Mystery: A Tolmie Crest
The earliest current reference of a Tolmie crest is mentioned in 1874, in a text on the 'Perlustrations (surveying) of Great Yarmouth'. A three volume text that extensively surveys notable people and places of the area of Yarmouth by Charles John Palmer (F.S.A - Fellow of Society of Antiquaries).
The text makes mention of known historical Tolmie figure, David Tolme (1753-1825), the great great grandson of William Tolme of Fortrose, Scotland (1664-c1727), himself the eldest great grandson of the Tolmie progenitor, John Tolmach MacRory MacLeod. (Source: Davidson, 2019)
Another reference to the same Tolmie crest in 1927 by Rev. Canon Roderick Charles MacLeod of MacLeod (1852-1934), an avid historical chronicler of Clan MacLeod and younger son of Chief Norman MacLeod of MacLeod the 25th Chief of Clan MacLeod (1812-1895). Roderick's brother was Chief Norman Magnus MacLeod of MacLeod the 26th Chief of Clan MacLeod (1839-1929).
Reference to the same Tolmie crest is made again in 1941 by well known Clan MacKenzie chronicler, Hector Hugh MacKenzie (J.P.) (F.S.A Scot) in his seminal work on the Tolmies of Uiginish. His work includes a picture of the said brooch of a Tolmie crest picturing a Griffin and the Latin word Audeo which means 'I Dare'.
The crested brooch mentioned above was brought to New Zealand from Scotland, given to then eldest son Donald Allan Tolmie (1829-1902) by his father and eldest direct descendent of John Tolmach, John Tolmie (1793-1844). Donald bought the crest with him when he emigrated to Australia before coming to New Zealand. It was then passed to his son Edward Tolme (1875-1977), who having no male heirs passed it the next eldest Tolmie male of direct descent, in 1960. The same crested brooch is held by the senior branch of the Tolmie sept in New Zealand.
Continuing on from Hector Hugh McKenzie popular treatise on the Tolmies of Uiginish, along with Gordon L. Shanks (a notable US Tolmie & MacLeod chronicler) and Alick Morrison (a notable MacLeod chronicler); all agreed that in 1975 the 10th Chieftain of the Tolmie sept was a descendant of the Tolmies of Uiginish residing in New Zealand.
Though the origins of the crest are not yet known, a growing body of information from different records at different times, over the past 145 years suggest that the symbol of the Gryphon and the word Audeo hold historical significance for the senior line of the Tolmie sept. While its origins still hold some mystery, its antiquity appears to be attested from the records of clan MacLeod and others.
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©James McKay, 2019-2022 (https://www.iponz.govt.nz/about-ip/copyright/)