Tuesday 28 July 2020

The Adderley Monument

Following on from my earlier report of my perambulations around Leek, the town of my birth, on Monday the 20th July last, I reported that I managed to take a look inside the Church of St. Edward the Confessor (open for viewing and private prayer on Mondays and Fridays). 

Immediately inside the porch, on the left, but difficult to photograph as it is obscured by the large and heavy entrance door when open, is The Adderley Monument. 

I'm afraid that a larger image really wouldn't help as I had to bend around the open door and attempt a "wild" shot of a photograph so it isn't really very good at all however, the arms are as follows:

1st & 4th Adderley, quartering 2nd Bowyer and 3rd Bagnall. On a shield of pretence 1st, Arderne, 2nd Mills, 3rd Cotton, 4th Sleigh.
Crest: Adderley (on a chapeau Gules turned up Ermine a stork Argent.)

1) Adderley (of Hame Hall): Argent, on a bend Azure three mascles of the field.
2) Bowyer (Knypersley Co. Stafford): Argent, a lion rampant between three crosses crosslet  fitchee Gules. 
3) Bagnall: Sable, within an orle of martlets Argent, an inescutcheon Ermine charged with a leopards face Gules. (N.B.) I need to double check this as these arms could have been Per saltire Or and Ermine a lion rampant Azure (in which case the arms are for Bagnall of Broseley).

Note to self: I need to return and take notes for this one as the photograph really is no good!  

It doesn't wash (well not with me anyway)!

It  has come to my attention that a letter, from Dr, Jose Herrera, Malta's minister for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government is being sent to those who are making enquiries about the status of the so called Chief Herald of Arms of Malta.

This letter is of course a complete nonsense. The very Act of Parliament which created Heritage Malta demands that the Ministry of Culture presents a written paper to Parliament, so that Parliament can decide when changes such as this are made. Of course it is a matter for a Sovereign State to decide how it appoints a Chief Herald but how does a Sovereign State decide such matters - by a decision of or an Act of Parliament. It is preposterous for any Minister, let alone a Minister of Culture, to pretend to have assumed the powers of State without any authority of Parliament. Section 10 of the Act of Parliament which created Heritage Malta does not allow the Minister of Culture any such delegated powers. That is the crux of the matter. 

The full details of my forensic examination of the FAQs is available here: Examination into the claims of the "Chief Herald of Malta".

I await the findings of the Chief Investigator.

Thursday 23 July 2020

Leek's Civic Heraldry (and the finest garden gate in England)

On Monday I had time to spend the best part of the day, camera in hand, walking the streets of the town of my birth, Leek, in the Staffordshire Moorlands, and had the opportunity to spend some time visiting St. Edwards Church, where I was baptised a lifetime ago. This post however, is a continuation of my Civic tributes. The Town Council Offices are on Stockwell Street and the Town's arms are proudly displayed on the swinging sign outside.

Arms : Azure a Saltire patonce between in chief a Stafford Knot in fesse two Suns and in base a Garb all Or. Crest : Out of a Mural Crown Or charged with three Mulberry Leaves proper a Mount of Heather thereon a Moorcock also proper resting the dexter claw on a Leek small-weave Shuttle Gold threaded Gules.  Motto: 'ARTE FAVENTE NIL DESPERANDUM'- Our skill assisting us, we have no cause for despair.

The arms were officially granted on May 7, 1956 to Leek Urban District Council but are now used by Leek Town Council.

The basic colours of the arms are gold on a blue ground, the colours of the Earldom of Chester, Dieulacrcsse Abbey, the Kingdom of Mercia and St. Edward. The cross, is that of St. Edward, patron saint of the parish, here it is set X-wise to recall the golden saltire on blue from the arms traditionally associated with the Saxon earldom and kingdom of Mercia, in which Leek held an important place under Earl Ælfgar. The Stafford Knot, like that in the arms of the County Council, indicates the town's importance in North Staffordshire. The wheat sheaf, is from the arms of the Earls of Chester, from whom the manor of Leek was held by the monks of Dieulacresse Abbey, founded in 1214 by Ranulph, Earl of Chester. The two suns recall the well-known Leek phenomenon of the "double sunset" and also refer to those in the arms of the family of Nicholson who have been so closely connected with Leek's modern development.

The mural crown is a symbol of local government and recalls Leek's traditional title of "Capital of the Moorlands". The mulberry leaves stand for the silk industry and the mound of heather and moorcock refer, to the moorlands, and also to the local archaeological feature, Cock Low. The special type of small-weave shuttle is characteristic of the local Industry.

The motto is that which was in use before the arms were granted.

