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History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:00 pm
by Greg Livingston
I've been watching this section of the forum for a while to see what interesting subjects might come up. So far, nothing. So, I will start the first thread.

I've been interested in heraldry for years but don't understand enough about the hows, wheres, and whys of the differences and basic rules for the different arms. Basically, I know just enough to get into trouble. :oops:

For example, in our photo gallery here there are 8 different Arms for various Livingstons and then we have Bachuil's arms. In the first group there are many elements that are the same on the shield and the demi-savage above the shield. Bachuil's arms, or Achievement as it should be called, are different in that the rampant lion is now on the shield instead of as a supporter and St Moluag is above the shield.

My limited knowledge is that each is approved by the Lord Lyon and belongs to that individual. So, when a son applies for arms, such as what I assume is the differences for the first 8, why and how do they get changed?

I know that this type of discussion could take forever and sometimes will go over the head of someone that has not grown up in a country where heraldry is known such as Great Britain so please be easy on my simple, colonial brain. ;)

Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:06 am
by Kyle MacLea
Here's a good start:

I know there's a better article online that explains more about the evolution of the arms.


Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:18 pm
by Greg Livingston
Kyle, I have read that before and still have questions. For example, looking at the heraldry gallery on this site we see the Arms of Livingston of Livingston, Arms of Livingston of Drumry, and Wemyss next to the Arms of Lord Livingston of Callender. Obviously, there was the addition of the royal double tressure between the first two and then the addition of the everything outside the shield along with the quartering. Then there are the Arms of Livingston Viscount of Kilsyth which adds everything outside of the shield of Livingston of Drumry and Wemyss. Each of these show a progression through the years but beg the question in my mind of why they end up the way they are. What are the circumstances that created this change or that change? Why did one go back to basically the same as 300 years previously? To my mind these are all Lowland Livingstons so do we have any Highland Livingstone/MacLea arms from the same time periods? Or, are there any?

I did run across this link, that gives a lot of good information but haven’t digested enough of it to completely understand yet. Of course, it might be easier to follow if I had started this about 30 or 40 years ago!

It would be nice if we had someone with a good heraldry knowledge that would monitor this section to help us understand in simple language.

Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:45 am
by Kyle MacLea
Grant MacLea South may have something to add to help us!

Grant--you out there?


Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:21 pm
by Grant MacLea South
Dear Gentlemen,

I am so sorry to not respond sooner.

The Lowland Livingston's have an original set of Arms granted to the known stem of that family and matriculated with difference to each branch accordingly. Further a senior branch in time may succeed to the stem arms only, if and when, the stem itself is no longer represented by a descendant. The stem arms then falls to the next branch being closer than it's collateral cousin's.

I will now research the various possible reason's for this in particular to the Lowland Family.

There are Grants of Arms to Joseph Paton Maclay [1857-1951] ,who was made firstly 1st Baronet and later Baron Maclay of Glasgow and his son's. Where his family originates I am not presently aware.

Without doubt the premier Arms of the Name is vested in our Chief.

For Clan Members.
There will in time be arms associated with Clan members and these will be matriculated with difference accordingly.

There are also arms Granted and held by members of the Clan, who may descend from one of the historic branches in a cognate maternal line, such as my own Arms. These do not resemble the Chiefs, as Arms in Scotland, in themselves as incorporeal feudal property , are associated directly with the Name, as the index of the Family and personal to the grantee and their respective heraldic heir's.

Although certain heraldic elements may be shared in a variety of creative ways, if allowed by Lord Lyon. For example, as I am the first of the Name of South to be Granted Arms in Scotland. I had via consultation with Lord Lyon the opportunity to suggest my desired Coat. This took much time, several years. In my crest above my shield I have a Gules [Red] Hand. This is traditionally seen in West Highland Heraldry as a descent from the Royal Line of Ulster. In our Chief's Arms we see the Gules Hand holding the Crosslet of St Moluag within the Shield quartered in the 2nd & 3rd, as the spiritual and temporal heir of St Moluag. St Moluag's crosslet held by a member of the ancient Royal House.

