Thursday, 1 June 2017

Trumped in attempts to acquire a Coat of Arms

The New York Times is reporting an update to an old heraldic story, that the Court of the Lord Lyon ( in Scotland challenged Donald Trump over his intentions to use a coat of arms on his Scottish golf courses. The Lyon Court's intervention forced a change to the design in 2012 that the US president wished to use.

The update is as follows:

"By 2012, when the golf course in Aberdeenshire opened, the new coat of arms had appeared. The same one is used at Mr. Trump’s course in Ayrshire, on Scotland’s west coast, which he bought in 2014. That year, Mr. Trump trademarked the redesigned emblem.

"Britain’s trademark office would not initially acknowledge the earlier application by Mr. Trump. It provided a copy last month only after The New York Times made a Freedom of Information request, and would not say why the application was rejected, citing a law restricting its ability to release information.

"The College of Arms, which oversees coats of arms in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provided more detail. The emblem originally submitted in 2007 by Mr. Trump to Britain’s trademark office matched one that had been granted to Mr. Davies, an American of Welsh descent who once served as ambassador to the Soviet Union."

The coat of arms that the American president wished to use had previously been granted in 1939 to Joseph Edward Davies. The only difference was that the Trump organisation apparently changed the motto from "Integritas" (Latin for "integrity") to the much more imaginitive err.... "Trump".

A key point here for genealogists is that the use of someone else's coat of arms in Scotland is a breach of the law, effectively amounting to theft, and for which you can be prosecuted by the Court of the Lord Lyon, which has its own procurator fiscal (public prosecutor). The College of Arms ( in England also sets rules for armorial issues, although it does not have its own public prosecutor.

The full New York Times story is at


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1 comment:

  1. At Internet Archive there is a "A List of persons who were disclaimed as gentlemen of coat-armour" 1888, and explains the misuse of coast of arms. I wonder if it was ever updated?