Henry Erskine, 3rd Lord Cardross

Who was Lord Cardross

The Stuarts Town colonists were led by Henry Erskine, 3rd Lord Cardross (1650 - 1693). He was married to Catherine, youngest daughter of Sir William Stewart (Stuart) of Kirkhill. It was in honor of his wife that Stuarts town was named.

Lord Cardross was a “Covenanter” who belonged to the Scottish Presbyterian Church. In July, 1684, he wrote in his Journal that the settlers were leaving Scotland because of the "corruption and antichristian attitude of the bishops and their dependents, now pretended officers of the church, and because of the tyranny and usurpations of both which was daily growing, and all of this tending to promote interest in extirpating Presbyterians out of Scotland."

The Cardross Seal

Image used by permission of Charleston Library Society

Although Coats of Arms were in wide use in Scotland as early as the 14th century, it was not until 1672 that an Act brought formal control over who was to be granted a Coat of Arms and what should be contained on them. Grantees were recognized as members of Scotland’s nobility. Coats of Arms and seals are owned by individuals, not families, and each displays symbols of its owner’s personal characteristics.

Reading the Seal

Lord Cardross’s personal seal, with his Coat of Arms, has symbols he chose to represent his personal characteristics. The shape of the crown is indicative of his status as a Lord, and the helmet also indicates his rank and social status. The ornamental cloth attached to the helmet is “mantling” that protected the neck of the person wearing a helmet.

The shield contains eagles that are emblematic of fortitude and magnanimity with suns indicative of valor.

The sheaves of wheat represent peace and plenty. The daggers in the shield denote honor in battle.

The horse to the left of the shield indicates the owner is ever ready to do battle. The griffin to the right is indicative of valor.

The arm above the shield represents industry, and the sword it holds is for honor in battle. The boar’s head is meant to show that the owner was fiercely combative.

Cardross’s motto was “Fortitude,” to emphasize his status as a warrior.

Lord Cardross’s personal seal was unearthed by British soldiers at Port Royal during the American Revolution. In 1794, Lord Buchan, Cardross's grandson, gave it to General William Moultrie. It is currently in the collection of the Charleston Library Society.