ACQUIRING SCOTTISH ARMS

Full information and instructions on applying for a Scottish grant of Arms may be obtained from:

The Lyon Clerk
The Court of the Lord Lyon
H.M. New Register House
Edinburgh EH1 3YT
Telephone: 031-556 7255

You may wish to request in particular the following materials:
* General Information Leaflet: Genealogy, Heraldry and Tartans
*
Information Leaflet No. 4: Petitions for Arms
* Schedule of Fees

Information on this page is a summary and selection from the above materials and others.


Please Note: Lyon Court and its staff do not undertake private researches for individuals. You must do that on your own, or hire a professional researcher. Public Registers and other collections in Lyon Office will be searched for specific requests at nominal search fees:

Register of Arms:�BR> Register of Genealogies:�BR> General search of Heraldic and Genealogical manuscripts or other Lyon Office collections:


Lord Lyon King of Arms,
Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight, KCVO
in his judicial robes.

Lord Lyon
On behalf of the Sovereign, the Lord Lyon King of Arms exercises the Royal Prerogative committed to him by statute (Act of 1672) to grant Arms to "Virtuous and well deserving persons." The Court of the Lord Lyon is a court of law, and applications for Arms are made by a formal "Petition." This is done on the initiative of the person wishing to obtain Arms.
The process can be fairly short and simple, depending on which of three main varieties of Petitions is filed:

* A New Grant of Arms.This is available to any person of Scottish descent who is a resident citizen of Great Britain (including the British Commonwealth and Her Majesty's overseas realms). A certain amount of one's ancestry is expected but need include only as much as the Petitioner wishes to present in the formal Grant, and can prove by acceptable documentary evidence.

* A Grant of Arms to an Ancestor.This is required for nationals of countries other than Great Britain, since Lyon Court's authority affects only British citizens. So a foreigner of Scottish descent must first acquire arms for a Scottish ancestor, before his right to bear them can be confirmed. Once arms are "retrospectively" granted to the Scottish ancestor, the Petitioner will naturally acquire them by descent, with no further charge or registration required, as long as the Petitioner is the proven senior male descendant.

* A Matriculation from Existing Arms.If the Petitioner is not in the senior direct male line of descent from the original armigerous ancestor (eg., is a descendant of a younger brother or nephew of the ancestor), then a "matriculation" is required. This entails incorporating a suitable mark of "difference," or "cadency," into the design of the Arms, describing the degree of relation to the original armigerous ancestor. In effect, this establishes the Petitioner as head of a "collateral" branch of the family, with its own distinctive Arms, though based on those of the main ancestral armiger.

When a grant or matriculation of arms is successfully obtained, an illuminated parchment narrating the pedigree as proved is supplied to the Petitioner, and a duplicate is recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland and/or the Public Register of Genealogies and Birthbrieves. Once Arms have been granted and recorded in the Public Register, in the Court of Lord Lyon, they are protected to their owner by the full force of Scottish Law, and forever. Any infringement of armorial rights in Scotland may be brought to the Procurator Fiscal to the Court of the Lord Lyon, who will mount any necessary prosecution of the offender entirely at the Crown's expense.

Use these links to view specimens of some relevant forms and documents:

Facsimile of an Extract of Matriculation
Specimen Petition for a New Grant of Arms / Grant of Arms to an Ancestor
Specimen Schedule of Proofs

Lyon Office is reportedly considering creating its own website. We will provide that link when it becomes available.

Suggested reading:

Scots Heraldry by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney. 2nd edition 1956, reissued 1971.
Oliver & Boyd, London & Edinburgh (Genealogical Publishing Co., U.S.A.) ISBN 0-8063-0478-2

Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia by George Way of Plean & Romilly Squire.
1994. HarperCollins Publishers, Glasgow. ISBN 0-00-470547-5

The Clans Septs & Regiments of The Scottish Highlands
by Frank Adam; edited by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney
8th edition 1970, reissued 1975, -77, -84. Johnston & Bacon Ltd., Stirling. ISBN 0-7179-4500-6

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