Scone's Scottish amd Celtic Internet Book

Scottish Highlands and Islands Partnership

Scottish History and Culture &

"Crests, What Are They?,
"Who May Wear Them?

by Sconemac)

"another page in my book"


Crests are the topmost portion of the Arms of the Chief of a Clan. The topmost part is usually a helm, with an item on top of that helm.

This topmost part of the Chief's arms is set within a belt and buckle (some call it a strap and buckle)circle pin, with a motto printed or emblazoned on it, centered from the top. The motto is in Latin. The crest is made of silver, or a material that looks like silver, but is not tarnishable. The silver requires polishing, but I think it, I think it is worth it.

In the 80s, the Lyon Court issued a new rendition of the Clan Gunn Crest Badge. The main difference, aside from the modern appearance of the image, was that the hilt of the sword was changed to the style associated with Vikings, this is called "differencing" in hearldry terms. Due to the Clan’s Norse connection, the design was done by the late Don Pottinger. Unfortunately the manufacturers of the metal Crest badges and other jewelry worn by Gunns have not chosen to make the change, perhaps this case of "differencing" has not been accepted by the Lord Lyons Office, who regulate such things.

You must never represent that the badge as your personal badge (unless you have matriculated arms and are displaying your personal Crest, of course). To do that you must make a similar crest, with differencing, and apply to the Lord Lyons Office to have it accepted. This is quite an expensive thing to do, but if you are rich, you seem to be able to do anything. The crest still belongs to the Chief's Clan and to say otherwise would cause you a problem with Clan Gunn in Scotland, Clan Gunn North America, seems to allow almost anyting, and one sometimes gets the impression they are "making it up as they go along".

If you have stationary with the crest of the Clan on it, you may use it without concern, as the Crest was made for Clan members, not the Chief. Remember, you may never use the full arms of the Chief.

The crest is used (usually) to secure the plaid at the shoulder (left) on men, and the tartan sash (for women) is secured in much the same fashion.

Do not let anyone intimidate you on which side it must be pinned. There is no law, but some Clan Leaders try to secure the left side for themselves and their wife. It is strictly the military element, wihin a clan that tries to push their ideas on what you must wear, when and how. Ignore that and pin it where it is most comfortable to you.

The crest is worn to show allegiance to the Chief, or if there is none, to the Clan itself. It can br worn on a bonnet, military style hat, etc, also. If you are a member of a Clan, you are entitled to wear the crest.



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