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The Standard of the Shaw Clan in Scotland

A study of our ancient family history for my children

It contains some very interesting information that we are able to glean from the heraldry within it.

Today Rothiemurchus is a large national park in the Highlands area of Scotland.

Originally it became the home of the Shaw clan after they settled there permanently.

(1) The tree represents the Scots Pine which is indigenous to Scotland, and with it is the Red Hand of Zarah the brother of Pharez who you will remember from the Scripture story in Bereshith (Genesis) were twins born about the year 1680 BC. He is grasping a downward pointing dagger symbolising the warrior like nature of the clan.

Zarah became disillusioned when Pharez was chosen over him as the Firstborn and therefore the Royal leader of the tribe. So the descendants of Zarah left the slavery of Egypt prior to the Exodus and migrated to Spain. There they built the city of Zaragossa on the Ebro River in the Iberian Peninsula with King Calcol as their leader, and then for some reason much later left Spain and sailed the Atlantic Ocean and settled in Ulster (Northern Ireland) and the Hebrides of Western Scotland.

Those four places are all named after the Hebrews.

The full story of Zarah and Darda is given in the Chapter quoted from the book on following pages.

(2) On the right side of the Standard are three identical emblems of the Red Hand of Zarah holding an upward pointing dagger, again a symbol of their warrior like nature. The Red Hand of Zarah has been their emblem for around 3600 years and symbolises the hand of Zarah which came out first and the midwife tied a red cord around the baby’s wrist saying “This one came out first”. The hand was then withdrawn and his brother Pharez was born. Each Red Hand on the Standard has a wreath-like supporter containing a Scots Pine with pine cones on the left and an oak tree with acorns on the right. These trees grow widely around Scotland.

On the lower part of the supporter is a Red Whortleberry bush with the red fruits, (similar to the blueberry). These are peculiar to the Rothimurchus area of Western Scotland where the Shaws made their home long ago.

(3) In between each of these symbols is a sash containing the motto of the Zarah clan “Fide et Fortitudine” meaning Faith and Fortitude. This is in green print on a silver background.

(4) The Red Rampant Lion on the top left is the symbol of the family of Darda or Dardanus. The original Darda was a son of Zarah and the Red Rampant Lion has been their emblem ever since then, a period of about 3600 years. Even today it is still in the Royal Standard of our Queen. This Darda was a descendant of the original Darda and Zarah about 1100 years later, after the captivity of the Hebrews migrated to and founded the city of Troy near the entrance of the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, and they named it the Dardanelles after their ancestor Dardanus. King Brutus was their king in Troy. After being defeated by Greece, they then roamed across Europe and finally settled in Scotland taking their Emblem with them.

(5) On the bottom left is a blue and silver check pattern, apparently the colours of the Shaw clan, and above it are three five-pointed stars representing deliverance and protection.

(6) Lastly on the Standard is the emblem of Zebulun, one of the ten lost tribes of Israel who after the captivity and dispersion of those tribes into Assyria, then migrated across the Middle East then on to Europe and eventually settled in what became the British Isles and North Western Europe, including the Western Isles of Scotland which are called the Hebrides after their Hebrew forefathers. The Zebulunites apparently were seafaring people, going by the galleon depicted in their emblem. They needed to be good sailors in order to navigate all of the islands and rugged coast of Western Scotland and Ireland.

In summary then it seems that the Shaw families must surely be descended from both of the Royal lines of Zarah and Darda (King Calcol and King Brutus) especially as we know that our great-grandparents John and Margaret Shaw of Harris came from the Hebrides.

The tribe of Zebulun must be in our heritage too.

So there we have our ancestry, how interesting coming through a Royal lineage from both lines of Zarah Yahudah (Calcol and Brutus).

All this stemmed from the union of Yahudah with his widowed daughter-in-law Tamar way back about the year 1650 BC after Tamar’s husband had died and she wanted to have a child by one of his close relatives as was the custom of those days. She tricked his father into mating with her as he was the only surviving adult male of the family line.

