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  1. #1
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    Scottish Arms and Nobility

    I came across an interesting article on this subject by an old aquaintance. As the "noibility" question comes up from time to time I thought you all might be interested:

    Changes in Scots Arms
    By W. Neil Fraser

    The new Lord Lyon David Sellar, appointed in March 2008, has begun to institute changes in the Letters Patent (legal document) for new grants of arms in Scotland. One change that would be less obvious is that he has revised the preamble of Letters Patent relative to the authority of the Lyon Court to reflect the legislation of the original Scottish Parliament in 1592 and 1672 that established the role of the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland to “exercise His (Her) Majesty’s heraldic prerogative in Scotland”. That authority remains in effect today, but is now more clearly stated in modern English.

    Another major change made by Lyon Sellar is to eliminate the “nobiliary” clause that often confused people, especially those who assumed that a grant of Scots arms created “noble” status for an armiger, unlike English and Canadian grants of arms.

    Much has been written about the intended meaning of the term “a noble in the noblesse of Scotland” that has been included in prior Letters Patent since the time of Lyon Sir Thomas Innes of Learney. Such discussions are far too complex to recite here, but it is generally agreed that a grant of Scottish arms does not confer any special “noble” status. It merely confirms that the grantee is a worthy and respected individual deserving of recognition by a grant of arms in Scotland. Those with titles of nobility from the Crown have the right to personal arms reflecting their noble status, and grants of arms merely confirm their noble status, with appropriate additaments such as supporters and appropriate mantling.

    The change will no doubt disappoint some who thought that a grant of arms in Scotland allowed them to suddenly become “noble,” even in countries like the U.S. and Canada where the nobility was abolished many years ago. Vanity has no limits, other than the cost and, if nothing else, has contributed to the coffers of the Lyon Office in Edinburgh and Her Majesty’s Treasury.

    Unlike the heraldic authorities at The College of Arms and Garter King of Arms in England, and The Chief Herald of Canada, the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland still deals directly with Her Majesty on heraldic matters as well as being a Judge of the Court of The Lord Lyon and Minister of the Crown.

    http://www.electricscotland.com/heraldry/scots_arms.htm

  2. #2
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    7th February 11
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    Re: Scottish Arms and Nobility

    Loovley! Thanks fer sharin'!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

  3. #3
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    Re: Scottish Arms, Nobility, and the Order of Malta

    Membership in the Order of Malta is limited to Catholic gentlemen, and Catholic ladies; its rank structure is divided into two noble categories-- Honour and Devotion, and Grace and Devotion. There is also a third category for non-nobles -- Magistral Grace. The definition of "nobles" as used by the Order is as follows:

    The word "noble", as used in the Order of Malta, is not restricted to titled nobility, but has retained its earlier and broader sense and applies to all who are of noble status by birth or creation". (Emphasis added.)

    Elsewhere the Order of Malta goes on to say:

    "...an outward sign of nobility has been for many centuries the public use of heraldic arms".

    I believe that the key word here is "creation". When a grant of arms is made, the recipient is, in effect, created an armiger and thus becomes a member of the nobility.

    It has been suggested that Sir Thomas Innes of Learney added the phrase "...by demonstration of which Ensigns Armorial he and his successors in the same are, amongst Nobles and in all Places of Honour, to be taken, numbered, accounted and received as Nobles in the Noblesse of Scotland~~~" because confusion had arisen on the continent as to the status of Scottish grants of arms.

    This confusion resulted in armigerous Scottish gentlemen seeking admission to the Order of Malta being received in the category of Magistral Grace, the lowest rank of membership, regardless of their noble status. (The commonly understood standard of nobility throughout Europe -- with the exception of the United Kingdom -- is the possession of a coat of arms, and has nothing whatsoever to do with titles.)

    It was the late Col. Gayre of Gayre and Nigg who, having been made aware of this dichotomy, brought it to the attention of Lyon. (Gayre, by the way, was a protestant and therefore not eligible for membership in the Order of Malta; thus his intervention can not be said to have been self-serving.) By adding the "nobility clause", Lyon was merely asserting to his continental counterparts that a Scottish armiger, who bore arms in right of his sovereign, was of the same status as any continental armiger, and that he should be treated as such.

    The whole discussion of nobility vs titled nobility is probably beyond the scope of this forum, as is "when is a peer not a peer?" (Answer: when he has lost his seat in Lords and reverts to the status of merely "titled" nobility.)

