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From an armorial panel on Crathes Castle, this crest seems to have been in use since the early 1600s at least. A very interesting story here. This emblem, of a vine being cut and the motto Virescit Vulnere Virtus, literally translated ‘Virtue grows with a wound’, but perhaps better translated as ‘Virtue flourishes with misfortune’. This exact emblem and motto were found on a brooch given by Mary Queen of Scots to the Duke of Norfolk in 1571, when she was in captivity and attempting to woo Norfolk to marriage, in a bid to gain her freedom. The meaning of the symbol for Mary was that although she was defeated and in imprisoned, she would return stronger, just like a pruned vine. She used this symbol a few times, including in needlework such as the Oxburgh hangings.
Why this crest was adopted by the Burnetts about this time isn’t exactly clear – they didn’t suffer in anyway as badly as Mary did, although it may allude to their sympathies towards her cause, either during the Marian Civil War, or in the aftermath of Mary’s execution. This is also the motto of STEWART, although their crest is of a Pelican, bit the message is the same.
MKP 8 September 2020