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Duties and Tasks of the Seannachaidh
WILLIAM G. A. SHAW  OF EASTER LAIR
Wester Crathienaird
260 Mount Pilchuck S.W.,
Issaquah, WA. 98027 - 3517
e-mail : shawofeasterlair@comcast.net
tel. : 425.392.6511

Dear Clansfolk,
 
Please find my homespun opus : "Duties and Tasks of a Seannachaidh - ancient and modern" dated 30, November 2006. This simple little outline/guideline came to being in June/July '05 when three Chief's Seannachaidhean asked me to give them a broader idea of what the office of Sennachie entailed (besides simply clan genealogist or historian).
 
I fired off something un-researched yet not inaccurate off the top of my head via e-mail and followed up with a simple article on the office I wrote many years ago for the Clan Shaw newsletter, "Clach na Faire" and promised to do something a bit more organized when/if I could.

As I slowly whittled away at it (amongst other Celtic, clan, professional or family projects) over the last few months or so, the topic got round conversationally to various colleagues and acquaintances in tribal, Scottish, heraldic and or Celtic circles and, amazingly, interest was expressed for copies of the finished product, as well as even first drafts. 

Although the work at this point is merely a plain codification of Lyon Innes of Learney's good works, it is helpful to have a guideline in one easily read form. My hope is that this crude yet serviceable document will be used by Clan Chiefs and their Seannachaidhean as a general guide to establish and augment the office to fit the individual needs of the Clan and Chief.

I trust that in the fullness of time this document will be corrected, clarified or expanded on by scholars with far more resources and ability than this humble writer.

I also hope it may inspire other Chief’s Seannachaidhean in Scotland and around the world to communicate and share ideas and encouragement.  We too are ‘keepers of the flame’.

aye,   Bill
Representer of the Territorial House of Shaw of Easter Lair, Glenshee, Perthshire
Court of the Lord Lyon , 1, May 2002, Lyon Register, volume 82, folio 101

Seannachaidh and Bard to the 22nd Chief of Clan Shaw ~ U.S. Member of Council, Clan Chattan Association Scotland

Member, Heraldry Society of Scotland

DUTIES AND ROLE OF A SEANNACHAIDH
Traditional and Modern

Forward :

During the past two thousand years of Alba’s history, the mission of the Senchai, Seannachaidh, or Sennachie is to carry out a knot-work of tasks that augment the cohesiveness of the clan family and to entwine its present members with the history, honour, deeds and lineage of those who have gone before them.

With its duties inherited from both Pict and Gael, this ancient position can embody that of Gentleman of the Chief’s Household, Genealogist, Historian, Bard, Orator, Bladier (usually separate positions in the larger clans), Inaugurator and lastly, tribal Herald(ist). A combination of these duties can be carried out locally or on a world wide basis in as formal and grand style or in an ergonomic, homespun and simple manner as reflected by the personality and needs of the chief or chieftain and the size of the clan, branch or sept.

In formulating this rough outline of the position, I find (as do many modern-day Scots) much of the collective traditional, oral and researched works of Highland history and tradition is codified in the watershed opus “Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands” by Frank Adam and Sir Thomas Innes of Learney. In that it is so, I humbly submit this simple paper highlighting the collective golden threads entwined within, pertaining to the ancient and evergreen role and duties of the Senchai, Seannachaidh or Sennachie of the clan.

I begin at the beginning…

Pre-History :                                                                                                                (a.)                                                          

“It would appear that each of the tribes had its own “Druids,” respectively priest, sennachie, and dempster or judge of the tribe, but the Druids 1 regarded themselves as an Order and a Hierarchy, and just as the chiefs formed a nominal group under their Ard-Righ, so the Druids appear to have been organized in what one might call a hierarchy or college, evidently under the precedency of the chief Druid of the Pictish High King….. …The Druidical order consisted of three classes : the Bardi, or Poets, the Vates, or Priests, and the highest branch of the order, the Deo-Phaistein, who acted as lawgivers and instructors of the principles of religion. An Archdruid presided over the complete order ; and it can well be understood how this hierarchy was able to wield a power which surpassed any authority of king or chief.”

