hard, attired as a man.
The country she returned from France to govern was ruled by ambitious men. There were great and honourable leaders of noble houses, such as George, 5th Lord Seton, who were devoted to her; there were great and powerful leaders of major clans, such as Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, who would swing easily between the factions to further their own interests; there were families such as the Hamiltons (of which the Duke of Chatelherault was chief) who viewed the lives of Mary and her son as only the last obstacles between themselves and the throne; there were enemies such as the powerful Douglas clan, led, in the minority of its chief, by James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, "the grimmest of that grim race from which he sprung" ~ who later became Regent after the deaths of two other enemies: the Earl of Moray, Mary's half-brother (illegitimate, intelligent and rapacious), and the Earl of Lennox, her cunning, vindictive and treacherous father-in-law.
Inside this political maelstrom, Mary battled for nearly seven years to give Scotland a stability which would balance Europe's dynamic instability. From a modern perspective the solution she tried to impose, of mutual understanding and reconciliation between the many warring factions, seems to be natural and obvious, but in the reality of her time, in the middle of the 16th century, it was an incredible novelty. Mary was an absolute monarch, yet she introduced into Scotland a system close to what would today be described as a constitutional monarchy with an influential monarch, governing as might an American president with an administration controlled by the opposing party.
From the perspective of our present century we can recognise that in her gruesome, rough, and uncertain world, despite her devastating charm, regal elegance, Stewart genius and loyal friends, she could not overcome the fatal handicap of being a woman. (Yes, in England her cousin did so but, after she had become queen, Elizabeth never had to face the physical brutality Mary endured on such occasions as the murder of Rizzio, when at least some of the conspirators intended to kill her too, or the humiliation after her surrender at Carberry, during which she was threatened with burning as a witch, and then the enforced abdication at Lochleven, when the vile Lord Lindsay of the Byres threatened to cut her in pieces and feed her to the fish.)
In brief ~

Mary was a giant. Measured against her courage, honesty and vision our modern statesmen ~ the Clintons, the Blairs, the Mitterands ~ are pygmies, and comparisons with Diana have no relevance.


Miss Laura Spence, the student whose future became so controversial when the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Britain's Minister of Finance in the current Labour government) attacked Oxford University for discriminating against her on grounds of social class, has arrived at Harvard (where she will read bio-chemistry) and made a statement in which she absolved the Oxford interview system of any blame for the way in which she was assessed and for her failure to be accepted by Magdalen College to study medicine.

Magdalen College and Oxford University now await an apology from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We hope no one there holds his or her breath.


The publication of the fighter pilot's report from the Balkans and the freelance cameraman's diary of the Gulf War produced mail that has encouraged us to continue the theme. We hope soon to publish some exclusive photographs taken by the Gulf cameraman.

In the meantime we decided it might be of interest to catalogue the statements made by the Russians during the recent tragedy off their northern shoreline. It has been traditional in our Western armies and navies that everything should be done to save the lives of our soldiers and sailors where that is possible without damage to the attainment of the strategic objective. The armed forces of the Soviet Union never had that tradition embedded into their military doctrine, but with the defeat of communism we had hoped to see signs of a gentler Russia. The incident beneath the waves of the Barents Sea has dashed such hopes.

The catalogue will be published in the next issue of Baronage.


We support, as has been stated many times, and also earlier in this newsletter, chiefless clans organising a clan structure for those who bear the Name. Accordingly, we were very pleased to learn that the Lord Lyon had recognised the Chief of a clan that had long been held to be only a disorganised sept of the Clan Campbell, one of Scotland's most powerful clans. That was a few years ago and we had assumed that since then the reorganisation would have proceeded smoothly.

Recently, however, we received some e-mails from the new Chief. These asked that we publish his clan history online, a task which, in principle, we should be happy to do when convenient to the publishing schedule. Unfortunately, he sought to insist that we should publish it unedited, on the basis that a Chief is best qualified to write the history of his clan and that he could not agree to have it edited.
The clan has its own website where the Chief's history tells us ~

"The surname emerged as a Scottish Clan in their territory of Argyll where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in Knapdale."

