Wednesday 29 January 2014

Heraldic images in the library of Combermere Abbey

I have recently been pleased to assist the archivist at Combermere Abbey, Steven Myatt, in his efforts to identify a number of plaster moldings in the library of the abbey which are  presently undergoing conservation.

Steven stated that he had been examining a number of plaster moldings which show heraldic devices and seemed to relate to local families; “there are the crests of the Cholmondeleys, Grosvenors and Stanleys, but I am unable to identify a couple of other. These a horse's head, reined, with a crescent; and an elephant and castle.There is a third, which is a pigeon or a dove, and which I assume relates to the Bishop of Chester.”

Heraldic images in the library of Combermere Abbey

Image taken from

I would lay odds on the "horse's head" being the bear's head crest of either Brereton of Ashley Viz: Crest: A bear's head erased Sable, muzzled Gules, a crescent for cadency or the crest of Brereton of Malpass.  The arms of Brereton of Malpas (as recorded in the Visitations of Cheshire) do not have a crescent for cadency on the crest itself however the arms themselves do feature a crescent for the second son. Fox-Davies tells us that the differencing of crests for cadency is very rare but theoretically these should be marked equally with the shield. It seems to me that when the crest is used in isolation, it probably makes sense to use a cadency mark where one is ordinarily used with the shield.  


Brereton of Ashley Crest [Martin Goldstraw]

Heraldic images in the library of Combermere Abbey

Image taken from

Once it is accepted that there is a Brereton connection, the elephant and castle and the bird can be explained.

Although I have only seen a portion of the shield featuring the bird, (and an image of the full shield might assist here) I can see that it is basically a bird that is black in colour upon a gold shield. The fifth quarter of the arms of Brereton of Brereton are those of Corbet. The arms of Corbet are Or, two ravens Sable (a gold shield upon which are two corbies or ravens black in colour). The basic arms of Corbet are Or, a (single) raven Sable. BUT more importantly, the arms of Corbet bring us the connection with the elephant and castle as the Corbet crest is An elephant Argent, on his back a castle triple towered Or, trappings of the last and Sable. (Visitations of Shropshire 1623)

There is also an image of an impaled shield on the Combermere restoration site (forgive the small image) which confirms the Cotton/Corbet connection.

Heraldic images in the library of Combermere Abbey

Heraldic images in the library of Combermere Abbey

Image taken from

It's nice to be asked to help and it's even nicer when you can!


Tuesday 28 January 2014

New heraldic beastie hits the ground running ... or is it flying!

A new heraldic beastie has appeared on the horizon. Invented by US Armiger Kathy McClurg as her heraldic badge and affectionately known as Gilbarta, the Dravencoon is an heraldic beast with the body of a Dragon (colour must be specified), the wings and hind legs of a Raven (Proper) and the tail of a Raccoon (Proper). The default aspect of a Dravencoon is Rampant.

Personal Badge of Kathy McClurg: A Dravencoon Azure clutched in the dexter foreclaw an arrow point to chief Or.

The Dravencoon

[Image emblazoned by Ljubodrag Grujic]

Thursday 23 January 2014

Artist says farewell to heraldry

I am shocked to learn that Andrew Stewart Jamieson has decided to lay down his heraldic paint brush and will no longer be taking any more commercial commissions to paint armorial bearings. The information has come straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak) as Andrew has recently made the announcement on his “Queen’s Scribe and Illuminator” Facebook page.

There is no doubt that Andrew is an excellent artist and I’m sure that his work, which is always a joy to see, will be greatly missed however, of late, he appears to have unfortunately been embroiled in a great deal of controversy and seems to have been in disagreement with quite a few people over what can and can’t be regarded as “heraldic art”. It also appears that many have also felt that Andrew’s use of the title “Queen’s Scribe and Illuminator” has been unwarrantably self assumed* when it appears that no Royal Warrant is actually held. It is to be hoped that it was not these continued unfortunate conflicts which caused Andrew to withdraw from heraldic work. No one likes to see petty squabbles taking place in their chosen hobby.

Jamieson Withdrawal

Those who are now in need of a good and reputable heraldic artist to replace the void left by Andrew might like to consider Sally Mangum.

*Sally Mangum has a Royal Warrant and is therefore fully entitled to say that she is Calligrapher to Her Majesty the Queen.

Quote "Calligrapher Sally Mangum has a way with words—she makes them beautiful, and surrounds the letter forms with richly colored designs. And she does this for some of the most prestigious customers in the world, including the British Lord Chamberlain’s office.

As holder of a “royal warrant” for calligraphy, Sally displays the royal coat of arms on her business cards and letterhead. But she doesn’t advertise, as referrals bring her business."