On February 27, 2008, there was a rather silly and ill informed report in the leek Post & Times on the crest and I have written about this elsewhere in this weblog. Council in flap over Town Crest Fowl Up!

The town has quite a few rather wonderful heraldic seats, a rather innovative way of reflecting the Town's arms. This one is on the elevated section on the junction of Mill Street and West Street.

Whilst on my wee tour, I really couldn't resist taking a photo of what must have a claim to be the finest garden gate in the whole of England. It's not heraldry but who could resist it?   

The entrance gate to Greystones, 23 Stockwell Street, Leek. Greystones is a C.17 grade 2 Listed Building. William Morris stayed here 1875-1878.

A demi-dragon, collared, holding a cross crosslet fitchee

This one has eluded me for years. It is a a crest featured above the front door of a house, on 30 Stockwell Street Leek, Staffordshire, opposite the old Cottage Hospital.

I visited Leek on Monday to take the photo and it looks to me to be a demi-dragon, collared, holding a cross crosslet fitchee. His wings appear to be charged with a number of smaller charges which I can’t make out. The Motto “Pro Cruce” is Latin and (roughly) translates as For the Cross. Any information gratefully appreciated. (I should say that although it looks as though it may be an original feature, there is always the possibility that it is a piece of architectural salvage added to the building at a later date in which case, it may have nothing to do with the history of the house itself!)

My first thought was that the motto could possibly be a pun on Crusso/Cruso, a notable local family, however, the only listed Crusso/Cruso coat of arms (Burke's General Armory) has a crest of a cross forme Or; there is no entry for Crusso/Cruso in the British Dictionary of Arms. 

Reading Blue Coat School has a similar crest (but not the same).

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Bookplate - James Robinson Pease

Bookplate of James Robinson Pease  born  about 1825  died 1st Qtr 1888  Scarborough Yorkshire
1881 Census: Westwood House, Beverley St Mary, Yorkshire.

Birthplace: Hessle, Yorkshire, England. Husband of Louisa Frances Barkworth, Father of Harold Robinson Pease.

Pease (HesslewoodHouse Co. York): Vert, a chevron between three stags trippant Or, in the centre chief point a bezant, on a chief per fesse Gules and Argent, an eagle displayed counterchanged. Crest: An eagle's head erased Argent holding in the beak Or, a peascod Vert. Motto: Confide Recte Agens.

This one had gone AWOL from my collection but today I had occasion to use my Fairbairn's and out it slipped! I'm pleased it's turned up; I so seldom find a use for Fairbairn's that it might have remained missing for an awful long time.

Some details of the family can be found here: The Pease Family Homes

Monday 20 July 2020

A jolly jaunty chapeau

In a recent Facebook thread, an image of the the arms of Sir Algar Howard, Garter King of Arms (1944-1950) was posted (I believe that the image might be one SodaCan made for Wiki) but as usual, it sent me off at a tangent. 

The first thing that came to my mind was that 'twould be a better rendition if the helm followed the more modern practice of respecting the orientation of the crest - otherwise, it looks as though the chapeau is being worn at a very jaunty angle! But, this crest presents a problem anyway because if you move the position of the helm the lion would , in theory, then be facing to the wearers left shoulder. It would in fact be far better if the chapeau were turned around to be worn properly with the front of the chapeau at the front of the helmet thus leaving the lion to stand sideways but still face front. 

Opiniones meae, facta omnibus !

Saturday 18 July 2020

Somerset Heraldry Society

Like most (surviving) Societies, the Somerset Heraldry Society has placed all physical meetings on hold during the "lock down" however, it is well worth visiting their website if only to take a look at some of their newsletters which they have kindly made available online. 

The latest newsletter can be found here: Somerset Dragon number 45 (I think there's a bit missing on page 5 but never mind).

A full list of their journals can be found here: Here be Dragons

Friday 17 July 2020

A demi-griffin contournee?

In this entry, on the Lyon Court weblog, the crest of Sir Harald Leslie, Lord Birsay (1905-1982) is blazoned as A demi-griffin contournée Proper. Surely, this is a demi-griffin regardant and contournée? Otherwise, if it was simply a demi-griffin contournée it wouldn't be looking over its shoulder!

Contournee: (also Tourne) signifying that the whole charge has been reversed to face the sinister.
Reguardant: (also regardant) In early blazon this term usually signifies what today we call guardant but it now means looking back over the shoulder. (An Heraldic Alphabet - J.P. Brooke-Little)

1887 William John McNeight Palmerston Park ULSTER GRANT OF ARMS Boxed

Recently offered for sale on eBay with a buy it now price of  £1,850; 1887 William John McNeight Palmerston Park ULSTER GRANT OF ARMS Boxed.

