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The Durie crest is a simple golden crescent. We’ve already seen the crest of a crescent used for Arnot and Cathcart and there will be more to come (Hannay, Kilgour, Leask, Napier etc). After a boar’s head it might be the most popular symbol in Scottish heraldry.
As with Arnot, the Durie crest is probably taking its lead from the shield of the chief of Durie, which is a chevron between three crescents. In Scottish heraldry the crescent is usually the symbol of a younger son, as due to a number of successions of the chiefly line through younger sons, we can expect the crescent here to partly reflect that here.
The motto is ‘confido’, meaning I trust (most likely meaning ‘I trust in God’). As with Arnot and Cathcart, we see the joining of the crescent with a message of hope, suggesting a firm link between the two. Even with the symbolism of second sons, the crescent is after all a heavenly body. The motto has a long pedigree and has been in use since at least 1540, as it appears on the Dunfermline Annunciation Stone, which was commissioned by Abbot George Durie and bears his arms.
The Durie use of crescents in their shield is recorded in Forman’s Heraldic Roll of 1563. No crest was recorded in Nisbet’s 1722 System of Heraldry. It seems to be quite a recent adoption. Even Fairbairn’s Book of Crests from 1905 has the Durie crest as a dove holding an olive branch. It was presumably made official with the succession of Raymond Varley Dewar Durie of Durie to the chiefship in 1988.
MKP 19 September 2023