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  1. #1
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    Clan Stewart badge

    We're familiar with the widely produced Clan Stewart badge showing a Pelican feeding her young.

    Specifically the pelican is shown "vulning" that is wounding herself, with drops of blood coming down.

    This is called a "Pelican Vulning in her Nest" and specifically a "Pelican in Her Piety".

    It's a common heraldic motif (it even appears on the Louisiana State flag) and is said to be an analogy for The Passion.

    So yesterday I was at a Highland Games and a vendor had an entire line of Clan badges I'd not seen before.

    Most of the badges which have been made going back to the early 20th century are recasts of recasts of the same old sculpts from who-knows-when. It's obviously an enormous project for a jeweller to do an entire line of new sculpts. But here was such a line!

    Looking at the Clan Stewart badge, which was a lovely sculpt, I was surprised to see a fish in the mouth of the mother Pelican. (Vulning ain't in it.)

    Which led me to look up just what the Stewart badge is supposed to be.

    I read on Wiki that due to a lack of a Chief, members of Clan Stewart use the badge belonging to the Earl of Galloway, the Senior Cadet, which Wiki says is:

    A Pelican Argent, winged Or, in her nest feeding her young, Proper.

    Sounds like the common Pelican in Her Piety. But if so, why isn't it worded that way?

    Because simply saying "feeding her young" could mean, say, a fish.

    Does anyone know why the Earl of Galloway badge is shown having a Pelican in Her Piety despite the wording not saying that?
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Does anyone know why the Earl of Galloway badge is shown having a Pelican in Her Piety despite the wording not saying that?
    I was doing some research a couple of years ago on the Home of Kames arms which features, apparently, a pelican in her piety in one quarter. I never discovered the origin but learned about the symbol and the meaning exactly as you describe, specifically its common use in heraldry. However, I just searched the "Heraldry of the Stewarts" (Johnston 1906) and found 8 instances of 'pelican' used across several branches, not just Galloway. None of them used the word piety or vulning, only feeding. The oldest was from a 16th century seal (so, not a recorded blazon, just a described image). The rest were 17th and 18th-century records in the Lyon register. Interesting to note that 'vulnere' (wound) appears in 5 mottos, always connected with a pelican crest.
    My initial instinct was someone incorrectly blazoned the arms they saw, not knowing the actual term/meaning. Incorrect in that the blazon is the way to document arms and guide the artistic depiction, not vice versa. Seems a bit of an intentional omission to have never been corrected or changed in the Lyon register but no way to be certain.

  4. #3
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    Thanks!

    Yes the motto seen on the commercially available Stewart cap badges is virescit vulnere virtus said to mean "courage grows strong at a wound" for which the Pelican in Her Piety is perfectly fitting.

    Does that book show crests of various Stewart branches? If so, do they show the Pelican in Her Piety, or a Pelican feeding her young unwounded?
    Last edited by OC Richard; 29th April 24 at 10:13 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Thanks!

    Yes the motto seen on the commercially available Stewart cap badges is virescit vulnere virtus said to mean "courage grows strong at a wound" for which the Pelican in Her Piety is perfectly fitting.

    Does that book show crests of various Stewart branches? If so, do they show the Pelican in Her Piety, or a Pelican feeding her young unwounded?
    Unfortunately no, Johnston's work only has images of shields and includes the blazon of the full achievement when available. His full books are available online:
    https://digital.nls.uk/histories-of-...%2C2815%2C3388

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    We're familiar with the widely produced Clan Stewart badge showing a Pelican feeding her young.

    Specifically the pelican is shown "vulning" that is wounding herself, with drops of blood coming down.

    This is called a "Pelican Vulning in her Nest" and specifically a "Pelican in Her Piety".

    It's a common heraldic motif (it even appears on the Louisiana State flag) and is said to be an analogy for The Passion.

    So yesterday I was at a Highland Games and a vendor had an entire line of Clan badges I'd not seen before.

    Most of the badges which have been made going back to the early 20th century are recasts of recasts of the same old sculpts from who-knows-when. It's obviously an enormous project for a jeweller to do an entire line of new sculpts. But here was such a line!

    Looking at the Clan Stewart badge, which was a lovely sculpt, I was surprised to see a fish in the mouth of the mother Pelican. (Vulning ain't in it.)

    Which led me to look up just what the Stewart badge is supposed to be.

    I read on Wiki that due to a lack of a Chief, members of Clan Stewart use the badge belonging to the Earl of Galloway, the Senior Cadet, which Wiki says is:

    A Pelican Argent, winged Or, in her nest feeding her young, Proper.

    Sounds like the common Pelican in Her Piety. But if so, why isn't it worded that way?

    Because simply saying "feeding her young" could mean, say, a fish.

    Does anyone know why the Earl of Galloway badge is shown having a Pelican in Her Piety despite the wording not saying that?
    I would be inclined to put this question direct to Lord Lyon Society.

    They will have the original emblazoning of the various Stewart arms - both the official description and the hand-drawn and coloured full coat themselves, including the crest - which will give you the definitive answer.

    This is the great thing about the office of Lord Lyon and College of Arms in London - they have the originals of all arms awarded in Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and their reords go back over centuries. The vellum records are wonderful things to see.

    If the crest in quetion as been changed or altered at any time, they should be able to tell you when, why and by whom. If they have no record of such a change, or matriculation, any such depiction or representation can be regarded as unofficial and incorrect.

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