Coats of Arms


Coat of Arms

    The Family Crest and Arms


The function of the Coat of Arms is to identify the person who is the head of a given family.  They are used in many ways in connection with the administration and government of the estate, for instance on documents, coins, in churches and on family buildings. To most people they are familiar appearing on various products and goods.  The Seton Coat of Arms, of Scotland and the United Kingdom, have evolved over many centuries and reflect the history of the family, and of the country.

    On a ducal coronet, a Wyvern, Vert, wings elevated and sprouting fire, proper.

Originally the Seton Crest was an Antelope Head, as illustrated on the right.  This emblem came with Seier and Walter de Lens and is still carried by Walter's descent, the Fleming family of Scotland. 

The Wyvern Crest, on the left, came into the Seton family upon their inheritance of the de Quincy estate.  In the 12th century, through the marriage of Walter de Seton (also called Dougall, from the corrupted french, 'du gaul') and the heiress, Janet de Quincy.  After this time the Seton family assumed the de Quincy crest of the Wyvern.

In the root of the design, the shield shows the emblems of royal association, and of the Flemish descent: the three crescents signify descent from the second son of the Flemish House of Boulogne, and they are surrounded by the double tressure signifying descent from the Scottish Royal Family, and bearing the motto Hazard Yet Forward, 'that no matter what difficulty or peril, we will continue or progress on', which symbolizes the family's creed and devotion to the Royal cause.  As an ancient family, they were members of the order of knighthood from the earliest times and the symbols and motto's were of great importance in identifying family members in battle.  The double tressure was given by King Robert I, the Bruce, in 1301 upon the marriage of Sir Christopher Seton III with his sister, Lady Christian Bruce, and which marriage made their son, Sir Alexander Seton, a lineal heir to the Scottish Crown.

The English branches of the Seton family maintained arms that while maintaining the tinctures, reflected different loyalties and thus no longer bore the three crescents.  Arms borne by Jan de Seton of the family's estates in Yorkshire, for example, were: Or, a saltire gules and on a chief gules three garbs, Or.

In the arms of the head of the family stemming from the 7th Lord Seton's time and his descent, the Earl's of Winton, the shield is supported by two mertrix's rampant, or Scottish wildcats, which represent the lesser status in the Royal lineage: the Scottish sovereign's symbols being the Lion Rampant.  Later, below the shield appeared the motto of the Head of the Family, Invia Virtute Via Nulla ('No road to virtue is too great'). The plant badge of the family - Yew - which tree signifies: death and eternal life thereafter.

    The quartering of the Seton Arms originate from the union of the various families with the House.  The earliest quartering would be:

  • Seton and Gordon, which were brought about by the marriage with the heiress of Gordon and which brought the Lordship of Gordon and the later Earldom of Huntly to the House;
  • Seton and Meldrum, which were brought about by the marriage of the second son of the 1st Lord Gordon and the heiress of Meldrum and established the Seton's of Meldrum;
  • Seton and Hay, which were brought about by the marriage of the second son of the 1st Earl of Huntly with an early Hay family heiress and established the Seton's of Touch and Tullibody;
  • Later, the Head of the House of Seton's Arms were quartered with the Arms of the Earldom of Buchan when George, 3rd Lord Seton married the heiress of John Stewart, Earl of Buchan, grandson of the King.


Robert, 8th Lord Seton, on being created Earl of Winton, was allowed the additional coat of augmentation, viz., Azure, a star of twelve points Argent, within a double tressure flowered and counter- flowered. Or.  The motto 'Intaminatis Fulget Honoribus' was added by the Earls of Winton upon ascension to that station in the peerage.

The special escutcheon, (or small coat of arms) in the center of the Seton Arms: Gules, a sword proper, pomelled and hilted supporting and antique crown within a double tressure flory counter-flory, Or;  was awarded by King Robert I, in recognition for the family's endurance during the wars for Scottish independence, and for adherence to the Royal Crown, and in particular for Sir Christopher Seton, his famed adherent, who was captured and executed by the English during the wars. 

Later, upon the ascension to the Earldom of Winton, a further augmentation was added: that of the escutcheon with the white blazing sun which signified the rise of the family and the light on the path to virtue.  Both of these additions were incorporated into one escutcheon, with the old on the dexter and the new on the sinister.


The dignity of Earl of Winton had been conferred upon Robert, eighth Lord Seton, the eldest brother of the President, on account of his faithful services, and those of his ancestors, to the House of Stuart. This was the first Scottish patent of Peerage, and the only one granted by the King before his accession to the English throne, its phraseology being borrowed from the south side of the Tweed.  It refers to the symbolical
act of investiture called Belting, or cinctura glaxii which, contrary to the ordinary practice, had preceded the issue of the patent, the ceremony having been performed with great solemnity at Holyrood, accompanied by the usual creation of knights.  Nisbet alludes to the " coat of augmentation" granted on the same occasion, as the earliest example of that heraldic honour — viz., azure, a blazing star of ten points, within a double tressure, flowered and counter-flowered or, with the motto Intaminatis fulget honoribus, "to show the constant loyalty and heroic virtue of the family".

On a large detached stone in Seton Church, believed to have formerly surmounted the principal doorway of Seton Palace, the full Winton arms are sculptured in high relief, the only charges in the inescutcheon being the star and Royal tressure, as on the seal of George, third Earl, in 1608. 

The Winton inescutcheon also appears on a damask napkin in the possession of the writer, bearing the name of the maker — " John Ochiltrie, weaver in Edinburgh," and exhibiting the armorial ensigns of George, fifth Earl of Winton, under the following legend : — Insignia George IX. de Seton, Comitis de Winton, Domini de Seton.  Over the shield is an Earl's coronet surmounted by helmet, crest, and motto ; and behind, two batons in saltire, in allusion to the office of Master of the Royal Household formerly held by the family.  The supporters hold banners, of which the dexter is charged with the arms of Seton, and the sinister with a circle and triangle interlaced, surrounded by the word Indissoluble, the device adopted by George, fourth Lord Seton, on the ensign of the ship "Eagle," which he equipped to avenge himself against an attack by the Dunkirkers.  In the four corners are interlaced crescents and other devices, with legends, the whole being within a bordure charged with crescents and fleurs-de-lis.  The seal of Robert, Lord Seton, in 1600, presents a variation of marshalling ; the crescents of Seton being there quartered with the garbs of Buchan, and the whole surrounded by the Royal tressure.


Arms of Sir William Seton, 1st Lord Seton



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