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Chapter 14 GRANT OF ARMS

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In researching the genealogy that underpins this story, it was inevitable that I should become familiar with Scottish heraldry, even superficially; and, at some point difficult to say when the thought occurred to me that it might be fitting to honour my father, Bob, by petitioning the Lord Lyon King of Arms for a grant of arms in his favour. Bill, my brother, agreed and I broached the subject with the Lyon Office, only to discover that, because he was born in Wales not Scotland, a grant wasn’t possible. Given this situation, our only option, as I’ll explain in a moment, was to take an indirect approach if we wanted to maintain the family link with Scotland a link which we both felt was important and should be honoured, if possible.

Taking advantage of a provision under Scottish law, we were able to petition for a grant of arms in memory of our great-grandfather, Frank, the last of our line born in Scotland, and arms were duly granted. Under Scottish law, these arms are personal heritable property, and as such did Bob inherit them posthumously, as the eldest son of the eldest son of Frank. Thus, in a somewhat indirect manner, was our desire to honour Bob achieved, while maintaining the family’s Scottish connection. My brother, Bill, as the eldest son, has now inherited the arms. As required by law, as his young brother and as second son of my father, my arms have been differenced from his by the addition of a gold border or “bordure d’or;” in all other respects, they remain the same.  

Arms granted to Francis Innes, Bob's grandfather

In the arcane but beautiful language of heraldry, the arms granted and recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland are described as: “Parted per fess dancetté Argent and Azure, in chief three mullets of the Second and in base two salmon haurient Proper Above the shield is placed an Helm befitting his degree with a Mantling Azure doubled Argent, and on a Wreath of the Liveries is set for Crest a boar’s head erased Proper langued Gules, and in an Escrol over the same this Motto ‘AYE TRAIST.’” What do these various symbolic elements signify ?

First of all, the dominant colours of the arms are Argent and Azure, the Innes family livery. The three blue (azure) stars, more properly described as mullets, are emblems associated with the family from earliest times. The term “mullet” is an interesting one. It is derived from molette, the French word for the rowel of a knight’s spur, and in heraldry is considered to be an ensign of knightly rank, or nobility, in our case, harking back to the knight Berowald.

Below the three azure stars, separated by a wavy bar, or “Fess dancetté,” symbolizing water, are two leaping (“haurient”) salmon, taken from the arms of the City of Glasgow, providing a visu-al link to the city from which Frank Innes hailed.

Above the shield, as a crest, we find a Boar’s head, with a red tongue (“langed Gules”). The Boar’s head is one of several crests associated with the Innes family and the one most closely associated with the Inneses of that Ilk. You may recall that Bill Innes (of Cerebos salt fame) told Sir Thomas Innes that the ring of his great-grandfather, William, also Frank’s father, had a boar’s head crest, and, for this reason, among others, my brother and I chose it. More generally, in heraldry, the boar’s head signifies courage and hospitality.

Above the crest is enscrolled the motto “AYE TRAIST,” which requires a word of explanation. The motto of the clan “chief” is the exhortative “Be traist,” meaning “Be faithful.” Our motto simply answers the chief in the affirmative, paying him due deference.

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