My bio has a brief rundown of how my avatar came about. Here is the full story. The entire idea started with a need to honor my ancestors in some way - and yes, before long this will be permanantly affixed to me.
My intent here was to create something that ties both sides of my family history and heritage together.
I wanted the final piece to have a decidedly Celtic feel to it – my grandparents names (and maiden names) are; Kirkpatrick a Scotch-Irish name, Haskell a Welsh name, Kidder which is Irish and Fitzherbert, also Irish. Obviously all four sides come from the heart of the Celtic Nations.
Both my parents sides of my family (the Kirkpatrick side and the Haskell side) have a Coat of Arms/ Family Crest with a lot of history tied to these images. Each crest has a very specific image associated with it – The Haskell crest has the apple tree and the Kirkpatrick crest has a hand clutching a dagger. To help understand the reasoning behind this I am including a quick history lesson.
The Kirkpatrick dagger:
“Robert Bruce while William Wallace was fighting his campaigns was planning his next move in the throne struggle as was the other contender Red Comyn. No-one could do anything with Wallace still around, the people loved him; they saw in him the rights of common men being acknowledged. However with him now gone the race was back on. Bruce and Comyn could not agree on who would rule. Bruce being the strongest claimant with most following, he had the power to unite all the nobles it was decided he would rule, while Comyn would receive more lands. A pact was drawn and they would confront the English to assert his kingship. Comyn apparently alerted the English and sold Bruce out. This resulted in his army being routed by the English in an ambush, while he was waiting for Comyn's army to turn up. Bruce had to go into hiding, his family being slaughtered as were a lot of Scots, a price was on his head. Bruce had an ally in Roger Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, Roger was Duncan Kirkpatrick of Torthorwald's elder brother (Duncan Kirkpatrick was William Wallace’s cousin through marriage). Roger took Bruce to places of refuge in his extensive lands; meanwhile Comyn began planning his coronation. He could not unite the nobles, without Bruce no-one trusted him so a meeting was arranged between him and Bruce. A neutral place was chosen, Greyfriars kirk (Dumfrieshire). Roger Kirkpatrick and a few others formed Bruce's entourage. Most were in black mood because of Comyn's treachery. During the meeting Bruce, in a rage, stabbed Comyn. He fled the church and on meeting him outside Roger Kirkpatrick asked "whose blood sire?" Bruce’s’ reply was "I doubt I have slain the Comyn!”. On this Kirkpatrick entered the church and finished the not quite dead Comyn off. When he re-emerged from the church he is reputed to have said (while holding aloft his blood soaked dagger) "MAC SICCAR" Which means I MAKE SURE. This is where the dagger within the Kirkpatrick family crest and the family motto appear from. Bruce was now the undisputed king of Scot's. He succeeded in once and for all crushing English domination in Scotland at Bannockburn 1314.”
The Haskell apple tree:
“That the family is one anciently distinguished is evidenced by the fact that it is an armigerous family and that legend traces the origin of the crest to a definite incident which is said to have occurred at the battle of Hastings. The legend is this: at the battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror, being faint from the lack of food, saw in the distance, near the lines of Harold, an apple tree in fruit. Expressing the belief that some of the apples would revive him until the fortunes of the day should be decided, one of his attendant knights, Roger de Haskell by name, dashed forward amid a shower of the enemy's arrows and brought to his sovereign a scarf filled with the fruit, whereupon the Conqueror bade him bear as his crest a fruit-bearing apple tree pierced by a flying arrow. The arrow seems to have disappeared, but the apple-tree remains as a reminder to posterity of the courage of an early progenitor”
Here are the Coat of Arms / Family Crests from each family.
Haskell Coat of Arms
I also wanted to include a small portion of the Kidder and Fitzherbert crests as well, my grandmothers maiden names – specifically a way to place the crescents within the design.
Almost a year later and after a ton of revisions, a ton of research and driving a family member – who I am lucky enough to have because he is a phenomenal artist (this was WAY beneath him, but he was very kind to help me anyway) I finally have a completed crest. When I started this as a doodle on a pad of paper during a 2 day conference I was sitting in for work I wanted something that was the culmination of me…… I had no idea how good the final product would be.
My deepest thanks to James for his patience (with me) and hard work.