Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: And the ‘Dough Baby’

Or, when is a Carruthers clan badge, really a Carruthers Clan Badge

iu-1 Above is a rendition of the Carruthers Clan Crest Badge by Celtic Studio from Ontario, Canada, but is it seen to be acceptable to our clan and family? Well because of the format of this depiction, the uneducated have been rudely calling it the ‘Dough Baby’, as we can see further down the page;  but is it actually wrong ? Let us take a walk through this to try to try prevent any further misunderstanding and misinformation being propagated. Sadly there are those who deliberately or through poor  research, continue to publish nonsense. The post highlighed below and sent to us by a concerned individual shows a far less informed understanding of many things, to include the Scottish Border Reiver Family/Clan Carruthers, heraldry in general and Scottish clan heraldry in particular. However, regarding Celtic Studio, they do not fall into that same catagory.

Again;  Nonsense and No sense.

As Carruthers move forward in their role as a recognised Scottish Border Clan we are again advised that a piece, both ill-informed and derogatory in nature, has been posted on the internet (see below). In this instance the comments are regarding the Celtic Studio rendition of the Carruthers Clan Badge. Sadly to denounce someone for offering an accurate depiction of any Scottish clan crest because it does not fit an agenda, is not good. It is also fair to note that as a business Celtic Studio also offer a ‘fake’ Carruthers crest, without a face and although we object, it is not for us to say what can or cannot be sold. However, it is for us to educate and inform based on the truth and the facts of the matter at hand, with regards what is the accurate Carruthers rendition of a Carruthers badge and why. However, let us begin with the offending post and an analysis of the same. The ‘Dough Baby’ post? img_1850 What is wrong with the posting shown above? Sadly quite a number of things really.
  • Firstly the cherub (described inaccurately above as a cheraphim) and the seraph, which is used interchangably in heraldry with seraphim, are recognised in religion as two totally different beings.
  • In heraldry a Cherub (plural Cherubim) is always represented as the head of an infant between a pair of wings, usually termed a “cherub’s head.”
Cherubs' Heads.
  • A Seraph (plural Seraphim which can be interchangeable with seraph in a heraldic blazon/description of arms), in a like manner is always depicted as the head of a child/angel, but with three pairs of wings; the two uppermost and the two lowermost are contrarily crossed, or in saltire; the two middle-most are displayed.
A Seraph's Head.
  • As such, even in the Royal Order of the Seraphim of Sweden, awarded by their royalty or on religious icons/figures portrayed in churches, the seraphim is/are always shown as having a face in the centre.
  • In a heraldic setting, the difference between cherub and seraph/seraphim can clearly be seen here. This link shows the Chief’s arms and those of his cousin Bruce Mitchell Carruthers.  The first of course being registered with the Lord Lyon in 1672 and blazoned as a ‘seraphim’, the second being registered with the Lord Lyon in 1876 and blazoned as a ‘cherub’.  As such the difference is very clear, both in description and presentation as such there can be no confusion between a cherub and a seraphim .
  • As an aside, only the chief himself, with permission from the Lord Lyon, may change the crest. The arms of the Chief of the Name and Arms of Carruthers are matriculated, not granted, as such they as a whole are passed down the ancestral line as they were first registered in 1672, thus they are always depicted with a face in the centre of the six wings.
Clan Badge by Celtic Studio
  • il_fullxfull.1311981168_cdbr_550x825.jpgFor starters the crest used by Celtic Studion represents the clan badge, whose crest belongs to the Chief of Carruthers and cannot be changed without his permission. This is the one used by all clansmen/women depicted within a belt and buckle on which is inscribed the chief’s motto.
It therefore stands to reason that all ‘true’ Carruthers clan badges will carry a seraphim with a face. No face….. no place on a Carruthers, as they say.
  • Secondly, the depiction of the clan badge from Celtic Studio in Canada, which is sitting on the Carruthers tartan, is an accurate representation of the Carruthers crest. It clearly depicts the historic crest of Carruthers, ie 6 wings; the two above and the two below crossed in saltire with the middle pair extended as in flight, and always in the middle, an angelic face.
Badge on the right of the piece (True or False).
  • Screen Shot 2021-10-22 at 09.25.19Accepting the criticism noted above, of the Celtic Studio rendition, let us take a serious look at the badge that the authors of the ‘Family History Page’, claim to be accurate/true.
Firstly this badge really has nothing to do with Scotland, the Borders, Reivers nor in fact Carruthers nor is it recognised by our Chief, our society, nor our clan and family.
  • Secondly, this badge, once described as road kill by others of our name, clearly sits on the Bruce tartan. This tartan is owned and registered to that family and cannot be claimed as a being a Carruthers tartan, irrelevant of what is sometimes said.
  • Thirdly, the depiction of the ‘seraphim’ is definately not historically accurate and is simply a bastardisation of the Carruthers Chief’s crest ie no face to suit an agenda it seems.
  • All Carruthers arms, including their crests are registered with the Lord Lyon and as has been the case since 1672, placed in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings of Scotland. As such no crest of this nature (witout a face) was ever used by any Carruthers chief or armiger (those with their own arms), any time throughout its history. All Carruthers arms and those of living armigers can be found here.
  • Finally, the piece published by them, sadly like much of what is printed by this group, is neither valid, based on any evidence nor any historical facts.
Stating something is true, does not of course, make it so. Celtic Studio Carruthers Clan Badge Therefore, regarding the Celtic Studio Carruthers clan badge, it may not be the rendition of the badge used by the Society on its official items, as can be seen below and here, but it is a true Carruthers clan badge nevertheless and more than valid for use and purchase by any Carruthers. What is not a Carruthers clan badge, which we hope will be further explained below and has nothing to do with our clan or family, is the incomplete one represented without a face on the Bruce tartan.

