The tale of the two Scots and a the Healer an Doire

A friend of mine that I have known for the longest time, finally decided to join the SCA after years of hearing the stories from many mutual friends of ours.  He was looking to submit a Scottish Gaelic name for himself and for his son.  Now I have done Gaelic names before, Irish and Scottish naming structures mixed and match do the trade relations of the time, is nothing common, the trick is to identify a Scottish name from an Irish name.

He did a lot of the leg work for me, as his own history did follow back to Scotland.  He found the surname within the Academy of Saint Gabriel list I sent to him.  He chose the given name of Nicol, (for which we nicknamed him Nickel).   For his son that was easier, for Walter is a very common name. So I just needed to find documentation for the time period that they were looking for.

His surname gave me a bit of trouble.  There was a story he told me what he was looking for was a direct line to his family back in then, the name itself Donnchadh has various different spellings for the documentation we have found.  His original spelling that he was looking for, and the documentation for what I was seeing, didn’t really mesh well at first, and after a bit of communications from “phone a herald” and him as the client where able to give him something that worked well, and at this point has passed Kingdom level and on its way to society so I’ll be excited for him for when it gets through.

His device was I have to admit, a challenge in a small aspect, for the style of line division that he wished I have not worked before, he wished to incorporate a fess urdy, into his device.   What a fess urdy is a complex line division that are not strait and take some sort of decorative pattern (see below for the example of Sable a fess urdy argent.)


Now after setting up the line division, the charge style he originally wished was for a gauntlet holding in its clenched fist a golden apple.  The trick with this is that you would not really see the apple as the hand holding it, would make it hard to distinguish the apple from the gauntlet.  How do you fix this you may ask yourself?  A compromise, by placing two apples in the chief and the gauntlet in base.

Now let me take a moment to explain about color plans, when deciding on your personal device, you may want to look at it from many forms before we get to print, and color.  Whatever do I mean about this?  Well let me explain about our good friend Nicol here.  Originally he wished to have the background gold, and the urdy sable (so gold background and black urdy) before we could even get to the placement of the gauntlet and the apples, I start laughing hard.  Nicol dumbfounded looked at me and asked what was so funny.  So what I did was a simple google image search and showed him this (see below) “oh nothing Charlie Brown”


A bit of modification came to adjust the color scheme, however as you can see, line division, color patterns, and placement can make you see everyday things be heraldry.

So for my good friend Nicol mac Donnachaidh I give you

“Gules, a fess urdy between two apples Or and a clenched gauntlet issuant from base argent.”

Nicol mac Donnachaidh

As well for Walter mac Donnachaidh I look forward to work on your device when the time comes.


Another family member chooses her name.  A so love working on someone from the household, normally it shows growth from us as well half the documentation is already set.  By what is becoming a growing tradition with many within the family is by taking the “an Doire” surname for themselves.  I will say I love this with all my heart.  Not because I am the local herald and documenting them just became an easy factor, or because the fact I am the head of the house and it gives me a thick ego.  I love this because we are all good friends outside the society, so for them wanting to take my name means I taught them well, and they love how we are together and for that it’s an honor for me to have my “line” continue on.

In this case a later bloomer joined up with us, and we have gone through many different variations of a given name that she would like, she would like something, then think about it for a minute, and change her mind, go back and forth.  I would try something, it would stick and then some time later we would be back at the drawing board again.

Her given name was found when I was looking through the Index of Names in Irish Annals.  I so love this source when dealing with a modern irish Gaelic name, for then the meaning within the name is there as well and usually quite helpful when working with someone not too sure which way to go (besides being Gaelic).

As she is a healer in the medical field in her mundane life, and bouncing around some sights to translate the meaning of some of the names we had, I saw Sláine, with the meaning of “health”.  Well that worked.  She naturally latched on this and embraced it.   So I present to you Sláine an Doire.


Till next time

Conall an Doire

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