During the Middle Ages another custom arose, that of wearing large emblems called “crests” on top of helmets, so that they stood out above the scrimmage at a tournament. These crests were made of light wood or boiled leather and were joined to the helmet, the join being concealed by a wreath of twisted silk in the family colors. (An early Earl of Atholl, cousin of the Robertsons’ ancestor, was murdered because of jealousy at his prowess in a tournament.)
Later a metal plate showing a chief’s crest (with the twisted silk now depicted rather like a barber’s pole) was worn suspended by a strap around the neck of his retainers. Nowadays, a chief’s crest when encircled with a strap and buckle bearing his motto may be worn as a badge by all his family or clan.
The Robertson Chief’s crest is a hand holding up an imperial crown, alluding to the then chief’s services to the Crown after the assassination of King James I in 1437. His motto is Virtutis Gloria Merces (Latin: “Glory is the reward for valor”). His slogan is Garg’n Uair Dhuisgear (Gaelic: “Fierce when roused,” pronounced GARG-n OO-air GWISH-gyar).
Many chiefs have plant badges as well, which their clansmen can also wear. The Robertson plant badge is bracken.