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Tayleur (Taylor) Arms

Following on from yesterday’s discussion over strange and incorrect pub signs, I spoke to Lawrence, the landlord of the Tayleur Arms at Longdon on Tern and he very kindly let me have a copy of an old photo of the pub showing the previous, correct, sign. He is reluctant to change the incorrect sign because of the newer and arguably more famous connection with the clipper (and of course the cost of having a new sign painted would be prohibitive) but has stated that I have sewn the armorial seed in his head and he will give consideration to commissioning an armorial banner to fly on a flag pole. I’ve let him have a suitable design for the banner (to avoid any further heraldic fau-pas) and provided details of the entries in Burke’s and the Visitations.

The old sign Tayleur Arms

Tuesday 21 January 2014

19C Armorial Bookplate of Rev. Henry Leigh Bennett

19C Armorial Bookplate of Rev. Henry Leigh Bennett

19C Armorial Bookplate of Rev. Henry Leigh Bennett

Not in the Franks Collection.

Dimensions of paper: 112x77mm.   

Condition:  Good. Pencilled prices in top margin.

The Bookplate of Philip Bliss

The bookplate of Philip Bliss is not particularly in good condition but I am nevertheless pleased to have it because of the man and, if I’m honest, it has a sort of Cheshire look about it too. Franks 2840.

 The Bookplate of Philip Bliss

Arms: Argent, on a bend cottissed Azure three garbs Or:
Crest, A garb Or.
A brief biography can be found here:

 Here is a second scan of the same bookplate (this time in greyscale).

The Bookplate of Philip Bliss

A brief biography can be found here:


A portrait of Philip Bliss, Registrar of the University of Oxford from 1824 to 1853 and Principal of St Mary Hall from 1848 to 1857. The original portrait is at Oriel College, Oxford.
Date  Painting undated, but from before Bliss's death in 1857
Source Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Artist: John Bridges (fl. 1818 – 1854)

Monday 20 January 2014

The Tayleur (Taylor) Arms - or not!

Another one for my armorial lost opportunities section however, unlike The Granville Arms, this one at least has some tenuous connection between the name and the painting depicted on the pub sign. The Tayleur Arms at Longdon on Tern is actually a pub well worth visiting with a good restaurant* but it is stretching the point a bit (well, armorially at least) to depict a clipper instead of the armorial bearings of Tayleur, it is after all called The Tayleur Arms and not The Tayleur Clipper!

Tayleur Arms

The arms of Taylor of Longdon upon Tern (yes, it is spelt Taylor and not Tayleur) are recorded in the Visitations of Shropshire 1623 as Ermine, on a chief Sable three escallops Argent. Burke’s General Armory record the arms of Tayleur (Buntingdale, co. Salop; settled at a very early period at Roddington, was High Sheriff co.Salop. 1691) Ermine, on a chief sable three escallopes Argent with a crest of Out of a ducal coronet Or, a dexter arm in armour holding in the hand a sword all Proper.

Tayleur Arms actual

A history of the Clipper connection can be found on their web site:
*Many years ago, under a previous ownership, the pub used to have a grandfather clock, the face of which stated W. W. Goldstraw, Leek, standing in the lounge. I always meant to take a photograph of it but never got around to it. I wonder where it ended up.

The Granville Arms - a wasted opportunity.

Quite near to where I live there used to be a public house called The Granville Arms. I believe that it has now been converted to part hot food takeaway and part residential use but when it was in its dying throws it displayed a pub sign which heraldically was one of those really frustrating missed opportunities. Whoever had the bright idea of depicting the arms as a coppice of trees I’ll never know? Sadly this isn’t the only armorial sign that has lost its heraldic significance through ignorance.

Granville Arms Hadley Telford

This extract from the 1922 edition of Debrett's shows gives a flavour of what the image should have been.

The Granville Arms

Friday 17 January 2014

Dr Joseph Morrow has been appointed as the new Lord Lyon King of Arms

Arms of Dr. Joseph Morrow - artist Romilly Squire

The armorial Bearings of Dr. Joseph Morrow, the new Lord Lyon, by artist Romilly Squire

Friday, January 17, 2014 14:03

Advocate and student of heraldry takes up ancient position.

Dr Joseph Morrow has been appointed as the new Lord Lyon King of Arms.

The Lord Lyon office dates from the 14th-Century. Duties include the granting of armorial bearings and judicial rulings on who has the right to bear an existing coat of arms.

Dr Morrow succeeds David Sellar MVO, FSAScot, FRHistS who has held the office of Lord Lyon since 2008.

An advocate, with degrees in Theology and Law, Dr Morrow has been a student of heraldry for more than 30 years.

The appointment was made by the Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister, Alex Salmond.

At present, Dr Morrow is the President of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, and President of the Additional Support Needs Tribunals and a First-Tier Tribunal Judge dealing with asylum and immigration issues.

