• Clan Joyce of Ulster

History of the Clan Joyce of Ulster Motto: Cogit Amor (Love Compels)

When Laird William Joass (1632-1707) graduated from Kings College in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1660 he could not have foreseen the ironic future that lay ahead. After becoming a Presbyterian Minister at “Eastferrie of the kirktoun and kirklands of Inverboyndie, myln of Boyndie,” he dedicated himself to his community. While it is true that he served his own congregations from a spiritual aspect, this calling would also impact his future descendants some 300 years later. This is particularly true when you consider that his motto “Cogit Amor” or “Love Compels” was used to establish Clan Joyce of Ulster (CJU).


In 1672 William Joass was granted a coat of arms with the motto “Cogit Amor” to represent his calling as a “preacher of the gospel.” In addition to this, William became a Scottish Laird or Lord during this time. However, despite one of his sons, John Joass (b. 1684) inheriting William’s coat of arms and motto, John’s direct lineage eventually died out. As a consequence, his motto remained unused for 349 years. That is until it was adopted by the Clan council of Clan Joyce of Ulster in May of 2021.


For all practical purposes, Clan Joyce of Ulster despite being registered with the Clans of Ireland (COI) is not a traditional Irish Gaelic Clan. But rather the organization it is an Ulster-Scots clan and as such it is also closely aligned with Scottish culture and heraldry. To this end, when the clan council voted in Cogit Amor as the official motto of Clan Joyce of Ulster, they not only honored William Joass, but they reclaimed part of their heritage. Today the motto is attached to the clansmen crest badge of CJU. Capable of being worn by anyone who wishes to show their association or allegiance to CJU, Cogit Amor has taken on a whole new meaning. Even the clan coat of arms uses this motto.





It is impossible to know what William Joass (1632-1707) would think of this development. For his modern descendants, however, it is a matter of importance. Not only can they reclaim a part of their ancient history, they can proudly use Cogit Amor to honor their Joyce/Joss ancestors.

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