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Family Motto & Crest

The Family Motto & Crest

When I first started to enter information about this I thought I knew exactly what existed but it turns out there are more than one Motto and one Crest. The one which is oldest and the one I am familiar with is this one which was a gift from Herbert Lightbody from Ireland a few decades ago. It may be hard to see with the crystal ball in the centre of the bell.


The Lightbody family motto is Clarior e tenebris which means, the Brighter from previous obscurity.
The crest has a lion rampart and a star issuant from a cloud. There are two starts and crescent moons (in the waxing position). The colours are blue, gold, red and silver.

Now according to the Fairbairn's Book of Crests in 1905 there was a second family motto, very close tho the first and was listed under the same crest,  E tenebris lux which means light out of darkness .

The Family Crest

There is a second and a third Lightbody Family crest that can be found on the heraldry websites that will sell you a crest on a tie or mug or even your undies! It looks different and does not match what we can find historically.

While many of us may decide to use what may be the only family crest for Lightbodys, it actually belongs to just one particular family line and is not intended for everyone with the last name Lightbody.

Truthfully, I don't really think it matters much these days, the Lightbody name is not that common and many of us tend to think of anyone with our name as extended family. Since there has even only been three possible and reported origins I personally like the idea of sharing the crest. Its a bit of a rallying point for us!

France: LaBaudy/Leebody which may have moved to Scotland
England: Lichtbody/Lichtbodie/Lightbody which may have move to Scotland
Scotland: Leichbodie/Lichbody/Lighbody/Lightbody which may have been either French or English but see the story at the end for a possible twist!
Irish: Most likely Scottish!

Really… just one big happy family with long extended branches.

Breaking down the Crest

We can break the crest down to some of its meanings and they do seem to reflect the motto.

The shield is called a PALE which means military strength. It has three sections. On each side there it is an azure ( blue) stripe with a star and crescent and the centre is gold with a red or maroon lion.

The Azure or blue means truth and loyalty; and the gold means generosity and elevation of the mind.

The crescents mean honoured by the sovereign and hope of greater glory.

The stars, also called a mullet, including the one on top of the cloud mean celestial goodness or a noble person and leadership. Both the stars and crescents are in silver or white is argent which means peaces and sincerity.

The lion rampart  symbolizes bravery, strength, ferocity and valour. Depending on the true colour if it is read it means military strength or maroon means patient in battle yet victorious.

The helmet  means wisdom, security, defence strength, protection and invulnerability.

The cloud means mysterious obscured truth.

My understanding has always been this crest belonged to a Scottish family who has the title to the crest. If anyone can verify that and provide the documents I would love to post the here to clear things up.

I am not sure if the below posting has any connection to it but it does make for a great story regardless. This was found on Genforum and was posted in 1999 by a Dorothy Therese Lightbody.

My father's name was John Reynolds Lightbody, he was born in San Francisco CA in 1918. He was the eldest son of Archibald Reynolds Lightbody. They were the last in the chain of eldest father and son that were named John Reynolds to Archibald Reynolds in succession since the Lightbody clan was established from the Mac Gregor Clan by Mary Queen of Scots. The story of our Clan, that was told to me by my father, was that during the Scottish/English wars our ancestors, Archibald Reynolds Mac Gregor and son John Reynolds crawled across a lake of thin ice. They volunteered, and as they were rather thin men, succeeded. They warned their fellow Scots of an impending English ambush from some cliffs that surrounded a canyon the Scots were to pass through the following day. Instead, the English were driven from the cliffs and the battle belonged to the Scots. Mary Queen of Scots then Knighted them Sir Archibald Reynolds Lightbody and Sir John Reynolds Lightbody. This was in honor of their slight build, which had allowed them to not break through the thin ice and fall into the frozen lake. Thereafter since that time the eldest son was named in succession either John Reynolds or Archibald Reynolds. My father told me that he and his father came from the direct line of eldest son to eldest son of the clan. Unfortunately my mom refused to name my only brother Archibald and instead named him after my dad and broke the "name chain". If anyone else knows of this story and can elaborate on it I would love to here any further details of the history of our clan. 
Since in my research I have not been able to find any record of Lightbody in Scotland any sooner than the mid 1500's this could be really accurate!


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