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My dad’s family is Scottish and descended from the Murray clan.  It’s a family name, too.  I named one of our cats Murray long ago.  And I also have an Uncle Murray.

There are four primary branches of the Murray clan, founded by Freskin de Moravia:  Tullibardine, Atholl, Abercairney and Polmaise. Here’s our family plaid:

Get yer kilts on!

Get yer kilts on!

Believe it or not, my dad used to have an entire suit made up of this fabric.  Merry Christmas!  Cross my heart.

Oh.

Just kidding.  This is the Murray of Atholl true tartan:

Murray of Atholl tartan

Slightly more subdued.  I think his suit had a small yellow stripe running through it.  Or maybe I have selective memory.  Can I get another primary color, please?!

My heritage is mostly British but my dad’s family, under my grandmother’s tutelage, have seemed to embrace the Scottish side to a greater degree.

A little background from Wikipedia:  During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Clan Murray was led by Andrew Moray, co-leader of the Scots alongside William Wallace against the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.[1] The Scottish army was victorious but Andrew Moray died of his wounds received there.[1] His son, Sir Andrew Murray, 4th Lord of Bothwell, third Regent of Scotland, married Christian Bruce, a sister of king Robert the Bruce.[1] He was a prisoner of the English at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333.[1] However he was released in time to relieve his wife who had been holding out and defending Kildrummy Castle against the English.[1] In 1335 Sir Andrew Murray won the pivotal Battle of Culblean.

What I really want to talk about is this

family crest

I saw it in a little sampler the last time we were over at Dad’s.  It’s our family crest.  It very much resembled the Starbucks logo,

Starbucks logo

only with the brush and mirror.  And no smiling! This was a warrior clan. We’re going to mash you with our mirrors and leave bristles in your behind! This clan was part of a coastal group, which explains the mermaid. I remember thinking, Why is our family crest crowned with French words?  Tout pret means, loosely, “quite ready”.  So I did a little digging.

Freskin’s family crest, being Flemish, was part of medieval France.  This area is now part of modern Belgium.  So perhaps the motto makes sense after all.

A black lion on a gold field, perhaps freshly bitten on the tail.  Hence the tongue action.

And we have a castle!  Who knew?Blair castle - facade.jpg

All of this is foreign to me.  I have never been to Scotland.  I have not met any distant relatives from Scotland.  I like to think we still have the stuff of the ancient clan in us, ready to do what’s right and fight for freedom, honor and country.  I imagine going to war, pipes and fifes sounding shrill in the misty morning air, as we tromp down our enemies.  I live  in the U.S. and it’s always been my home.  Yet I feel a connection to this land of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.  I want to be ready for whatever comes my way, and do battle as necessary.  I don’t want to let them down.

We certainly still have the colors.  Just ask my dad.

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