The Slogan of our Clan is "Cnoc Aingeil", which means the Hill of Light [Fire] and refers to the ancient sacred place of the Pict Kings of Western Scotland found on Lismore not far from Bachuil.

In my arms I have the Gules Hand in my Crest not within my Arms. The Hand is holding a 'Sun in Splendour Or [Gold]', by the southern most ray, which is a direct association to my Name and Arms. Our ancient Celtic ancestors worshiped the Sun God of Light whose element on earth was seen as fire, so here I have another intrinsic association to our origins.

So we can see that whether we hold the Clan Name as our surname or we are descendants through our maternal ancestor's, being the native daughters of the Clan, we can if we so desire petition Lord Lyon for Arms which, according to the Laws of Heraldry, will be passed down to each successive generation within our families.

When a Clansman or women is granted Arms they in part establish a new heraldic branch family. For a 'House' to be erected and perfected it takes either three generations or 81 years. Each member of the Clan who holds the Name is reckoned a descendant of the original stem of the Clan. This follows the ancient principles that a, 'man of the soil', was established if his family had lived in a community in "good standing", for three generations. This further suggests that a principle of intermarriage with descendants of the established territorial family, the Chiefs, and their collateral branches being the Chieftains, Lairds and Tacksmen.

It is right and proper to consult with the Chief in this regard and seek support for a petition in Lyon Court.

Scottish Heraldry is unique, particularly West Highland Heraldry, as it represents the totemic symbols which a Clan/Family is historically associated. Genealogy, Name, History and Heraldry are intimately bound in Scotland.

I have written my reply so that other's who read this post may also get a better picture of both the process and the history of our heraldry.

All the very best!

Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:44 pm
by Greg Livingston
Grant MacLea South wrote:Dear Gentlemen,

I am so sorry to not respond sooner. <snip>

That is fine, Grant. I expect not many look at this section and my primary reason was to start some discussion so that we all may learn more from those that have knowledge of the subject. Obviously, having gone through the process of establishing Arms, you have more information than many. Thank you for joining in.
Grant MacLea South wrote:Dear Gentlemen,


When a Clansman or women is granted Arms they in part establish a new heraldic branch family. For a 'House' to be erected and perfected it takes either three generations or 81 years. Each member of the Clan who holds the Name is reckoned a descendant of the original stem of the Clan. This follows the ancient principles that a, 'man of the soil', was established if his family had lived in a community in "good standing", for three generations. This further suggests that a principle of intermarriage with descendants of the established territorial family, the Chiefs, and their collateral branches being the Chieftains, Lairds and Tacksmen.

It is right and proper to consult with the Chief in this regard and seek support for a petition in Lyon Court.

Scottish Heraldry is unique, particularly West Highland Heraldry, as it represents the totemic symbols which a Clan/Family is historically associated. Genealogy, Name, History and Heraldry are intimately bound in Scotland.

I have written my reply so that other's who read this post may also get a better picture of both the process and the history of our heraldry.

All the very best!
In this section of your post you talk about 3 generations in a community. Does this, for example, mean that the person applying (me for example) must be the 3rd generation in the same city or could I go back and establish arms for an ancestor that was the 3rd generation in a city/town/village and then matriculate from there to me? Or, would this mean that since I am the 5th+ generation in the US (since many families moved further west over the years) that I could just start with me? I have heard that I would have to complete my quest to find my ancestor that was born in Scotland first.

Thank you for the good information and I hope we can continue to be learn more on this subject from you and others that may have that knowledge.

Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:25 am
by Grant MacLea South
Hello Greg,

Yes it is possible. There are several research questions that need to be looked at. Below is a wee overview. Scottish Heraldry is heavily protected by both Scots Law and Scots cultural practice. So you are embarking on a legal process before a Court. Although they are friendly and do assist where possible.

1. Good proof of your last known Scottish ancestor. [British Subject].
2. Did your direct ancestor's hold Arms, [Family History].
3. Parochial Records of their family in last known location.

As you are a non-British subject. Arms would be Granted in principle to your last known Scottish Ancestor and then your arms would be accordingly matriculated from those of your ancestor based on the arms they were Granted and your own place within your family of cousin's in the USA. This genealogical information all conditions the process of matriculation.

