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A gryphon’s head. The griffon had the body, tail and legs of a lion, and the head and wings of an eagle… so we just have the eagle bit here, but take our word for it that this is definitely a griffon. Which is something of a missed opportunity, as the Bairds of Auchmedden (the principal Baird line) are renowned for a prophecy that two eagles will leave the nearby Crags if they ever lose possession of those lands.
A griffon was usually a symbol of intelligence, bravery and strength, but coud also represent a protector of treasures, and a symbol of divine power. This latter is perhaps reinforced by the Latin motto ‘Dominus Fecit’, meaning ‘the Lord made’, ie ‘God did this’, ie we Bairds are successful through the will of God. This is probably a reference to Psalm 135 (these were core to Scottish education) ‘Omnia quaecumque voluit, Dominus fecit in caelo, et in terra in mari, et in omnibus abyssis.’: The Lord does whatever he wills, in heaven and on earth, in the sea and all abysses.
James Coat’s 1725 Dictionary of Heraldry says that griffons were used ‘to express strength and swiftness join'd together, and extraordinary Vigilancy to preserve things they are entrusted with’.
The Baird Griffon crest is mentioned in Nisbet’s 1722 System of Heraldry, and he records a second motto that was also used ‘Vi et Virtute’ (by force and valour).
The shield of the Bairds features a boar’s head, perhaps the most popular symbol in Scottish heraldry (see Campbell for example).
MKP 29 June 2020