Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: A Pin of Carruthers Arms through the ages

Although the first Sir Lyndsay of the Mount, Lord Lyon from 1542-1554, completed ‘The Register of Arms of the Scottish Nobility and Gentry in 1542, it was not until many years later, during the time of Sir Charles Erskine of Cambo, Lord Lyon (1663-1677) that a Register was established covering the registration of all Scottish Arms.

As such in 1672 an Act of Parliament was made giving authority to the Lord Lyon King of Arms to regulate all Scottish arms in the newly established Public Register of All Scottish Arms and Bearings, which continues to this day. This was to prevent charlatans and rogues from claiming arms and titles they were not entitled to, as such only those worthy of bearing arms would be registered. This applied to All arms in Scotland belonging to all persons from nobility, to clan chiefs, to individuals ie esquires. Although many applications were recieved, not all were successful.

As a medium sized border family, in medieval times our arms were only really blazoned/designed for the chiefly line and as such assigned to either Carruthers of Carruthers, which became Carruthers of Mouswald. The latter occured in 1320 after Robert the Bruce gave Thomas 1st of Mouswald, a large charter of lands for services to his family. These are listed in both the two ancient Arms, one of which ie the blue was deemed a mistake in its blazon, and the Mouswald arms. Mouswald became extinct as a chiefly line in 1548 after the last chief Sir Simon Carruthers was killed in a border raid.

The chiefship then passed to the line of John Carruthers, younger brother of Thomas and progenator of the senior Mouswald cadet line of Holmains. Holmains chose to conjoin the engrailed chevrons of the Ancient Arms and the red shield and three fleurs de lis of Mouswald to form the Carruthers Chief’s Arms we recognise today ie Gules, two engrailed chevrons between three fleurs de lis Or. (Two gold [Or] wavy chevrons sitting between three gold fleurs de lis on a red [Gules] shield).

There is evidence dating back before 1672 that Holmains used these arms before application to the Lord Lyon and the Register. Like all other Scottish Arms they only became legally recognised after they (Holmains) were accepted by the Lord Lyon and deemed worthy to bear those undifferenced arms as our chiefs. As such every other Carruthers’ arms from that date forward and following Scottish tradition are differenced from the Chiefs.

This can be clearly seen with the Arms of James Carruthers of Isle, whose arms show a silver border around the arms of Holmains, showing he was a cadet, in this case a Cousin and not of the main line.

Of the other registered arms since then, all are differenced at least twice to the chiefly arms. In the case of Carruthers of Dormont, who have the Holmains arms contained in a gold border, these signify that they are the senior cadet line of Holmains and the only family still on the original Carruthers land in Dumfriesshire. Their arms are blazoned, Gules, two chevronelles (small chevrons) engrailed between three fleur de lis Or, with a border of the last difference (gold border).

Some of the others are quartered, these include the Chief’s first cousins who have quartered the Carruthers arms with those of Mitchell, ensuring Carruthers remains in dominance, ie first and fourth quarter and therefore retaining the Carruthers lineage.

The inverted crescent on the arms shown left are the Mitchell Carruthers arms and where the armiger bears the undifferenced arms, on these is shown a cadency mark depicting in this instance the arms are used by the bearers younger sister Cecilia, showing her place as the second born.

We are aware of at least two other individuals who are striving to prove the genealogy in order to successfully petition the Lord Lyon for the right to bear Scottish arms under the name of Carruthers, and we wish them well.

Another group, however who have bastardised the arms of the City of London by adding the Unicorn of the Scottish Royal Arms, and placing in its centre the arms of our chief, all without permission are not supported. This badge is not recognised as Carruthers arms. They can further be identified by their use and claims of ownership of the Bruce tartan, which of course is again false and their bastradisation of the 450 year old Carruthers chief’s crest, by removing the angel’s face.

As such if ‘arms’ are not on the ‘pin’ at the start of this piece, they are not recognised nor registered as Carruthers Arms in Scotland nor anywhere else.

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