“The Druids enjoined the cultivation of memory….Even the laws of the country were preserved in rhyme, and in this manner had to be orally mastered ; and similarly, the genealogies of the kings, chiefs and chieftains, were orally handed down by the high sennachies and tribal sennachies, who thus wielded a tremendous power in matters of succession or to property.” (Page 9 and 10 : Ancient Alba and the rise of the Highland Clan System).

“Whilst the Druid Priests all but disappeared with the advent of the Christian religion….the bardic and sennachiedal branch survived in two forms: (a) the Royal heralds; (b) the tribal bards. It would be difficult to say that the second of these is even yet extinguished. They subsisted in many of the greater clans down to the middle of the eighteenth century.”

“The office of Ri-seannachie, with supreme jurisdiction in matters of genealogy, and the duty of preserving the Royal pedigree (and, in the Inaugurator’s scarlet robe of office, declaiming it at coronations), passed down into the Principal Herald” of our medieval history, for heraldry “as pertaining to” the sennachie’s office, was added to his duties so that the chief of the sennachiedal branch of the ‘Druids” evolved into the Lord Lyon King of Arms, whose “brethren heralds”, pursuivants, and macers, comprising of seventeen individuals, preserved the form of the primitive bardic incorporation, and in the seventeenth century Garter Sir William Dugdale pointedly observes that heraldic ”visitations” were similar to those of the bards (i.e. the cuairt of the Celtic Druid sennachies), whilst the British heralds and king of arms were in use to be inaugurated like the Druids by the gift of a  gold or silver cup. 2 (Page 11 : Ancient Alba and the rise of the Highland Clan System).
          
Ard Ghillean an Tighe/Gentleman of the Chief’s Household :                                 (b.)

“An Seanachaidh (the Sennachie or Genealogist of the Chief’s House). – At table he sat among the chiefs of families, with precedence of the doctors of medicine. It was his duty to keep the clan register, its records, genealogies, and family history : to pronounce the address of ceremony at clan assemblies, and to deliver the chief’s inauguration, birthday and, funeral genealogical orations: also as Inaugurator, to invest him on succession.” (Page 573 – Appendices : Appendix IV (Page 118) Household and Personal Followers of a Highland Chief))

Genealogist of Chiefly House and Septs :                                                                 (c.)

…”Seannachie’s sphere of legal administrator of the genealogical and chiefly records.”

As the Ard-Sennachie serves the royal House of the Scottish nation, thus, the clan Sennachie is the custodian of genealogies, records and histories of the House of Chiefs, Chieftains, Ceann-tighes and Daoin’-uasail within the greater clan family.  His or her
responsibility is to ensure the myriad ties of the lines and families of the clan family are both secure and accurate as they progress and evolve through the fullness of time (WS of EL).

Bard/Orator/Storyteller :                                                                                                  (d.

“Am Bard (the Bard) – Often synonymous with the Household Sennachie and generally a hereditary position, but otherwise used of an officer inferior to him.” (Page 573 -Appendices). “Here, or at the end (of the installation), followed the Mass and after the Reformation, a sermon ; whilst in tribal inauguration, a oration upon the exploits of the chief’s ancestors, and the grandeur of the clan – probably by one of the recorder-bards, and analogous to the Historiographer-Royal, whose province in the kingdom is rather its general history, as distinct from the King of Arms/High Seannachie’s sphere of legal administrator of the genealogical and chiefly records.” (Page 114 – The Clan System Described)

Bladier :                                                                                                                           (e.)

The “Speaker – household herald”. (Page 581 - Appendices)
In smaller clans, the role of the Sennachie, Bard and Bladier, or Pursuivant, are perhaps combined (WS of EL).

Inaugurator:                                                                                                                   (f.)

“Even the laws of the country were preserved in rhyme, and in this manner had to be orally mastered ; and, similarly the genealogies of the kings, chiefs and chieftains, were orally handed down by the high sennachies and tribal sennachies, who thus wielded a tremendous power in matters of succession to office or to property” (Page 10 : Ancient Alba and the rise of the Highland Clan System).

