A collection of various Rutherford Badges, Crests and Arms on a purported Rutherford tartan background, not bad for a bunch of black hearted Reivers.

A collection of various Rutherford Badges, Crests and Arms on a purported Rutherford tartan background (Home probably), not bad for a bunch of black hearted Reivers.

Always makes me think of the "Twa Corbies".


My favourite books on the subject are "The Debatable Land" by Graeme Robb, "The Steel Bonnets" by George MacDonald Fraser and "The Throwback" by Tom Sharpe.

Osprey (Men-at-Arms 279, c1994) have some nice information, and their usual lovely piccies by Sir Angus MacBride (below) for private study.


A Day of Truce, 1590s.© Angus MacBride & Osprey

A Day of Truce 1590s.


By the way, if you've stumbled here on a quest for the origins of the name Rutherford - I prefer Roxburgh on the Scottish Borders. There are some fascinating anecdotal suggestions above. Somebody across the pond thinks the Rutherfords are of Irish Origin, but I think that's a later distraction as the Scots went to visit Ulster. Reivers were deported there to suppress the Irish. Since I've also got Barretts and MacNamaras in the tree I'm not endorsing that approach.

Ireland, 1576.© Angus MacBride & Osprey

Ireland, 1576.


As with all things heraldic or tartan, I think it's a case of buyer beware, and people should not appropriate other peoples' arms. Remember the 1980s, when Johnny Foreigner wore Brigade of Guards Badges on their blazers. With no socks, and loafers ?

I'm not getting hung up on the Victorian craze for tartan. Just think of the Welsh bards and what Iolo did to Welsh culture. But at least there's no suggestion we dressed in Terylene bedsheets.


A Rutherford tartan has been registered but I am slighly less than convinced it would have traditionally been worn during a hot trod... Seeing as the Reiver families were as unpalatable to the Scots as they were to the English, and it belongs to the Michigan branch. And the Rutherfords certainly weren't Highlanders or from the UP (great pasties folks). I love fridge magnets and souvenir clothing as much as the next ageing geek, but I am slightly less than convinced by Clan Rutherford Tartan Flip Flops.

Rutherford Tartan

Rutherford Tartan, allegedly ...


However grockels are welcome to browse. My official provider of Rutherford keyrings and fridge magnets is next door the Frankie and Benny's at Glasgow Airport. I prefer "I ❤ Nempnett Thrubwell", "Brake for the Border" or "Mork Talk" on my Tee-Shirts.

The Hot Trod, 1590s.© Angus MacBride & Osprey

The Hot Trod, 1590s.


"NEC SORTE NEC FATO" apparently means "NEITHER BY CHANCE NOR FATE" or some other questionable sentiment. It is described as the motto of Rutherfurd of Edgerston of Rutherford of that Ilk motto.


The clan badge appears with a martlet that has a gold beak and talons. However I have been advised that the Rutherfurd/Rutherford martlet [the bird itself] should have a red beak and martlets have no feet at all, and the Rutherfurd/Rutherford martlet [the bird itself] is always tinctured black.

I must say I think a martlet without feet would be a bit pissed off. Falling about like a weeble.


Since at least 1799 we've been spelt Rutherford. Rudderford, Rutherfurd etc are alternatives, but not, seemingly in our lot.


Solway Moss, 1542.  © Angus MacBride & Osprey

Solway Moss 1542.


I've yet to find any site on the web that actually relates to my family, but other suggested links (a lot less than there used to be):

http://www.clanrutherfurd.org/ - Splendid Coats of Arms & mottos, and a move to lead the Rutherford Clan - see below
http://www.rampantscotland.com/clans/blclanrutherford.htm - A not-so-rampant synopsis
http://www.wayfinding.net/Rutherfordsurname.htm - comprehensive, or how the Rutherfords got their name, o best beloved
http://www.wayfinding.net/Rutherford.htm - detailed account of the Flint, Michigan Rutherfords
http://www.borderreivers.co.uk/ - another celebration of a misunderstood bunch

Running a Foray, 1585.  © Angus MacBride & Osprey

Running a Foray, 1585.


As a diversion I have found a delightfully unintentionally ironic statement at http://www.clanrutherfurd.org/Position.aspx, on clan leadership, Scottish heraldry and the role of the crown. Reminds me of Blofeld and Blue Mantle Poursuivant in OHMSS. Big Fry wasn't that bad.

Controversial comment - as a practicing cynic it seems to beg the question if you prefer the US system of heraldry (??) and don't recognise the judgement of the Lyon King of Arms, why ask in the first place ?

The traditional Rutherford approach would ransom the Lyon King of Arms while he's visiting one of your enemies and, if he doesn't prove amenable, replace him. However, my fealty to a new Laird can be bought - see below.


But I'm only a Welsh (or worse Wenglish) peasant - odd how I'm still a borderer (but the boys are eligible to be Daughters of the American Revolution and have got Rutherford Birchard Hayes as a distant cousin).


All polite suggestions gratefully considered. Offers of money, sponsorship, corporate hospitality, unsolicited gifts, opportunities for product placement considered.

Flodden Field, 1513.  © Angus MacBride & Osprey

Flodden Field, 1513.


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