Early Durie Arms

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Early Durie Coats of Arms

The earliest examples of Durie arms we have are from the armorial seals of George Durie, last Abbot of Dunfermline and his brother, Andrew Durie, Abbot of Melrose and Bishop of Galloway. These date from the mid-1500s.

Quite where the chevron and crescents originate is unclear, although it should be said that chevrons are common in Fife arms (including the chevronels of Strathearn) and crescents may indicate the origin of the Durie name with Gilbert, second son of the Earl.

Seal of Abbot George Durie (1496-1577)

In the first year of his full abbacy (1539), George had a seal made showing, below three Gothic niches, the Virgin and Child with St. Andrew on the dexter and St. Margaret on the sinister and beneath this a shield, with crosier behind, bearing arms: a chevron between three crescents, with the legend: S. GEORGII ABBATIS DE DVMFERLING ARCH S ANDR. (Seal of George Abbot of Dunfermline Archdeacon of St Andrews). 1  (See The Annunciation Stone, below)    
Seal of Abbot George Durie (1496-1571) from 1539

 

Seal of Andrew Durie (aft. 1492-1558)

Recorded in the Auldbar Charters is a seal of Andrew, when Abbot of Melrose, showing a canopy, a figure of the Virgin and Child with a monk kneeling on dexter, beneath which is a shield, with crosier behind, bearing arms: a chevron between three crescents, legend: S ANDREE ABBATIS DE MELROS (Seal of Andrew, Abbot of Melrose) and dated to 1539. 2

A similar seal-stamp has come to light in Perth Museum, which was previously catalogued by the old Museum of the Antiquaries of Perth . This bears the date 1554, a bishop’s mitre and the name of the see as Whithorn. 3

Seal of Andrew Durie (aft.1492-1558) from 1539

 

Seal of Robert Durie of that Ilk

Robert was the eldest brother of Andrew and George, and the only seal known to relate to him bears: a chevron between three crescents, and an illegible legend. 4

 

Arms from a seal of Robert Durie of That Ilk  

 

Seal of Henry Durie, merchant and burgess of Musselburgh.

This is one of the four known sons of Abbot George Durie - Henry (b. aft. 1523-1591) legitimated by Mary Queen of Scots presumably so he could inherit property. There was a Henry Durie, around the same time, in heritable possession of the shyre-miln (the town mill) of Musselburgh, which was within the Regality of Dunfermline. Abbot George was busy parcelling out Abbey lands to his nearest and dearest before the tide of reformation could sweep it all away. The seal bears: a chevron between three crescents with a star at fess point, legend: S [HENRICI] DURE. 5 If this is Henry, son of George, then the star or mullet is a clear indication of cadency and Henry is indeed presumed to be the third son after George and Peter and before John.
Seal of Henry Durie, merchant of Musselburgh

 

Armorial Carvings

The Annunciation Stone, Dunfermline Abbey (early 1500s)

Rediscovered in 1812 but dating to the time of the abbacy of George Durie (from 1539), this stone bears the same arms – a chevron between three crescents.

For more, see Annunciation Stone

Annunciation Stone, Dunfermline

 

Burntisland, Rossend Castle, Fife

The Arms of Durie are above the castle doorway (with the date 1554), probably arranged by Abbot George Durie. There is a shield supported by two human figures, an eroded scroll probably bearing the motto 'CONFIDO' and behind it the lower end of an abbot's crosier, plus a carved inscription which reads XXII MAII 1554’ (22 May 1554) 6  

 

Colours

We have no idea from these seals and carvings what the colours and metals were in the arms, but fortunately there are records in old armorials. It is clear that the original Durie arms were Azure, a chevron between three crescents all Argent.

Table 1. Earliest recorded Durie Arms - 1500s/1600s

Public Register of All Arms and Bearings

Duries were amongst the first to get the armorial bearings registered in 1672. 7 The Public Register lists, together on the same page:

Captain George Durie descended of the familie of Durie Bears azure a cheverone argent betwixt three crescents or Above the shield ane helmet befitting his degree mantled gules doubled argent

Captain George Durie (bef. 1637-1703) was 5th of Craigluscar (great-great-grandson of Abbot George, though Henry, and direct ancestor of the present Chief of Durie). He had been a Captain in Louis XIV’s Scots Guards and served as Provost of Dunfermline from 1664 until at least 1687 with only one break in tenure.

