Clan CrestThe Clan McLea/Livingstone Forum

Code of
Title: Our New Crest
Posted by: Young Bachuil
Date: 24 May 2004

Recently I had an enquiry regarding our new crest and the reason behind it. gives a slightly out of date article on Crest Badges.  The significant bit is:

“When a coat of Arms is granted by the Sovereign through Her Majesty’s Lord Lyon King of Arms, the Grant of Arms document shows the coat of Arms on a Shield. Above the Shield is placed a conventional helmet, and on top of the helmet is shown an additional device called the CREST, accompanied by the owner’s Motto on a conventional scroll. It is impossible to own a Crest without first owning a coat of Arms, shown on the Shield, as the Crest is an adjunct to the coat of Arms. Sometimes an additional Motto or Slogan is granted, which may correctly appear on the Clansman’s bonnet badge as an alternative to the first Motto.”

The Clan Crest Badge is simply the Crest in a belt and buckle.

In Scotland all heraldry is name based.   In 1951 Lyon insisted that we had to have the Cinquefoil - a Livingstone symbol .  Under heraldic law it did not matter that they were Lowland and not necessarily related.  See  "the Livingstons of that Ilk (ext. 1512) bore Argent three cinquefoils  Gules." has a picture of the old arms - big picture near the bottom.  This also shows St Moluag holding the Bachuil in his right hand and a Cinquefoil (a heraldic flower ) in his right.

It has been replaced because I successfully petitioned Lord Lyon, on behalf of my father, for recognition of our ancestorJohn Livingstone of Bachuil as Chief of the Clan MacLea.  The Lord Lyon has issued Letters Patent saying “The Lord Lyon King of Arms, having considered the foregoing Petition, OFFICIALLY RECOGNISES John Livingstone of Bachuil, Baron of the Bachuil, as Head of the Highland Clan McLea”. .

As Chief of McLea we were able to get our arms reverted to what we believe they would have been in the 1500s. The Cinquefoil has been replaced by a Cross crosslet fitchée - the symbol of St Moluag. 

Last summer a heraldic enthusiast told me that the cross crosslet fitchée had a special significance and that it represented an evangelist, and that the cross crosslet fitchée as used in the West referred to St Moluag. Certainly this is why we have it in our arms - that is as Coarbs of St Moluag. Domlig or Cuduilig (the Hound of Leaves), an Abbot of Lismore circa 1150 was the founder of the Macleans of Duart and Morvern and accounts for the reason they have this symbol in their arms
Somerled was a great supporter of the Celtic Church. He tried to get the Coarb of St Columba to return to Iona without success. 

"U1164.2 Select members of the Community of Ia, namely, the arch-priest, Augustin and the lector (that is, Dubsidhe) and the Eremite, Mac Gilla-duib and the Head of the Celi-De, namely, Mac Forcellaigh and select members of the Community of Ia besides came on behalf of the successor of Colum-cille, namely, Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain's acceptance of the abbacy of Ia, by advice of Somharlidh and of the Men of Airthir-Gaedhel and of Insi-Gall; but the successor of Patrick and the king of Ireland, that is, Ua Lochlainn and the nobles of Cenel-Eogain prevented him."

Elsewhere there are numerous examples of a hand holding a cross crosslet fitchée or fitchy. It is interesting to note that MacDougall of MacDougall, and MacDonald of the Isles both have crests which depict an armoured hand holding the cross crosslet fitchée.

Therefore the hypothesis is that Somerled’s descendents, the MacDougalls and MacDonalds have as their crest an armoured hand holding the cross crosslet fitchée representing their temporal role as defenders of the faith, and that the cross crosslet fitchée (as used in West Highland Heraldry) is the special mark of St Moluag, the founder of 100 monasteries.

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