A collection of historical and genalogical records
I don't know if this is the appropriate forum to pose such a question but I was wondering if someone can assist in solving a riddle posed to me by my wee daughter.
When she saw a shield I have in on my wall she asked about it explaining that it was the shield of the Clan Douglas and so forth.
When explaining the meaning behind it from what I recall the heart represents the heart of King Robert the Bruce that the Good Sir James Douglas attempted to take to the Holy Land for burial. And the crown represented the Clan loyalty to the Scottish Crown.
When she asked me what the three stars represent - well I had no answer to that. So I was wondering if anyone might be able to help? :)
Stars - or spurs?
Actually, probably stars, as spurs usually have 6 points in heraldry. I expect your shield shows 5 points, and thus would be a star. However, some Douglas coats of arms have them described as mullets (or mollets), which are spurs.
The origin is unknown, but the 3 star format is shared with the Murray family, who are of Flemish origin, which gives rise to the theory that the Douglas family is also of Flemish origin.
You will see a representation of The Good Sir James at the Battle of Bannockburn here>>> wearing 3 stars. There are occasional images of him complete with the red heart - but he was of course dead before the Douglases adopted that symbol. you are quite correct in linking Bruce's heart to the Douglas coat of arms.
The first record of the 3 stars is in around 1259. It was certainly in use in 1296.
William, Lord of Douglas, killed as a young man in 1333 at the Battle of Halidon Hill is said to have had a brass seal with 3 stars and a heart on it.
The Imperial crown is, I think, a Red Douglas symbol, as it was, I think, introduced by Archibald, 1st Duke of Douglas in about 1703.
Thanks William. :)