John Durie of Grange in the Parish of Burntisland Bears azure a Cheverone argent betwixt three crescents all within a bordur invecked or Above the shield ane helmet befitting his degree mantled gules doubled argent

John Durie of Grange was 1st cousin to Captain George and may have come into the Grange lands as part of the concession that originally included Burntisland Castle and the Grange lands landward of it. By a complicated series of intermarriages, his Durie of Grange descendants came to style themselves the Lords Rutherford and Teviot, although no-one quite believed this, not least certain other Rutherfords and the entire House of Lords.

In 1614, the last Robert Durie of that Ilk (bef. 1557-aft. 1618) gave up the Durie lands and Barony in Scoonie, which he had inherited from his grandmother Jonet (daughter of the Robert Durie of that Ilk dealt with above) and her husband, Henry Kemp of Thomastoun. Kemp was a companion of James V and Jonet was ‘persuaded’ to marry him, Kemp changing his name to preserve an entail. However, he had also received Ferryport-on Craig as a Burgh of Barony, as shown in a later matriculation.

 

Extract of the Matriculation of the arms of the Burgh of Tayport

In the county of Fife, having by Petition unto the Lord Lyon King of Arms of date 10th February 1953 Shewn: THAT the said Burgh was erected as a Burgh of Barony in the name Portincraig, or the South Ferry of Portincraig, by Crown Charter of date 22nd January 1598 from His Majesty King James VI in favour of Robert Durie of that Ilk, but that the said Burgh has been known by the name of Tayport since the year 1846: AND the Petitioners having prayed that Ensigns Armorial might be matriculated for the said Burgh in the Public Register of All arms and Bearings in Scotland. The Lord Lyon King of Arms by Interlocutor of date 6th May 1953 Granted Warrant to the Lyon Clerk to matriculate in the Public Register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland in the name of the Petitioners the following Ensigns Armorial, VIDELICET:. per fess wavy or and in base undy azure and argent, a pile chequy of the last and sable ensigned of a mullet of six points gules in the honour point, accompanied on the dexter by a lymphad of the second, flagged of scotland, her sail charged with the arms of durie of that ilk, viz. azure, a chevron argent between three crescents or, and on the sinister by an anchor also azure: below the shield, which is ensigned of a coronet appropriate to a Burgh, is set in an Escrol this Motto “TE OPORTET ALTE FERRI”. Matriculated the Twelfth day of June 1953. Extracted furth of the 91st page of the Thirty Ninth Volume of the Public Register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland this Twelfth day of June 1953

Sgd. H. A. B. Lawson, Lyon Clerk
Keeper of the Records.

The Ensigns Armorial referred to include the Azure, chevron Argent between three crescents Or of Durie. The motto is interesting too – it was conceived by Dr Douglas Young, late Professor of Latin and Greek, St. Andrews University, and while “te oportet alte ferri” translates as “It is encumbent upon you to carry yourself high”, it is also a deliberate pun on ‘Tayport’ and 'Auld Tay Ferry'.
Ferryport-on-Craig Arms

 

There was a castle at Ferryport on Craig from 1455, to guard the crossing during the wars with England along with a smaller fort over the water at Broughty Ferry. James VI gave the castle and lands to Sir Robert Melville in 1588, and when the Burgh was erected as a Burgh of Barony in 1598, presumably Robert Durie of that Ilk acquired the castle too. After the union of the Crowns in 1603 there was no need to guard the ferry and the castle fell into ruin. By 1855, only the roof of the ground floor and the north-west tower remained, but these were blasted away to make room for the growing town. It had been known as Tayport since 1846.

All of these arms are differenced from the original chevron and crescents Argent, indicating that Capt. George Durie knew he was of a cadet branch.. They are recognisably the arms of cousins, in some degree, with John being descended of a younger son. The mantling (gules doubled argent) was general at the time. No crest, motto or supporters are recorded.

