HERALDRY OF THE SOCIETY

Since the early 15th century, the Sovereign has delegated the power to grant new Coats of Arms to the senior heralds or Kings of Arms. From the start the Officers of Arms were called Kings of Arms, those of next rank were known as Heralds, and juniors were known as Pursuivants.  All these ranks still exist for the thirteen Officers of Arms forming the College of Arms today. Only the Kings of Arms may make grants or confirmations of Arms.

 

Clan Little is one of many heidless (Headless) clans. An issue arises over the clan crest badge for display by members of a clan with a dormant or vacant chiefship. Of old the chief of a clan handed out replicas of his crest to be worn strapped to the arm by his clansmen going into battle. The non-existent chief of a heidless clan cannot be present to hand out replicas of his non-existent crest, so strictly speaking the Border Littles cannot have a clan badge!

 

As a compromise the crest of Little of Meikledale of old within a buckled strap bearing the motto is being displayed as the Clan Crest  Badge of the Littles until such time as a chief is recognized and pronounces otherwise. Currently funds are being raised by the Clan Little Society of Scotland to secure a 'Grant of Shield' (corporate arms) from Lord Lyon King of Arms. Such a Grant would bring the Society into the category of other such Societies in Scotland.

 

 No one has knowledge of  the original design of the ancient tartan or if one ever existed.  None of the border clans had their own specific tartans until it became “in vogue" in the 19th century. At that time, “savvy" merchants began designing tartans for the fashionable and labeling them with clan names. In 1991 a tartan was designed and patented by Dr. Johnnie Little of Morton Rig and information on the tartan was furnished to the Tartan Society in Comries, Scotland, and the Tartan Educational and Cultural Society in the USA. 

The Little tartan is a combined version of the Wallace Red, Black and Yellow design toned down and the Black and White check of the Buccleuch tartan (traditional border shepherd’s pattern). The use of a portion of the Wallace tartan recognizes the fact that the clan founder, Eduuard Litill, was a nephew of William Wallace and served with him in the guerrilla wars of 1296/1297 against the English. The border shepherd’s pattern identifies with the clan home country, just north of Langholm, in the Scottish West March.


The Clan Little plant is heather.

 

Heralds were first mentioned in Western Europe about the time of the First Crusade in 1095.   They acted as messengers, diplomats and army staff officers.  This last duty required them to be expert in identifying army commanders by the devices painted on their banners, shields and surcoats because facial identification was impossible when the head was completely covered by the great war helm.  Heralds also organized tournaments, and thus gradually became experts not only in coat armour or ‘coats of arms' but also in ceremonial matters, which led to their organizing the great ceremonies of State.

 

Today the Heralds are appointed by the Queen of England by letters patent under the great seal of the United Kingdom.  The Heralds were and still are responsible for the great ceremonies such a coronations, State openings of parliament and State funerals.

 

 

THE ARMS of the FORMER CHIEFS of CLAN LITTLE

 

n 1672 David was the last Laird of Meikledale and last Chief of Clan Little to register arms. His full coat of arms consists of the shield and the crest:

 

 

The Shield shows the arms - a silver St. Andrew's Cross on a black background. The dominant black and silver (black and white) comprise the livery colors of the Border Littles. 

 

The crest of the chiefs of Clan Little was a demi-lion in black spattered with silver saltires; in his right paw he holds a cutlass, in his left the cross of St. Andrew. The only splash of color is in the red claws.The Crest rests on a wreath of the livery colors.

 

 

 

A crest was originally attached to the top of the helmet and, like the arms on the shield and surcoat, had the function of identifying the otherwise unrecognizable fully-armored leader to his followers on the field of battle.

 

 

The Chiefs of the Little Clan had two mottoes:

 

"Concedo Nulli"
(no surrender, no retreat, yield no ground)

 

and

 

"Fidei Coticula Crux"
(The Cross is the Test of Truth)

 

 

Mottoes popular with later arms-bearing Border Littles have been:


"Magnum in Parvo"
(Great in Little)

 

and

 

"Multum in Parvo"
(Much in Little)