If you wish more information just let me know, I think you can PM on our forum, with an e-mail address and I will point you further.

Importantly it is good practice to discuss this with our Chief. For those who can not undertake such research the wearing of the Chief's Badge as the Badge of the Clan is the cultural enjoyment of the Scottish Family tradition and it's Heraldry. As you well know, this resounds the 'Old Spirit'.

I do hope this helps.

All my best!

Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:57 am
by Grant MacLea South
As promised I am posting some information in answer to the question regarding Livingstone and Livingston heraldry.

A Brief Look at the Lowland Livingston’s of Callendar, their principal cadets and heraldry.

Here I present fourteen generations of the early family to provide the context of how the Arms of the Lowland Livingston Family evolved. What I have written in not exhaustive and more information may be found to clarify this further.

The ancient stem arms of the Lowland Livingstons are recorded as: “Argent, three cinquefoils Gules” [Silver with three red five pointed leaves].

Brief Historical Account.

In the time when St Margeret the Exile, bride of Malcolm III. , Ceann Mor, King of Scots, left her exile in Hungary, she entered into Scotland with her retinue including one held to be named Baron De Leving [or more likely his ancestor]. It is thought that this Baron was of Anglo-Saxon descent being a follower of St Margaret’s father, Prince Edward the Atheling, eldest son of Edmund II, Ironside, King of England. Alternatively it has been suggested in various accounts that Baron de Leving may have been a Highlander or had strong Highland connections and may have been one of the followers of Malcolm III., himself. In this case he may have been sent to accompany St Margaret, Princess of England, safely to Scotland. It is recorded that the Lowland Livingstons considered themselves kin, to some degree, with our MacLea/Livingstones, offering both protection and hospitality.

Without doubt at this time it was a period of great change, the King of Scots and his Gaelic Court welcomed St Margaret, and her followers to Scotland and began the process of unification of the Kingdom. This was a time of intermarriage between the powerful Houses and their followers. We must be mindful that at the same time the Lowlands were predominately of Angle and Briton decent. St Margaret represented the old Anglo-Saxon House pre-1066 [Battle of Hastings] which established the Norman era.

1. Baron de Leving [ca. 1057], settled in the area of West Lothian, just southwest of Edinburgh in the reign of Edgar [1097-1107], this area became known as “Leving’s Town” [Levingstoun] or “Livingston”.

2. Thorston is recorded as the first born “of Levingston”.

3. Sir Alexander Livingston. [1124-1153].

4. Sir William Livingston. Living in the reign of William I., the Lion. [1165-1214].

5.1. Sir Archibald de Livingston [D. 1313]. Sheriff of Linlithgow & Stirling. Founder of the Livingston’s of Linlithgow & Stirling. Mainline became extinct in 1512. [Some debate in, The Livingstons of Callendar, where Mr. E.B. Livingston refutes Sir Beranrd Burke {Burkes Peerage’s} that Archibald was the eldest son.].

5.2. Sir Andrew de Livingston. [D. 1297] Slain in the revolt led by Sir William Wallace. Direct ancestor of the Livingstons of Callendar. Married Lady Elene de Quarantly [or de Carantelegh] with issue;

6. Sir William de Livingston of Gorgyn, Crainmillar and Drumry. [D. 1339]. Married Margaret, thought to be the daughter of Sir Fergus Comyn, Lord of Goryn. [note the mention of the arms below].

7.1 John Livingston [D.1366] married a daught of Wemyss of Wemyss. Founder of the Livingstons of Drumry & East Wemyss. This line became extinct with the death of Robert Livingston, Sept. 9, 1513, at the Battle of Flodden Field.

Arms: “Argent, three cinquefoils Gules”, quartered with the Arms of the ancient House of Callendar, “Sable, a bend between six, Or.”

7.2 Sir William Livingston of Callendar. [D. Nov. 30, 1364]. Married Christian de Callendar, only daughter of Sir Patrick de Callendar. Inherited the lands of his father-in-law. The House of Callendar descends in the maternal line from the ancient line of the Earls of Lennox. [see Alwin,1st Earl of Lennox, [D. ca. 1199] whose son also Alwin, 2nd Earl. Married Eva, daughter of Gilchrist, Earl of Menteith.]. Accordingly the Livingstons of Callendar are also ancient representers of the House of Callendar.

