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Duns Coat of Arms

These arms are of an exceedingly puzzling nature. They are of the most distinctly conventional heraldic character. The field if argent and the castle must in all probability represent Duns Castle belonging to Mr. Hay the superior of the burgh. The arms of the Hays being argent, three inescutcheons gules, we should tincture the castle gules. The coat so far is the same as that of the Royal Burgh of Dunbar. The canton is so minute that it is difficult to make out the charges, but it appears to bear a tressure intended to be a flory and there is a single object in the middle.

The ancient tower adjoining Duns Castle is said to have been built by Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, whose arms were three cushions, prudent within a double tressure flory-counterflory gules,and the canton is probably an adaption of these arms with a single cushion. There remains the question of the bordure. On the seal it is distinctly scored to indicate sable and the objects on it are plain roundels, sometimes called in Scottish herardry bezants argent, or by a terms perhaps aquired from England but now accilimitised - plates. No origin has been found for this particular bordure.

Duns was created a Barony of Regality on 23rd. February 1489-90 by a charter in favour of George Home of Ayton whose arms are vert, a lion rampant argent, for Home; quartering argent three popingays vert, beaked and membered gules, for Pepdie, over all in the centre a rose gules.

It is however remarkable that Duns belonged at one time to the family of Dunbar, Earls of Dunbar and March. The arms of the Dunbars are gules, a lion rampant argent, within a bordure argent charged with eight roses gules, and in Sir David Lindesay these roses are not given as eight but ten in number. Failing any other explanation it is possible that the bordure may have been intended for the bordure of Dunbar and that the peculiar appearance now presented may be owing to a mistake of the engraver. If this conjecture is correct we should read argent, a castle triple-towered gules, within a bordure gules, charged with eight roses argent, a canton or charged with a cushion pendent within a double tressure flory-counterflory gules.

The above is reproduced from an article in the Society archives on the Duns Coat of Arms - authorship unknown.


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