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Darroch of Mulmorich

When we located the ancient grave slab of Mulmorich Darroch in the churchyard at Clachan we were very much interested in the coat of arms depicted on it. We took some photographs of it and to make sure of the size obtained some paper and crayons from the village store and made rubbings of the arms.

On our return to Edinburgh I visited the office of the Lord Lyon King of Arms and talked with the Lyon Clerk. He told me that here was no record of any such arms having been registered there; that prior to 1672 many people were using unofficial coats of arms and at that time the users were given a five year period during which they could have them registered free of charge. I asked him if it would be possible for me to pay to have these arms registered retroactively in the name of Mulmorich Darroch, because the lettering on the stone was rapidly weathering away and I thought the record should be preserved in a more permanent fashion. He thought from my accent that I was an American and said that they could do nothing for Americans, also that arms could only be registered in the name of a living person. When I told him I was Canadian and thought that I could also qualify for the ' living ' requirement he gave me the necessary forms and told me how to go about filling them in.

Then followed more than a year of correspondence with Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, the Lord Lyon King of Arms. He retired from that office in 1969 and died in 1971.

At first there was some confusion about the name. He thought from the word ' person 'on the grave stone and from something in the arms that Mulmorich had a double name, ' Darroch- Pearson ', and that it was derived from his wife's name. However I learned that Mulmorich's wife was Finual Carmichael and that cleared that up. He also wrote in part -

It will not be easy to find out much about collateral branches of the Darrochs but the deduction that you have received is a very satisfactory one when one considers the state of the records in the Highland parishes of the West.You seem to have got a considerable way to connecting yourself at least chronologically with the period of the man commemorated by the tombstone.

Then, the Lord Lyon was inclined to grant me arms that were ' differenced ' from that of Darroch of Gourock. However I pointed out to him that that would indicate we were a cadet branch of that family and descended from the same source. Since the known ancestors of Darroch of Gourock only go back about 200 years and our family can definitely be traced to about the same time, there seemed to be no connection, especially since they seemed to be unaware of Mulmorich Darroch and his sons. He, therefore, agreed that the house of Darroch of Mulmorich should be a separate House within the Clan and as Chieftains under Darroch of Gouroch as Chief.

I should have liked to have the arms depicted exactly as shown on the old tombstone. However the old gentleman had a lively imagination and thought thet the saltire or cross on the arms represented a quill pen and a precentor's wand. Because the wand would be difficult to portray he suggested a precentor's tuning fork. I felt that I had to go along with some of his suggestions to get agreement on others that I considered more important. The main one of those was my desire for a Gaelic motto. Most Highland clans have mottoes in English, Latin or French. I wanted Gaelic and he agreed with ' Is Darach Mi Fhein ', ' Oak is myself '. He thought it quite appropriate.

The main body of the ' achievement ' or ' matriculation document' reads as follows: -

There is reason to believe that the Petitioner's great-grandfather was descended from the House of Darroch of Mulmorich; AND the Petitioner having prayed that the Ensigns Amorial of Darroch of Mulmorich might be Maintained, Ratified and Confirmed in manner suitable to that House as Chieftains under Darroch of Gourock, the McIliriach, and so far as practicable consistent with the carven grave-stone of the said House of Mulmorich; KNOW YE THEREFORE that agreeably with Our Interlocutor and Warrant of date 4 January 1966, we have Maintained, Ratified and Confirmed as We Do by these Presents MAINTAIN, RATIFY AND CONFIRM unto the Petitioner and to the other descendants of his said great-grandfather with such due and congruent differences as may hereafter be severally matriculated for them, the followings Ensigns Armoral, as depicted upon the margin hereof and matriculated of even date with These Presents upon the 116th page of the 48th volume of Our Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, videlicet: - ********* Quarterly; 1st. Argent, a quill pen Or, feathered Vert, saltire-ways with a tuning-fork Azure surmounted by the quill; 2nd and 3rd , Vert, a mullet of eight points Or, pierced of the field; 4th , Argent, a sinister cubit arm couped fessways grasping a bow Gules, stringed Sable. Above the Shield is placed an Helm befitting his degree with a Mantling Vert doubled Argent, and on a wreath of the Liveries is set for crest a demi-Highlander proper, attired in Macdonald Tartan, holding in his extended sinister hand a bow Gules, stringed Sable, and in an Escrol over the same this Motto IS * DARACH * MI * PHEIN, - by demonstration of which he and his successors in the same are, amongst all Nobles and in all Places of Honour, to be taken, numbered, accounted and received as Nobles in the Noblesse of Scotland. IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF We have Subscribed These Presents and the Seal of Our Office is affixed hereto at Edinburgh the 7th day of June in the Seventeenth Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her Other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty-eight.********

( Signed and Sealed ) Thomas Innes of Learney,


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