Wednesday 30 July 2008

And for my father?

I had the pleasure of visiting Edinburgh over the weekend in order to attend a Committee meeting of the HSS; it is usual that on the Friday evening a small number of us meet up for a "Chinese" or an "Indian" and immerse ourselves in the stuff of heraldry. Whilst never claiming to know it all, it is actually quite rare that I come across something which I consider to be a well kept secret; on Friday however, I believe that our conversation uncovered a little known gem.

One of my companions, who has recently become armigerous, informed us that he had petitioned for a grant of arms in his own name with the added clause that the arms should descend, with the usual due differences, to all the descendants of his father. This is not of course unusual except that his father is still alive. My friend the new armiger is the oldest son so, had the arms been actually granted to his father, he would, for the present, use those arms differenced by a label of three points. As it is, he is the actual armiger and uses the arms undifferenced but his younger brother, because of the destination clause, is entitled to matriculate arms differenced with a bordure; something he would not have been able to do if the grant did not have the "father" clause in it.
Nothing unusual here .... but the question was asked - is the father himself armigerous and if so, in light of the fact that he is not actually the recipient of the grant (his son bearing the undifferenced arms) , what arms can he bear, if any?

Before the question was answered, I added to the problem by stating that my English arms have been matriculated in the Lyon Register and although my own grant has no "father" clause, my own father is still alive; I asked what would Lyon Court do if my father were to petition for a grant of arms in his own right?

We all felt that there ought to be some sort of temporary brisure to indicate a father of an armiger and Romilly Squire, past Chairman of the HSS, let us debate the topic for some time before enquiring why we hadn't simply asked him?

It would seem that Innes of Learney invented a solution to the problem quite some time ago when in a grant of arms he stated that the father of the petitioner could, during his lifetime, bear arms courtesy of his son differenced by a label enarched of one point. Later in the evening we retired to Romilly's abode and he showed us a black and white photo copy of the very entry in Lyon Register and he has promised to send me a copy in the post.

So, it would seem that my father is entitled to courtesy arms bearing a label enarched of one point ... perhaps Innes of Learney had in mind something akin to a toothless grin when he came up with the solution!

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