“The two important (tribal) functions now were (1) the Inaugurator-Sennachie, (2) the Keeper of the sacred place of inauguration.  In the case of the Ard-righ these became the King-of-Arms and the Marshal.  At the direction of the former, the whole ceremony proceeded, whilst on the latter devolved the function of ‘marshalling’ the procedure along, whilst the sennachie, and the priests, performed their functions” (Page 114 – The Clan System Described)   .

“The first step of the (Inauguration) procedure was that six members of the clan council 11 waited on the tanist, or heir-at-law (the “appearand heir” of feudalism) to put two questions : Was he lawful successor? and Was he willing to accept the Crown chiefship?4”

During the inauguration of a chiefly office - “The clan sennachie was now called in, and in the later practice “sworn” by the principal priest (the clan chaplain, say, the co-arb of the “clan-saint” no doubt)…..Clearly, the seannachie’s oath was not of allegiance, but of the nature de fideli administratione ; for as custodian of the genealogy, it was his function to avouch the pedigree and to perform the inauguration. Sometimes the inaugurator was a sub-chief, like the Earl of Fife in Alba ; but amongst the Dalriad kings, he was the High Sennachie, the “Arch-Druid” as Lord Bute puts it. 12. (pp113 – The Clan System Described)   

 “Here, or at the end, followed the Mass and after the Reformation, a sermon ; whilst in the tribal inauguration, an oration upon the exploits of the chief’s ancestors, and the grandeur of  the clan – probably by one of the recorder-bards, and analogous to the Historiographer-Royal, whose province in the kingdom is rather its general history as distinct from the King of Arms/High Sennachie’s sphere of legal administrator of the
genealogical and chiefly records.” (Page 114 – The Clan System Described)

“Reverting to the ceremony of the inauguration: The new chief’s genealogy was declaimed by the clan sennachie, and the insignia of rule, the sword 4 and a white wand 5 were formally delivered. 6 Such a ceremony is still appropriate, but (as in the case where the Ard-righ personally intervened to exercise his prerogative of inaugurating chiefs) if there be any doubt regarding the succession to the ‘representership’ and relative armorial insignia, the effective “inauguration’ is now a….  (page 161 – Law of the Clan)
…..matriculation of arms in the Lyon Register i.e. a constructive delivery 7 de Rege by a picture on parchment, symbolizing the actual shield, crest and helmet of the former ceann-cinnidh, which ensigns of honour for distinguishing the group, the chief (as its representer) holds of and under the Ard-righ as the Fountain of Honour at the hands of his Commissioner the Lord Lyon – Qui facit per alium facit per se 8 - who embodies, and has performed the duties of, 9 the high sennachie and official inaugurator of the ancient Kings of Scots.  Indeed, so that Lyon should be invested, to the extent of his Commission, with the full nobiliary prerogative of the King of Scots, he was summoned to dine at Holyroodhouse on the evening of his inauguration, when the Royal Crown of Scotland was set on his head 10 (Page 161. 162 – The Law of the Clan).

“Well in front set a table, which may be covered with tartan ; on the right some distance away, set the council of the clan, the “Family Council” or the Chiefly derbfine of nine persons….An Marischal Tighe (the seneschal) will marshal the proceedings according to the Law of Arms and order of the sennachie….

“An Sennachie to the right, thence advancing after the chief has taken his first position”…..The chief takes his place between the chair and table, standing somewhat to the right, and An Seannachie advances centrewards near him, facing the table” (Page 582 - Appendices).The sennachie, as inaugurator, then commanded the insignia (i.e. the rod and sword) to be delivered to the new chief, either himself receiving them, and handing them to the chieftains entitled to make the delivery, or himself delivering them, and falling on bended knee, declaimed the genealogy in Gaelic back to the founder of the race, “Benach Dhe Ceann Cinnidh Alastair Mac Seumas Mac” 3……”(pp. 114, 115).

