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THE HERALDRY OF THE LYON FAMILY,
of Glamis, Scotland and elsewhere.

 

This document may be of interest to surname researchers for LYON.
It is known that the Lyon family had connections (at least in the case of
Margrat Lyon and John SKirling) to the SK/Tirling family mentioned
extensively on this website.

Note the difference between references to the surname 'Lyon', and 'lyon', the lyon clerk of heraldic arms in Scotland.
'ms.' is believed to mean manuscript.
If you can, please suggest 'improvements' which can be added to improve the understanding of this 'old' page.

 

From "The Lyons of Cossins and Wester Ogil : Cadets of Glamis" by Andrew Ross, Marchmont Herald. (Edinburgh, George Waterston & Sons, 1901).

THE HERALDRY OF LYON.

THE earliest Lyon seal extant is that of Sir John of Glamis (fl. 1385-1435) noted at page 11, showing a lion rampant within a double tressure debruised by a baton dexter raguly, date 1424.  I am disposed, however, to regard the arms appearing in the "Armorial de Berry," argent, a lion rampant azure, surmounted by a ribbon gules, as an earlier example of the family coat, representing probably the arms borne by the chamberlain and his ancestors.  True, the date assigned by Mr. Stodart to the armorial, 1450-55, is subsequent to the date of the seal, but Berry, there can he little doubt, recorded what appeared in the hearlds' ordinaries of his period, wherein the arms of "le sieur de Lion" must have been inserted long before the honourable augmentations were granted as the result of the royal alliance.  In 1506, the seal of David of Baky, page 28, shows the lion within the tressure, minus the ribbon, so that his difference must have been indicated by tinctures only.  The seal of John, eighth lord, 1561, a lion rampant within a double tressure, without ribbon or baton, shows the arms as borne at the present day.  The tinctures of the head of the house have never altered.  The earliest authority is the "Armorial de Berry," where the field is argent, and the lion azure.  In Sir David Lindsay's register, the blazon is argent, a lion rampant azure, armed and lingued gules, within a double tressure flory counter flory of the second.

The crest in 1424 was a branch of a tree.  In a ms. in the lyon office, executed in the reign of Queen Mary, and subsequent to her union with Darnley (therefore, 1565-7), the drawing shows a lad's head and bust within a chaplet of laurel proper.  Mr. Stodart notes a sixteenth century ms., a castle within a garland ; the Kinnoull ms., 1600, gives a lady's head proper, within a laurel vert ; the Workman ms., temp. Jac. VI, a naked woman from the middle with hair dishevelled, within a wreath of laurel proper, a grim allusion doubtless to the unmerited fate of Jonet, Lady Glamis ; the Pont ms., 1624, a maid holding a thistle vert in her hand proper ; the Esplin ms., circa 1636, a lady from the waist holding a thistle in her hand encircled with a garland of bay leaves, in the Carse ms., already alluded to in this volume (p.2, note), a lady above the waist circled about with a garland of bay leaves, and holding in her right hand a thistle, the badge of Scotland.  In Lord Crawford's ms., temp. seventeenth century, a maid's head and neck proper, on a field azure, within a wreath of laurel ; a detached seal of Patrick, Earl of Kinghorne, 1650, a demi lady attired, between two arms embowed issuing from the wreath.

The supporters have undergone few changes.  In the queen Mary ms. in the lyon office (1565-7) they are - dexter, a unicorn argent, sinister, a lion gules ; in the Kinnoull ms., 1600-dexter, a unicorn argent, sinister, a lion azure ; in Workman-dexter, a unicorn azure, horned and maned or, sinister, a lion gules ; in Pont, 1624-dexter, a unicorn argent, collared vert, flowered with a thistle or, sinister, a lion gules, armed and lingued azure ; in Esplin, 1636-dexter, a unicorn argent, collared or, sinister, a lion gules ; in the Crawford ms.--dexter, a unicorn argent, armed or, gorged with a wreath of laurel, sinister, a lion gules armed and lined azure.

Only one variation of the motto occurs, that in the Crawford m.s., where it is given " in te Domine confido."

Sir George Mackenzie, in his work on heraldry, duly notes the arms, but for some reason or other, for which no satisfactory explanation can be suggested, no reference to the heraldry of Lyon is made by the great Scottish Herald, Alexander Nisbet in any of his works.

By Act of Parliament, 1672, caput 47, it was ordained that all persons of whatsoever degree in the habit of using arms should give in a description of the same to the lyon clerk in order that they might be entered on the lyon register.   Only two members of the family have obeyed the law.  The one, the head of the house, Patrick, Earl of Strathmore and Kinghor ne, who in 1677 or thereby recorded the following coat-argent, a lion rampant azure, armed and lingued gules, within a double tressure counterflowered of the second ; above the shield a crown, and on the same a helmet befitting his degree, mantled gules, doubled ermine ; on a torse for his crest, a lady from the middle richly attired holding within her dexter hand a thistle within a garland of bay leaves all proper - supported on the dexter by a unicorn argent, armed and unguled or, and on the sinister, by a lion rampant parted per fess, or, and gules ; motto in an escroll above the crest, "in te Domine speravi."

The other Lyon who recorded arms was Major General Sir James Lyon, Knight Commander of the most honourable Order of the Bath and equerry to His Royal Highness Duke of Cambridge, a descendant of Sir Patrick Lyon of Carse, a cadet of Easter Ogil, who recorded on 22 August 1815- argent, a lion rampant azure, between three cinquefoils gules, all within a double tressure flowered and counterflowered of the last ; crest, a woman from the middle holding in her dexter hand a Scots thistle, and in her sinister a wreath laurel, all proper ; mottoes, "lauro redimita quiescam," and "speravi.'

The present seems a favourable opportunity for considering under what congruent and brotherly differences the various branches of the family ought to appear on the register.

 

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This page was updated - 09 December, 2014