Australasia, Clan Carruthers, Coat of Arms, Genealogy, Lord Lyon

CLAN CARRUTHERS: the Letters Patent for the Arms of Gary John Carruthers, FSA Scot.

As a Scottish clan and family with a confirmed chief, CARRUTHERS is now recognised in Scots law as a noble incorporation. The right to bear Scottish arms, both for a clan chief or a clan armiger is controlled and regulated through the office of the Lord Lyon on behalf of the British Monarchy.

Evidence supporting that right has to be presented in a formatted petition to the Lyon and his acceptance or refusal for arms, based on role and his office being a member of the Scottish judiciary and thus a court in its own right, remains internationally respected and accepted.

DNA, unless dealing with direct parentage of a petitioner, is not seen as acceptable evidence of ancestry in the heraldic process.


The letters patent contains the name and arms of the petitioner, their proven genealogical right to bear them, the blazon of their arms, motto, whether it is a grant or a matriculation, the volume and folio numbers in the Public Register of all Arms snd Bearings of Scotland and very importantly, the signature and seal of the Lord Lyon themselves.

The Letters Patent of Gary John CARRUTHERS, Commissioner for Australasia, Clan Genealogist.


Gary John CARRUTHERS, FSA Scot, as a well respected senior member of our clan and family, was appointed Commissioner of Australasia and Oceania by the clan chief, Dr Peter CARRUTHERS of Holmains.

Gary is also recognised internationally, both inside and outside the family, as one of the leading Carruthers genealogists alive today. He sits alongside our two other most senior genealogists: Dana Caruthers Norton, FSA Scot, USA Clan Commissioner and Laurie Carruthers Caron Pasher from Canada.

All Scottish clan and family arms to include that of any chiefs, are taken from the the first official registration of those arms after the Lyon’s Act of 1672.

The originals, only to be used by the bearer or their direct descendants are as listed in the Public Register of all Scottish Arms and Bearings, which are still held by the Lord Lyon. Therefore any current arms ie Campbell, Fraser, Elliot, CARRUTHERS etc used by their chiefs are the arms as originally registered.

Any subsequent clan arms ie armigers are differenced from a chief’s arms, if they exist, with a minimum of at least two differences. All CARRUTHERS arms since 1672 will follow this format.

Accepting what some may say, Scottish genealogy is only really viable/valid back into the 17th century. This is due simply to the availability of evidenced proofs, documents and records held by churches, parishes, the judiciary and other government agencies etc. As such claims beyond that time are often seen as being dubious at best.

However, even older papers/charters may be held by nobility, chiefs or seniors members of a chiefly line, as in the case of the documents belonging to Holmains. Of course access to such information is not always available to the general public.


So back to the reason for this blog. Based on his proven genealogy dating back to 1625, Gary CARRUTHERS petitioned the Lord Lyon with a request that he be allowed to matriculate arms to his name. This request was based on the fact that he can trace his ancestry directly back to the cadet line of Dormont and through them further back to the chiefly lines of Holmains and Mouswald.

With this in mind, the documented proofs of his genealogy were presented, along with his petition, to the Lord Lyon. These were then checked for validity and the information analysed genealogically to rule out any discrepancies prior to any decision being made by the Lyon. This robust procedure prevents the unscrupulous and fraudulent from gaining heraldic credibility, where it is not warranted.

The process to bear Scottish arms, albeit long and time consuming proved without doubt Gary’s place in the history of the Carruthers clan and family and as can be seen, confirmed his right to bear Scottish arms.

As such Gary joined the list of past and living CARRUTHERS armigers who are registered and recognised by the Lord Lyon in Scotland. This remains a rather exclusive listing based on their recognition, headed by our clan chief, whose personal arms date back before 1672.

Although genealogically competent, Gary was assisted in the heraldic process by the late and internationally renowned heraldist, Antony Maxwell, who acted as personal advisor to our clan and family when dealing in such matters. It was Antony who was commissioned to produce our artwork ie clan badge, arms, shields etc, which remains copyrighted to our Convenor and through him our society.

Although permitted to bear his arms from the time of acceptance, sadly in the same vein as others going through the process, Covid held up the making of his Letters Patent. These are individually both hand painted and the calligraphy written on velum. The arms are painted by well known heraldic painter Garry Millie, who is employed by the Lyon court and the information reflecting Gary’s proofs is written in calligraphy by the same individual.

These items, as can be seen, are magnificent pieces of both artwork and history and having arrived only this month and with his kind permission, we are privileged to share them with you.

There is therefore nothing more official with regards to Scottish arms, than a Letters Patent signed by the Lord Lyon and presented to a petitioner. This is a proud moment for both the clan and border family of CARRUTHERS and of course Gary himself.

The chief’s arms, seen centre above, belongs solely to our chief. They have been illegally used by an unofficial group based in the US who use a lion and unicorn as supporters on their badge.
The badge they use, to include these unofficial supporters is photoshopped/cut and pasted from the arms of the City of London, the Scottish Royal Arms, with the chief’s own arms/shield sitting in the centre. All of these were used without permission from anyone, not less our own chief. It is important to highlight that the CARRUTHERS chief’s arms date back nearly 400 years, and remain an important part of our history and visual identity as a Scottish border clan and family. They should not be used illegally to suit and fill another agenda..
The correct and incorrect use of CARRUTHERS arms
The official CARRUTHERS chief’s crest is a seraphim volant proper which again is nearly 400 years old and is also always portrayed as having 6 wings, the upper and lower most crossed in saltire and the central ones spread as in flight, and in the centre, an angelic face. Anything else is not definitely not recognised, accepted nor belongs to Carruthers, see below. .
The above is not recognised as a CARRUTHERS crest by the chief, the society nor our Clan and family. The official CARRUTHERS crest has always had an angelic face in the centre since before 1672, reflecting the crest of our hereditary chiefs.


Below is the genealogical tree of Gary John Carruthers, showing clearly his link through Guileburn and Brydegill, back to the cadet line of Dormont and through them, to the chiefly line of Holmains.

Carruthers, as a border Reiver clan and family are rightly proud of their achievements, both in historically and currently, and along with individuals such as Gary and many others working for our society all under the auspices of our chief, our future remains very bright.

Gary is fully supported by the Regional Secretary Craig Monument and his wife Dr Liz, Monument FSA Scot, who both play an integral role in our society.

Craig is also a keen competitor in many Highland games, where the Carruthers tartan is worn by him, while his wife is our highly competent clan editor.

5 thoughts on “CLAN CARRUTHERS: the Letters Patent for the Arms of Gary John Carruthers, FSA Scot.”

  1. What a fantastic achievement, thank you for the thousands of hours of work put in coalating of Carruthers family, best wishes Ian Carruthers Zimbabwe

  2. Congratulations Gary. It’s a lot tedious work this Family search. You deserve this and maybe can join you. Cousin Harold

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