Scots Heraldic Style

Davis Scots Arms The blazon as given in the matriculation is:

Gules, a fess between two griffins passant Or. Above the Shield is placed an Helmet befitting his degree, with a Mantling Gules doubled Or, and on a Wreath of the Liveries is set for Crest a griffin passant holding in the dexter claw a cross bottonny fitchee Or, and in an Escrol over the same this Motto "JE NE CHANGERAI PAS D'AVIS." Lyon Register , LIII, 64.

In Scots heraldic practice a coat of arms serves to identify an individual. As such, it belongs to the individual in question, not to the other members of the immediate family, nor to extended kinsmen, and certainly not to others simply because they carry the same surname.

Armorial bearings, like a peerage, descend not to the heirs male but rather to the senior heirs of the line, be they male or female. The one immutable condition for a female to inherit the undifferenced arms is that she continue to carry the name associated with the arms. Along with her name, she coveys upon her husband the "courtesy" of her father's arms and transmits name, arms, and crest to her descendents.

Eldest sons may use the undifferenced arms without martriculation by the Lyon Court (though it is recommended that every third generation this senior line should matriculate the undifferenced arms of the name). During the lifetime of his father, the eldest son uses a three pointed label to difference his arms . Upon the death of his father, the eldest son removes the label and succeeds to the undifferenced arms. An eldest daughter who is an heiress, however, is required to matriculate to establish her right and title to the name and the arms. Younger sons have no right to arms until differenced arms have been matriculated by the Lyon Court.

The scroll above the crest bearing the motto is typical of Scots heraldry. The motto is an integral part of the arms and is stated explicitly in the blazon on the grant/matriculation document (unlike English heraldry, where the armiger may adopt a new motto at his pleasure). The helmet shown is a tilting helm (15th century).

The crest badge based on these arms may be seen here.

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Copyright 2000, Thomas Pinkney Davis
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