Lord Lyon King of Arms
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Lord Lyon King of Arms

Scottish Heraldry 

All heraldry in Scotland is controlled by the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, commonly known as the Lyon Court, and is located at New Register House in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Older medieval heraldry in Scotland is extensive, but poorly documented, which is hardly surprising given the course of Scottish history. Certainly, it can be shown that heraldry existed by the last quarter of the twelfth century, but records of heraldry from the time before the War of Independence were like as not lost, whilst other early records appear to have been treated very much as the personal property of the heralds and have thus been lost. 

Modern Scottish heraldry , however, can be said to have started in 1672.   In that year a law was passed by the Scottish parliament which set up the "Public Register of All Armorial Bearings of Scotland" which is usually called the Lyon Register.   The idea behind this register was to enable the Lord Lyon to more effectively administer heraldic law by ensuring that there was a central record independent of the person of the office holder.   Unless a coat of arms is registered here, it has no legal standing in Scotland.  In order to persuade people to record the arms which they had been using, registration was free till 1677, and in the first volume are recorded many well known Scottish coats of arms.   Since 1677 fees must be paid in order to record arms in Lyon Register. 

The Lord Lyon is currently assisted by three heralds and three pursuivants: 

q      Lord Lyon King of Arms: The Right Honourable Robin Orr Blair, LVO, WS 

  1. Albany Herald

  2. Rothesay Herald

  3. Ross Herald

  4. Kintyre Pursuivant

  5. Unicorn Pursuivant

  6. Carrick Pursuivant & Lyon Clerk 

The Court of the Lord Lyon is in Edinburgh and can be contacted at: 

The Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms
HM New Register House
Edinburgh EH1 3YT
Tel: 0131 556 7255
Fax: 0131 557 2148

The Lindsays are one of three great noble houses that still maintain Private Officers of Arms which are recognized by the Lord Lyon but not part of the Court of the Lord Lyon.

  • Slains Pursuivant (for the Earl of Erroll)

  • Endure Pursuivant (for the Earl of Crawford & Balcarres)

  • Garioch Pursuivant (for the Countess of Mar)

The Hon. Alexander Walter Lindsay, is the Private Officer of Arms, Endure Pursuivant to the Earl of Crawford, and represents the House of Lindsay.  The official symbol of office for the Endure Pursuivant to the Earl of Crawford is seen at the far left of this paragraph.


Heralds of the Past

Of the six Lyons who served in the years 1542 to 1630, four of them were Lindsays. 

    1542-1555:  Sir David Lindsay of the Mount

    1555-1567:  Sir Rovert Forman of Luthrie

    1567-1568:  Sir William Stewart of Luthrie

    1568-1591:  Sir David Lindsay of Rathillet

    1591-1620:  Sir David Lindsay of the Mount

    1620-1630:  Sir Jerome Lindsay of Annatland 


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