Friday 29 February 2008

Living in the future.

Being an amateur armorist I have often been accused of living in the past, an accusation I have always strenuously denied.

I now have positive proof that far from living in the past, I do in fact live in the future.

For decades now I have been the contented owner of a Casio W-59 watch described by retailers as "a tried and true style that always remains in fashion. With its daily alarm, hourly time signal and auto calendar, you’ll never need to worry about missing an appointment again. Black Casual Classic Watch with a Resin Band." I think I purchased it many years ago from a garage forecourt shop on the way home from a business meeting; it may even have come free with x number of gallons (or was it litres?) of petrol. Anyway, it was either free or extremely cheap and it has served me well ever since only needing the strap replacing every once in a while.

I've never had any trouble with it but I did struggle every six months when the "clocks changed" to move from Greenwich Mean Time to British Summer Time and then back again. The problem is that I could never quite remember how to alter the actual time and even when I managed to figure it out, it was another six months until I had to do it again by which time I had forgotten what to do ... again.

Today is the 29th February.

A Leap Year.

It only happens every four years.

My watch thinks it's March the first!

Monday 18 February 2008

Scottish Pipe Banners - Lecture

What a beautiful spring day Saturday was; perfect for an indulgent day of heraldry for any armorist.

I set off quite early in my journey to Macclesfield, destination The Cheshire Heraldry Society lecture to be given by Major Ian L Riley TD FSA Scot, because I wanted to photograph a pub sign at Scholars Green and also thought I might, if I had the time, take a couple of snaps of the coat of arms magnificently displayed outside Macclesfield Town Hall. 

Everytime I make the Journey from Shropshire to Macclesfield I pass the rather splendid looking pub called Bleeding Wolf and it is its pub sign which first caught my eye. The sign itself is not in any way heraldic and yet, perhaps unbeknown to its patrons, the very name of the pub, and hence its sign, owes its origins entirely to heraldry.

 It is recorded that the lands of Lawton were given to Hugh de Mara, (sometimes known as Hugh Lupus or Hugh the Wolf) by his brother-in-law, William the Conqueror in gratitude for his support in the invasion of England in 1066 and it was here that he built the Norman Church which replaced an existing Saxon one; hence the name of the settlement Church Lawton. There is a legend that Adam de Lauton (temp King John and King Henry III) rescued the Earl of Chester from an attack by a wounded wolf and by way of thanks was granted a thousand acres of land stretching all the way from the town of Congleton to Sandbach. This legend is clearly commemorated in the armorial bearings of the Lawton family. (Scholars Green borders Church Lawton and is within the bounds of the Lawton estates).

Visitations of Cheshire 1580

Lawton of Lawton
Arms: Argent, on a fess between three cross-crosslets fitche Sable, a cinquefoil of the first, pierced of the second.
Crest: A demi-wolf salient regardent Argent, vulned in the back Gules, and licking the wound.
[These arms and crest were granted by Robert Cook, Clarencieulx by l'res patentes Dated 14 R. Elizab., 1572]    

I have commented before that these arms differ between Visitations and in the 1613 visitation they are recorded as:

Lawton of LawtonArms: Argent, on a fess between three cross-crosslets fitche Sable, a rose Argent

Crest: A demi-wolf regardent Argent, vulned in the breast Gules.  

[It should be noted that the Cheshire arms of Hanky of Churton also feature a wounded wolf] 

Having taken a photograph of the Bleeding Wolf, I made my way to Macclesfield and onwards to the Townley Street Schoolrooms via Macclesfield Town Hall and a stop off for a late lunch in the grounds of St. Michael & All Angels' Church, which is in itself of interest to armorists.

Our Chairman being unavoidably detained (traffic diversions and delays made him a tad late), the meeting was Chaired by John Titterton who introduced our guest speaker, Major Riley, with the enthusiasm of a fellow scientist. Major Riley, who is The Honorary Secretary to The Regimental Museum of the Liverpool Scottish, proceeded to give us an entertaining and informative illustrated talk on what is undoubtedly one of his favourite subjects; Heraldic Pipe Banners. Not only were we treated to a comprehensive and well illustrated PowerPoint presentation, Major Riley had been kind enough to raid the Museum exhibits for our benefit and bring along a number of actual pipe banners. When he introduced himself, Major Riley very modestly apologised for his lack of expertise in heraldry stating that he was more comfortable with military matters. He need have made no such apology and throughout the lecture he amply demonstrated that he had a thorough awareness of the art of blazon and was more than acquainted with Lyon Court guidelines on the various forms of flying heraldry (which he maintained in the case of military pipe banners were observed more in the breach!).

