Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2000-01 > 0949003196

From: James Dempster< >
Subject: Re: McMunn Heraldry, probably OT
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 19:59:56 GMT

On 25 Jan 2000 15:58:38 -0800, (Kay Allen AG)

>I was just sent a description of the coat of arms that my husband's
>McMunns were supposed to use. Can anyone help tell me to whom the
>various quarters belong?
>"Quarterly 1st or a lion rampant gules; 2nd or a dexter arm in fess.
>Issuant out of a cloud proper holding (?) a cross crosslet fitchy
>[shouldn't this be fichee or something of that sort] azure; 3rd argent a
>ship with its sails hauled up close sable; 4th azure a dolphin variant
>(?) in Less (?) argent at rest on a wreath of his colors, a dexter arm
>couped below the elbow. attired or turned up argent the hand proper, in
>which is a cross crosslet fitchey azure"
>McMunn is probably the 3rd quarter.
>This is supposed to belong to someone created a baron 29 June 1619.
>Possibly Scottish.
>All help gratefully accepted and much appreciated. Thanks.
As Sean Mac Lochlainn has explained, the arms you describe are an
example of what it called "west highland heraldry" in which the
quarters are totemic rather than each standing for a particular

There are no legally registered Scottish arms for anyone of the
surname McMunn in the period of the published official registers

To the casual observer, they are very Mackintosh like, but there are
some unusual features.

The first quarter is usually borne as part of a "traditional"
relationship to the Macduff Earls of Fife. These relationships are
usually completely unprovable. Families with this quarter include
Farquharsons and Mackintoshes,

The second quarter is typically borne by Macleans/Maclaines, though
the use of clouds is not recorded by either, a hand or arm holding a
blue cross is typically Maclean.

The third quarter is probably a galley (lymphad) rather than a ship.
If you're not sure, a galley has one mast, ships usually have three. A
black galley on gold is borne by Macdonalds, Macneils and Macleods.
With varying differences in the form of added oars and flags.

The fish in the fourth quarter is probably a salmon rather than a
dolphin. This is especially the case if the fish is shown in a flat
"normal" format. Dolphins are traditionally "embowed" which puts them
into a position like a reversed S on its side. A salmon on an azure
background is typically Mackintosh.

The nearest example of legally registered Scottish arms which I have
found which fit with the ones you describe is in the 1886
re-matriculation of Mackintosh of Kyllachy. However, these have no
clouds, the arm is clutching a dagger and the galley is on a silver

What you seem to have are arms which have Mackintosh, Maclean and
Macdonald (esp Clanranald) features whilst being none of these. They
may well, therefore, be otherwise unrecorded McMunn arms. There is no
evidence that they belong to anyone else.

What you can do from here is to contact the Court of the Lord Lyon
(Register House, Edinburgh). They have access to the earlier records
(pre-1672) and may be able to identify the arms.

If you want to make the arms official, you can apply to the Lord Lyon
for a grant of arms - cost, just over GBP 1,200. Given that these arms
appear to be unique, and not owned by anyone else, there is every
likelihood that you would receive them if you applied for such a
grant. However, the final decision is that of the Lord Lyon. This is
the only way to legally bear arms in Scotland.

If, however, you are in the US or in another country outside those
which regulate the bearing of arms (England, Scotland, Ireland, South
Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada & Spain), then there is nothing to prevent
you just using the arms as they are, especially since you do not
appear to be "usurping" the arms of anyone else. They will then,
however, have no official status or standing.

Your correspondent has got a few of the heraldic terms a little mixed
up, and a correct blazon (heraldic description) would be:

"Quarterly 1st or a lion rampant gules; 2nd or a dexter arm in fess.
issuant out of a cloud proper holding a cross crosslet fitchy azure;
3rd argent a galley sails furled sable; 4th azure a salmon naiant
in fess argent.

As crest on a wreath of the colors, a dexter arm couped below the
elbow. attired or turned up argent the hand proper, in which is a
cross crosslet fitchy azure"

The spelling of fitchy can vary enormously - my personal preference is

As for someone surnamed McMunn being created a baron in 1629, I have
no references to hands to confirm this. It is, however, worth
remembering that in Scottish usage a baron is a landowner who holds a
barony and it does not make them a lord of any sort. Don't get your
hopes up for there being a title (even an extinct one) in the family.


James Dempster

Researching Dempsters worldwide

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