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This is a very informal discussion of the progression of the Arms of Buchanan Chiefs.

The earliest references to Arms for the Buchanans consisted of three boars heads.  A boars
head often indicated hospitality, I assume in the form of a roasted boar (head and all) on the
table.  These early references are reflected by the three boar's heads on the Shield of the
Clan Buchanan Society International, Inc. as is displayed on the home page of this web site.

The Arms changed around 1420  to that of the Rampant Lion or Royal Standard.  This was
as a result of the marriage of Sir Walter Buchanan (12th Buchanan) to Isobel Stewart,
daughter of Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany and Regent of Scotland.  When Murdoch was
executed by James I, the Buchanans lost their closest claim to the throne of Scotland and in
acknowledgment of that loss changed the color of the lion to black.

Soon thereafter, the exploits of Sir Alexander Buchanan (Walter's brother) earned for the
Buchanans the Clan Badge or Crest we display to this day. Sir Alexander was in France with
a corps of Scottish soldiers to aid the French King Charles in a war against the English King
Henry IV.   At the battle of Beuge in 1421, Alexander drove his lance thru the left eye and
skull of the Duke of Clarence who also happened to be Henry's son and heir.  Alexander then
lifted the Duke's crown or jeweled encrusted cap above his head in victory and signaled the
defeat of the English.  The upraised hand holding aloft a ducal cap in victory is worn with
pride by Buchanan's around the world.

There are some who believe that the French King was so grateful to Alexander that he
granted the Buchanans the use of the double tressure flory counterflory around the Black
Rampant Lion resulting in an Arms that is identical to the Royal Standard of Scotland with
the exception that instead of red on gold it is black on gold.  Claude Buchanan (CBSI Herald
at Large)  has pointed out however, that it wasn't for another 200 years - the 1600's - that
the double tressure flory counterflory first appears in a Buchanan Coat of Arms.  It would
seem odd that the Buchanans would wait that long to display such an honor, casting serious
doubt on that myth.

The final touch may have been added to the Arms in 1681 when the last Chieftain of the
Clan, John Buchanan died without successors and the Buchanan estates had to be sold to
satisfy his debts. The Black Rampant Lion now is seen shedding tears lamenting the loss of
the Chieftain and lands.

For a very comprehensive history of the Heraldry of the Buchanans go to Claude Buchanan's
incredible web site:  
 Heraldry of the Clan Buchanan
Black Rampant Lion
The earliest appearance of the Lion in the Buchanan Arms was
after the marriage of Walter Buchanan to Isobel Stewart a
member of the Scottish Royal Family. Originally it was probably
red.  This was changed to black after 1425 to mourn the death of
Isobel's father, Duke of Albany. With his death the Buchanan's
one claim to the throne of Scotland was lost.
Black Rampant Lion with double tressure fleury
The double tressure flory and counter flory was added to
the Arms in the 1600's probably by John Buchanan of that
Ilk.   There are some who believe it was awarded by King
Charles of France after Sir Alexander's heroic deeds at the
Battle of Beuge but this is most likely a myth.
Buchanan Clan Badge
The Clan Badge of the Buchanans: a ducal cap raised in
victory celebrates Sir Alexander Buchanan's victory over
the Duke of Clarence at the Battle of Beuge in France.

The motto:
Clarior Hinc Honos = Brighter the Honor Hence
Another well known motto of the Buchanans is
Audaces Juvo= I Help the Brave.
Heraldic Achievment of John Buchanan of that Ilk
The complete Heraldic Achievement
(Coat of Arms) of John Buchanan of
that Ilk.  John was the last Laird of the
Clan Buchanan and died in 1681.  This
rendering beautifully incorporates all
the elements of the Buchanan Arms,
Badge/Crest and Motto.  It was John
Buchanan who probably added the
double tressure flory counter-flory to a
Buchanan Coat of Arms for the first

Courtesy Claude Buchanan)
Three boars heads
Early Buchanan Seals may have appeared similar to
this one.
The Arms of the Buchanan