“An Marishal-tighe now “desyres” the sennachie to “Show the Chief’s pleasure” and the Ard-righ’s confirmation. The Sennachie of the Chiefly House as Inaugurator now addresses the clan : “Clan Mac X…I here present unto you A…McX…of McX….the undoubted Chief of this Clan, inheritor thereof by the Laws of God and man, who is willing to accept the Chiefship” The clan reply, shouting, “God bless our Chief, and us for his cause” (Page 582).  

The Sennachie, Genealogist of the chiefly House, will then announce: “There is here produced the Judgement/Diploma of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, His Majesty’s Supreme Officer of Honour, confirming unto A…McX …of McX…the ensigns armorial of the House of McX of MacX (or avouching the addition to the Genealogies in the Public Register of All Genealogies and Birthbrieves in Scotland, of A…McX …of McX…as now the stem, Representer and Chief, of the House of McX…of McX) and the same will now be read by An Bladier. At the conclusion of this reading the sennachie will cry, : “God Bless the Chief and the Clan” He then calls on the custodian of the inaugural place, or An Marishal-tighe, and himself on the right and the marishal-tighe on the left, conduct the chief to the chair.  The sennachie now returns to the table, and hands the claymore to the “eldest cadet” (i.e. the representer of that house) who delivers the sword to the chief, who demands it 14 as of right. The sennachie now delivers the white wand to the latest cadet sprung from the chiefly stem, who delivers it to the chief, who now sits in the ancestral seat invested with the full insignia of chiefly authority.

The Sennachie now advances, and falling on one knee, hails the chief:
“Benach De A MacX, nighean y …MacX …de (MacX, or whatever the title may be) Ceann Cinnidh Clan Mac X (or Ceann Tighe, here the territorial title)”. (the genealogy being deduced back, in the case of a chief of a clan to its founder, and of a branch, to the eponymus of the branch). The clan chaplain, or co-arb, then submits the chiefly oath : “Do you promise to be a loving Father/Mother to the Clan MacX…?” The clan sennachie then puts the general oath to the clan – which repeats it thus : “I swear and hold up my hand to maintain, defend and support thee, as I wish the Lord in my need to help me. Amen”. Et C.”

Herald(ist) :                                                                                                                    (g.)

“Every captain bore upon his standard his peculiar device or ensign, so that each distinct body of men could be easily distinguished from all the others by those senchai whose duty it was to attend on the chieftains when about to contend in battle, and that these senchai might then have a full view of the achievement of the combatants, so as to be able to give a true account of their particular deeds of valour”. – ‘Foras Feasa ar Eireinn’, Seathain Ceithinn (circa 1629/31).

The late Major C.J. Shaw of Tordarroch, 21st Chief of Clan Shaw, in his ‘History of Clan Shaw’ quotes Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon King of Arms, thus : “Heraldry is …the means through which the history of successive ages and generations is fascinatingly and forcibly linked together….In the glowing pageantry of emblazoned Armory, the annals of Scotland, of its clans, its houses, and its surnames are written in characters which inspire the mind and thrill the eye, but above all proclaim our native pride, and the kindly ties of Scottish clanship and kinship.”

 In “Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands”, Frank Adam and Sir Thomas Innes of Learney write : “The office of Ri-seannachie, with supreme jurisdiction in matters of genealogy, and the duty of preserving the Royal pedigree (and, in the Inaugurator’s scarlet robe of office, declaiming it at coronations), passed down into the Principal Herald” of our medieval history, for heraldry “as pertaining to the sennachie’s office, was added to his duties so that the chief of the sennachiedal branch of the ‘Druids” evolved into the Lord Lyon King of Arms, whose brethren heralds, pursuivants, and macers comprising of seventeen individuals, preserved in the form of the primitive bardic incorporation…..similar to those of the bards (i.e. the cuairt of the Celtic Druid sennachies)…(Page 11 : Ancient Alba and the rise of the Highland Clan System). “

