Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Hamilton Crest

During my perusal of Burke's genealogical and heraldic dictionary of 1834 - I was researching the Hamiltons, Dukes of Hamilton and Brandon - I encountered the legend of the Hamilton crest, viz,
"Out of a ducal coronet, an oak-tree, fructed, and penetrated transversely in the main stem by a frame-saw."
The legend is as follows:
having expressed himself at the court of EDWARD II in admiration of King ROBERT THE BRUCE, received a blow from John le Despencer, a favourite courtier of the King, which led, the following day, to an encounter, wherein Despencer fell; and Hamilton sought security in Scotland, about 1323.

Being closely pursued, however, in his flight, he and his servant changed clothes with two woodcutters, and taking their saws, were in the act of cutting through an oak-tree when his pursuers passed by.

Perceiving his servant notice them, Sir Gilbert hastily cried out to him, "Through"; which word, with the oak, and saw through it, he took for his crest, in commemoration of his deliverance.
"This detail is, however, liable to many objections", according to the narrative.

First published in November, 2013.

No comments :