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Anyone who knows the story of St Paul’s Cathedral in London knows how Wren supposedly found a broken tombstone in the ruins of the burnt-out medieval wreck with just the word ‘RESURGAM’ legible, meaning ‘I shall rise again’. We find it here on the Crosbie crest, with the reinforcing imaginary of the broken tree stump with new shoots, indicating rebirth. So here we have the symbol of fortitude in the face of adversity.
The senior line of the Crosbies, from whom this crest is taken, were the Crosbies of Holm. The crest was registered in February 1766 (Public Register of Arms LR 1.486 – many thanks to Kevin Greig at the Lyon Office for checking for us) by Andrew Crosbie (1736-1785), a celebrated antiquarian and lawyer. It is hard to pin point exactly what event, or series of events this crest might be referring to in the Crosbie’s past. Andrew’s fortunes were utterly crushed in 1772 with the collapse of the Ayr bank of Douglas Heron. However, as his crest was registered six years prior to this, we know his crest isn’t a reference to this misfortune (although hopefully it was a comfort).
Andrew was the son of Andrew Crosbie of Holm, provost of Dumfries 1732-1734 and 1738-1740. He was taken as a hostage by the passing Jacobite army in 1745. Although unpleasant, this doesn’t seem to be the sort of thing to have ruined the man’s chances. That Andrew was in turn the son of John Crosbie of Holm, also provost of Dumfries (1708-1710, 1712-1714 and 1716-1718) and merchant.
Possibly there was a fire at the family home in the early eighteenth century which informed the crest. It could be the crest refers to a series of smaller set backs suffered by the Crosbies over the centuries with no one thing in mind. This is a mystery which is still to be solved.
Miles Kerr-Peterson 6 July 2023