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Nesbitt
Mark Nesbitt of that Ilk

Arms: Argent three boars heads erased Sable, armed Argent and langued Gules

Crest: a boar passant Sable, armed Argent and langued Gules

Motto: I BYD IT

Supporters: Two boars Sable rampant, armed Argent and langued Gules on a compartment Vert embellished with acorns Proper.

Badge: a boar passant Sable, armed Argent and langued Gules

Matriculated: The Court of the Lord Lyon 2nd March 1995. Lyon Register, volume 78, folio 1.


The Nesbit(t) or Nisbet family is recorded in the parish of Edrom, Berwickshire, from the 12th century onwards. A plausible path of descent can be traced until 1444; after this, the father-son descent from Sir Philip Nisbet of that Ilk (1444-1523) to the current holder of the arms is well documented. The family intermarried with other Border families, including Haldane of Gleneagles, and the Swinton family, with whom we share three boars' heads.

The Nisbet family lost its estates in the Civil War. Sir Alexander Nisbet of that Ilk (c. 1580-1660) was a fervent supporter of Charles I, but was to lose three sons, as well as his newly built tower house, Nisbet House. The family motto, "I byd it" (I endure it) was all too appropriate. The eldest son, Sir Philip Nisbet, was executed in Glasgow after the Battle of Philiphaugh; Col. Robert Nisbet was captured with Montrose and executed at Edinburgh in 1650, and Major Alexander Nisbet was killed at the siege of York in 1644. His youngest son, Adam Nisbet, had one son, Alexander Nisbet (1657-1725), the well-known author of A System of Heraldry. Nisbet "The Herald" died unmarried, and is commemorated by a memorial in Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh.

The family's male line continued through Sir Alexander's brother, the Reverend Philip Nisbet, who had moved south to York and become Rector of St. Martin's Micklegate. The Reverend Philip was a fervent Coventanter and supporter of the Parliamentarian cause. The future history of the family was to centre on York, then London. The family's interest in its Scottish ancestry of the family was muted until the researches of my great-grandfather, Robert Chancellor Nesbitt, author of Nisbet of that Ilk (John Murray, 1941, reprinted Phillimore 1994). R.C. Nesbitt matriculated his arms on 4 October 1933, but not as Chief.

In 1993 my father, Robert Anthony Ellis Nesbitt, undertook to reprint Nisbet of that Ilk. In discussions in Edinburgh, Lyon suggested both that he matriculate his arms and, that on further examination, that it would be correct to matriculate as Chief of the Name and arms of Nesbitt (or Nisbet). On the death of my father in 2000, as his only son, I inherited the arms.

The arms of Nisbet of that Ilk are shown on plate 5 of volume I of Alexander Nisbet's System of Heraldry (1722). Early depictions of Nisbet arms, as described in William MacDonald's Scottish Armorial Seals (1904), do not feature boar heads - the closest arms are those of Patrick Nisbet (1426), with three Moor heads. However, by the end of the 16th century, the related Nisbet family of Edinburgh were using arms bearing three boar heads (Henry Nisbet, 1598).
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