On the left is the Aitionn (Juniper). On the right is the Gaig-bhealaidh (Butchers Broom)
Traditionally clans used plants as badges in order to recognize fellow clan members. Clansmen may wear a sprig of plant badge pinned behind the clan crest badge on a man’s bonnet or a lady’s sash-badge brooch.
Mermaid Badge (left). Demi-savage (Right
The Mermaid badge
Balquhidder was part of the ancient princedom of Strathearn and the heraldic device associated with the district is the mermaid. Sir William de Moravia, married Ada, daughter of Malise, Earl or Seneschal of Strathearn, and, thus, acquired the lands of Tullibardine in that district. The Council of Clan Chiefs designated this crest to be worn by Murray clansmen. On the crest is a mermaid holding in her dexter (right) hand a mirror and in her sinister (left) hand a comb, all proper, with the motto “Tout Prest”. ‘Tout Prest’ or ‘Tout Prêt’ means ‘ready’ or ‘prepared’ from Anglo-Norman – as in ‘are you all ready to go’. ‘Prêt’ is curent French usage. The Anglo-Norman spelling was ‘prest’.
"The mermaid itself is one of those symbols that can be found carved on ancient Pictish stones. Some of the most famous Pictish carvings are of monsters, mermaids, and other sea creatures:....
Another object commonly inscribed on Pictish stones is the mirror, often paired with a comb. The comb and mirror are symbols of female wealth and prestige, and usually denote a woman’s memorial, although they are also heavily associated with mermaids...."1
The Demi-savage Badge
The Demi-Savage was the old crest of the Stewarts of Atholl, granted in 1475 by King James III of Scotland to the first Stewart Earl of Atholl to commemorate a successful raid against the last Lord of the Isles. In the course of time, it came into the Murray family when the heir to the Tullibardine line ( William Murray, 2nd Earl of Tullibardine) married the heir to the Stuart Earl of Atholl (Dorothea Stewart).1 The Murrays retained the Demi-Savage and associated motto as part of the title, ‘Earl of Atholl’, which in 1703 became the ‘Duke of Atholl’. The motto “Furth Fortune and Fill the Fetters” is old Scots and means ‘go onward with fortune and fill the shackles’ (leg irons). The Demi-Savage and the motto are engraved on the keystone over the main entrance of Blair Castle, Blair Atholl in the County of Perth.
Which Crest Badge to Wear
Although the clan were allowed to wear either crest badges, sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s, the Lord Lyon declared the Demi-Savage crest badge inappropriate. Since his decisions on heraldic matters have the force of law in Scotland, all the manufacturers of clan badges ceased producing the ‘Demi-Savage’ badge. There was a considerable amount of feeling on this subject—especially in North America—and when the 10th Duke of Atholl assumed his position as Chief of the Murray Clan he appealed this decision to the Lord Lyon Court, requesting the continued use of the Demi-Savage as the clansman’s badge. Eventually in the 1980’s the Lord Lyon modified the original decision, allowing use of the Demi-Savage crest badge. Following this reversal, our Chief at that time. George Ian Murray, the 10th Duke of Atholl decided that the Demi-Savage should be the crest badge used by members of his Clan. The Lord Lyon approved this decision in 1993.
The Murray of Atholl Tartan
The Murray of Tullibardine Tartan
The tartans above are modern versions of the Murray Tartan. There are also ancient versions (an attempt to match the way a tartan looked when using such things as vegetable dyes as well as weathered versions which use dyes designed to mute the vibrant colors of modern dyes and look as if they have faded due to exposure to the elements. The Murray of Atholl tartan is readily available. Once you have chosen a tartan maker, he will be able to help you in your choice and will know which styles are available. Tartan makers can be found at games and festivals as well as online.
Go to the Scottish Tartans World Register's website Scottish Tartan Authority's website for additional information on tartans. Google 'kilt makers' for a whole listing of kilt makers.
The Murray Clan Society was granted the heraldic arms shown at the top of these pages by the Lord Lyon on May 15, 1990 with the following proclamation:
"We, Malcolm Reginald Innes of Edingight, Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Writer to Her Majesty's Signet, Lord Lyon of Arms, send Greetings: Whereas Keith Murray-Hetherington, Covenor, for and on behalf of the Murray Clan Society having headquarters at Blair Castle, Blair Atholl in the County of Perth, having by petition unto us of date 28 October 1988 shewn; that the objects of the said Society are to promote social links among people bearing the name Murray, and to stimulate interest in the history, culture and traditions of the Clan; and the petitioner having prayed that there might be granted unto him and on behalf of the Murray Clan Society such Ensigns Armorial as might be found suitable and according to the Laws of Arms, KNOW YE THEREFORE that we have devised, and do by these presents assign, ratify, and confirm unto the petitioner for and on behalf of the Murray Clan Society, the following Ensigns Armorial as depicted upon the margin hereof, and matriculated of even date with these presents upon the 14th page of the 75th volumn of our Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, VIDELICET: five annulets conjoined in Less Argent between three mullets of the Last. Above the Shield is placed on Helm suitable to our incorporation (VIDELICET: on Sallet proper lined Gules) with a Mantling Azure doubled Argent, and on a Wreath of the Liveries is set for Crest a Tower Argent masoned Sable, charged of a crest-cornet Azure over the same this motto "Forward With Fortune", by demostration of which Ensigns Armorial the said Society is amongst all Nobles and in all Places of Honor, to be taken, numbered, accounted and recieved as Society Noble in the Noblessse of Scotland; in tesimony whereof we have subscribed these presents and seal of our office is affixed hereto in Edinburgh, this 15th dy of May in the 39th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth the Second, by the grace of God, of United Kingdom of Great Briain and Northern Ireland Ireland, and of Her other realms and territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and in the year of our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety."
Pamphlets on the Murray Clan badges and tartans in PDF format cam be downloaded here:
Clan Badges and Heraldic Arms