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Scottish Culture/Nichol and McKenzie blazons of arms


QUESTION: Can you please find me an image in colour of the nichol crest as in my picture obtained from the cover of a family history book? Also, what is the meNing of the words on the top of the McKenzie blazon in the attached image

ANSWER: Hello Colleen

As this is a question and answer site, it would not be appropriate for me to search for an image of a  crest: I am sure the Nichol family has a homepage or homepages. Be aware that there are  different sources for Nichol - some are Scottish, some are not.

As for the Mackenzie query - the writing is illegible as the image is too dark. However, I wonder if this is either  the clan slogan (or war cry) or the clan motto.

The motto is Latin - Luceo non Uro - I shine, not burn

However, the writing looks too long for that - perhaps it's the slogan - Tulach rd, which translates as 'The High Hill'

You sometimes  also get Cuidich 'n Righ which translates as 'Help the King' on Mackenzie crests and as their slogan.

I hope this helps - if none of these are what is written on the crest, write it out and send it and I'll see what I can do.

Please note if you do any internet searches etc, the spelling of the name is more commonly Mackenzie   in Scotland at least. It can also be pronounced "Mackingie' - with the 'ing' as in 'sing' and 'wing'. This is because that 'z' is not a 'z' but the letter 'yogh', which is now obsolete but was used on Old and Middle Scots.

All things good


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QUESTION: Excellent information! The words across the top of the McKenzie blazon are "caber feidh"

Hi Colleen

Thanks for that - caber feidh is Gaelic for stag's antlers (spar of the deer) and the honorific 'caberfeidh' is awarded to Mackenzie of Seaforth, the chief of the clan. It would seem that caber comes from cabar (wooden pole, spar etc).

I hope this helps


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Kaye McAlpine


Lifecycle (birth, marriage, death) customs in Scotland, Early Modern Scottish social customs, modern Scottish social customs, Border March laws and procedures, criminal processes and judicial execution practices, social history in Early Modern Scotland, ephemera printing in Scotland. While I have some knowledge of the clan system and function of the clan society (Highland and Lowland), I am not a an expert in clan genealogy. Having traced back my own family over a couple of centuries, and traced others due to academic research, I do know how the system works, however. This doesn't mean that I'm a genealogist. Please note that I do not speak Gaelic.


Research Fellow (University of Edinburgh). Contributer to various books and journals on ballads, including Scottish Life and Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, The Ballad and History and The Harris Repertoire. Freelance tutor in outreach courses from Edinburgh University on Scottish Culture and Tradition, including lifecycle customs, broadsheet ballads in Scotland, the traditional ballad and history. Freelance writer, guest presenter on Ch4 History Hunters programme, contributor to BBC Radio Scotland's 'Songlines' series on 'The Dowie Dens of Yarrow'. Currently co-director of a media production company

Books: Forthcoming: The Gallows and The Stake Published: Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, vol. 10, chapter on The Traditional and the Border Ballad; The Harris Repertoire (2000, Scottish Text Society, co-editor), The Ballad in History (chapter on Border ballads). Journals include Folklore, The Review of Scottish Culture,Sottish Studies, and The Scottish Literary Journal

Ph D, M. Phil, BA (hons)

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