The Boar in the Kinloch Arms

We’re often asked the significance of the hog’s head in our family arms. This emblem has featured throughout the heraldic history of the British Isles. In particular, it has been a common family emblem in Scotland. Not only does the well-known Orkney boar design goes back to the Kinloch Pictish families but even further into the Roman occupation. It’s even been noted in Viking design.


A Roman Antefix roof tile showing the boar badge and standard of the Twentieth Legion
The Royal insignia of the Vijayanagara kings spots 4 elements – Sun, Moon, Dragger and Boar.

“The boar was used as an emblem in some instances during antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (i.e. predating the development of classical European heraldry). During the Roman Empire, at least three legions are known to have had a boar as their emblems – Legio I ItalicaLegio X Fretensis and Legio XX Valeria Victrix.

The Knocknagael Boar Stone is a well-known Pictish stone with a depiction of a boar emblem dating to ca. the 7th century. In this context, the name of Orkney is interpreted as being derived from orc-, the Celtic for “pig”, presumably from a Pictish tribe which had the boar or wild pig as their emblem. This is perhaps a crucial link to the Pictish origins of the Kinloch family name.

The boar also appears to have been used as an emblem during the Viking Age, reflected in the mythological boar Gullinbursti, a representation of the god Freyr, and in Hildisvíni (“battle pig”), the boar of the goddess Freya, and also mentioned in Beowulf as a figure of a boar worn in battle on the crest of a helmet. The most familiar Ferguson Clan crest has the 3 boars on an Azure blue shield with a buckle in the center. 3 royal Irish Ferguson brothers originally came to Scotland from Ireland and became the Kings of Dalriada – they battled and married into the Picts uniting Scotland and are considered to be the first kings of Scotland. The 3 brothers started separate Ferguson family clans in different areas of Scotland and have some difference in their crests but the most common is the 3 boars crest. This information and more can be found in the History of the Ferguson Clan.” –Wikipedia