Arms & Tartan

Back Home Next

Early Durie Arms Modern Durie Arms Durie Tartan The real story on tartans

Durie History
Arms & Tartan
Duries Worldwide
Durie Genealogy
Durie Bookshelf
Durie Merchandise
News and Newsletters
Durie Gallery
Archive Materials
Site Map and Search
Useful Links
Legal & Copyright
Privacy Policy


Arms & Tartan

In this section we explain about arms, heraldry and tartan and show histories of the Durie arms and badges or crests and provide some guide lines and help for you to research and understand your own arms and crest. Here you will find information about the arms of the chief and other armigers (those who bear arms) and some information on the earliest recorded members of the family to carry arms.

These arms are exclusive to the chief or other armigers and variants are exclusive to their heirs.

We also explain the origins of the Durie tartan.


It's not just for the rich, landed and noble!

There are many misconceptions about heraldry, not least that it is:


bulletonly for the "great and the good"

bulleta hangover from mediaeval times

Heraldry is a living, breathing science, especially in those countries where it has the full force of Statue Law (Scotland and Canada, for example) or reasonably well-regulated (England, Ireland and the US Military).

Durie Coats of Arms


Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as "Durie arms".

By their very nature, Arms can only belong to one person at a time. There is no such thing as "family Arms" or a "Clan crest" and no-one has the right to display Arms in Scotland without having these granted and registered by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, essentially the senior judge in the Scottish court of Heraldry, and with quasi-regal powers.

Not only is it illegal to bear Arms that have not been specifically awarded by the Lord Lyon, it is also illegal to invent Arms or to use existing or invented Arms.

No two people can bear the same Arms, but as heritable property they are inherited by the petitioner's heir, normally his eldest son, and by his eldest son in turn. The father's Arms can be matriculated in favour of the son upon death and succession, but this is not automatic - the matriculation process must be gone through before there is "achievement" of Arms.

Younger children inherit only a right to matriculate the Arms with a slight difference added, and they must petition separately for this to be done.

On the other hand, most individuals of Scottish descent, and who are "worthy and virtuous" can be granted Arms. These are based on the Arms of the chief of that name, even when there is distant or no blood relationship.

Scottish Arms are therefore more traditional and use mediaeval charges and patterns of charges, unlike English and other Arms. Scottish heraldry differs in many other respects from English and other European heraldries.

The Badge or "Crest"

While most Duries will not have Arms, we can all wear the Chief's badge to indicate our fealty and our membership in the family. These are derived from the crest that tops the helmet in the chief's Arms - in this case, a crescent. Note that badges, which are normally made of metal, are not coloured. They can be worn as cap badges (the original use) and as kilt-pins, brooches, belt buckles etc.

Family Member Armiger Chieftain Chief





The chief's crest and motto in a buckled strap; can be worn by anyone. A single eagle feather behind the chief's crest and motto in a circlet. Two eagle feathers behind the chief's crest and motto in a circlet. Three eagle feathers behind the chief's crest and motto in a circlet.

Early Durie Arms, Modern Durie Arms and Durie Tartan

Users’ Contributions

We encourage Duries and others to send in information on arms and crests and all subjects concerning heraldry for review and possible inclusion on the website. Please send it (in Word Document or Rich Text and including, if possible, a picture/illustration in jpg format) to and we will review them and may arrange for them to go onto the website. All information will be attributed to the contributor with a by-line. Such contributions will help to build up the website and provide a better, clearer and more interesting picture of the size and breadth of our Family and its heraldry.

Individuals of Scottish descent living outwith Scotland may in many cases petition for a grant or matriculation of arms. For those who wish to bear arms legally and correctly, we can help - in any Heraldic jurisdiction (Scotland, England & Wales, Ireland, Canada).

Please email or download this Information Pack (Heraldry-booklet.pdf).

Durie merchandise, including Tartan items, kiltwear and more



Back Home Next

Early Durie Arms Modern Durie Arms Durie Tartan The real story on tartans

Copyright ©2019 Bruce Durie & Durie Family Association. Maintained by Bruce Durie