Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
The Royal Arms of Scotland

The design of the Royal Arms of Scotland shows Scotland's turbulent history. The function of a Royal Coat of Arms is to identify the Head of State. This particular Coat of Arms therefore dates from before the Union of the Crowns in 1603 because James VI and I changed the shield to reflect that Union.

The earliest part of the Coat of Arms is the Lion Rampant. This dates from the time of William I, the Lion. The double border around the lion was introduced by Alexander II to commemorate the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France.

The heraldic beasts supporting the shield were introduced by the Stewart Kings. James I favoured stags but these were changed by James II to the chained unicorns with crowns round their necks.

The thistle chain which hangs from the shield holds the Jewel of Saint Andrew, Scotland's patron saint.

The small red lion which sits on top of the crown holds the Sceptre and the Sword of State. The sceptre and sword were both given to James IV, the sceptre by Pope Alexander VI and the sword by Pope Julius II.

There are two mottos on the Coat of Arms, 'In Defense' and 'Nemo me impune lacesset' (no one will attack me with impunity), often translated in Scots as 'Wha daur meddle wi' me?'

This illustration is taken from 'The Scottish Gael or Celtic Manners' by James Logan

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

The Royal Arms of Scotland

c1560s

Coat of Arms; shields; lions; lion rampant; kings; monarchs; Head of State; unicorns; heraldry; crowns; Honours of Scotland; mottos; Saint Andrew

Highland Libraries

Fraser Mackintosh Collection (illustrations)

The design of the Royal Arms of Scotland shows Scotland's turbulent history. The function of a Royal Coat of Arms is to identify the Head of State. This particular Coat of Arms therefore dates from before the Union of the Crowns in 1603 because James VI and I changed the shield to reflect that Union.<br /> <br /> The earliest part of the Coat of Arms is the Lion Rampant. This dates from the time of William I, the Lion. The double border around the lion was introduced by Alexander II to commemorate the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France.<br /> <br /> The heraldic beasts supporting the shield were introduced by the Stewart Kings. James I favoured stags but these were changed by James II to the chained unicorns with crowns round their necks.<br /> <br /> The thistle chain which hangs from the shield holds the Jewel of Saint Andrew, Scotland's patron saint.<br /> <br /> The small red lion which sits on top of the crown holds the Sceptre and the Sword of State. The sceptre and sword were both given to James IV, the sceptre by Pope Alexander VI and the sword by Pope Julius II.<br /> <br /> There are two mottos on the Coat of Arms, 'In Defense' and 'Nemo me impune lacesset' (no one will attack me with impunity), often translated in Scots as 'Wha daur meddle wi' me?'<br /> <br /> This illustration is taken from 'The Scottish Gael or Celtic Manners' by James Logan