Tuesday, 22 July 2008

A post card from home.

Issued between 1905 and (possibly) 1914/15 the "Ja Ja" series of heraldic postcards are very collectible and it is thought that over 650 were issued. Mainly illustrating the armorial bearings of Local Government but also including the arms of Scottish clan and family chiefs, there were at least four different designs for the post card front and, for the ardent collector, eight different reverse designs.

I have no information as to who designed the arms but there are some curious displays of heraldry to be found; the arms of the County of Cheshire being no exception.

ja-ja-cheshire

I would love to know the design rational behind this postcard and can only make a guess as the County Council of Cheshire did not receive a grant of arms until 3rd May 1938. Broken down into its component parts, the Ja Ja Chester arms appear to be an attempt at the arms of The earl of Chester, the shield being Azure, three garbs Or. It is surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Garter which itself is surmounted by the coronet of an earl. The whole is supported by what I must presume to be dragons each one of which is holding an ostrich feather, presumably alluding once more to the heir apparent to the English Throne. I use the term supported quite loosely; if they were in fact properly supporting the shield they would honour it by at least facing it instead of which they appear to have fallen out and seem not to be speaking to each other!

The motto is that of the City of Chester and is said to be over 400 years old. It translates as "Let the ancients worship the ancient of days".

The postcard seems to have more in common with the City than the County. 

I reproduce below the arms of Cheshire County Council for comparison:

Cheshire-County-Arms

ARMS: Azure a Sword erect between three Garbs Or.
CREST: Upon a Mural Crown Gules a Lion statant guardant Or between two Ostrich Feathers Argent.
SUPPORTERS: On either side a Lion Or supporting between the forelegs an Ostrich Feather Argent.
BADGE: In front of an oval Wreath of Oak Leaves a Sword erect the blade surmounted of a Garb all Or.

Motto 'JURE ET DIGNITATE GLADII' - By the right and dignity of the Sword.
Arms, crest and supporters granted 3rd May 1938. Badge granted 23rd December 1958.

The Ja Ja company also produced a post card of the City of Chester itself and this more closely resembles the real thing (being the arms of Chester City and County Borough Council).

Chester City post card ja ja

ARMS: Gules three Lions passant guardant in pale Or dimidiating Azure three Garbs Or.
CREST: On a Wreath Or Gules and azure a Sword erect hilt and pommel Or within a Sheath Sable encircled by a Sword Belt of the last both garnished Gold. Mantled on the dexter side Gules on the sinister side Azure both doubled Argent.
SUPPORTERS: On the dexter side a Lion Or gorged with an open Crown Argent and on the sinister side a Wolf Argent gorged with a like Crown Or.
BADGE: On a Roundel per pale Gules and Azure environed by a Wreath of Laurel Or a Wolf's Head Argent langued also Azure issuant from an Ancient Crown of Gold.

Motto 'ANTIQUI COLANT ANTIQUUM DIERUM' - Let the ancients worship the Ancient of Days.
Arms confirmed, crest and supporters granted 3rd September 1580. Badge granted 17th September 1959.

Chester County Borough Council

In 1977 these arms were again changed when the City of Chester was formed by the amalgamation of the former City and County Borough of Chester, the Chester Rural District and the Tarvin Rural District.

ARMS: Gules three Lions passant guardant in pale Or dimidiating Azure three Garbs Or all within a Bordure Or charged with eight Acorns proper.
CREST: On a Wreath Or Gules and azure a Sword erect hilt and pommel Or within a Sheath Sable encircled by a Sword Belt of the last both garnished Gold all between and interlaced with two Branches of Oak fructed proper. Mantled on the dexter side Gules on the sinister side Azure both doubled Argent.
SUPPORTERS: On the dexter side a Lion Or gorged with an open Crown Argent pendent therefrom a Castle of three towers Gules and on the sinister side a Wolf Argent gorged with a like Crown Or pendent therefrom a Castle of three towers Gules.

Motto 'ANTIQUI COLANT ANTIQUUM DIERUM' - Let the ancients worship the Ancient of Days.
Granted 1977.

City of Chester arms

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