Thursday 31 December 2009

As seen on T.V.

Mrs G. is rather fond of the BBC's property programme Escape to the Country and whilst we were both putting our feet up during the post Christmas wind down I caught sight of an interesting and rather beautiful Cheshire property with a definite Cheshire heraldic interest.

Cottage Buerton

Located in the village of Buerton and featured on the programme in April 2008 the cottage's dining room had the benefit of a fireplace moved from another, much older (but undisclosed), property and installed in its new home in the 1980's.

Buerton Cottage Fireplace

 From left to right (with apologies for the poor quality screen shots):

Buerton cottage armorial fireplace

England dimidiating the Earls of Cheshire

Buerton cottage armorial fireplace


Buerton cottage armorial fireplace

The arms of the City of Chester. The arms Azure, a sword erect Argent hilted Or between three garbs Or. are those known to have been used as the city arms of Chester in 1560 and which can be seen on the bridge at Eastgate Chester. These arms were also used occasionally from 1779 as the Chester Assay Office hallmark.
The arms of the County Council were designed by County Architect F. Anstead Brown, as a commemoration of the Coronation year and the Council's Jubilee. Anstead Brown used the ancient shield of the City of Chester as the base upon which to build his design and, apart from a change in tincture for the sword, the shields are practically the same. Of course the arms of the County Council have the additional supporters, helm and crest etc which the ancient arms do not have.

Most probably from a Leigh house, this is a very fine addition to any home, it just leaves me wondering from whence it came?

Tuesday 15 December 2009

"Die Groot Afrikaanse Familienaamboek"

My friend and fellow Board Member of the IAAH, Ton de Witte, has been kind enough to send me a note following on from the post I made earlier this week about the armorial bearings of Family Associations in South Africa. I post below the image he sent which has been scanned from the book "Die Groot Afrikaanse Familienaamboek" by C. Pama, 1983, Human & Rousseau Uitgewers, ISBN 0 7981 1561 0.

Illustration from “Die Groot Afrikaanse Familienaamboek”

If you click on the image it will open another page with a larger version.

Many thanks Ton.

Sunday 13 December 2009

What is a Clan?

I have a feeling, it’s nothing more than that, that Scotland’s new Lord Lyon King of Arms might be reviewing the “Innes of Learney school” of clan recognition and formation. The relevant page on the web site of the Court of the Lord Lyon states that it (the page) is “under review”. The Clan system is seen by many to be of extreme importance to Scotland’s tourist trade if nothing else as witnessed by the success of the July Great Gathering this year.

I know of at least two chief-less Clan Societies who are a very long way down the road towards petitioning Lyon for recognition of a new Chief; I hope that the draw bridge will not be pulled up before they achieve their aim.

Whatever the Scottish review may bring, it has come to my attention this week that within explanatory literature from the South African Chief Herald’s office there is reference to something called “family association coats of arms”:

Apart from personal coats of arms, the Bureau of Heraldry also design and register family association coats of arms. In such cases the coat of arms consists of a shield only (no helmet, crest and mantling) which is subdivided horizontally into two sections. The lower two thirds of the shield is reserved for elements which is chosen by the members of the family association. The upper one third of the shield remains empty and the shield is registered for the family association as is. Individual members of the association may then use this shield as a starting point and must place elements in the empty upper part of the shield as well as choose elements for the crest in order to create a new unique full coat of arms. Such a person’s coat of arms remains unique although one can clearly see that the person is a member of a specific family association. Prior to approaching the Bureau for such a registration the association must be established. It must be named, its aims must be set out and it must set up a constitution. END QUOTE

This is an interesting, and possibly innovative, development somewhat akin to the similarities in Scottish arms which help to identify names but I can't help wondering where it leaves existing armigers who may have liked to have indicated that they are a part of the "association".

Friday 11 December 2009

The Michael Renton Archive

Engraved heraldic bookplate for Michael L. Eveleigh

Just occasionally I come across something which is far too good to keep to myself. Today whilst indulging in my two favourite pass times, tea drinking and browsing the web looking for any allusive heraldry, I came across the archives of Michael Renton (which I had thought had been lost to posterity).


Michael Renton, designer, engraver and lettering craftsman died in rather tragic circumstances in July 2001. A large and extremely well-documented archive of correspondence, drawings, rubbings and prints was in serious danger of being destroyed as Michael died intestate. Thanks to the efforts of John Nash and his sensitive negotiations with family connections, solicitor and print dealers a larger part of the archive has been left to The Edward Johnston Foundation.
The collection is currently in storage awaiting full cataloguing and proper accessibility. The on-line catalogue of Michael's engravings and drawings (mainly containing lettering) is now complete and appears over the following pages. The enlarged images are actual size where possible. [End Quote]

 To see Michael's work go the the link then click on the blue navigation bar marked "collections" and then click on "Michael Renton Collection and Archive" that will open up the full collection: Enjoy.

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