Clan Lachlan Association of Canada 

& Clan MacLachlan Society



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This section is an extract from the "clan lachlan" CD and draws on an article on the 24th Chief's heraldic arms in Number 35 of the "clan lachlan" magazine and on "Scots Heraldry" by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, the Lord Lyon, King of Arms of Scotland. Armory was used for the purposes of identification and heraldry was the machinery for operating the Family or Clan ; in Scotland, heraldry is enforceable as a branch of Civil Law.



"The Clan Badge is synonymous with the Chief's Crest when it is depicted within a "belt and buckle" and is a conventional form of the plate and strap with which clansmen and adherents bore their Chief's badge."

"The purpose of the Badge was to be worn by the whole following and displayed on the rallying flag whereas the arms and banner denoted the Chief and leader himself. The use of a Chief's badge in this form is not the legal offence of "usurpation of arms", but an expression of adherence to that Chief."

"There is, however, no such thing as a "family" or "clan" crest. It is the property of the Chief alone, and whilst it is correct to display as part of Highland Dress and Ornaments -- with the necessary "belt and buckle" which indicates that the use is as clansman or adherent-- it is illegal to misappropriate the crest of one's Chief to decorate one's plate, paper or rings such being the user's property, not the Chief's property! "

It appears that it is illegal to use the Clan Crest on windows, glasses, mugs, placemats etc! As a form of identification and showing allegiance to the Clan, it is presumed that it is legal to use the Clan Crest in letterhead or on a T shirt!

The Clan Crest is shown above and on all pages. The Crest is taken from the Heraldic Arms of the Chief which may be only used by the Chief. However, as part of the Clan History it is useful to look at the Symbolism of the different components of the Arms of the Chief.

The Clan Lachlan Crest is defined as follows in heraldic language:

"Above the shield and issuant from a gold Crest -Coronet of four (three visible ) strawberry -shaped leaves , as Chief of the Name and Arms of Maclachlan, is set for Crest, a Castle set upon a rock."

The gold circlet, sometimes known as the ducal coronet, is comparatively rare in Britain and it has been adjudged that it indicates a "Chef du Nom et d'Armes" i.e. "of that Ilk", holders of a baronial estate of the same style as their name.


 "Fortis et Fidus." This is Latin for "Brave and Trusty". This is included in the Coat of Arms.

"From the Middle Ages it is a matter of heraldic record that when the Motto is included in the Arms of the Chief or House and the Crest depicts a place, then the Crest is usually a representation of the traditional gathering place of the Clan or House. "

The prime candidate for the traditional gathering place for Clan Lachlan would appear to be "Old Castle Lachlan". It is assumed that the Clan Crest is a heraldic representation of Old Castle Lachlan.


The Shield is the foundation of the Arms. All four quarters of the Shield display "charges" which relate to associations of Clan Lachlan with the Royal Houses of Dalriada andScotland, the High Kings of Ireland and the Norse sea-kings.

We show below the 24th Chief's heraldic arms. The 24th Chief was the first female chief in the long history of the clan and with her son the 25th Chief and his sons securing the succession, it will likely be a long time before we see another lady chief which makes her heraldic arms unique.



Plant badges were carried beside the clan standard, fixed on staff or spear, or worn in the bonnet.

From the Lyon Register for the Arms of the 24th Chief. "Upon a compartment below the shield is embellished with rowan seedlings fructed proper (being the badge-plant of Clan Lachlan) are placed for supporters two roebucks proper."

We therefore conclude that the rowan or mountain ash is the Official Clan Plant badge. The rowan is reputed to be a powerful charm against evil.

There is an old and improbable legend that the reason why the Maclachlan Chief's coat-of-arms is supported by two roebucks is that, when King Alexander  made his great show of strength in Argyll in 1249, he ordered the local chiefs to send their tribute "by the fastest messenger", and Lachlan Mor tied the money bags to the horns of a roebuck.      

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