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Margaret of Scotland, St.
Margaret of Scotland, Saint and Queen

ARMS: Or a lion rampant within a double tressure, flory, counterflory Gules, impaling Azure, a cross formy couped between four martlets Or.

The arms depicted are Scotland impaled by arms attributed to Edward the Confessor, d. 1066 from whom she descended.

SOURCE/NOTES & CREDITS: Arms attributed by Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount, Lord Lyon King of Arms for Scotland in his “Heraldic Manuscript” of 1542, page 21, from the facsimile of 1878. And from “The Armorial of Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount”, Volume 1, by Alex Maxwell Findlater, HSS, 2018, the plate on page 113, and notes regarding St. Margaret on pages 34 & 35. The illustration for background is from the two sources. Blazon is by J.H. Gaylor. Text is adapted from the Wikipedia article, pp 307-314, Vol. 2, “Butler’s lives of the Saints”, reprinted by Bonaventure Publications, Great Falls, 1997 and pp 655-656, Vol. 9, “The Catholic Encyclopedia”, Robert Appleton Co., 1910.

Born c. 1045, St. Margaret was the daughter to Edward the Exile ( of the House of Cerdic of Wessex), son of Edmund Ironside and was the sister to Edgar Aetheling ( the short ruling and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England during 1066 AD ) St. Margaret was likely born at Castle Reka, Southern Transnubia, Hungary to Agatha, kinswoman of Gisela, the wife of St. Stephen of Hungary. The family moved to Wessex England. Upon the death of Edward the Exile in 1057, her mother decided to move back to the Continent. A storm however diverted the ship to Scotland where Malcolm III received the party under his protection. Subsequently St. Margaret married Malcolm III, "Cean Mor" of Scotland. As a queen all her influence was thrown into the cause of religion and piety and did much to make Roman Catholicism dominant in Scotland. Reforms due to her include were: the regulation of the Lenten fast, observance of the Easter communion and the removal of certain abuses concerning marriage within the prohibited degrees. She founded several churches including the Abbey of Dumfermline. Her private life was given to prayer and practices of piety. She foretold the day of her death which took place on 16 Nov 1093. St. Margaret was canonized in 1250 by Pope Innocent IV in recognition of her personal holiness, fidelity to the Church, work for religious reform and her charity. She attended to charitable works and personally served orphans and the poor every day before she ate. She rose at midnight to attend church services every night. St. Margaret was considered to be an exemplar of the “just ruler” and she influenced her husband and children to be just and holy rulers. St. Margaret’s Feast day was set on 10 June as the 16 Nov was already taken for St. Gertrude the Great of Saxony, this date is still celebrated for St. Margaret in traditional circles in the Catholic Church. However we believe that in Scotland St. Margaret’s Feast Day was always celebrated on 16 Nov.

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor.

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