Two headed eagle on Scottish coats of arms?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by expat_71, Nov 1, 2008.

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  1. To anyone who has some knowledge of Scottish and English family crests was it common practice to have a two headed eagle on coats of arms in Scotland?

    Is the below a lot of wishful thinking or/and have my older family members been misinformed.
    A lot of hard work has been claimed which I believe but I think a lot of barking up the wrong tree has occurred.

    Family Crests:

    Recently we have just come across our family crest with the correct spelling of our name.
    It always became frustrating as there are so many variations of our name so this was a lovely surprise.
    It has a double headed Eagle on it.

    The Double-headed eagle is very significant this goes back to the Byzantines where one head looks towards Rome and the other to Byzantine.
    Also it was the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire and when this Empire fell the Saxons came to Briton and these also appear on some Saxon Coats of Arms.

    As best as some of the older family could find out before the (My family name) Saxons were amongst some of the more aggressive Saxon tribes and were given the land both sides of Hadrian’s Wall to keep any southward incursions at bay.

    When the crusades started and the jocks came back with all their heroic blood and guts stories the Saxons became very jealous because under Anglo Saxon law the kings men had to stay in the country so they (My family name) affiliated themselves to the Gordon clan and went crusading.

    Is there any truth in any of the above?
     
  2. A coat-of-arms is for the use of the person to whom it was granted, and their decendants. Just because you have found someone with the same surname who was granted a coat-of-arms does not mean that it is yours to use. To claim it as yours is akin to wearing someone else's medals.

    The two-headed eagle (or split crow as it has been disparagingly labelled) does not seem to be common in Scotland, though I did find one example of it in a cursory check of scottish heraldic devices.

    As to the truth of the claims, if they weren't your ancestors, then it doesn't matter. If they were, or you would like to try to prove they were, and you think it does matter, I suggest you engage a professional genealogist to assist you, ideally one who is recommended to you.
     
  3. The story sounds like a series of half-understood/half-baked historical snippets spun together:

    The Crusades didn't get underway until England was under Kings of Norman lineage (First Crusade c.1096). I don't think the earlier Saxon migrations to England c.400-800 AD would have included anyone traceable through the later European heraldic system. The near lack of written records from the Dark Ages in England makes it virtually impossible to trace ancestry back this far, let alone find out who went where and why. Most English heraldic arms with Saxon links date from late Norman and afterwards, when several English royals and aristocrats held Saxon titles and possessions.

    Is the coat of arms you have come across actually Scottish, or do you have a Scottish name and have linked this to a European Saxon coat of arms with the same name?
     
  4. Thank you very much for the info,my father has become obsessed with this and has been struggling with the internet in silence in the late hours of night but as I had thought professional help is needed, thanks again.

    My family name is Atchison who the majority seem to have settled in Kansas USA and Canada who were mostly English but most variations of our name appear to be Scottish.