He has held a number of professional positions outwith the legal field including Convener of the Development Department of Dundee City Council, Board Member of Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Board Member of the Angus and Dundee Tourist Board, Chair of the Dundee Waterfront Development Board, Chair of the Trustees of the Tayside Superannuation Fund and Vice Chair of the Court of the University of Abertay.

In 2009 he was appointed as a Vice Lord Lieutenant for the City of Dundee and in that capacity has regularly received members of the Royal Family to the City. He is an Incumbent of the Chapel of Glamis Castle.

Dr Morrow has a special interest in ecclesiastical history and 35 years’ experience of the practical application of ceremonial within a variety of settings including State, Civil, Military and Ecclesiastical areas of Scottish life.

The part-time appointment, made under section 3 of the Lyon King of Arms (Scotland) Act 1867, is based at Edinburgh’s New Register House. It was made following advertisement, interview of a short-list of candidates by a selection board followed by recommendation to the First Minister.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

John Phillips Esq. Edstone

John Phillips Esqr. Edstone

John Phillips Esq. Edstone

Early 19th century armorial bookplate. Not in Franks.

Arms with Vernon in pretence and impaling Weir or Wear.

One of his wives was named Mary. He d.1836.  [More information, please, if you know it.]

Dimensions of paper: 98x68mm.

Condition: Good.

The Reverend Sir George Lee, Baronet. Hartwell.

The Reverend Sir George Lee, Baronet. Hartwell.

The Reverend Sir George Lee, Baronet. Hartwell.

19th century armorial bookplate. F.17893 (or 4).

Sir George Lee, 6th and last Bart (1767–1827). On the death of his brother in 1801, the Rev. George Lee succeeded to the family title, and endeavoured to make amends for the prodigalities of his late brother. He was M.A., of St. John's College, Oxford, 1791, and studied medicine at London and Edinburgh, but took orders in 1792 and was inducted as Rector of Hartwell and Vicar of Stone 1793, retaining their living until 1803 when he became vicar of South Repps, Suffolk. He returned to Bucks, however, in the following year, when he became Rector of Grendon Underwood (until 1808) and of Water Stratford (until 1815): he was presented to the Rectory of Beachampton in 1815, by the Marquess of Buckingham, remaining there until his death in 1827. Being unmarried, the baronetcy - held by the family for over 150 years - became extinct, and the estate devolved by will on his nephew Dr. John (Fiott) Lee.

Dimensions of paper: 76x60mm.

Condition: Good.

Duncan Bookplate

Duncan Bookplate

This one has been forwarded on to my good friend John Duncan of Sketraw

19th century Scottish eared shield armorial bookplate of Duncan. Not in Franks.

Ownership not established.
Dimensions of paper: 88x63mm.

Condition: Average, some glue & other markings.

Garnons Library - Cotterell impaling Gordon-Lennnox

Garnons Library - Cotterell impaling Gordon-Lennnox

Garnons Library.

Seal Armorial Bookplate with arms of Cotterell impaling Gordon-Lennnox. Not in Franks.

Given the impalement but absence of hand of Ulster, this bookplate presumably dates between marriage in 1896 and succession as 4th Bart in 1900.

Sir John Richard Geers Cotterell, 4th Bart. was born on 13 July 1866,  the son of Sir Geers Henry Cotterell, 3rd Bart. of Garnons, Herefordshire (d.1900) and Hon. Katherine Margaret Airey. He m.1896 Lady Evelyn Amy dau of Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 7th Duke of Richmond and Amy Mary Ricardo. He died on 13 November 1937 at age 71.  Captain in the 1st Life Guards, High Sheriff of Herefordshire, and Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire in 1904.

Dimensions of paper: 80mm diameter.

Condition: Good.

Charles James Blomfield D.D. (Bishop of Chester)

Charles James Blomfield D.D.

Charles James Blomfield D.D.

19th century armorial bookplate with arms the See of London impaling Blomfield. F.2858.

For a full biography, see the Oxford DNB.

1786-1857. Bishop of Chester 1824; translated to London 1828. Married (1) 1810  Anna Maria (b. 784/5, d.1818), dau of W. Heath of Hemblington, Norfolk. The couple had six children, of whom only one survived infancy; (2) Dorothy (1795–1870), widow of the barrister Thomas Kent and dau of a brewer, Charles William Cox, and his wife, Mary, née Munnings. The eleven offspring of this marriage proved healthier than those of Blomfield's first, only one dying in infancy.

Dimensions of paper: 86x76mm.

Condition: Various damages, and corners cropped.

Colquhoun impaling Alexander quartering McDonald

Colquhoun impaling Alexander quartering McDonald

Bookplate J.C.   M.B.C.

19th century Armorial Bookplate with arms of Colquhoun impaling Alexander quartering McDonald. Not in Franks.

Owners not yet identified.

Dimensions of paper: 88x60mm.

