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Keys/McKey Coat of Arms 1700 County Fermanagh

Keys/McKey Coat of Arms 1700 County Fermanagh

Posted: 1443801534000
Classification: Query
With this note I am reviving an old line of research. A coat of arms appears on Keys gravestones dating from 1733 and 1794 near Irvinestown, County Fermanagh. (See image.) The Keys in Fermanagh may have emigrated from Galloway in Scotland in the 1600s, the name having been anglicized from McKey or similar. In the 1930s the arms are confirmed by the Ulster King of Arms to descendants of the Keys, with the blazon given below. (See artists representation in image.) However, no information as to the original grant of arms is provided. The question is: what is their significance/origin and why did the Keys believe they were entitled to bear them?
The blazon: "Or, a lion rampant gules between two fleur-de-lys azure, on a chief of the last three crosses couped gold, for Crest on a wreath of the colours, an arm erect in armour couped at the wrist, the hand proper, mantled gules, double argent, for Motto: “Ne perii nec disperii,” the whole as is in the margent more clearly depicted"
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Re: Keys/McKey Coat of Arms 1700 County Fermanagh

Posted: 1445340533000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1445340580000
Q. The question is: what is their significance/origin and why did the Keys
believe they were entitled to bear them?
A. The answers that you seek should be on file with the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland, especially if the arms were confirmed by Ulster King of Arms some time in the 1930s. I doubt that Ulster would have confirmed the arms without the necessary documentary proofs of paternal pedigree. I suggest that you contact the Chief Herald of Ireland at Dublin Castle. It's a poor blazon and an even poorer emblazonment that has obviously been produced by some heraldic bucket shop. Strangely, I couldn't find any record of the arms in either 'Burke's General Armory, the 'Supplement to Burkes GA' or in Morant's 'General Armory Two'. From where did you obtain the blazon?

Re: Keys/McKey Coat of Arms 1700 County Fermanagh

Posted: 1459187956000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Keys MacKay Mckey, McKee Lamont
Thank you for your response to my query. I have only now figured out how to respond to threads. In answer to your question: the Blazon of the Keys arms was supplied by the office of the Ulster King of Arms to the family in Australia that requested the conformation back in the 1930s. I had contacted the office and was told that no further records on the case were available, and that in any case the office did not do "genealogy". My own research suggests similarities with the old Bright Banner of the Aberach MacKay (not Lord Reay's arms, which were granted in 1628), and possibly the arms of Lamont of that Ilk. In the latter case, even the motto has a similar grammatical structure (Keys: "ne perii nec disperii"). Any further observations would be most welcome.

Re: Keys/McKey Coat of Arms 1700 County Fermanagh

Posted: 1459205933000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1459206877000
Hi there.
It might now be the time to approach the English College of Arms in London (marked to the attention of Norroy & Ulster King of Arms) who have a (pre-partition) set of heraldic records for the office of the Ulster King of Arms. It may be that they only have the same information as the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland but, who knows, there may be some additional information that might have been lodged there. You can contact them via email through their web-site at http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/contact-us

If you have any luck in your endeavours, please let us know.

Re: Keys/McKey Coat of Arms 1700 County Fermanagh

Posted: 1461185969000
Classification: Query
After an exchange of correspondence with the Heraldry Office in London, I am sorry to report that I am no further ahead in the quest for an accounting of the arms. The Office does have a copy of the documents from Dublin. I suppose the only conclusion to be drawn here is that people sometimes made up their own coats of arms, even back in the 1600s. Can you suggest another course of action? Thanks.

Re: Keys/McKey Coat of Arms 1700 County Fermanagh

Posted: 1461186499000
Classification: Query
PS. For the MacKay connection, the main source I consulted was the Book of MacKay by Angus MacKay, which contains a chapter on the Aberach MacKay coat of arms. Note also that according to a communication to the Gaelic Society of Inverness in the late 1800s, the MacKay Regiment carried the colours of Sir Donald MacKay when it Embarked for Europe in the 30 years war (1626). These were not the arms granted to MacKay a few years later when he was made Lord Reay.The colours must have been styled after the ancient Bratach Bhan of the MacKay, which hangs in the National Museum. The Keys arms bear some resemblance to these arms, as well as to those of Clan Lamont, and even possibly to the arms of the royal family of Sweden.
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