8. Sir John Livingston of Callendar, [ca.1356-1402]. Slain at the Battle of Homildon Hill, 14 Sept. as was his cousin, Sir Robert Livingston of Drumry and Wemyss. Married as his 1st wife the daughter of John Mentheith of Kerse. And 2ndly he married Agnes Douglas, daughter of Sir John Douglas of Dalkeith. Sir John. had several children I mention here those who established Heraldic Houses.

9.1. Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar.
9.2 William Livingston, 1st Viscount of Kilsyth. [Founder of the Livingstons of Kilsyth.

10. Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar. [D. 1415]. A favourite of James II, King of Scots. Married a daughter of James Dundas of Dundas. With issue.

11.1. Sir James Livingston, 1st Lord Livingston of Callendar. Great Chamberlain and Master of the Royal Household. Married Marion de Berwick, dau of Thomas de Berwick, with issue below. [12].
11.2. Alexander Livingston of Feldes [or Phildes] of Perthshire. Ancestor of the Livingstons of Dunipace, Bantaskine, Kirklands of Dunipace, Balrownie, and Halls of Airth.

12.1. James Livingston, 2nd Lord Livingston of Callendar, “a fulle and natural idiot”. Debarred from marriage and died without issue.
12.2. Alexander Livingston. Married wife unknown father of Sir James Livingston, 3rd Lord Livingston of Callendar.

13. Sir James Livingston, 3rd Lord Livingston of Callendar. [D. 1503]. Married ca. 1472, Beatrice Fleming, dau of Robert, 1st Lord Fleming. Lady Beatrice was the 4 generation grandchild of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. [1274-1329].

14.1. Sir William Livingston, 4th Lord Livingston of Callendar. [died before Apr. 25, 1518]. Married Agnes Hepburn, dau of Alexander Hepburn, the Younger of Whitsome, son of Sir Patrick Hepburn, Lord Hailes.
14.2. Alexander Livingston of Terrintiran.

A few Heraldic notes.

Livingston of Livingston
This House became extinct in the male line in 1513. This line held the stem arms of three cinquefoils but without the double treasure. These are the Arms of Livingston of that Ilk being once heads of the Lowland family.

Livingston of Callendar.
Arm: “Argent, three cinquefoils Gules, [including the double treasure] quartered with the Callendar Arms: “Sable, a bend between six billets, Or”.

Livingston of Drumry and Easter Weem.
These early cadets are recorded as Livingston of Drumry, this line married a coheiress of Wemyss of Wemyss [Weems] in Fife and we can presume that the Arms of Wemyss were quartered. This line also held Glassmont and Lochore in Fife, where the double treasure was maintained, but did not add the Callendar quarter. The heiress of this line, Margaret Livingston, carried both Drumry and Easter Weem [Wemyss] to her husband, Sir James Hamilton of Finnart, also known as the “Bastard of Arran”.

Livingston of Kilsyth.
The lands of Kilsyth were inherited from the once powerful family of 'de Val', in the mid-14thc. This family descended from Elizabeth, a coheiress of William de Caldecote, who had Annadale connections. The Livingstons of Kilsyth included a mullet at point to the treasured Livingston Arms [Livingston of Callender]. An escallop was later taken up by their cadet branch Livingston of Manyerston, who held the achievement, “Azure, two pierced cinquefoils Or in chief” and an escallop Or in base. These colours reflect those once held by the Caldecotes.

Other Cadets.
Livingstons of Westquarter, Kynnaird and Dunipace used arms but are recorded in Scottish Historic Heraldry [p.249], as being, “rather casual in their approach to differencing”.

Livingstones of Saltcoats.
Of note also in Scottish Historic Heraldry [p.249.] is that “Of heraldic interest too are the Livingstones [note spelling, I am not sure as I find Livingston below.] of Saltcoats in East Lothian, a separate family, which bore quite different arms based on “Argent, a bend and an otter’s head coupled in sinister chief all Gules”.

