Thursday 26 March 2015

Calligrapher and Heraldic Artist worthy of a Royal Appointment

Further to my last post, I have been browsing the website of Sally Mangum, who is not simply a Calligrapher but is a Master Heraldic Artist and Illuminator worthy indeed of her Royal Appointment.

Just look at the fine detail of the illumination work so beautifully set out in Gold Leaf shown here:

Full details of Sally's fine and outstanding work can be found here.

I am not at all surprised to hear that word of mouth alone is sufficient to keep Miss Mangum in work, her work is of the finest and highest quality and exceptionally well deserving of a Royal Warrant.   Beautiful.

Thursday 19 March 2015

An artist returns to the fold.

It has been brought to my attention that Andrew Stuart Jamieson, who styles himself "Queen's scribe and illuminator" has decided to return to the world of heraldic art.

Image courtesy of Facebook and used as permitted under the copyright laws of fair reporting.

My reader will recall that I wrote of his departure back in January 2014  and at that time, I felt that it was quite sad that he had thrown in the towel. I have always been very fond of the fine artistic skills he is fortunate to possess and his heraldic artworks have given pleasure to a great many with his distinctive style often copied but seldom bettered. I sincerely hope that he has been able to put behind him those difficulties which appeared to have beset him just over a year ago and that we, in this narrow and rather confined world of heraldry enthusiasts, will begin once more to see his work displayed for all to enjoy.

In regard to the self assumed title of Queen's Scribe and Illuminator, Andrew himself admits that the "title" is not official. In my humble opinion it is boastful, misleading and entirely incorrect for anyone not holding a commission or warrant or in the direct employment of Her Majesty to make the claim that they are the Queen's anything.

It is probably unnecessary to remind you dear reader that the only official holder of a Royal post in the artistic heraldry world, as far as I am aware, is Sally Mangum who 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.”

That said, welcome back Andrew.

Monday 16 March 2015

Oldfield of Bradwall

Oldfield of Bradwall
Arms: Quarterly: 
1 & 4. Or, on a bend Gules three crosses patee fitchee Argent [Oldfield]
2. Argent, on a chevron Sable five bezants [Somerford]
3. Quarterly Argent and Gules a bend Sable [                ]

Crests: 1. A human figure habited Argent supporting with the dexter hand a staff erect Or;
2. Issuant from a ducal coronet Or a demi eagle displayed Argent. 

Council in Flap over town crest fowl up (February 27, 2008)

Way back in February 2007, The Leek Post and Times newspaper published an article titled

Council in Flap over town crest fowl up (February 27, 2008)

[quote] A LEEK man has got himself in a flap over claims that the town's crest features the wrong bird. Poultry expert Harold Critchlow says he has known for years that the armorial bearings of Leek Town Council depict the wrong animal standing on a mound of heather.

Mr Critchlow, who is a top 'panel A' judge of the Poultry Club of Great Britain, says the written crest the bearings were drawn from refers to 'a heraldic moorcock'. However, the bird shown at the top of the Leek crest is a black leghorn, which did not come to Britain until around 1903. The heraldic moorcock, or black grouse, is included as a symbol of the town as the bird lived on heather in the Staffordshire Moorlands.Mr Critchlow, who lives in Ashdale Road, Leek, said he had spent four years investigating the error.The leghorn shown on the crest is of Mediterranean origin and came to Britain via America.Mr Critchlow said: "The worst thing is that we call Leek the Queen of the Moorlands and we've got a Mediterranean bird on our crest.

"It's like drawing a sheep instead of a goat - it's that bad. "I've been studying poultry for years and am on the top judges' panel in the country. There's been a mistake and the people of Leek have never realised."

The 65-year-old has spoken to Leek Town Council and is now calling on members to change the bird. The crest was drawn in 1975 and the black leghorn emblem appears on several objects around Leek, including benches in Derby Street.However, the ex-farmer's claims have met with a mixed response from town councillors.Brian Johnson, who will become Leek's mayor later this year, said: "Harold came to the Leek In Bloom meeting last week and told me all about it."He's an expert in birds and he's got a point. I'll be speaking to town council clerk Julie Taylor about how we go about getting it changed."It won't be as simple as that though. There are proper channels to go through, as the armorial bearings were granted by the Heralds' College."

Leek artist and councillor Keith Harrison said: "I've painted the bird for a long time and took it to be a moorcock. I'd be surprised if it was wrong." Councillor Steve Povey said: "It's a really nice crest, the best in the area, in my opinion. "If it's wrong, it's wrong, but I can't see us altering it."

Mr Critchlow says he is willing to speak to anyone about the issue as he is convinced he is right. "This crest represents Leek - it has to be right," he said. "The written transcript clearly states there is a heraldic moorcock holding a small-weave shuttle, which obviously represents the town's industry.

