Although I have assumed the title of Baron of Coigach and been able to use it since 2011, Royal protocol dictates that as a new Baronial Blazon and Crest has been created, this needs to go through the correct approval procedures. As the Barony is a Scottish title, the responsibility of this lies with the Lord Lyon, being the Queens representative for Scotland. This is because Scottish Baronial law is different from the English equivalent.
Designing a Baronial Crest is not a simple matter, there are Heraldic rules to follow. Crests in fact are composed of two parts, the basic shield, and the â€˜supportersâ€™ â€“ all the additional material on the outside of the shield. For the shield itself, I wished to use a Chinese styled Dragon, as I have spent so many years in China and it looks rather magnificent. Coupled with this are three Scallop shells, which I recall as being a symbol of the Devonshire-Ellis family and which are extant in a stained glass window in the Chapel at Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire, where some of the family graves are located. I chose the colours old gold and crimson as they both look suitably regal and are in fact â€˜luckyâ€™ colours in China â€“ another reference to my time there. Working with a Scottish Heraldic Expert in Edinburgh, the Shield proved to be the easiest part of the design.
Meanwhile, personally researching Scottish Heraldry made me realize that I may in fact qualify â€“ should the Lord Lyon agree â€“ on having the â€œOriental Crownâ€ also depicted as part of the overall design. This five pointed crown is only granted for use for demonstrating â€œexemplary service in the Orientâ€. To do so I had to provide proof and evidence of my years in China and Asia and the business and cultural understanding I have built up of the region. Fortunately, this was permitted â€“ another aspect that personalizes the full blazon â€“ they are designed to depict an individual and the honors, family ties and traits that such describe the person concerned. (There is no such thing as a â€˜family crestâ€™, they are only officially granted to individuals).
Next came the Family part. The Devonshire-Ellisâ€™s only have loose ancestral connections with Scotland, although the family owned what was for many years Scotlandâ€™s largest company, the John Brown Shipyards in Clyde, www.devonshireellis.com near Glasgow. However, the Barony was bequeathed to me by Earl Cromartie, the previous holder of the title, who also happens to be the Head of the Clan MacKenzie, one of Scotlandâ€™s oldest and most historic families. The MacKenzie family symbol is a Stags Head â€“ which is why that appears also on the Blazon. That directly links me as related to the MacKenzies â€“ which means that although there are no direct blood ties, I have pledged alligence to the Clan, and to the Earl and his descendants. In other words, if they get in a fight, Iâ€™m supposed to turn up and help.
The Motto is one developed by myself, which is translated correctly into Latin, and effectively means â€œTruth & Honor Through Travelâ€ â€“ which holds to my belief that a well travelled life allows one to become more tolerant of others, and hopefully acquire some wisdom. In which case, I may need to travel more.
Once the Blazon design was completed, this was submitted to the Lord Lyon for approval, which is a time consuming process. Once that was granted, the entire Letters Patent was hand written onto Vellum, recorded in Scotlandâ€™s archives, and presented to me. It is in effect, the creation of a little part of Scottish history. The written content essentially describes the detail of the blazon in full. It is a guideline as to how the Blazon looks and what it represents. In other words, it symbolizes in pictorial form who I am.
The complete history of the Barony of Coigach, dating back to 1511 can be found at www.baronyofcoigach.com