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Ross
Charles Russell Clayton Ross of Biggar, Baron of Biggar

Arms: Quarterly 1st and 4th Gules in chief two lions rampant respectant Argent, grasping a wreath of laurel leaves Or, and in base a rod of the Last entwined by a snake of the Second between two plates each charged with a fleam sable (for Ross); Second Sable a chevron between six rams counter passant Argent armed and unguled Or (for Harman); Third per pale Azure and Gules, two boars rampant combatant Pean, on a chief Or as many battleaxes in saltire blades upwards Proper (for Mac Swiney of Mashanaglass).

Crest: a demi-lion rampant and reguardant Gules grasping in its forepaws a saltire Argent

Motto: Prospera et spera in Deo (Succeed and hope in God). It answers the Clan Chief’s “Spem successit alit” (success nourishes hope).
Chapeau: Gules furred ermine.

Badge: within a wreath of Bigg Or a goat’s head erased Argent armed Or in its mouth a sprig of juniper Vert

Standard: in the hoist Azure a St Andrew’s cross Argent, in the fly four tracts Argent and Gules, split at the end, upon which is depicted in the first and third compartments the badge and in the second compartment the crest with the motto Prospera et spera in Deo in letters Argent on two transverse bands Azure.

Grant: (Lyon Register Volume 73, folio 56 and Volume 86 Page 109)


I petitioned the Lord Lyon for arms for and in memory of my paternal grandfather Colonel Andrew Russell Ross of the Royal Army Medical Corps; a career soldier, he saw action at Gallipoli in WWI and Dunkirk in WWII and in Africa was mentioned in despatches. As many will know, the red shield and silver lions derive from the arms of our Chief. The Lord Lyon suggested the arms should contain elements from the badge of the RAMC (the golden wreath and Aesculapius staff). He also suggested plates charged with water bougets which occur in the arms of families of Ross/Ros. I felt that bougets might have indicated a connection to medieval English Ros families where I knew of none (much later on, as it happened, I discovered that I descend from one of these too) and I mentioned this reservation to Lord who kindly acceded to my request for fleams instead. I thought these relatively unusual and interesting - and appropriate for an army doctor. Regarding the crest, I wanted something very definitely Scottish which would complement the charges in the shield. Lyon kindly granted a demi-lion rampant gules which I felt went well with the lions argent and he accepted my request that the lion be reguardant. (It’s a bit fanciful, but I imagine the lion for future generations looking back to where our family came from, as we are now scattered outwith Scotland). Unlike me, my grandfather had a thoroughly Scottish education (Loretto School & Edinburgh University), grew up in Edinburgh and played rugger for Scotland. I asked the Lord Lyon therefore if the lion in the crest could hold a Scottish emblem - a thistle or a saltire argent. Lyon rejected the thistle but kindly granted the saltire, and as my grandfather’s first name was Andrew, what could be more appropriate?

The 2nd quarter is differenced from the senior line (three rams passant) which has died out though the arms are quartered by the Stafford-King-Harman family. They bear them in their first quarter although their male line is not Harman but Stafford. The 6-ram arms were confirmed to my paternal great-grandfather, Major Thomas Edwards Harman, J.P., by Ulster King of Arms in 1895. The LP name his father, grandfather and gt-grandfather, the last being great-grandson of Anthony Harman who was 5th son of the original grantee. My grandmother became an heraldic heiress on the tragic death of her brother, Lt Thomas Clayton Harman, (8th Hussars) who was killed, aged only 28, in a polo accident at the Hurlingham Club. Major Harman married a Browne-Clayton heraldic heiress.
The last of the Claytons of Adlington Hall (arms in Stephen Plowman’s Cheshire Armorial) was my gt-gt-gt-grandmother Dorothy, only daughter of the 1st Baronet (whose brother, the 2nd baronet, had no children). Dorothy married Robert Browne, 2nd son of William Browne, who built the first neo-classical house (called Browneshill) in Ireland; it is still lived in, but no longer by the family). Robert Browne successfully commanded the 12th Light Dragoons against Napoleonic forces and ended his career as a General. He had a royal licence to quarter his Browne arms with those Dorothy. His only son had one son, Lt Robert Clayton Browne-Clayton, who was badly wounded in the Crimea, dying aged only 20 in Florence Nightingale’s hospital in Scutari; Robert’s 4 sisters then became heraldic heiresses and one married Major Harman - but I will not be petitioning for a Browne-Clayton quarter!

The MacSwiney arms were confirmed to my maternal grandfather by Ulster King of Arms, also in 1895. Pope Leo XIII created my grandfather Marquis in 1894. My mother became an heraldic heiress on the death of her brother the 2nd Marquis Mac Swiney of Mashanaglass K.M., whose only son Patrick pre-deceased him, aged only 28. I was very close to my uncle, an awe-inspiring and brilliant man with a great sense of humour and I am very proud to quarter his arms.
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