Condition: Good.

Bookplate Sir Henry Alllen Johnson Bart. K.W.

Sir Henry Alllen Johnson Bart. K.W.

Sir Henry Alllen Johnson Bart. K.W.

19th century armorial bookplate, with shields accollé of Johnson and Johnson impaling Philipse, and soldiers as supporters. F.16535.

1785-1860. A student of Christ Church, Oxford, he was tutor at Bath to the prince of Orange, and, having received a commission in the 81st regiment, accompanied him as aide-de-camp to the Peninsula, where he served under Wellington. He m.1818 Charlotte Elizabeth (d. 21 Feb 1883) dau of Frederick Philipse of Philipseburg, New York.

Dimensions of paper: 87x76mm.

Condition: Very Good.

Bookplate - Legh of Norbury Booths Hall 1826.

Legh of Norbury Booths Hall 1826.

Bookplate of Legh of Norbury Booths Hall 1826. Signed: Suffield sc. 233 Strand

19th century armorial bookplate with 10 quarterings. F.17987.

The owner of this bookplate must have been Peter Legh, born 10 June 1794, died unmarried 29 August 1857. His parents were Peter Legh of Booths, Esq., born 4 March 1727/8 and died 12 August 1804, and Anne, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Peter Wade of Middlewich, Gent., born 22 June 1724, married 20 October 1744 at Knutsford. She died 13 October 1794 at Knutsford. Heir to his uncle, Peter Legh in 1857, John Pennington Legh, Esq., of Booths and of Ryde in the Isle of Wight, was born 20 November 1827 and died 12 August 1888.

Norbury Booths Hall, Knutsford, Cheshire, was the seat of the Leghs of Booths until sold in 1917. Peter Legh, who died in 1804, built it in 1745 to replace an older timber-framed quadrangular house. It was enlarged by his grandson, Peter, in 1845 to the design of E. Habershon. The Legh family had several branches in Cheshire such as those of Lyme Park, Adlington, West Hall and East Hall at High Legh. A brief family tree from the 13th century is available at

Dimensions of paper: 117x82mm.

Condition: Below average, scuffed and a large area thinned on verso.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Bookplate of Reginald Cholmondeley, Condover Hall [Shropshire]

I have just acquired a Cholmondeley bookplate for my small but growing collection. This one has a dual interest for me in that it has the connection with the Cheshire family but is also of Shropshire interest. Condover Hall is now an educational activity centre for school children.

19th century Seal Armorial Bookplate of Reginald Cholmondeley, Condover Hall [Shropshire]. F.5807.

Cholmondeley of Condover Bookplate

Reginald Cholmondeley of Condover Hall, Shropshire, (1826-1896) son of Rev. Charles Cowper Cholmondeley m.1867 Hon. Alice Mary Egerton (1836-1868) dau of William Tatton Egerton, 1st Baron Egerton (1806-1883) who m.1830, Lady Charlotte Elizabeth (d.1878) dau of John Loftus, 2nd Marquess of Ely, KP PC. Reginald Cholmondeley was host to the American writer Mark Twain (1835-1910) when he visited in 1873 and 1879. The house and estate was sold out of the family in 1897. From 1926 Condover Hall had various institutional uses and is now a residential activity centre. Reginald’s paintings and library were sold soon after his death.
Dimensions of paper: 83x69mm. 
Condition:  Average.

Friday 3 January 2014

A Corporate Scottish Grant

It’s been a long time coming but well worth the wait.

patent of arms the armorial register limited

Arms: Azure, within an orle of chains Or linking eight escutcheons Argent an open book Proper fore-edges and binding Or.

Crest: A lion salient guardant Or the forelegs holding down a terrestrial globe Proper.

Motto: Fulfilment by Achievement.

Grant: Court of the Lord Lyon, 69th folio of the 90th Volume of the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland.

Artist: David Allan

The livery colours of the arms as granted by the Lord Lyon are Azure and Or (simply because that is how they are first mentioned in the blazon) however the chosen dominant colours of the shield as displayed are actually Azure and Argent and these were chosen by the directors of The Armorial Register Limited to represent the home of the Company, Scotland. Each small escutcheon represents an entry in the Register and they are all linked together (by the chain) to form the Register itself which is published in book form (as well as on-line) as each volume is filled.
The lion of the crest is, arguably, the most recognisable of all the heraldic beasts and features strongly in Scottish heraldry; here he is attempting to stretch his grasp around the world and the globe (or the global reach of the lion) signifies the International status of The Register.
The motto, Fulfilment by Achievement, is worthy in its own right as a corporate motto but it also alludes to the fact that each volume of the register is added to achievement by achievement on-line until it is ready (fulfilled) for publication as a book.

College of Arms Newsletter April 2024

 The latest College of Arms Newsletter for April 2024 is now online .

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