By Scottish law (the Lord Lyon Act of 1672), it is unlawful for anyone to use armorial bearings that are not matriculated (recorded) in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland maintained by the country’s chief heraldic authority, the Lord Lyon King of Arms. There are basically four ways in which arms can be matriculated in this Lyon Register, as it is known for short:

  • By a grant of new arms made by Lord Lyon in response to a petition from someone he deems within his armorial jurisdiction.
  • By confirmation of the lawful use of the arms by a direct paternal ancestor prior to enactment of the 1672 Act.
  • By petitioning for recognition of arms borne by persons now in Lord Lyon’s jurisdiction but which were originally granted by a non-Scottish heraldic authority.
  • By inheritance from a person whose arms are already in the Lyon Register. Eldest sons of those bearing lawful Scottish arms inherit them in the form used by the father, while younger sons must matriculate a differenced version.