~ and all students of the fraudulent products of The Hall of Names will immediately recognise the phraseology ~

"....... their territory of BLANK where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in BLANK."

~ designed for the computer to insert appropriate district names in the spaces.

What can we do with a history written in part by The Hall of Names? And what can we think of a Chief who promotes this to his clansmen?

Moreover, what can we think of a Chief who is not a peer and yet advises his clansmen to style him "Right Honourable", a prefix to which he is not entitled unless he is a peer or Privy Councillor?

When challenged on this, he responded that as he was a "Knight Commander of the Templars" it was correct for him to be addressed as "Right Honourable". (The Templars belonged to one of the great religious-military orders founded in the 12th century to protect pilgrims and to defend the Holy Sepulchre. It was suppressed in 1307 and its property redistributed. It thereon ceased to exist.)
We have been told that a new order of "Templars" has been created by a group of enthusiastic students of the Middle Ages, but without Sovereign Patronage (from the Pope or a reigning monarch) it can only be a fantasy organisation founded for pleasure. There is no harm in such pastimes. Many people enjoy regular visits to "dude ranches". Others fight battles with imitation guns armed with pellets of paint. The mickeymouse orders of chivalry are similar in their attraction. They are innocent fun.
However, we do not expect members of the paint-gun clubs to take a .38 Smith and Wesson onto the streets and then to start shooting passers-by. We expect them to maintain a clear division between fantasy and the real world. Chiefs of Scottish clans belong to the real world and any Chief who mixes his fantasies with his practical obligations demeans his position as a member of the Scots nobility and dishonours his clan.
Accordingly, we expect to see the "Right Honourable" prefix removed from the clan website and to find that the initials of the various mickeymouse "orders of chivalry" following the Chief's name have disappeared also. (The Chief reads this newsletter.)


One of Scotland's greatest heraldic scholars in the 19th century was Robert R. Stodart, Lyon Clerk Depute from 1864 to 1886. We have plans to review his work in an article next year.

One of our correspondents has asked us to enquire about some notes he is believed to have made and which seem to have disappeared. He had undertaken extensive research in the Stodart family and had assembled details of every mention of the surname in the history of Scotland, but no one appears to know what has happened to them. He was too methodical a scholar to have been careless about their future safety, so there is every likelihood that they are lying unrecognised in some library. All the obvious places have been checked, and so we have been asked to appeal to our readers for any information that could help trace their whereabouts.


We continue to receive enquiries from readers who claim that they wish to buy a feudal title and who hope that we can recommend a trustworthy seller or broker or agent. Next month we shall publish a list of all those merchants dealing in "titles" whom we can unconditionally recommend. At present there are no names on the list.

We have received also a few letters asking why people buy titles. The next issue of the Baronage magazine will examine what one buyer has done with his, and shall allow readers to speculate on the difference it has made to his life and to his wife's life.

Estoile on shield
A page from Estoile's Scrapbook

( A fanfare of trumpets )

The death a few days ago of Lord Vernon, Baron of Kinderton, brought to mind the subject of mottoes. In England they are treated rather differently than in Scotland, where they are entered into Lyon Register and are then treated as part of the armorial achievement, which means they cannot be altered without the Lord Lyon's consent. Two that were altered spring to mind. Colonel David Stirling, DSO, famous as the founder of the SAS Regiment, had his motto changed from "I am ready" to "Who dares wins" - the motto of the SAS. And Harry Pirie-Gordon of Buthlaw, DSC, who in parallel with his fame as an historian enjoyed a career in Naval Intelligence, changed his motto from "Virtute non astutia" to "Virtute et astutia", the Lord Lyon having agreed that his profession called for both qualities.
In England mottoes are not part of a grant of arms and, indeed, many families have no motto. If a motto is used, then it may be changed at whim. Some in use today are fairly modern and very few can claim to be as antique as the arms they accompany. However, to return to Lord Vernon, who prompted these thoughts -- the motto of his family is old and, whereas many mottoes are shared by several families, his can be claimed as uniquely Vernon. It is -

"Ver non semper viret"

which obviously means "The spring does not always flourish", but if the first two words are run together to sound as -

"Vernon semper viret"

the motto becomes "Vernon always flourishes"!



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