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The death of HRH the Queen Mother prompted a small grant towards the making of a hatchment to be presented to HRH the Duke of Rothesay with the intention that is hung in the chapel at the Castle of Mey.
Two members of the Board, Alastair Ross and Mark Dennis, were funded to attend the XXV International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in Dublin this September 2002 both to participate in symposia and also actively promoting the holding of the XXVII Congress in 2006 at St Andrews under the auspices and co-ordination of the Fund. The Congress was last convened in Scotland in 1962.The Congress accepted the offer to host the Congress in St Andrews in 2006.
The Scottish Genealogical Society and the Heraldry Society of Scotland are to act as co-sponsors. H.R.H. The Princess Royal has graciously agreed to be the Patron of the Congress with the Rt. Hon. Robin Blair, the Lord Lyon King of Arms with Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight as President of the Scottish Genealogical Society acting as joint Honourary Presidents
The Congress is will be self-funding, but the St Andrews Fund is to provide the support funding and cover any shortfall. The confired date of the Congress is from the 20th to 26th August 2006. Further information can be obtained for the Congress website at www.congress2006.com
Among the first grants made by the Fund in 2001 was a decision to commit funds in conjunction with the Heraldry Society of Scotland to recreate the crown-coronet of office of the Lord Lyon. In past centuries the Lord Lyon King of Arms was solemnly crowned upon his appointment with a facsimile of the Crown of Scotland. The Lyon’s coronation was a great state occasion when the great and good of Scotland gathered for the celebration which concluded with a feast, the whole event being paid for by the Exchequer. The crown itself was probably silver gilt and was a perquiste of office for the new Lyon. As a personal largess, these crowns never formed part of the permanent regalia of the office.
These crowns of the Lyon are mentioned a number of times in different accounts, but only one description is known to survive. Writing of his own coronation in 1630, Lyon Sir James Balfour of Denmilne, Bt, states: “As for his Crowne it is maid closse, all of beatine Gold, eftir the model of the imperiall crowne of Scotland, not sett with stones, but onlie enambled, its cape [cap] being of crimpsone velvet doubled and uplayed with ermines....”
The last account we have of a Leonine coronation is that of Sir Charles Erskine of Cambo, Bt, who was created Lyon in 1663. He was crowned with elaborate ceremony by the Duke of York with the Crown of Scotland, itself. We may be grateful this crown, at least, was not delivered to him as a perk! The set of Scottish heraldic playing cards of 1680 show the Lord Lyon’s arms prominently ensigned with the crown-coronet.
Cambo’s patent of appointment was for his life and that of his son. As a result it was not until 1727 a new Lyon was appointed in the person of Alexander Brodie of Brodie. By then the Union was 20 years old and the government was no longer in Scotland. It is understood Lyon Brodie wrote the new king in London, George II, requesting his crown and was refused, nor was his presence required at the King’s coronation. Scotland’s Lyons had to wait until the coronation of George III in 1761 to be asked South. It is believed at this and at the coronation of George IV in 1801 the Lyon was issued an English Kings of Arms coronet for the event. This was certainly the case when a century later the Lord Lyon was once again asked to participate in the coronation of Edward I and VII in 1902 and has been the pattern since.
It seems 330 years is long enough to wait. Some years ago the Society began to explore the possibility of recreating the Lyon’s crown, which has only survived in paint and paper these three centuries and more. Initial designs were drawn up and consultations begun. The allocation of a grant to match the funds already accumulated for this project by the Society from the sale of the booklet “Scottish Heraldry” meant the hour of implement had arrived. After further lengthy, careful collaborations a final design was approved and a formal offer was put to the Lord Lyon to create and present to him as a permanent addition to the regalia a silver gilt crown-coronet of office. Handsome and extensive drawings were prepared and, together with a brief outlining the history of the crown, were tendered with a letter from the Chairman pointing out our desire this should be a gift in fit and lasting celebration of her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee and the Silver Anniversary of the Heraldry Society of Scotland. Just at the end of 2002 we were happily informed Her Majesty had indicated her willingness after consultation with the Scottish Executive that the project should proceed. Proceed it now does.
It had been decided the commission for making the crown should go to the Scottish Royal jeweller Hamilton and Inches of Edinburgh, and the project now lies with them. A cardboard maquette of the chosen design, one of those prepared by them during the long process of consultation and design, is pictured below. The crown has eight fleurs de lys alternating with eight abstract crosses patonnce – all crafted in terms of reflecting planes of light – between interstitial ‘pearls’. The circlet is enriched with repousse work and contrasting surface finishes rather than enamelled “jewels” as in the last Lyon crown. The arches are topped not with that ultimate emblem of sovereignty, the Cross and Orb (or mound) but rather with the more fitting Royal Crest for Scotland, the Lion sejant affrontee with sword and sceptre. We were also troubled with the symbolic solecism of having two closed crowns present at a future Royal coronation. The arches are thus to be made removable permitting the Lyon’s closed or imperial crown to become an appropriate open coronet, but still uniquely a Scottish one, at the coronations of our future Sovereigns. The bonnet is made of crimson French Court Satin in the tradition of those of kings of arms and to distinguish them from the velvet caps of peers. The armorial of Sir David Lindsay of the Mount Secundus of about 1603 displays his personal arms surmounted of a closed crown with a blue cap , but this is the only evidence of this practice, and the later Lyon, Balfour of Denmilne, writes of his crown’s “crimpsone” cap.
By June it was clear the crown and bonnet would be ready, and the Chairman wrote the Palace offering to present the crown for the Queen’s inspection. The Lord Lyon suggested he did not feel it appropriate to attend, and it was thus proposed Mr Squire on behalf of The Heraldry Society of Scotland, Mr John Hunt, foreman at Hamilton & Inches charged with supervising the project and Mr Mark Dennis representing the St Andrews Fund for Scots Heraldry would wait on the Queen with the new crown. Although it was very late, the offer was readily welcomed. A new presentation cushion was hastily created in crimson velvet to provide a suitable base for the crown when displayed and carried.
The June 2002 the Trustees of the Fund petitioned the Lord Lyon for a grant of arms for the Fund in recognition of its service to Scottish heraldry. On the 18th July 2003, the Lord Lyon granted arms to the Fund. the Arms are blazoned; Azure,a saltire Argent within a bordure Gules charged on its inner edge with an orle from which thistles slipped issue outwards of the Second.
The Letters Patent of the Fund were presented to the chairman of the board of trustees by the Lord Lyon on the 24th January 2004, the same day that the Lord Lyon’s crown was formailly handed to him.
The third edition of the extremely successful Scottish Heraldry : An Invitation by Mark Dennis has been produced jointly by The Fund and the Heraldry Society of Scotland. The booklet is a homage to Moncrieff and Pottinger’s Simple Heraldry : Cheerfully Illustrated, beloved of several generations of heraldists as their introduction to Scots heraldry. The new book beautifully illustrates heraldry in the context of life in Scotland today. Filled with terrific illustrations, this booklet is a must have for every Scottish home.
Scottish Heraldry is available to order on-line from the Heraldry Society of Scotland or through the author Mark Dennis