Friday, 30 July 2010

Cheshire Heraldry Society - Heraldry Outing.

Yesterday saw a very good turn out for The Cheshire Heraldry Society's summer outing. Thanks to the organising ability of Society Chairman, Harold Storey, members and guests were saturated with the colour and splendour of the heraldry of the Crewe family.

Crewe Arms

We met just before mid-day at St.Bertoline's Church at Barthomley; this is the church of the Crewe family and is the final resting place of the Garter banner and Crest of the 1st Marquess of Crewe who died in 1945 when the title became extinct.

Garter banner and crest of the 1st Marquess of Crewe

After lunch we made our way to Crewe Hall where, I think it is safe to say, we were overawed by the sheer quality and quantity of heraldry dedicated to the Crewe and allied families. Crewe Hall is lavishly decorated with heraldry which sets out the rich and personal history of those who were once privileged to call it their home. I took over 170 photographs in the Hall alone and I know that I didn't capture all of the shields, achievements, crests and heraldic beasts which adorn this heraldryadict's dream home.

Crewe Hall

Lord Crewe and five generations of his family enjoyed this house from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Charles Dicken's grandmother and grandfather were housekeeper and butler and records show that Royal visitors were often entertained in the house which from 1936 to 1998 was owned by the Duchy of Lancaster. During the second world war the house was home to many soldiers from the allied nations who must have enjoyed the benefit of the extensive grounds for their perambulations. Since 1998 Crewe Hall has been a hotel and the owners have retained and maintained all the splendour of the house including, thankfully, all of its heraldry. Well done Harold for negotiating our complete freedom to roam as we wished and photograph what we liked and thanks to the management and guests for putting up with us.

Crewe-hall-bishops

At about 3.30 in the afternoon I left for home but most of the group went on to enjoy the delights of Nantwich Church described by Raymond Richards as "One of the great architectural treasures of Cheshire". Although I didn't manage to stay with the truly dedicated who went on to Nantwich, I can say that in regard to the Crewe heraldry, my cup ranneth over.

Crewe Hall Staircase

Monday, 19 July 2010

Name and Arms 1825 - Under the hammer.

Recently sold on Ebay (12th July 2010) for a final bid of £155.87 and postage and packing of £8.00 Letters Patent to Richard Orford granting permission to use the name and arms of Robert Holt. Described by the vendor as being "an original scroll from the Royal College of Arms in London. The scroll is dated 1825. It gives permission for Richard Orford to use the surname and bear the arms of his wifes (sic) late father Robert Holt. Richard Orford was from Manchester. It is beautifully hand coloured in very good clean condition with only light wear from age. There are a few small surface bends and a small tear where one of the ribbons had been attached. It comes in its original box. The box is tatty but it could be easily restored."

Orford Holt letters patent

Orford Holt letters patent

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Arms and Parish Councils - Burghwallis (Yorkshire)

I'm always pleased when society publications drop through the letterbox and last week's arrival of The Heraldry Society's Coat of Arms and Heraldry Gazette gave me an excuse to stop work, have a cuppa and indulge my addiction. One particular small piece has occupied my thoughts over the last day or so.

The article in question is the report that in 2008 three new road signs were erected by the Parish Council on each of the approach roads to this old South Yorkshire Village.

Burghwallis Village sign.

The report identifies the arms illustrated on the village sign as those of Anne of Burghwallis, long standing local land owners, one of whom still lives in the village.

Why has this small report occupied my thoughts so much on this wonderfully sunny weekend?

I have a particular interest in the activities of Parish Councils and I have more than once set down my thoughts about local authorities who use unauthorised armorial bearings; I would dearly love to see those authorities who feel that the use of armorial bearings is important to them actually putting their money where their mouth is and investing in a grant of arms from the Heralds College. 

These signs show the arms of the Anne family and not the arms of any local authority governing the ancient village of Burghwallis. It may be patently obvious to the residents of the ancient village of Burghwallis that these arms are those of the Anne family but then again, knowing how many people are truly ignorant of heraldry, it may not.  How many residents and visitors will, quite understandably, be under the impression that these are the arms of "the village" or, more properly, of the Parish Council?

In my humble opinion this is a prime case of a local authority, Burghwallis Parish Council, using armorial bearings which it has no right to use; it doesn't even have the excuse of assuming unauthorised arms, it has in fact usurped the arms of the Anne family and is using them to represent, or identify, the village.

It is quite possible that the Parish Council has the tacit consent of at least one surviving member of the Anne family but it is questionable as to whether such consent could be given. The College of Arms states that arms that have been granted to an armiger have been granted to him and his descendants according to the law of arms and that under a ruling of the College those arms may not be used by any other body or person.

If Burghwallis Parish Council wishes to use armorial bearings they jolly well ought to petition for their own.

See The Court of Chivalry - 1954 Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties Ltd [1955] 1 All ER 387.

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