Is there a difference between a Yehudahite and a Jew? They are not one and the same at all. The answer is in the next paragraph.

Revelation 2:9 says “I know your works, and pressure and poverty - yet you are rich - and the blasphemy of those who say they are Yehudim (Jews) and are not, but are of the congregation of Satan”.

It is a fact that all who are known today as Jews have descended from Yapheth (Japeth) a son of Noah and Ashkenaz, Japeth’s son.

The chosen line of Noah’s sons was through Shem. Abraham, Yitshaq (Isaac), Yaacob (Jacob), Yahudah (Judah), Ephraim, Moshe (Moses), Yehoshua (Joshua), David and our Messiah Yahusha and all of the righteous line have descended from Shem.

Those who call themselves Jews have usurped the position, but in reality are not Jews at all thus fulfilling the scripture.

True Yehudahites, those of the two tribes of Yahudah and Binyamin (Benjamin) were sent to captivity into Babylon and since then have come out of captivity and actually followed a similar path across the Middle East and Europe as that which the Ten Tribes took about 140 years earlier, and have now settled with their brethren of the other ten tribes in parts of the British Isles, Ireland and North western Europe. And of course the people of those lands have since then migrated all around the world, but especially to America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. You can see the hand of Yahuah in all of this, all of the best lands of the world.

So here we are!!!

Shaw family descended from Zarah Yahudah

The following is quoted from

 “Symbols of our Celto Saxon heritage” by W H Bennett

“When Yaacob/Yisrael gave his dying blessing to his twelve sons, he associated each of them with some animal, object or personal characteristic which afterwards became the emblem of the family and tribe descended from him. Among these the lion, the emblem of Yaacob’s fourth son Yahudah, is of special interest. As we saw, this lion in a couchant position became the emblem of the tribe of Yahudah, then in a passant posture it became the emblem of the Camp or Brigade of Yahudah and later with the addition of a Crown, of the Royal House and Throne of David. Still later in a rampant posture and with a Crown, it became the emblem of the two tribed House and Kingdom of Yahudah.

“Yet this lion, usually portrayed as tawny or golden in colour, is not the only emblem of the descendants of Yahudah, or even the only Lion.

“In the last four verses of the 38th Chapter of Genesis, we find the record of the birth of twin sons to Yaacob’s fourth son Yahudah. Here we read: ‘And it came to pass in the time of her travail, behold twins were in her womb. And it came to pass when she travailed that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread saying, ‘This came out first’. And it came to pass as he drew back his hand that behold his brother came out: and she said, ‘How has he broken forth? This breech be upon thee’. Therefore his name was called Pharez.

And afterward came out his brother that had the scarlet thread upon his hand and his name was called Zarah”.

“We suggest that you read the above quotation again, for this is one of the most important events recorded in Bible history. The births of a great many other people are recorded in the Scriptures but in this one case only are the details given. Why? Why is this birth singled out for such special attention?

“Surely it is because this birth was a matter of great and special importance, and the details are recorded to emphasise that importance.

“Here we see the basis for serious family trouble. Though Yahudah had other and older sons, they could not inherit the prophetic promise that from his descendants would come the future Royal Family of Yisrael, the question of which of them was born first, and therefore the heir, was a matter of very great importance.

“In the record of the birth as quoted above, we read that the hand of Zarah appeared first and that the midwife tied a scarlet cord around his wrist saying, “This came out first”. Then we read that the hand was withdrawn, and that the birth of Pharez then took place. Here indeed was the seed of trouble. Which boy was the first born and therefore the heir, Zarah with the scarlet cord around his wrist and the pronouncement “This came out first”, or Pharez whose birth was completed first?

“Eventually Pharez was declared the heir and it is from him that the official branch of the Tribe of Yahudah and the Davidic Royal House are descended.