….Scottish Heraldry is about history, clan and kingdom. As it is passed down through the generations, it is a symbolic representation of the entwined life forces of fertility and love of family and land. In a dark and brutal world full of battle, struggle and blood spilled, heraldry also evoked and evokes the heartwarming light of courage, loyalty, friendship and honour. In roaring red war and in gentle green peace, five hundred years ago and today, heraldry is a continuing symbolic expression of a great united Clan Family - the arms of each clansman or clanswoman proudly reflect that of his or her Chief. Thus, alongside his or her role in matters of genealogy, preservation of the pedigrees of the Houses within the clan family and his or her role in installation of the chiefly office, so too must the Sennachie preserve and foster the heraldry of the clan family. In the collateral role as a Teachdair nan Tighe or Bladier, the Sennachie should retain copies or transcripts thereof of Letters Patents of Chiefs and/or Chieftains and Armigers, etc. of the armigerous Houses within the greater clan family as granted by the Court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms for Scotland. (WS of EL)

Adjudication :

My humble assumption or instinct is that, as the Inaugurator of its Head, and as the combined repository of history, genealogy, heraldry and tradition within the individual clan, septs and territorial houses, prior to the eighteenth century some knowledge or acquaintance of the ancient Brehon Laws was most likely not outside the (secondary or tertiary) roles of the Sennachaidal office. (WS of EL)

Summation :

In carrying out the ancient and traditional duties handed down to us, the mission of the Sennachie today is to strive globally and locally to facilitate a greater extending of the collective knowledge, understanding and preservation of our individual clan ethos, lineage, customs, traditions, language and (oral, written and now, electronic) history, and to loyally support the Head of the Clan, Name, Sept or House.

An important part of the task of the Sennachie is to also help foster a modern-day version of the very ancient and evergreen links to our clan lands and tribal enclaves of old…..connecting us through time with the deep love and sacred symbiotic relationship toward the Duthaich or tribal lands and its seasonal rhythms that our ancestors entwined within them.

In doing so, our duty is to assist in the gentle process of fostering within the (now) worldwide kin and clan, both a feeling and knowledge of being a part of an unbroken golden family or national chain of continuance far deeper and stronger than the mere summation of our modern everyday living.   

Cruinneachaidh :

Ever in support of our Chiefs, an Sennachaidhean too, are keepers of the flame. In that this is so, I would propose throughout Gaeldom the implementation of a casual communication network (using any written or electronic means available) of Chief’s Sennachies : to perhaps one day share ideas and assist and encourage each other as we loyally execute, each in our own way - the many facets of this ancient office.

Aye,

William George Andrew Shaw of Easter Lair        
30, November 2006

~Seannachaidh to the 22nd Chief of the Name, Clan and Family of Shaw,
John Charles Shaw of Tordarroch.
~Member of Council ~ Clan Chattan Association, Inverness-shire.


Footnotes :

1. So much nonsense has been written about “Druids” that some care has to be used in employing this term.  There is no doubt, however that such a priestly-juristic order existed, though the details of its tenets, organization, and ceremonies are still very limited - largely, no doubt owing to the oral transmission of their lore.                                                                                                                                                                                      
2. Stair Soc. Vol. I., p. 382.
3. In the official accounts of the coronation the declamation of the Royal genealogy was apparently – but this may be a slip – made before the crowning and immediately after Lyon had given the Marischall (custodian of the sacred place and executant of the various orders) the command to proceed.  The old picture, however, shows this declamation being made after the crowning, which seems more correct.  There were, in fact, two stages : the one before investiture of insignia and the other (the declamation) immediately afterward.
4. R. MacLeod of MacLeod, The MacLeods of Dunvegan.
5. The official wand of a baron is also white (W.C. Dickinson, Baron Court Book of Carnwath, p. lxxxvi), which corroborates the connection of chiefship with the earliest baronial jurisdictions (Craig, Jus Feudale, I 8, 2).
6. Marquis of Bute, Scottish Coronations, p. 16.
7. A nobiliary “retour” and revesting (see Law of Succession in Ensigns Armorial, p. 45, and 1941 S.C. 673).
8. Mackenzie, Works II., p. 563 Sir John Ferne, Glorie of Generositie, p. 67
9. Sources and Literature of the Law of Scotland, p. 382.
10. Sir J. B Paul, Heraldry in relation to Scots History and Art, p. 85 ; Sir w. Scott, Marmion, canto iv., line 159.
11. In the coronation ceremony it was six of each of the divisions of the Crown vassals (save that the clergy amounted to twenty-four). This was quite in incompatible with the concept of being ‘offered’ it - in the modern sense.  The question was whether he is the person entitled to it.
12. Scottish Coronations, p.16; Lord Bute had not, when writing this book, perceived that the red-robed sennachie was he who became the Lord Lyon – who wore the scarlet robe and performed the functions at all recorded coronations, and indeed still wears this robe as his judicial robe.
13. At the later stage final grouping, An Seannachie stands at the right of the chair and somewhat front of its line.
14. R. MacLeod of MacLeod, The MacLeods of Dunvegan, p. xiv.