I can not at this time give firm information regarding this family, except for this below.

John livingston, [D. 1452], Bishop of Dunkeld, consecrated 30 June 1476, was previously Dean of Dunkeld, Rector of Forteviot and Weme, Vicar of Innerleithen, the son of the Laird of Saltcoats, East Lothian.

Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:05 am
by Grant MacLea South
Dear Greg,

You mentioned about how a son might petition for arms.

An eldest son may hold his father's arms marked with a white label of three points and an eldest grandson also marked with a white label of five as direct Heirs in courtesy use of the arms until the time of succession. This follows in a similar, but reduced, way in which titles are also inherited as hereditary incorporeal property. Other son's, must petition, Lord Lyon, for a matriculation of their father's arms, which in turn will be held by their eldest son, etc, etc, and so the system continues to grow. In Scotland these are recorded with 'congruent difference', with either a Border, [unlike that seen in English Arms], and/or quartered based on the heraldic heritage of their maternal family. For example we can see this principle in the, Livingstons of Callendar arms, [Livingston & Callendar].

In my own case no one had recorded Arms under my surname, but I am of West Highland descent in several maternal lines, and a Commonwealth Subject. My wife is a recorded descendant of the Mackay Chiefs and the Royal Stewarts, I descend from the ancient MacLea Chiefs, via the Achnacree branch, and so a new Coat was developed and Granted. It is important to mention that due to the nature of intermarriage within the Highland's, Clansfolk descend from the line of our Chief's, and their collateral branches, and their territorial neighbours in various lines of descent. Possibly many times over via cousin marriages, particularly from those other Clans which we were historically associated with, such as the MacDougall's of Lorn and the Stewarts of Appin and their septs.

Arms in Scotland are of a different nature to Arms in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland when an individual is Granted Arms they are in effect the root of the "noble stok" of the family and it's descendants. A Grant of Arms, via Letters Patent, and signed with the instrument of the Scottish Crown, are the creation of an Armorial Fife, held as feudal property and inherited as incorporeal property.

With respect, the West Highland practice is Clan based, and this cultural practice has spread over time to other parts of Scotland and is now an innate aspect of heraldic practice in Scotland.

For example, a Chief is entitled to wear the Three Eagle Feather's in their bonnet, [the reigning Monarch wearing Four]. If a Chief is an ancient Baron he may wear the appropriate 'Cap of Maintenance', of his barony, above the circlet of his crest badge. If a cadet branch of a Clan has variously attracted Royal favour and been awarded a title within the Peerage or also holds a Barony in their own right, this individual would be a Chieftain, as head of a significant historical cadet branch and wear the Two Feather's of his station within the Clan, although he may hold a senior Title of precedence, such as an Earl. Accordingly he may wear his heraldic crown or cap of precedence above the circlet, but as a Two Feather Chieftain. The Chief, as 'Paterna paternis', reigns supreme within the Clan, and as the representer of the "noble stok", convey's nobility to all who are member's of the Clan. The Clan itself is held in Scottish Law as a 'noble community'.

Armiger's without a Barony or other Title, may wear a Single Feather with approval from their Chief. Clan Commissioner's are often given permission from their Chief, when representing the Clan to wear Two Feathers in their bonnet as holding a direct commission and appointment as a territorial leader. For Clan's without a Chief, and which have via petition to Lyon Court have a Clan Commander appointed, via an election of the Derbhfine of the Clan [Armiger's and Lairds/Landowners], and agreed by Lyon, this individual may also wear Two Feathers in their bonnet until such times as Clan Chief can be recognised or they themselves are duly recognised as their Clan's Chief. This has happen in recent years with the Clan MacAulay, and something similar may arise for Clan MacPhee.

I am sure much of this is known to you, but I thought it may also be of interest to others who may read our thread regarding Heraldry and its practice.

All my best.

Re: History of the Arms of Livingston(e)

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:20 pm
by Grant MacLea South
Heraldry and Clan Structures.

Here is a little perspective from a Highland point of view.