“What then was the reaction of Zarah and his descendants to what they undoubtedly considered as being robbed of their rightful inheritance?

“That they did not accept this decision and that many of them left the rest of Yisrael during the time of the bondage in Egypt becomes evident when we consider the tribal genealogies as recorded in the Scripture. These record the main lines of descent from Pharez-Yahudah for a very long period of time, but the record of Zarah-Yahudah apparently ends with the third generation.

“As these genealogies, and especially those of the chief families in each tribe, were kept with great care, any omission would indicate that those omitted were no longer in Yisrael when the record was made.

“As the genealogy of Zarah-Yahudah apparently ceases with the third generation, it follows that most if not all of Zarah’s descendants must have left Yisrael during the time of Yisrael’s bondage in Egypt and therefore before the Exodus. Where then did they go?

“As descendants of Yahudah their emblem was a lion. Even though bitterly resentful toward the rest of the tribe of Yahudah, it is very unlikely that they would give up this emblem of their identity and descent. So we may reasonably conclude that they kept the lion as their emblem. Nevertheless they would have to change it in some way to show that though they were descendants of Yahudah they were entirely separate and distinct from the tribe of Yahudah in Yisrael. In their bitterness they would want to make this difference as great as possible, and so instead of a tawny couchant Lion they depicted theirs as both rampant and red. Thus a Rampant Red Lion became an emblem of the Zarah branch of the tribe of Yahudah.

“Turning again to the birth of Yahudah’s twin sons as recorded above, we see that the peculiar circumstances of this birth gave the descendants of Zarah another emblem.

Note again in Verse 28:

‘And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that behold twins were in her womb. And it came to pass when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread saying, ‘This came out first’.

“Here we have an emblem which is absolutely unique, one which could apply to no one else and one to which the record draws special and emphatic attention  - a hand, red from the blood of birth, circled by Scarlet Thread or Cord. In this way a Red Hand, or a Red Hand circled by a Scarlet Cord, also became an emblem of the Zarah branch of the Tribe of Yahudah.

“As we have already noted, the descendants of Zarah Yahudah or most of them, decided to leave the Yisrael nation and to flee out of Egypt to some new land, where they could establish independent kingdoms of their own. Evidently they could not agree on where to go, with the result that they divided into two groups which then fled across the Mediterranean Sea in different directions.

“One of these led by Zarah’s great grandson Calcol fled westward to a land known today as Spain. Here they settled for a few years, during which they founded a city which still bears the name of their ancestor Zarah - Zaragossa.

“Here we should remember that racially these descendants of Zarah were Hebrews, being descended through Abraham from Eber (Heber). Wherever they went they left this name like a footprint marking their journey. Thus the river on the banks of which they founded the city Zaragossa is still called the Ebro River, and to the land itself they gave the name Iberia, the land of the Hiberi or Hebrews.

“Later Calcol and at least some of the others left Iberia, moving on northward to the land we call Ireland. Again they took their name with them, calling their new home Hiberland or Hibernia, and the islands to the north of it The Hebrides. Then with Calcol as their king, these descendants of Zarah Yahudah founded the kingdom of Ulster shortly after the year 1600 BC, and from that time until the present, a matter of nearly 3600 years, the emblem of Ulster has been a Red Hand circled with a Scarlet Cord.

“Further, three of Ulster’s six counties as well as the towns of Bangor and Dungannon, have the red hand as a part of their official emblems.

“It is true of course that since the division of Ireland in 1920 the Official Arms of Northern Ireland show the Red Hand alone without the Scarlet Cord, but this does not alter the fact that the ancient and traditional emblem of Ulster was and still is a Red Hand circled by a Scarlet Cord.

“Nevertheless the use of the Red Hand as a racial emblem is not confined to Ulster or even to Ireland. In Scotland it appears in the Arms of several of the old families and in those of at least 14 of the Clan chiefs. Davidson, MacBain, MacDonell, MacIntosh, MacKinnon, MacLean, MacLachlan, MacNeil, MacNaughten, MacPherson, MacGillivray, MacDonald of Sleat, Clanranald and Shaw of Rothiemurchus. Colour variants of this emblem appear in the Arms of several other Chiefs.