Durie Seals

The earliest records of Armorial seals held by Duries are given in Macdonald’s Scottish armorial seals: [vii]

bullet827. DURIE, Robert, of that Ilk. A chevron between three crescents. Legend, illegible. Diam. in. Reg. Ho. Ch. 10 Mar. 1532/3.

bullet828. Andrew, Abbot of Melrose. Under a canopy a figure of the Virgin and Child with an abbot kneeling on dexter. Beneath a shield, with crosier behind it, bearing arms : A chevron between three crescents. Legend (Caps.) : s' ANDREE ARBATIS DE MELROs. Pointed oval, 2 ½ x l ¾ in. Auldbar Ch. A.D. 1539, Laing, i. 1078, B.M. 15384.

bullet829. George, Abbot of Dunfermline, 1526, and Archdeacon of St. Andrews. Within three Gothic niches the Virgin and Child with St. Andrew on the dexter and St. Margaret on the sinister. Beneath a shield, with crosier behind it, bearing arms: A chevron between three crescents. Legend (Caps.) : s' GEORGH ARBATIS DE DVMFERLINO ARCH s ANDR. Diam. 2 in. Detached seal per J. T. Gibson Craig, Laing, i. 1015, B.M. 14974. Hutton's Sigilla, 35.

bullet830. DURIE, Henry, merchant and burgess of Musselburgh. A chevron between three crescents with a star at fess point? Legend : s' [HENRICI] DURE. Diam. in. Musselburgh Ch. 7 Nov. 1579, Laing, ii. 327.

There are then two matriculations in 1672 as soon as Mackenzie of Rosehaugh’s Public Register of All Arms and Bearings was instigated, in favour of Captain George Durie (see above) and – with the difference of a bordure invected – for his cousin John Durie of Grange, which give the colours as Argent, three crescents Or.

Currently, there are three Durie armigers in Scotland and one in England, although the arms do crop up elsewhere, notably in the Burgh Arms of Ferryport-on-Craig (now Tayport) in north Fife, erected as Portincraig to a Burgh of Barony by Crown Charter of 22 January 1598 from James VI in favour of Robert Durie of that Ilk.[ix]

Summary

We can reliably say that Duries knew what their arms were in the early 1500s, albeit without much evidence of tincture or differencing between branches of the family. The Craigluscar Duries clearly felt they had the differenced arms tinctured as above at least as early as 1672, and it is unknown whether the 1953 grant to Tayport was researched sufficiently to determine whether the Scoonie Duries of Durie bore exactly those arms in 1598, or Lyon Clerk Lawson (and presumably, Lord Lyon Innes of Learney) merely assumed this from the 1672 matriculation. If so, they may have confused two branches of the family.

Arms based on those of Captain George Durie (and recognition as Chief) were granted to Raymond Varley Dewar Durie by Lord Lyon Innes of Edingight in 1988 and are rightly borne by the current Chief of Name and Arms of Durie, his son, Andrew Maule Dewar Durie of Durie, CBE DL, 15th of Craigluscar (although those lands were disposed of ca. 1900).

Overseas Durie arms

A separate article deals with all the evidence that Durie arms do not derive from any pre-existing French heraldry.

 

Modern Durie arms

Four Duries bear arms today - see Modern Durie Arms.

 

Sources

1 Laing, i. 1015, B.M. 14974. Hutton's Sigilla, 35

2 Auldbar Ch. A.D. 1539, Laing, i. 1078, B.M. 15384.

3 Macdonald, W. R. Scottish Armorial Seals (1904) Edinburgh, William Green and Sons

4Reg. Ho. Ch. 10 Mar. 1532/3

5Musselburgh Charters. 7 Nov. 1579, Laing, ii. 327

6 Robertson, W. N. Two armorial panels at Rossend Castle, Burntisland, PSAS vol. 104 pp. 236-237

Public Register etc etc etc vol. 1, p811, 1672.

AUTHOR: Dr Bruce Durie - Contact: genealogist@duriefamily.co.uk

 

 

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