Lord Lyon King of Arms

Lord Lyon King of Arms

The Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court, is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottish official with responsibility for regulating heraldry in that country, issuing new grants of arms, and serving as the judge of the Court of the Lord Lyon, the oldest heraldic court in the world that is still in daily operation. The post was formerly held by an important nobleman, whose functions were in practice carried out by his assistant, the Lyon-Depute. The practice of appointing Lyon-Deputes, however, ceased in 1866.

The Lord Lyon is responsible for overseeing state ceremonial in Scotland, for the granting of new arms to persons or organisations, and for confirming given pedigrees and claims to existing arms.

As Lyon Court is a government department, fees paid for granting coats of arms are paid to the Treasury. The misuse of arms is a criminal offence in Scotland, and treated as tax evasion. Prosecutions are brought before Lyon Court, Lord Lyon being the sole judge. Appeals can be made to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, and ultimately to the House of Lords in London, following standard legal practice. There is no appeal if the Lord Lyon refuses to grant a coat of arms, as this is not a judicial function, but an exercise of the Royal Prerogative.

The Lord Lyon has several English equivalents.
* Being responsible for Scottish state ceremonies he parallels the Earl Marshal in England.
* Lord Lyon is Scotland's only "King of Arms", or a high heraldic officer. England has three: the "Garter Principal", the "Clarenceux" (responsible for southern England), and the "Norroy and Ulster" (responsible for northern England and Northern Ireland). Unlike the English Kings of Arms, he does not need permission from the Earl Marshal.
* The Court of the Lord Lyon is the heraldic authority for Scotland, much as the College of Arms is responsible for granting arms in England.

Whilst the Court of Chivalry (which last met in 1954) is a civil court, the Lyon Court meets often and has criminal jurisdiction. Lord Lyon is empowered to have assumed coats of arms, and whatever they are affixed to, destroyed. As an example, when Leith Town Hall, now used as a police station, was renovated during the 1990s, several of the coats of arms decorating the Council Chamber were found to be attributed to the wrong person. The police were given special permission to retain the display, on condition that the tourist guides pointed out the historical anomalies.

The Lord Lyon is also one of the few individuals in Scotland officially permitted to fly the "Lion Rampant", the Royal Standard of Scotland. [ [http://www.lyon-court.com/lordlyon/ll_baseTemplate.jsp?pContentID=237] The Court of the Lord Lyon]

List of Office Holders

* Alexander Nairne (1437- 1450)
* Duncan Dundas (1450-1490)
* Henry Thomson (1504-1512)
* Sir William Cumyng (1512-1530)
* Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount (1530 - 1535)
* Sir Robert Forman (1535 - 1567)
* Sir William Stewart (1567 - 1568)
* Sir David Lindsay of Rathillet (1568 - 1591)
* Sir David Lindsay of the Mount (1591 - 1621)
* Sir Jerome Lindsay (1621 - 1630)
* Sir James Balfour (1630 - 1658)
* Sir James Campbell (1658 - 1660)
* Gilbert Stewart (1660)
* Sir Alexander Dundas (1660 - 1663)
* Sir Charles Erskine, Bt (1663 - 1677)
* Sir Alexander Erskine (1677 - 1726)
* Alexander Brodie of that Ilk (1727 - 1754)
* John Hooke-Campbell (1754 - 1796)
* Robert Hay-Drummond (1796 - 1804)
* Thomas Hay-Drummond (1804 - 1866)
* George Burnett (1866-90)
* Sir James Balfour Paul (1890 - 1927)
* Captain George Sitwell Campbell Swinton (1927 - 1929)
* Sir Francis James Grant (1929 - 1945)
* Sir Thomas Innes of Learney (1945 - 1969)
* Sir James Monteith Grant (1969 - 1981)
* Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight (1981 - 2001)
* Robin Orr Blair (2001 - 2008)
* David Sellar (2008 - )


External links

* [http://www.lyon-court.com/ Official Website of the Court of the Lord Lyon]
* [http://www.heraldry-scotland.co.uk/lyoncourt.html The Heraldry Society of Scotland’s pages on the Lord Lyon]
* [http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Primary&PageNumber=106&NavFrom=2&parentActiveTextDocId=1519152&ActiveTextDocId=1519152&filesize=8008 Lyon King of Arms Act 1592]
* [http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Legislation&title=lyon+king+of+arms&searchEnacted=0&extentMatchOnly=0&confersPower=0&blanketAmendment=0&sortAlpha=0&TYPE=QS&PageNumber=1&NavFrom=0&parentActiveTextDocId=1519389&ActiveTextDocId=1519389&filesize=3590 Lyon King of Arms Act 1669]
* [http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Legislation&title=lyon+king+of+arms&searchEnacted=0&extentMatchOnly=0&confersPower=0&blanketAmendment=0&sortAlpha=0&TYPE=QS&PageNumber=1&NavFrom=0&parentActiveTextDocId=1519478&ActiveTextDocId=1519478&filesize=8379 Lyon King of Arms Act 1672]
* [http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Legislation&title=lyon+king+of+arms&searchEnacted=0&extentMatchOnly=0&confersPower=0&blanketAmendment=0&sortAlpha=0&TYPE=QS&PageNumber=1&NavFrom=0&parentActiveTextDocId=1058927&ActiveTextDocId=1058927&filesize=36789 Lyon King of Arms Act 1867]

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