  4. #4
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    Re: Scottish Arms, Nobility, and the Order of Malta

    Quote Originally Posted by MacMillan of Rathdown View Post
    Membership in the Order of Malta is limited to Catholic gentlemen, and Catholic ladies; its rank structure is divided into two noble categories-- Honour and Devotion, and Grace and Devotion. There is also a third category for non-nobles -- Magistral Grace. The definition of "nobles" as used by the Order is as follows:

    The word "noble", as used in the Order of Malta, is not restricted to titled nobility, but has retained its earlier and broader sense and applies to all who are of noble status by birth or creation". (Emphasis added.)

    Elsewhere the Order of Malta goes on to say:

    "...an outward sign of nobility has been for many centuries the public use of heraldic arms".

    I believe that the key word here is "creation". When a grant of arms is made, the recipient is, in effect, created an armiger and thus becomes a member of the nobility.

    It has been suggested that Sir Thomas Innes of Learney added the phrase "...by demonstration of which Ensigns Armorial he and his successors in the same are, amongst Nobles and in all Places of Honour, to be taken, numbered, accounted and received as Nobles in the Noblesse of Scotland~~~" because confusion had arisen on the continent as to the status of Scottish grants of arms.

    This confusion resulted in armigerous Scottish gentlemen seeking admission to the Order of Malta being received in the category of Magistral Grace, the lowest rank of membership, regardless of their noble status. (The commonly understood standard of nobility throughout Europe -- with the exception of the United Kingdom -- is the possession of a coat of arms, and has nothing whatsoever to do with titles.)

    It was the late Col. Gayre of Gayre and Nigg who, having been made aware of this dichotomy, brought it to the attention of Lyon. (Gayre, by the way, was a protestant and therefore not eligible for membership in the Order of Malta; thus his intervention can not be said to have been self-serving.) By adding the "nobility clause", Lyon was merely asserting to his continental counterparts that a Scottish armiger, who bore arms in right of his sovereign, was of the same status as any continental armiger, and that he should be treated as such.

    The whole discussion of nobility vs titled nobility is probably beyond the scope of this forum, as is "when is a peer not a peer?" (Answer: when he has lost his seat in Lords and reverts to the status of merely "titled" nobility.)
    Thanks for that. Col. Gayre however kept some unfortunate Irish company; and you're right the entire subject, other than a light discussion is really for a heavier place of interest. I encluded it as a very interesting note on Scottish heraldry as it his historically significant. Your expansion however is really interesting and I'm sure that most were unaware of that, so thanks very much for your contribution.
    Last edited by Gregmc; 30th December 11 at 03:59 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Scottish Arms and Nobility

    What sort of "unfortunate" Irish company did Gayre keep?

  6. #6
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    Re: Scottish Arms and Nobility

    Quote Originally Posted by MacMillan of Rathdown View Post
    What sort of "unfortunate" Irish company did Gayre keep?

    Terrance Mccarthy

    http://www.heraldica.org/topics/orders/icoc.html

    International Commission on Orders of Chivalry (1996)
    • President:
    Lt. Col. Gayre of Gayre and Nigg (†)
    • Vice-President:
    The MacCarthy Mór, Prince of Desmond
    • Chairman:
    The Rt. Hon. the Lord Borthwick of that Ilk
    • Secretary-General:
    Lt. Colonel Baron O'Kelly de Conejera

    I know very little about Col. Gayre, other than to note that those who kept such company wound up on very unfortunate ground.

    So, you made mention of the Col. so I thought I'd follow up.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  7. #7
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    Gayre and the ICOC... setting the record straight

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregmc View Post
    Terrance Mccarthy

    http://www.heraldica.org/topics/orders/icoc.html

    International Commission on Orders of Chivalry (1996)
    • President:
    Lt. Col. Gayre of Gayre and Nigg (†)
    • Vice-President:
    The MacCarthy Mór, Prince of Desmond
    • Chairman:
    The Rt. Hon. the Lord Borthwick of that Ilk
    • Secretary-General:
    Lt. Colonel Baron O'Kelly de Conejera

    I know very little about Col. Gayre, other than to note that those who kept such company wound up on very unfortunate ground.

    So, you made mention of the Col. so I thought I'd follow up.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.
    Terrence McCarthy, the con man who most definitely was not the MacCarthy Mór, created his own International Commission on Orders of Chivalry after both Gayre and Borthwick had died in 1996. He was assisted in this effort by his close friend Patrick O'Kelly, who, by deed poll, changed his name to O'Kelly de Conejera in 1958, shorty after the death of his father. (His father, by the way, does not seem to have ever used any territorial designation during his lifetime, so one can only speculate where the "de Conejera" came from.)

    At the time McCarthy created his ICOC the original organization (which was founded by Gayre) had been moribund for about ten years, and it appears as if this was done to assist McCarthy in the sale of bogus titles, and to enhance his sense of self aggrandizement.

    So, in the very real sense, neither Gayre nor Borthwick had anything to do with McCarthy's "medal collecting" club.

    With best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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