Sunday, 24 January 2021

A dream which turned into a nightmare.

A dream which turned into a nightmare. Since this article was published, the owner of the castle placed himself into bankruptcy and late last year the castle was offered for sale, by the joint receivers, for offers over £2M with sealed bids. Whether or not it was sold I have no idea but it begs the question why on earth would anyone want to buy it with so many prohibition notices slapped on it!

This article can be found in the Staffordshire Evening Sentinel (full credit to them for all images etc.]here:

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Cecil R. J. Humphery-Smith OBE

 Cecil R. J. Humphery-Smith OBE

The Institute of Heraldic & Genealogical Studies, which he founded, has today announced the death of Cecil Humphery-Smith OBE :

Cecil R.J. Humphery-Smith had a wide and varied experience of studying British ancestry in the UK, and throughout Europe and overseas over more than 60 years, Cecil R.J.Humphery-Smith instructed classes for London University for some forty-five years, producing certificate, advanced and diploma courses. In 1957 he introduced the concept of Family History and the British Vital Records Index.

He had also taught courses for the Oxford University Department for Extra-Mural Studies and subsequently for the University of Kent School of Continuing Education. He also lectured and broadcast on radio and TV widely abroad in North America and in Europe.

As Principal of the Institute in Canterbury he established a successful correspondence course and graded assessment examination structure which enjoy world wide recognition and acclaim. These examinations lead to accredited diploma and licentiate awards.

He was involved with the following organizations:

  • Founded The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, taking it to Northgate, Canterbury in 1961
  • Councillor and Academician of l'Academie Internationale d'Héraldique
  • Vice-President of the Heraldry Society
  • Fellow of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada
  • Secretary-General of the XIIIth International Congress of Genealogy and Heraldry (London 1976)
  • Secretary-General of the VIIIth Colloquium International d'Héraldique (Canterbury 1993)
  • Member of the Bureau Permanent des Congres Internationaux des Sciences Généalogique et Héraldique since 1974 (Secretary-General 1994-97)

Following post-doctoral research on antibiotics as a biochemist he spent some twenty years in the field of food quality control whilst also studying archives and lecturing on subjects auxiliary to history for London and other Universities (1951-1996). With heraldry as a hobby since childhood, he established the first School for Family History Studies in 1957 and in 1961 founded the Institute. He was appointed a Vice-President of The Cambridge University Heraldry Society in 1954 and is closely associated with several other national and international organisations in the field. Avid Bergman laureate and d'Altenstein Prize for heraldic studies (1961). Prix Dalenda for medieval studies (1995) and Gustav von Numers prize for portfolio of heraldic art and design (1996). Freedom of the City of London since 1967, he was liveried of the Broiderers Company and Scriveners Company (Court member and honorary historian). Knight of Obedience, Order of St John, SMOM. Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and several other societies in the fields of study internationally. A frequent broadcaster on radio and previously on television, he was the author of many books, standard reference sources and numerous learned articles.

Mr Humphery-Smith was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Birthday Honours List, 2004.

[Obituary courtesy of the International Association of Amateur Heralds]

Monday, 21 December 2020

Designing arms: Oh dear, where to begin!

 I saw this post today on one of Facebook's many heraldry forums but before I had a chance to respond the original poster had disabled comments. It's a pity that the post wasn't removed altogether because, without comments, it could be an encouragement to others to follow an example of complete bad practice.  

I have removed the details of the artist but I should make it clear that although I have no criticism of the artistic/digital skills displayed in the image, I do feel that it ought to be the duty of a artist, when asked to undertake heraldic work such as this, to question what he is being asked to produce and, where possible, try to protect his client from criticism by pointing out the difficulties inherent in the commission; here we clearly have an example of an artist who was pleased with the quality of this work and has posted it on Facebook, in order to advertise his skills, but has encountered nothing but criticism.    

Where to begin?? Here we have an example of the claim that the arms have been designed by the person commissioning the work when all, it seems to me, that has been done is that the would be armiger has pinched the arms of Redvers, Earls of Devon (and a few more with the same arms) for the first and fourth quarter (Or, a lion rampant Azure) and those of the first quarter of the arms of Baron Brabourne (Azure, three cross-crosslets fitchée between two bendlets or (Knatchbull)) for the second and third quarters. 

I have no idea who the would be new armiger is but I am pretty sure that he isn't entitled to the helm of a British knight or baronet. Perhaps he has quartered these arms because he believes he is entitled to them because, somewhere in his history/genealogy, there appears the surnames of Redvers and Knatchbull without fully understanding that arms don't belong to surnames. Either way, these arms are supposed to be a newly devised and assumed creation so quarterings for newly devised arms would not be appropriate let alone the usurpation of existing arms.

I came to the thread on Facebook after comments had been turned off and if there were any existing comments, it appears that they have been deleted. My suggestion would be to delete the whole thing as presently it exists as an embarrassment to both artist and client.  


Tuesday, 27 October 2020

 Double Tressure: The very first Newsletters of The Heraldry Society of Scotland

These are the original newsletters of The Heraldry Society of Scotland following its formation on 12th February 1977.
**They are well thumbed and therefore are quite "grubby" and frayed at the edges - in other words, they are showing their age but are nevertheless original records of the beginnings of the Society. Some pages are missing.**
No. 1 August 1977 contains details of the formation of the Society, its officers and a complete list of the names and addresses of the founding members (no Data Protection Act then!). 16 pages
No. 2 March 1978 24 pages
No. 2 August 1978 28 pages (regrettably pages 2,3, 24,25 are missing)
No. 4 March 1979 14 pages.
On the inside back cover is the bookplate of William Ralph McClaymont Adams, one of the elected office bearers.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Heraldry and the Heralds - Hardcover – 1 Feb. 1982 by Rodney Dennys

 My latest Ebay listing.

All of my listings can be found here: A Heraldry Addict's Ebay Listings

Heraldry and the Heralds - Hardcover – 1 Feb. 1982 by Rodney Dennys. Condition is "Very Good". 

Rodney Dennys discusses in greater detail than hitherto the many and varied duties and activities of English heralds and their place in the modern world.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Ritratti di Cardinali Con Stemma Gentilizio

 Ritratti di Cardinali Con Stemma Gentilizio (308 Portraits of Cardinals with their arms). 

308 portraits of Cardinals with their coats of arms (from Clemente X to Benedetto XIV) edited by the Alma Roma 1997.

Paperback A4 size book with laminate cover. All prints in black and white (facsimiles of old portraits gathered together).

Reasonable well used condition. A good heraldry reference book for the Catholic Cardinals.


A dream which turned into a nightmare.

A dream which turned into a nightmare. Since this article was published, the owner of the castle placed himself into bankruptcy and late las...

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