* N.B. : To avoid confusion, I have revised the original footnote numbers above to reflect the sequence of the text quoted in this small treatise. ~WSEL

Enclosures:

~ Initial e-mail from this writer dated 2, July 2005 in reply to the query by the Seannachaidhean of Campbell of Argyle, Johnstone of  X and Morrison of Y regarding an outline of the duties of office.

~ Brief story ‘Webs of the Past’, published in ‘Clach na Faire’ (The Newsletter of the Clan Shaw) dated Fall 1999 regarding the tribal position of the Seannachaidh.

~ Copy of initial letter dated presenting the 16, April 2006 Draft of ‘Duties and Role of a Seannachaidh – traditional and modern’ to H.M. Lord Lyon King of Arms.

Copy of letter dated 12, May 2006 from H.M. Lord Lyon King of Arms for Scotland - Robin Orr Blair, LVO reviewing and correcting three points of said Draft of 16, April, 2006.

Final Draft dated 30, November 2006 submitted to H.M. Lord Lyon King of Arms.
~WSEL

A NEW ARMIGER FOR CLAN SHAW

From www.electricscotland and ‘The Family Tree’ – August/September 2002
1, May 2002, William G.A. Shaw of Issaquah, Washington was granted the Name, Arms and Territorial Designation as the Representer of the House of Shaw of Easter Lair by H.M. Court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms for Scotland. Established in 1318 by Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, the Court of the Lord Lyon is the primary armorial and titular adjudicating body in Scotland, and is the most influential armorial and heraldic body of its kind in Europe in modern times. Mr. Shaw inherits the title and arms as the Tanist of his uncle, the late William Iain Gordon Shaw of Easter Lair and is the twelfth of his line.
The Shaws of Easter Lair are the senior armigerous family of the Shaws of Crathienaird, a vigorous sept or branch of the Scottish Highland Clan Shaw that settled firstly in the Balmoral area of Aberdeenshire at Crathienaird in 1633. In 1710 most of the small clan emigrated en masse to the Glen Shee and Glen Isla area of Perthshire. Clan Shaw is also a part of the great Clan Chattan, an ancient tribal and military confederacy that lasted from 1291 until 1746.
Members of the Shaw clan in Glen Shee and Glen Isla enthusiastically contributed their skills as warriors in the Stuart Jacobite Risings against the Hanoverian Governments of both King George I and II. In the 1715 Rising, some served under the banner of their cousin and neighbor, John Farquharson of Invercauld (the Chief of Clan Farquharson) as a part of the Clan Chattan regiment. During the 1745 Rising, many Glen Shee Shaws also served as Officers in the Farquharson contingent of a family friend, Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie (the famous 'Baron Ban' of Jacobite legend). During the harsh periods of Hanoverian reprisal in the Highlands after the failure of the 1745 Rising, the more peaceful members of the Shaw family up and down Glen Shee and Glen Isla also actively assisted their now 'Outlawed and Rebell' kin and clan that had 'taken to the heather' smuggling them food, clothing, weapons and the latest military intelligence to assist them in evading the brutality of the English regimental pickets in the district.
During the less turbulent periods of Highland history, the Glen Shee and Glen Isla Shaws were farmers, mercenaries and both cattle drovers and rustlers. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, they were farmers, accountants, Episcopalian ministers, Clan Shaw historians and amateur sabre-fencers, stockbrokers, Roman Catholic mother superiors and monks, decorated military officers, writers, artists, journalists, musicians and pioneers in aviation and travel. Emigrating from Scotland to Canada in 1910 and to the Pacific Northwest of the United States a few years later, the Shaw of Easter Lair family continued to maintain their Celtic and Scottish Highland culture, history, traditions and links to their clan lands of old. From the early 19th century they have worn the Glen Shee, Mac Duff, Mackintosh, Clan Chattan and the modern Shaw tartans, and continue to do so today.
Aside from his tribal duties as a Gentleman of his Clan and now Head of his Territorial House, William Shaw of Easter Lair was appointed by John Charles Shaw of Tordarroch, the 22nd Chief of the worldwide Highland Clan, Family and Name of Shaw as the Seannachaidh, or Chief Bard, Poet and Historian of the now worldwide Clan in 1995. Mr. Shaw is the great-great-great grandson of the Rev. William G. Shaw, Minister of Forfar, (Angus-shire) who was also the Seannachaidh of Clan Shaw from the early 1860's until his death in 1874.
From 1996 to 2000, William Shaw also held a Commission as a Lieutenant to the Chief of Clan Shaw, registered in the Court of the Lord Lyon. He is also is the U.S. Member of Council for the Clan Chattan Association, based in Inverness, Scotland.
Living on Squak Mountain in Issaquah, WA., Shaw of Easter Lair is married to Mary Beth Haggerty-Shaw and together they have two children, Liam and Mora. He is active in the Pacific Northwest Scottish and Celtic community. Easter Lair Farm is in Glen Shee, Perthshire.
As decreed by the H.M. Court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms for Scotland, Robin Orr Blair, WS, LVO, the Ensigns Armorial are thus:

