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Clan Gregor Heraldry and Symbols PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Greig   
Saturday, 09 August 2008 16:46

Heraldry, in general, is the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms and heraldic badges.  Note that in Scotland, according to heraldic law, the coat of arms belongs to an individual, not to a family, and may only be displayed by that individual.

When the coat of arms is recorded, it is primarily defined by the wording of its blazon rather than a picture.  The blazon specifies the distinctive elements; considerable latitude is allowed in the visual depiction of those elements.  The formal language of heraldry is used with its own vocabulary, grammar and syntax.  Because heraldry developed at a time when English clerks wrote in French, many terms and practices in heraldry are of French origin, such as the custom of placing most adjectives after nouns rather than before.


Gregor Heraldry

Motto: 'S rioghal mo dhream, My race is royal.  Also, E'en Do bait Spair Nocht, In what you do, spare nothing.

Battle Cry: Ard Choille!, The woody height!

Arms of the Current Clan Chief (Major Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor 7th Baronet, 24th Chief of Clan Gregor): Argent, a sword in bend dexter Azure and an oak tree eradicated in bend sinister Proper, the former supporting on its point in dexter chief canton an antique crown Gules.  Translation:  Silver background, blue sword running top-left to bottom-right, uprooted oak tree in its natural colors running top-right to bottom-left, with the sword point supporting an antique red crown in the upper left.

Supporters: Dexter, a unicorn Argent crowned and horned Or; sinister, a deer Proper tyned Azure.  Translation:  A silver unicorn with gold crown and horn on the left, a natural-colored deer with blue antlers on the right.

Crest: A lion's head erased Proper, crowned with an antique crown Or.  Translation:  A natural-colored lion's head removed from its body with jagged edges (as opposed to a straight line), wearing an antique gold crown.

Plant: Scots Pine.  Plant badge sprigs are usually worn in a bonnet behind the crest badge or attached at the shoulder of a lady's tartan sash.  The plant badge may also be carried beside the Clan standard or fixed on a staff or spear.


Origins of the Symbols Used in the Arms

Arms of McGregor individuals from the late 1700s onward often share several common elements: an oak tree with its roots exposed, a sword, and a crown. The oak tree represents the 12th-century legend of Sir Malcolm Macgregor of Glenorchy and how he saved the king’s life. Sir Malcolm was an attendant during the king’s hunting party. During the hunt, the king was attacked by a wild boar. Sir Malcolm recognized the danger and asked if he could assist. The king replied “E’en do bait spair nocht” (“In what you do, spare nothing”). Sir Malcolm came to his aid and uprooted an oak sapling which he used to repel the boar. The king gave Sir Malcolm permission to use the oak tree eradicated (i.e., uprooted) in his crest in place of the fir or pine tree formerly used, and the king’s words were adopted as a clan motto. The bare tree roots of the arms are also said to represent the long period when the Macgregors were outlawed. The sword is a symbol of the clan’s valor in battle, and the crown represents the clan’s royal origins.

Examples of Coats of Arms for Unknown MacGregor Individuals

In Scotland, heraldic law strictly regulates the granting and use of arms.  No such heraldic laws exist in the United States.  Although, it is respectful to observe the laws and traditions of Scotland, there are no legal consequences in the United States if you should decide to usurp another individual's arms or create your own.





I have not been granted personal arms.  What symbols can I rightly display?

By Scottish law, members of Clan Gregor may show allegiance by sporting the clan's crest badge (strap & buckle) or plant badge.  

Last Updated on Friday, 07 January 2011 01:47

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