I bit my tongue and remained silent when, during his explanation of who might be entitled to how many pipers, he referred to Lyon Court guidance which makes mention of "Peers and Feudal Barons" and he stated that he "had no idea what or who on earth that curious being - a feudal baron was!" I'll leave him to his blissful ignorance on that one.

His talk was so informative and interesting that the time flew by and as he drew to a close he mentioned that he did have more to show us if we had the time and the inclination. Our host for the day, John Titterton, informed him that as those who were asleep would not notice and those who were awake wished to hear more, he saw no reason why the speaker should not continue. I can assure you that there was no one in the room who was not fully awake and wanting more. I would be very surprised if Major Riley did not now receive invitations to give his talk much further afield ..... North Britain springs to mind as being an ideal venue for such a topic.

Major Riley (left) talking to Society Members Mike Thompson and John Titterton (unfortunately taken from behind - I was going to take a photo from the front but found that I had used all the memory card and it was too much of an agonising decision to delete one to make room!)

Friday 15 February 2008

Cheshire Heraldry Society Meeting

Just a wee reminder that tomorrow, Saturday 16th February, the Cheshire Heraldry Society will meet once more in Macclesfield's Townley Street Schoolroom at 2:00 pm. The lecture of the day is courtesy of The Heraldry Society and will be Major Ian Riley, TD, FSA Scot. who will talk about Heraldic Pipe Banners.

Details of times and venue can be found on the Society page of this web site:

See you there.

Quarterly of forty eight.

I have recently been working on two private commissions so have not been able to spend much time on the Visitations of 1663 however I have been slowly going through the identification of the forty eight quarters of the armorial bearings of Booth which are displayed as a monument to Langham and Henry Booth. They can be seen in the Dunham (or Booth) Chapel at Bowdon Parish Church and the image below was kindly supplied by R. Adamson Esq.

If you have an idle moment and feel you can fill in some of the missing gaps (see link below), just drop me an email.

Doth the Lyon roar?

Most will know that as well as a specific interest in Cheshire heraldry I also have a soft spot for the heraldry of the North Britons - I spotted the following BBC news article relating to a possible Lyon Court action and bring it to your attention:

It seems that the armorial bearings are not even of his own invention and he has previously been accused of "lifting" them from his Mar a Lago estate in Palm Beach. He has been challenged over this by both the previous owner of the estate and the Palm Beach city council. I hope that Lyon Court are aware of this fact and does not simply allow him a grant of these arms unquestioned.

Quote: Trump golf heraldry in the rough

The Trump coat of arms is now being investigated
American tycoon Donald Trump is being investigated over the use of a coat of arms to promote his planned £1bn Scottish golf resort.
An inquiry was launched by the official heraldic authority for Scotland in case he has breached ancient laws.

The Court of the Lord Lyon invoked a law dating from 1672 which means Mr Trump must register a coat of arms.

A spokeswoman for Mr Trump said they were working with the court to register the coat of arms.

The businessman has been using the banner on promotional material and official clothing while mounting his bid to create the resort at the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire.

Lyon clerk Elizabeth Roads said the use of the Trump International Golf Link Scotland design, which bears the Trump family name below a spear-wielding fist and a shield, was being investigated.

Robert the Bruce

She said: "I understand that the procurator fiscal to the Lyon Court is at present looking into the use of what may be heraldic designs by this organisation.

"I am afraid, therefore, I cannot say what his decision will be but at present no formal action has been taken concerning this design."

The court charges about £900 to register a shield and more than £1,300 for the addition of a crest.
Mr Trump flew into Aberdeen to unveil the golf project

Legal action can be taken against anyone who fails to follow the orders of the court.

The earliest official record is of the appointment of a Lyon by King Robert the Bruce in 1318.

The bid to build the golf resort has been controversial.

The Trump Organisation recently described allegations of sleaze surrounding the role of ministers in its project as grossly inappropriate.

Donald Trump's spokesman George Sorial told a Holyrood inquiry that the organisation was very offended by the claims of special treatment.

The committee inquiry was launched after the Scottish Government "called in" the Trump planning application to build the £1bn golf resort, featuring two courses, a hotel and housing, on the Menie Estate.

The application had been narrowly rejected by Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure services committee in November. End Quote.

The "offending" arms:

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