Motto: "FIDE ET FORTITUDINE"
Crest: A demi lion Gules, holding in the dexter paw a sword Proper hilted and pommelled Or.
Shield: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Or, a lion rampant Gules, armed and langued Azure; 2nd and 3rd, Argent, a fir-tree growing out of a mound in base Vert, in the dexter canton a dexter hand couped at the wrist holding a dagger, point downwards, all Gules, overall at the center point a torteau charged with a wolf's head erased Argent, langued Azure.
Slughorn (or battle cry): "NA BEAN RIS A CHAT"

The newly established Arms design features two main heraldic symbols: a Fir Tree on a Mound and the Lion Rampant. The fir tree reflects Mr. Shaw's descent from the Mackintosh Shaw Thanes of Rothiemurchus. Rothiemurchus is part of the great Caledonian Forest. The mound reflects 'the Doune' the ancient hill-fort of which the main family of Clan Shaw held from the fourteenth to the late sixteenth century. The lion traces his lineage via the Chiefs of Clan Mackintosh to the ancient Mac Duff Earls of Fife to the oldest line of the King of Scots via Aedh or Aethelred, the eldest son of King Malcolm II (Ceann Mhor), circa 1080. With Glen Shee and nearby Strath Ardle being near the heart of Clan Robertson country, the center torteau (or circle) consists of a white Wolf's Head, which reflects the acquiring of Easter Lair in Glenshee by the marriage of James Shaw to Susann(a) Robertson, daughter and heiress of John Robertson of Bridgend in Strath Ardle in the years shortly after the 1745 Jacobite Rising.
"Fide et Fortitudine" is the ancient Latin motto of the Clan Shaw: 'by faith and fortitude'. The slogan "Na Bean Ris A Chat" proclaims in Gaelic the battle cry of Mr. Shaw's family: 'touch not the cat'. This is also the motto of the Clan Chattan, of which the Highland Clan Shaw and the Shaws of Easter Lair are a part.

For additional information contact:
William G. A. Shaw of Easter Lair
Wester Crathienaird
260 Mount Pilchuck S.W., Issaquah, WA. 98027.  USA
e-mail: wshawofeasterlair@yahoo.com (please be patient – I don’t check it every day!)
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