Iain Moncreiffe

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Sir Rupert Iain Kay Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 11th Baronet, CVO, QC (9 April 1919 – 27 February 1985) was a British Officer of Arms and genealogist.[a]


Moncreiffe was the son of Lieutenant-Commander Gerald Moncreiffe, RN, and Hilda, daughter of the Comte de Miremont, he succeeded his cousin as 11th Baronet and Chief of Clan Moncreiffe in 1957.[citation needed]

Educated at Stowe School, Heidelberg, and Christ Church, Oxford, as a cadet officer Moncreiffe trained with Derek Bond (actor) and Patrick Leigh Fermor,[1] he later served in the Scots Guards during the Second World War, then as attaché at the British embassy in Moscow, before studying Scots Law at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated PhD with a thesis on the Scots law of succession to peerages.[citation needed]

A prominent member of the Lyon Court, Moncreiffe held the offices of Falkland Pursuivant (1952), Kintyre Pursuivant (1953), Unicorn Pursuivant (1955), and (from 1961) Albany Herald. He wrote a popular work about the Scottish clans, The Highland Clans (1967), Simple Heraldry, Cheerfully Illustrated (1953), Simple Custom (1954), and Blood Royal (1956) with Don Pottinger, but his interests also extended to Georgian and Byzantine noble genealogies. Lord of the Dance, A Moncreiffe Miscellany, edited by Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd encompassed his genealogical world-view.[citation needed]

He was an incorrigible snob; he even called himself Master Snob.[2] He took silk (relatively late in his career), because very few barristers specialised in heraldic matters and he wished to highlight the importance of this field of speciality. He was a frequent writer of amusing and often illuminating letters to newspapers, particularly The Daily Telegraph, and provided the introduction to Douglas Sutherland's satirical book The English Gentleman (1978). He held membership in many London clubs and founded his own club in Edinburgh, called Puffin's, – the name was taken from the nickname of Sir Iain's first wife, 'Puffin', Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll. It was a weekly luncheon club between the early 1960s and late 1990s held at Martin's restaurant (now 'The Honours') behind Princes Street. The membership was as varied and eccentric as its founder. Ex-King Zog I, King of Albania paid his founding subscription of £5 in 1961, but died before he could attend. The actor Terence Stamp, Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, Sir Fitzroy Maclean and Lord Dacre all attended with varying frequency. Half the crowned heads of Europe were on the list.[3]


Moncreiffe married twice. Firstly Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll, whom he married on 19 December 1946 at St Margaret's, Westminster. He and Countess Diana were one of the few couples who both held titles in their own right. They had three children, see Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll

Moncreiffe's first marriage was dissolved in 1964 and in 1966 he took as his second wife Hermione Patricia Faulkner, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Douglas Faulkner by his marriage to Patricia Katherine Montagu Douglas Scott, the present Dowager Countess of Dundee.[citation needed]


  1. ^ He used various forms of his name: His columns for Books and Bookmen were signed Iain Moncreiffe; Royal Highness is by Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, Bt.; Simple Heraldry is by Sir Iain Moncrieffe of Easter Moncreiffe. Like other Scottish landowners, and other baronets, he distinguished himself from other Moncreiffes by referring to his estate: of that Ilk is Scots for "of the same [place]", since his estate was Moncreiffe Island itself; (Easter Moncreiffe was the name of his house; Moncreiffe House burnt down in 1957, and its ruins were inherited by his cousin's daughter).


  • Bond, Derek (1990), Steady, Old Man! Don't You Know There's a War On, London: Leo Cooper, ISBN 0-85052-046-0 
  • Powell, Anthony, Miscellaneous Verdicts, p. 51 .[full citation needed]

Further reading[edit]

Heraldic offices
Preceded by
Falkland Pursuivant
Succeeded by
Don Pottinger
Kintyre Pursuivant
Succeeded by
Charles Jauncey
Preceded by
Gordon Dalyell of the Binns
Unicorn Pursuivant
Succeeded by
Don Pottinger
Preceded by
Charles Ian Fraser
Albany Herald
1961 – bef. 1985
Succeeded by
John Spens