Celtic Studio Contact details:

#4-431 Mountain Highway North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada V7J 2L1 ​ TEL: 604 200 4051 ​E-mail: sales@celticstudio.com


The facts about the ‘real and true’ Carruthers Clan Badge

As many of us are aware, for nearly 400 years, the Chief’s crest has been blazoned as a ‘seraphim volant proper‘(a seraphim ‘in natural colurs’ in flight) Although the accuracy of the term should be seraph, the heralds in the middle ages were used to using the collective term (ie seraphim rather than seraph) in their descriptions, hence the anomaly. However, more information on the subject can be found here. The Carruthers crest was registered, along with the Chiefs arms in 1672  with the Lord Lyon King of Arms on the enactment by the Scottish Parliament of the Lord Lyons Act, by John Carruthers 9th of Holmains, who was chief at the time. Along with all other Scottish clan and family chiefs, the Lord Lyon’s Act was brought into law to ensure that only those deemed worthy could bear Scottish arms. This saw the onset of the  Public Register of all Scottish Arms and Bearings, which still exists to this day and remains under the control of the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Carruthers of Holmains, as one would expect and accepting their position in Scottish society, were asked to register their arms by the heralds of the day. GC BADGE SILVERv2-1 Since that auspicious occasion the crest has always been depicted as:  6 wings, the two above and the two below crossed in saltire , with the middle pair extended as in flight and always in the middle an angelic face. This can clearly be seen in the crest both above by Celtic Studio and to the left, commissioned by us and designed by the Heraldic Artist, Antony Maxwell. This representation of the crest of our chief has remained the same for nearly 400 hundred years that we are aware of and strongly remains part of Carruthers culture and history.  As such it most certainly should never be changed altered or defaced. Where does the Searph/Seraphim come from in our Arms Although we are not sure of the true origins as the evidence is simply not available, the fleurs de lys on the Chiefs arms and the seraphim crest would suggest a strong religous link. Whether that had to do with influence by Carruthers Churchmen of which there were many, our involvement as Keepers of the Trailtrow preceptory or as Guardians of the Old Kirk Ford at Hoddom or something else, we simply do not know. What we do know is that no other Scottish family has an angelic crest repeatedly seen in its arms. This is whether a Seraphim, a Cherub an Archangel or portrayed simply as an angel, repitition traditionally occurs throughout our history. The Scriptures The only place seraphim/Seraphs are mention in the bible in in Isaiah 6:1-8, where it states in part;

Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. The above section shows quite clearly that the seraph/seraphim had bodies and most importantly for the classic heraldic and religious depictions of them, faces for it states; ‘each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces………  Accepting that the heralds had never seen one, it led to both heraldists and religious icon painters through the ages to portray seraph/seraphim exactly as Carruthers of Holmains crest is depicted, all those many hundreds of years ago,  (6 wings, the two above and the two below crossed in saltire, with the middle pair extended as in flight and always in the middle, an angelic face). We also have to remember that in medieval times, the head was considered the seat of the soul and the heralds used something called ‘synecdoche’ which adopts ‘a part to represent the whole’ ie a head must have a body.  It is also fair to point out that in classical heraldry, the bodies of both the Cherub and Seraph are never painted, but the face is. Use of Seraphim by other Carruthers Armigers
As a cadet line from Holmains, when the House of Carruthers of Dormont registered their arms in 1913, they retained the chiefs crest as was their right ie a seraphim volant proper. Again in 2019, our newest armiger when registering his arms with the Lord Lyon, and as a descendent of Dormont, also maintained the Chief’s crest, but with a slightly different positioning of the wings. Both individuals ie Mr Gary J Carruthers FSA Scot and Carruthers of Dormont, faithfully depicted the seraphim/seraph with a face. This follows both traditional heraldic and classical religious depictions. This depiction has therefore been used and is still used by our chiefs, Carruthers of Holmains over the ages and is the correct crest represented in our clan badge. Full_Achievement As can be seen directly above, as long as the rendition represents the accurate and traditionally accepted blazon of the crest and it is recognised by the chief and his family who own the copyright to it, it can be classed as a Carruthers Clan badge. In this latest rendition by David Allan, former heraldic painter at the Lyon Court, the crest which sits above the helmet once again maintains the historic angelic face, but is portrayed with some subtle changes to the configuration of the lower wings. Below is our official merchandise, all portrayed with the Carruthers crest. Screen Shot 2021-10-22 at 09.19.24 The Official Carruthers Clan Badge  Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 13.11.10Our Society currently uses two representations of the chief’s crest; ancient and modern. The ancient as used since before 1672 by the Holmains family and the second is the modern rendition of the same, both reproduced by Antony Maxwell and both accurately following the Carruthers chief’s crest. So whether you wear the badge from Celtic Studios or any other Carruthers clan badge that represents the chief (ie 6 wings, the two above and the two below crossed in saltire , with the middle pair extended as in flight and always in the middle an angelic face), know that you are wearing the correct badge and one that carries the ancient Carruthers history and heritage at its heart. As such,  wear it with pride.
Clan Carruthers Society WP footnote grey Final to use



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