Robin O. Blair, LVO, WS, Lord Lyon, King
The Arms are
based on the history and traditions of Clan MacInnes and draw on the heraldic
practice of the
Our Ensigns Armorial is an account of the history and traditions of Clan MacInnes – they are not the chronicle of an elite - but the story of the Gael – the Highlander!
The lymphad or
The lymphad on the Shield reminds us of
the sea power of Clan MacInnes and the clan’s influence over the busy sea-lanes
In the time of Somerled the birlinn was a
vital instrument against the marauding Vikings and in the era of the Lordship
of the Isles the
The MacInneses, as the principle clan of Morvern, Ardgour and Ardnamurchan overlooked the prime sea route through the Sound of Mull and its environs.
The five oars depicted on the Lymphad
symbolise the five MacInnes families who left Morvern to settle on the
The salmon is a heraldic symbol of great antiquity and is one of the four traditional charges of the West Highlands. For the MacInneses the salmon denotes the “omen of good fortune” sought by the great Gaelic warlord Somerled in his decision to lead the subsequent victorious MacInneses of Morvern against the “Lochlann” – the Vikings.
It is said that a chiefless Clan MacInnes
sought the generalship of Somerled to lead them against the Vikings. Somerled
declared that he would consent to lead the MacInneses, if, as a good omen, he
caught a great salmon in the pools of the river Aline – this he did. “Withal he exhorted the MacInneses to be of
good courage, and to do as they would see him do, so they led the charge. The first whom Sommerlid
slew he ript up and took out his heart, desiring the MacInneses to do the same,
because the Danes were not Christians.
So the Danes were put to the flight; many of them were lost in the sea
endeavouring to gain their ships; the lands of
In the oral traditions of the clan
Somerled is claimed as a descendant of the Cenel Aonghusa - the early
MacInneses of the Isle of
The boar is second only to the rampant lion in the use of animals that appear in Scottish heraldry. The boar features on the Arms of many clans. Indeed, the late Lord Lyon, Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, decreed a boar’s head as the true Crest for MacInneses.
The unmatriculated Arms of the Reverend John MacInnes of Crathie give a demi-boar as a Crest and the matriculated Arms of MacInnes of Carradale have a demi-boar holding a bow and arrow while sporting a MacInnes clad tartan plaid.
The black boar’s head in the fourth
quarter of the Shield takes us back to the cradle of the Scottish nation in
ancient Dalriada and the origins of Clan MacInnes. The sixth century origin story claims that
the progenitor of the MacInneses was Angus, one of the three sons of Erc, who
colonised Scottish Dalriada from
The carving of a wild boar can be seen on the summit of the inauguration hill of Dunadd in Argyll on which the rulers of Dalriada were ordained.
The MacInneses are celebrated in history
for their prowess as archers. It was on
The Crest is unique in that the sleeve of the archer is of green MacInnes tartan, thus, deeming the tartan “proper” in heraldic terms and putting this MacInnes tartan under the jurisdiction of the Court of the Lord Lyon. There is no official register of tartans.
The Gaelic “MacAonghais a-rithist” or “Again MacInnes” was the motto adopted by the founders of the Clan MacInnes organisation.
Artwork by Neil Ross MacAngus of