For those of us in traditional clan societies, the celebration of our Scottish heritage, culture and history remains very important to us. We believe that in order to be recognised and respected as a clan in general and a society in particular, following proper protocol is an important part of who and what we are. As such, recognition and an understanding of the important visual signatures of a clan is necessary.
In the structure of a Scottish clan, of the five main and individualised visual signatures, two are general for all clansmen, two signify the position within the clan or its Grand Council, and one belongs only to the chief.
A) the clan tartan, in our case Red Carruthers if we see ourselves as a clan in our own right, although if we still see ourselves as a sept of Bruce, the Bruce tartan is there for our use, but not our ownership.
B) the clan badge, which is taken from the crest of the Clan Chief, in our case the Seraphim, always and historically portrayed with a face. This is enclosed in a belt and buckle on which is inscribed the Chiefs motto: Promptus et Fidelis.
These two items identify us as a member or a supporter of the Border Reiver Clan Carruthers.
C) The use of banners which are flown by the Chieftains or Armigers, usually at gatherings or above their residences if they so wish. Each one is identifiable to an individual and taken directly from the chiefs arms but with two differences.
D) A Chief , Chieftain and Armiger are permitted to wear eagle feathers, although these days some chose to have the feather/s incorporated in their cap badge, which is just as valid.
A Chieftain, who can only be appointed by a Chief recognised by the Lord Lyon, can wear two eagle feathers in their bonnet, and an Armiger, may wear one, while the Chief themelves would signify their position by wearing three.
E) Last but not least, the Arms of the Clan Chief, from which everything except the tartan is derived. This is the property of the chief alone and therefore belongs to an individual not a family.
The Chief of any Scottish clan is confirmed in their use by the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh. This is based on their genealogical right to do so, either historically or after an evidenced petition is presented and accepted.
Most certainly within countries with recognised heralds from the Crown, to include Canada, registration of arms which inappropriately use the arms of others, would be refused. In countries where there are no government bodies for the registering of arms, all private Heraldic bodies will follow Heraldic Law and would again voice concerns.
Misuse and does it matter?
Anyone can wear any tartan and any clan badge and most clans would be flattered by you doing so. The self appointment of clan titles and the wearing of the accoutrements associated with them is harmless if kept within the club in which they are used. However, if used within the wider cultural population, they are more likely to offend and probably won’t be supported.
For those who are hereditary chiefs or those who have chosen to follow the long and often arduous path of attaining confirmation of title through the Lyon Court, then one has to assume that offence is guaranteed. Their personal signatures and that of their clan are important to them as well as to their clansmen. These include such families as the Buchanans, the Bells, the Carruthers, the Glendinnings, the Irvings and the MacKinnons. Some of whom have achieved their gaol after many years and some, who like us are still working through the process.
Therefore for those who fully embrace our heritage and culture, to include the many clan or Scottish gatherings being held annually, are inclined to recognise the authority of the Lyon in such matters. Outwith the embarrassment of being prevented from wearing visual signatures beyond their right to do so, one has to question whether the disdain by those who know, is worth it. It does however remain a personal choice as does the acceptance of that choice by others, but as a society we chosen to do things right and to in an attempt that we can hold our heads high by ensuring any claims we make are valid and evidenced.
Evidenced CHIEFS OF CARRUTHERS and Seniors of the line.
Carruthers of Carruthers
- William de Carruthers of Carruthers who died circa 1245 was succeeded by an unnamed son;
- Carruthers 2ndof Carruthers was succeeded by his son;
- John de Carruthers 3rdof Carruthers who was succeeded by his son;
House of Carruthers of Mouswald
- Thomas Carruthers of Mouswald who was succeeded by his brother;
- William Carruthers 2ndof Mouswald who was succeeded by his son;
- Robert Carruthers 3rdof Mouswald who was succeeded by his son;
- Simon Carruthers 4thof Mouswald who was succeed by his son;
- Andrew Carruthers 5thof Mouswald who died before 1438 and was succeeded by his son;
- John Carruthers 6thof Mouswald and 1st Baron, died circa 1454 and was succeeded by his eldest son;
- Archibald Carruthers 7thof Mouswald and 2nd Baron, he died in 1484 and was succeeded by his eldest son;
- Sir Simon Carruthers 8thof Mouswald and 3rd Baron, died in 1504 and was succeeded by his eldest son;
- Simon Carruthers 9thof Mouswald and 4th Baron, died in April 1531 and was succeeded by his eldest son;
- Simon Carruthers 10thof Mouswald and 5th Baron, who died in July 1548 and was succeeded by his distant cousin, descendant of John de Carruthers 3rd of Carruthers;
House of Carruthers of Holmains
- John Carruthers 5thof Holmains and 1st Baron, died 19th August 1580 and was succeeded by his second son;
- George Carruthers 6thof Holmains and 2nd Baron, he died circa 1592 and was succeeded by his eldest son;
- John Carruthers 7thof Holmains and 3rd Baron, he died in 1616 and was succeeded by his eldest son;
- John Carruthers 8thof Holmains and 4th Baron, he died 27thJune 1659 and was succeeded by his grandson;
- John Carruthers 9thof Holmains and 5th Baron, he died September 1694 and was succeeded by his second son;
- George Carruthers 10thof Holmains and 6th Died 28th May 1727 and was succeeded by his eldest son;
- John Carruthers 11thof Holmains and 7th Baron, he died 5thJanuary 1734 and was succeeded by his only son;
- John Carruthers 12thof Holmains and 8th Baron, he died 20th October 1809 and was succeeded by his eldest daughter;
Christian Carruthers (Mrs John Erskine, younger of Alva), s he died 20th October 1859 and was succeeded by her nephew;
John Peter Carruthers-Wade, he died 1st March 1873 and was succeeded by his first cousin (once removed);
Reverend William Mitchell-Carruthers, he died 13thSeptember 1931 and was succeeded by his eldest son;
Alexander Douglas Mitchell-Carruthers, he died 23rd May 1962 and was succeeded by his nephew;
Charles Nigel Simon Carruthers who died 28th September 1997 and is succeeded by his only son;
- Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains who was born 19thDecember 1954
The Clan Carruthers Society International (CCSI) was founded in January 2017 and is officially recognised by the Chief of Carruthers as representing the worldwide Carruthers family. It is non-commercial, apolitical and non-partisan and is open to any member of the international Carruthers family and derivatives of that name. The Society is based in the United Kingdom, but is represented by an international Executive Council.