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The crest of the Dalrymples is a rock. and comes from the senior family, the Earls of Stair. The crest is recorded in the Lyon Registers on 2 June 1664, a Rock with the older motto ‘Quiescam’ (I shall be at rest). This was granted to James Dalrymple, first viscount of Stair. There is nothing obvious the choice of a rock would seem to indicate, although as a Senator of the College of Justice and Lord President of the Session, this might perhaps be a reference to James’ legal indifference and steadfastness.
Appropriately for such a symbol, a cadet branch of the Stair Dalrymples own the Bass Rock, a conspicuous sheer rocky island in the Firth of Forth. The Bass has been in the possession of the Lauders, but was purchased by Sir Hew Dalrymple, Lord North Berwick (and Viscount Stair’s son) in March 1706. He was president of the Court of Session. He had previously purchased Tantallon Castle in 1699, which looks directly at the Rock, although he let that mighty fortress, along with the castle on the Bass, fall into ruin.
The motto ‘firm’ was first used by Lord North Berwick. Due to a complication set of successions to the earldom, ultimately the motto of the earls changed from Quiescam to Firm, as it is today.
MKP 28 July 2023