Heraldry was very popular in the Lowlands of Scotland, due in many ways to the predominance of Anglo-Norman and other continental territorial families with their Court in Edinburgh, [eg. Balliol, Bruce, Stewart, Comyn, Douglas, Gordon, Hamilton, Sinclair/St. Clair and others]. Many of these Anglo-Norman families, in time, married daughters, often heiresses of the older Houses of Gaeldom and so these families became quite Scottish/Celtic in the way in which they organised their families. Very different in nature and context to those other Anglo-Norman families which established themselves in England. The same can be said of those Anglo-Norman families which established themselves in Ireland and also organised themselves according to the practice of the Irish Septs. [De Clare [Strongbow], Tyrell, Fitzgerald, Burke, etc].

The Highlands were slow to take up the Anglo-Norman practice of Heraldry, and many only did so if and when they were called to Parliament. For many of the more ancient Clans such as ourselves, the practice in many ways was a practice foreign to Gaeldom where ones place within the Clan was conditioned in many ways by the relationship one had with ones Chief', Chieftain and/or Laird, and was of far greater and more practical import than concerns in far away Edinburgh.

In the West Highland's we see several totemic symbols which appear quartered in the stem Arms of a Clan, often being themes held in common as part of the Gaelic heritage of the Clans and in recognition of the Chiefs descent representing the stem, which became in time the descent of the Clan itself, all of us who hold the name of the Clan, one of it's variants or a maternal ancestor who did as members of the so-called 'belly-kin [Gaelic: maithre].

In other areas of the Highlands we see the ancient symbols of the Celtic Earl's, now held by various Chiefs, for example the Three Stars of Moray, which is now seen in the stem Arms of the Sutherlands, as their ancestor was once the Earl of Moray [Hugh de Moravia]. In the Heraldic practice of the Lowlands we see the continuity of Norman Heraldic motifs as once practiced by those families in France.

Although there are books which outline what is now known as the general Clan System, each Clan should rightly be seen as a unique community with it's own traditions where many inter-related customs and practices, often practical in nature, were either upheld as common themes found in other Clans or not, according to the Chiefs and leading Houses and their relationship to their territorial neighbours.

Several systems were actual practiced. One is the basic rule of a powerful territorial agnatic family, with branch cadets led by chieftains, this is most common in the West Highlands. The other is seen in the confederation of Clan Chattan, where a central agnatic line of the Mackintosh Chiefs are supported by 16 smaller Clans, which descend in either agnatic decent from the Mackintosh Clan Chattan line or married into the confederation via Isogamy or 'blood-bond', the marriage of children of fathers of the same or similar rank for mutual protection and support. This practice in various degrees was also practiced in other Clans as established Septs, being the ancient adherents or 'men of the soil' [Gaelic: senchleithe],[native men who where in situ before the formation of the recorded historical Clan as we know it ], with their own leaders who may or may not have functioned as Tacksmen, in the later Clan system from the 17thc. onwards. These Septs were often organised under the local leadership of a collateral branch of the powerful agnatic family. Some of these families were also armigerous in their own right, many others not.

Again each Clan was unique and under the direct discretion of each Chief, in each successive generation.

An exception to this general rule of agnatic inheritance was when an Heiress of an ancient House, conveyed the Chiefship, Chieftainship, Barony or Lairdship to her eldest son who would then take the Name of the ancient House. Or in the instance where a co-heiress may convey her inheritance or Heraldry to her son's. again often taking the Name or incorporating the Name as part of their present Name. [It should be noted in Scottish heraldic law that Chiefs of Clans may only hold a single surname, being the Name and Arms of the Clan as a title.] The process of inheritance, mentioned above, through the senior heiress, where no male siblings or their children are available is seen in the continental Salic Laws of succession. In Scotland there is also another element to this practice as we must remember that our ancient Pict ancestor's conveyed their succession through the 'Princess Royal' of the Tribe, the eldest daughter of the House, being an ancient sacred matrilineal practice. So in Scotland we see various Clans whose Chiefs are women and hold the undifferenced stem Arms of their House. A few examples are The Countess of Sutherland, Chief of Clan Sutherland and the late Countess of Errol, previous Chief of Clan Hay.

All the very best!