Subject: [Test] Jeffrey Johnstone, what has a Saltire with Three Cushions in Chief?
From: Jeffrey Johnstone <>
Date: 10/2/2021, 12:06 PM

Jeffrey Johnstone, what has a Saltire with Three Cushions in Chief?

Johnston(e) Heraldry


     Welcome to my latest newsletter!  I enjoy writing them, but they are really intended for the enjoyment of my readers so please let me know whether you find these newsletters informative and interesting and whether you want to continue receiving them.  

     The novel Dryfe Sands contains references to the coats of arms of various characters, so I am devoting this letter to Johnston(e) heraldry.

     Before 1592, in Scotland it was common for many people of the same surname to use the same undifferenced coat of arms. Many Johnston(e)s apparently did so, and that practice is traditional in Polish Heraldry. It is also a common practice today in countries such as the United States that do not have a national heraldic authority and in which there is no legal protection for armorial bearings.

      However, in 1592 the Parliament of Scotland decided that it was improper and abusive for persons to use arms that belonged to others, such as the heads of the families or the chiefs of clans, Accordingly, the Parliament enacted 1592, C. 125; fol. edit. C. 29 (Jac. VI) Concerning the Office of Lyoun King-of-Armes and his brether Herauldis. This statute, which is still in force, provides that Scottish coats of arms are personal to a single individual, and that one person's armorial bearings have to be distinguishable from those of everyone else. Since most arms of persons of the same surname in Scotland are based on a similar design, each must be distinguished in some way ("differenced"), and the statute invested the  Lord Lyon, King of Arms with authority to regulate the use of arms. In the novel Dryfe Sands the arms of Archibald Johnstone are differenced from those of his chief, Sir James Johnstone of Dunskellie. The Scottish Parliament augmented the 1592 statute by 1672, c. 21; fol. edit. C. 47 (Car. II), Concerning the Priviledges of the Office of Lyon King-at-Armes, which established the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland (the "Lyon Register"). 

    Typical Johnston(e) arms are generally based on those of the Chief of the clan, although the arms of he Johnstons of Caskieben from Aberdeenshire are not. The basic description or blazon of Annandale Johnston(e) arms includes a saltire  and three cushions on a chief.

Johnstone arms.svg


The blazon is based, in part, on the arms of the Bruce family, which was the feudal superior of many families in the Annandale region during the middle ages. The arms of other families, such as Kirkpatrick  and Jardine are also based on Bruce arms.

Bruce Arms

Coat of Arms of Andrew Bruce 11th Earl of Elgin.svg

In the sixteenth century, the undifferenced Annandale Johnston(e) arms had a black ("sable")  chief and silver or white ("argent") cushions. Today, the chief is red ("gules") and the cushions are gold or yellow ("or").  The arms of different branches are differenced from those of the chief. A selection of different Johnston(e) arms can be seen in The Heraldry of the Johnstons.

     A reader has asked about the logo depicted on my web site

It is the the Scottish arms of my father in  the shape of a banner, with a a label of three points as a temporary mark of cadency for me as his eldest son. The gold scalloped border ("invected bordure") indicates my position in the family tree and the two red apples are to difference these arms from those of the clan chief.  

Armorial Gravestone of Sir James Johnstone of Dunskellie

Scottish Heraldry

Court of the Lord Lyon

The Heraldry Society of Scotland

Heraldry Today Facebook Group

The Poldean Armorial Stone

Dryfe Sands

A Novel of Scotland’s Bitterest Clan Feud

Now available as hardcover, e- book and paperback on Amazon

Buy it on

Buy it on




Jeffrey Johnstone | 62 Babcock Drive, Rochester
This email was sent to | Unsubscribe | Forward this email to a friend
Powered by MailerLite