“Thus by their use of the Red Hand, some of the people of Scotland also point to their Israelitish origin as descendants of the Zarah branch of the Tribe of Yahudah.

“Here a most interesting question arises. How is it that the Scots, who invaded and settled the Western part of what is called Scotland in AD 501, have among their emblems one - the Red Hand - which is the same as the one which has been the emblem of Ulster since 1600 BC?

“There is very little if anything to indicate that the Scots came solely from Ulster. On the contrary, their own records state that they came from Scythia, which is the ancient name of the country to the west and north of the Caspian Sea. Thus in the Register House in Edinburgh there is an ancient document called the Declaration of Arbroath, which consists of an official letter sent to the pope by the Parliament of Scotland in AD 1320 and signed by King Robert the Bruce and some thirty of the Scottish nobles, in which it is definitely stated that the Scots came from Scythia, that they lived for a long period of time in Spain, and that they moved on from there to the country now called Scotland ‘1200 years after the outgoing of the people of Yisrael’. It could be argued of course the this ‘outgoing of the people of Yisrael’ refers to the exodus of Yisrael from Egypt. In support perhaps we should note that a translation of the original document made in 1703 AD reads ‘above 1200 years after the coming of the Yisraelites out of Egypt’.

“Nevertheless this does not seem to agree with the known facts of history. The exodus of Yisrael from Egypt occurred somewhere about the year 1480 BC. This means that the Scots, if they came into what is now Scotland 1200 years after the exodus, must have arrived there about the year 280 BC, whereas Scottish history shows that they did not arrive until about 500 AD.

“This is a difference of about 780 years, which seems to indicate that the 1703 translation is erroneous, and that the phrase ‘the outgoing of the people of Yisrael’ refers to the fall of Yisrael and the deportation of the Ten Tribes to Assyria.

“If so this agrees very well with the record of history. The deportation of Yisrael to Assyria was completed about the year 721 BC. If then the Scots arrived in what then became known known as Scotland about 1200 years later it follows that they must have arrived about the year 480 AD or a few years later, which brings us very close to the year 501 which Scottish history gives as the date the Scots did arrive. If then the Scots came from Scythia through Spain directly into Scotland it seems very unlikely that the Red Hand of Scottish heraldry came from Ulster. In support of this we should note that the Red Hand, as it appears in Scottish heraldry, is not encircled by a Scarlet Cord as was the ancient Ulster emblem.

“Nevertheless, despite this slight difference, it is obvious that the Red Hand (sometimes pink) as it appears in Scottish heraldry and the Red Hand of Ulster are the same emblem.

“Then when we consider the fact that the Scots claim that they came into Scotland from Scythia and that they mentioned their stay in Spain but do not say anything about a stay in Ulster, it becomes evident that the Red Hand must have been an ancestral emblem which the Scots brought with them from some ancient homeland of both the Heber (Ulster) and the Scythian Scots.

“Of even greater importance is the fact that the Scots dated their arrival in Scotland from an event in the history in Yisrael. This is something they would be very unlikely to do unless they themselves were Yisraelites. Further they say they came from Scythia, which is the place to which the Yisrael people migrated after their deportation. In view of the origin of the Red Hand emblem in the event recorded in Genesis 38, and in the fact that a Red Hand thereby became one of the emblems of the descendants of Zarah Yahudah, we conclude that the people who brought the Red Hand to Ulster so long ago and the Scots who later brought it to Scotland, though coming at different times, had a common origin, at least in part in the Zarah branch of the Yisraelitish tribe of Yahudah.

