History of Clan Badges
As our first ever UK trunk show in Edinburgh fast approaches, our thoughts have turned to Scotland. For those seeking inspiration north of the border for a bespoke signet ring design, we take a trip back in time and explore the fascinating history behind the Scottish clan badge.
The Scottish clan or Gaelic clann, roughly translated as ‘children’, has long-denoted kinship groups who share a common identity among the Scottish people. Since the 16th century, the heraldry, clan badges, and more recently crest badges and tartan of these clans have been officially recognised by the Court of the Lord Lyon.
Not to be confused with these more modern Scottish crest badges, clan badges can more accurately be described as a plant sprig often placed behind a crest badge in a traditional bonnet or perhaps at the shoulder of a tartan sash. Showing allegiance to a particular clan, these tokens often bore significance to the occupied lands that made up each clan’s ancestral homeland and were said to have originated as a form of identification in battle. It has been noted that while most plant badges are native to Scotland, some non-indigenous species could possibly have arrived with the influx of conquerors or returning armies such as the Romans or Crusaders. Others dispute the idea of clan badges dating back centuries as mere romantic fiction from the 19th century, with no bearing in historical truth.
Clans who shared historical connections can often be found to share clan badges, and there is much debate over why clans can also claim to hold more than one badge; it is often suggested that as clans gained new lands they would also acquire that district’s badge.
Proud members of the more commonly known clans and surnames might find their plant badge below.
Clan Donald including Macdonald / MacDonald / Macdonell
Logan / Maclennan / Sinclair
Clan Chattan including Davidson / Mackintosh / Macpherson / Macqueen
Red whortleberry, otherwise known as cranberry
Gunn / Macleod / Murray / Nicholson
Siol Alpin group of clans including Grant / Gregor / Mackinnon
Pine, otherwise known as Scots fir
Buchanan / Cameron / Kennedy / Stewart / Wood
Can’t see your clan and emblem above? If you’re lucky enough to call Scotland home, we’d be thrilled to meet you at our Edinburgh Trunk Show on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th April at The Cheval Edinburgh Grand, and discuss your very own bespoke clan design.
Book an appointment at our Edinburgh Trunk show, Friday 29th and Saturday 30th April: