Clan Little Society of Scotland

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HERALDRY of the SOCIETY


Since the early 15th century, the Sovereign has delegated the power to grant new Coats of Arms to the senior heralds or Kings of Arms. From the start the Officers of Arms were called Kings of Arms, those of next rank were known as Heralds, and juniors were known as Pursuivants.  All these ranks still exist for the thirteen Officers of Arms forming the College of Arms today. Only the Kings of Arms may make grants or confirmations of Arms. 

Clan Little is one of many heidless (Headless) clans. An issue arises over the clan crest badge for display by members of a clan with a dormant or vacant chiefship. Of old the chief of a clan handed out replicas of his crest to be worn strapped to the arm by his clansmen going into battle. The non-existent chief of a heidless clan cannot be present to hand out replicas of his non-existent crest, so strictly speaking the Border Littles cannot have a clan badge! 

As a compromise the crest of Little of Meikledale of old within a buckled strap bearing the motto is being displayed as the Clan Crest Badge of the Littles until such time as a chief is recognized and pronounces otherwise. Currently funds are being raised by the Clan Little Society of Scotland to secure a 'Grant of Shield' (corporate arms) from Lord Lyon King of Arms. Such a Grant would bring the Society into the category of other such Societies in Scotland.

The logo for the Clan Little Society, Scotland and Worldwide, was created by Dr. Johnnie Little and consists of a two-handed Sword and the St. Andrew's Cross displayed against a globe symbolizing the world-wide membership of the Society. The sword and cross are reminders that the clan produced not only warriors, but persons devoted to the spiritual and physical care of others. A winged Viking Stirrup represents the long cavalry tradition. Above and below are ribbons with the wording "Clan Little Society" and "St. Andrew's Day, 1991".

This is the modern tartan.    No one has knowledge of  the original design of the ancient tartan or if one ever existed. This design is a modification of the Wallace and Shepherd Setts designed in 1991 by Dr.J.C. Little of Dumfries, for the newly organized Clan Little Society. 

The clan plant badge is heather. 

Heralds were first mentioned in Western Europe about the time of the First Crusade in 1095.   They acted as messengers, diplomats and army staff officers.  This last duty required them to be expert in identifying army commanders by the devices painted on their banners, shields and surcoats because facial identification was impossible when the head was completely covered by the great war helm.  Heralds also organized tournaments, and thus gradually became experts not only in coat armour or ‘coats of arms’ but also in ceremonial matters, which led to their organizing the great ceremonies of State. 

Today the Heralds are appointed by the Queen of England by letters patent under the great seal of the United Kingdom.  The Heralds were and still are responsible for the great ceremonies such a coronations, State openings of parliament and State funerals.

The Granting of Arms Today
Anyone who can establish a direct male line of descent from an ancestor whose arms are registered at the College of Arms is entitled to those arms.  A proven ancestry is not a prerequisite to a grant of arms. The Kings of Arms are authorized by the Sovereign to grant legally protected coats of arms to individuals - men and women - corporate bodies, local authorities, professional associations and the like.   The Kings of Arms jurisdiction covers all those countries of which Her Majesty is Queen except Scotland and Canada.  In Scotland the authority to grant arms rests with the Lord Lyon King of Arms. 

When consent for a coat of arms has been granted, a Herald devises the separate components of the coat of arms in consultation with the applicant.  This must be researched to ensure that the design has never been used before.  Finally, the design is interpreted on vellum by artists using colors and gold.  In 1997 the Clan Little Society Scotland and Worldwide secured a Grant of Arms by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.  The arms consist of red rings on a field of gold above a silver cross embedded in black background.  A winged stirrup is gold.



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Last updated 4.14.00