“Before ending our consideration of the heraldic significance of the Red Hand we should note that as descendants of Zarah Yahudah, the first settlers in Ulster were also entitled to use the rampant Red Lion, and when we turn to the official Arms of Northern Ireland we see that it holds an important place therein. Another point of interest in these Arms is that the Red Hand has as its background a six pointed star which is one form of the hexagram or Shield of David. With these things in mind, let us now turn to that other part of Zarah’s descendants which fled out of Egypt under the leadership of Zarah’s son called Darda, (1 Chronicles 2:6) and the Jewish historian Yosephus calls him Dardanus. This is significant because the group which he led went northward across the Mediterranean Sea to the northwest corner of Asia Minor now called Turkey. There under the rule of Darda they established a kingdom later called Troy on the southern shore of that narrow body of water which bears his name to this day - the Dardanelles.

“Some hundreds of years later this kingdom was destroyed in a war with the Greeks. Some of the survivors fled northward into Europe where their emblem, the Rampant Red Lion appears in the Arms of some of the nations, provinces and old families in the lands near or bordering the North Sea.

“Others fled westward across the Mediterranean to Spain and on to the British Isles where, with some members of other Yisrael tribes, they were the first settlers in much of what is now called Scotland. A larger group led by Prince Brutus, a direct descendant of Darda, after living in Italy for a time, also moved on through Spain to Britain, arriving here about the year 1100 BC.

“Though Britain had a considerable population long before the arrival of these Trojans, their coming and the setting up of this transplanted Trojan kingdom is the actual beginning of the British nation. And from that time to the coming of the Saxons into South Britain 1600 years later, a Rampant Red Lion was the emblem of all Britain. With the coming of the Saxons its use in England as a national emblem was discontinued, being replaced by the emblems brought in by the Saxons and Normans. However in north Britain (Scotland) it is still the chief emblem.

“That many of the Scottish people are descended from Zarah Yahudah is also evident in their use of the Rampant Red Lion as a clan and family emblem. Thus an examination of the Arms of the Clan Chiefs and other ancient families will show that at least twenty of them have the Rampant Red Lion. A colour variant of this emblem appears in several more. The Earldom of Fife, Abernethy, Lord Saltoun, Dundas, Duff, Farquharson, Guthrie, Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, Leslie, Lindsay, MacBain, MacIntosh, MacLachlan, Clanranald, Maitland, Earl of Lauderdale, Moncreiffe, MacDonald of Sleat, Shaw of Rothiemurchus, Spens of Lathallan, Stuart, Marquis of Bute and Wermyss.

“It is also important to notice that the Rampant Red Lion appears on the Royal Standard and on the Shield in the Royal Arms. Further it was the ancestral emblem of the Royal Houses of several of the ancient principalities of Wales.

“In this chapter we have presented evidence of the ancient usage of the Red Hand as the emblem of Ulster (Northern Ireland) and its use in much of the rest of Ireland and Scotland; and of the Rampant Red Lion as the emblem of ancient Britain. What the reader may have overlooked however, is that for at least 1500 years before the coming of the Saxons into Britain these two emblems of the Zarah branch of the Yisraelitish tribe of Yahudah were the chief emblems of the British Isles - the Red Hand in Ireland and the Rampant Red Lion in Britain.

This is the end of the quote from the book “Symbols of our Celto - Saxon Heritage.

Now an observation by Neville

It is an interesting point that the Red Rampant Lion is well to the forefront of the Royal Arms of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands as well as the Scottish Royal House of Stewart. It is also very often the symbol of many of the clans of the Scots. However it is nowhere to be found in the heraldry of England, they have the passant (standing), couchant (lying) or rampant (upright) and fawn in colour tawny lion which is the emblem of Pharez, which is really the royal line, as their emblem. The Red Rampant Lion of Zarah is only found on the Royal Standard of our Queen, so does that indicate that she is descended from Zarah rather than Pharez, as we are? Possibly through the Scottish House of the Stewarts? Just a thought!

Neville Shaw


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Scottish Descendants of Zarah Yahudah