"I'm not nit-picking, I just thought the people of should know." [end quote]

As an ex Leekensian and a Heraldry Addict, I felt that I ought to put Mr. Critchlow right. I have absolutely no doubt that, as a top flight poultry judge, Mr. Critchlow is well able to identify the difference between a Moorcock and a Black Leghorn however, in criticising the crest beast blazoned as a heraldic moorcock, he displays an unfortunate lack of understanding of heraldry. Heraldic beasts are quite different to their zoological cousins. Had Mr. Critchlow taken the trouble to open any one of a number of heraldic dictionaries he would have found the following description:

The Moorcock or Heathcock is curious, in as much as there are two distinct forms in which it is depicted. Neither of them is correct from the natural point of view, and they seem to be pretty well interchangeable from the heraldic point of view. The bird is always represented with the head and body of an ordinary cock, but sometimes it is given the wide flat tail of black game and sometimes a curious tail of two or more erect feathers at right angles to its body.

I do hope that this matter is now put to rest and both Mr. Critchlow and the Town Clerk and Members of Leek Town Council can sleep more soundly in their beds knowing that the armorial bearings of the Town of Leek are indeed properly depicted.

Monday 9 March 2015

Much more a do about Culcheth (and its arms)

I’m pleased to report that I have just received a note from reader of the Cheshire Heraldry weblog Ian Sumner (librarian of the Flag Institute) who informs me that the “Culcheth Arms” were simply made up by a local teacher named John Winterburn, when he compiled a brief local history in the 1970s. Ian was brought up in Culcheth, when it was still in Lancashire, and remembers when the book was brought out. Ian doesn't believe that the image was ever  intended to be “the village coat of arms” but simply composed as a colour illustration to decorate the front cover of the book; “it has obviously taken on a life of its own. The local High School took the eagle from the Culcheth family arms as the inspiration for the school badge.”

I am grateful to Ian for taking the time and trouble to contact me so promptly and for subscribing to the weblog. Many thanks.

Community arms? (Culcheth Village)

The so called arms of a community have recently been brought to my attention via a discussion on Facebook. This illustration is taken from the website of

Since the webmaster describes the arms "clockwise from top left" let us look at them in some detail by number.


1 Radcliffe

The arms of Radcliffe (according to Burke's GA) are:

Argent, a bend engrailed Sable a mullet for difference.

So, what is emblazoned here isn't too far off with the mullet for difference simply ignored.

2 Culcheth

The arms of Culcheth (according to Burke's GA) are:

[Modern 1st quarter only] Argent, an eagle wings elevated Sable preying upon an infant Proper swaddled Gules banded Or.

So, what is emblazoned here as number two clockwise appears to be a fair representation of the first quarter of the Culcheth arms.

3 Holcroft

The arms of Holcroft (according to Burke's GA) are:

Argent, a cross and bordure engrailed Sable

What is emblazoned here is an incorrect interpretation of the blazon.

(A correct emblazonment can be found at

4 Risley

The arms of Risley (according to Burke's GA) are:

1st & 4th Quarters: Argent, an eagle wings elevated Sable preying upon an infant Proper swaddled Gules banded Or.

2nd & 3rd Quarters: three birds untinctured.

This coat appears to have provided the most difficult blazon for the webmaster to translate. Assuming that he has ignored the first and fourth quarters and chosen to depict the second and third quarters, then the images we see ought to be birds and yet it is almost inconceivable to believe that that is what we are looking at.

The "official" reason, at least that promulgated by The College of Arms, why villages can't have armorial bearings is that villages have no status as an entity; that is to say that a village is simply a small community or group of houses in a rural area so there is no entity, or corporate being, which could receive a grant of arms. That is why the College grants arms to Parish and Town Councils and not to "villages" or "Towns". The website with this made up and assumed coat of arms is Culcheth dot net however; there is another website Culcheth dot org which more correctly displays the arms of The Borough of Warrington upon the village gateway signs provided by the Borough Council. I don't for one moment think that the adopted arms illustrated at the beginning of this note have any wide support within the community itself and there appears to be some competition between the two websites as to which site actually represents the "village".**

Clearly the arms have been devised by a novice since they are described as "moving clockwise" and are poorly emblazoned anyway. The problem I have with the arms displayed on the Culcheth dot net website is that although they claim to be the arms of the village, there is no indication as to how they came about. If they are, as is claimed, the arms of "the village", were they the subject of a design competition? If so, who was consulted and what "organisation" took upon its self to undertake the consultation? In other words, just how representative of the views of the village are they? I suspect that they are the work of a one man community who has taken upon himself the very worthy task of filling a void and creating a village website but has overstretched himself by claiming arms which represent the whole community.

Perhaps, if it were properly represented in some form or other, the village might want to consider partaking in the recent initiative of  The Flag Institute referred to here:

The official sign shown at the entrance to the village of Culcheth illustrating the armorial bearings of Warrington Borough Council under whose administration the village falls. 

** It may well be that very shortly the Parish Council will come onto the scene with yet another website because from April of this year councils in England with turnover not exceeding £25,000 should publish the summons, agenda and draft minutes on a website.

College of Arms Newsletter April 2024

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

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