Described by the buyer as being a "Antique Queen Victoria 1887 Grant of Arms in its original official black leather box of issue. The box first... this is wood with black leather and the gilt Crowns & VR Cipher - Cypher to the lid and front.. with gilt embossing tooling as well.

Two good brass hook and snecks.
It has rubs and scuffs on the corners and the base has been a little damp in the past with the stain and curling of the base material. The box is 21 inch long x 3 and half inch wide x 3 and half inch tall.
Undo the snecks....see a really nice brown mottled paper inside with an inset HOLE for the circular seal in the base, which has a red paper in here. Two good brass hinges on the lid.
The Grant of Arms is rolled up and the black wax seal is attached by a pale blue silk ribbon which hangs down off the main document 9 inch.
The black wax seal is 2 and quarter inch dia x 1/4 inch deep.
The document is all hand written and its to GRANT the ARMS to William John McNeight of Eastwell, Palmerston Park, Dublin.
He was a merchant according to this document written in 1887 and son of Robert McNeight of Nelson Street in the city of Dublin, Gentleman, deceased by Mary his wife sister of Hugh Moore of the city of Dublin.
The chap granting the arms is Sir John Bernard Burke Ulster King of Arms and it is signed by him down at the bottom left side.
Her Majesty's Royal Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Ireland.
It then has 4 lines of the actual Heraldic terms of his Arms granted and the Crest too.
The arms are very nice and illuminated.
The official orange embossed seal at the left hand side has the fine sheet of silver in it as well.. it cost TEN POUNDS with the Inland Revenue Dublin date 1887.... there is the small printed paper seal stuck on the back too as usual.
The Ulster Grant of Arms is 20 inch x 19 inch ... remember the seal hangs off a further 9 inch on the pale silk blue ribbon.
These look well framed up especially if you are RELATED to the named person. 
I like to collect this sort of item myself too as they are unique.. they do not make duplicates of these.
William John McNeight was Chairman and Managing Director of Hugh Moore & Alexander Ltd - Wholesale Druggists and he died June 6th aged 76 which is mentioned in the 1910 issue of The Chemist & Druggist magazine.
He left a large estate £21,554 and afew shillings and pence too. 
Notice this name Hugh Moore ...remember on this document it says his mother Mary was Hugh Moore's sister... so thats how he got that position in that firm.
A very nice antique Grant of Arms." 

St. Georges & Priorslee Parish Council and Oakengates Town Council

Carrying on with my tribute to Local Authorities, yesterday I spoke of the County and the Unitary Authority responsible for the area in which I live and you may recall that we didn't get off to a very good start because Telford & Wrekin Council isn't armigerous. Within each Unitary authority, or County depending upon where you live, there are, more often than not, Civil Parishes administered by Parish or Town Councils and some of them are armigerous. Unfortunately, once again where I live there is a distinct absence of heraldry! 

I live in the Civil Parish of St. Georges and Priorslee which, although not armigerous, does have a very nice pseudo armorial badge.

The pseudo heraldic badge of St. Georges and Priorslee Parish Council

St Georges & Priorslee Parish Council was elected in 1988 when Telford and Wrekin Council created eleven new parishes as part of the formation of Telford New Town in Shropshire. 

Before the formation of the District of The Wrekin (Telford) and later the Borough of Telford and The Wrekin, the Urban District of Oakengates comprised Oakengates, Wrockwardine Wood, St. George's, Priorslee, Snedshill, The Nabb, Wombridge and Trench, and always had a Labour council.

The creation of Oakengates Urban District in 1898 helped to improve municipal government, the U.D. comprising the civil parishes of Wombridge, Priorslee, St. George's, and Wrockwardine Wood. Nevertheless Oakengates remained under four education authorities until 1903 and three poor-law unions until 1930. The urban district council first met at the Coffee Palace but soon moved to rented offices in Market Street. Its offices were in Oxford Street c. 1905-c. 1940, thereafter in Stafford Road. Arms were granted to the council in 1960 and included a crest (out of a coronet composed of four laurel leaves set upon a rim or a demi wolf argent collared and lined gold and holding in the forepaws a tower sable the battlements enflamed proper) and the motto Haec sunt nostra robora.  

The name, Oakengates, has nothing to do with Oak or Gates but is derived from the Ancient Brythonic name for the valley which was Usc-con meaning The Lake (Usc(water) and the confluence (Cond) of two streams and from the Old Norse gata, path see gh- in Indo-European roots.  A history of Oakengates was written by local historian Rev J.E.G Cartlidge, whose name is commemorated in the name of the retirement home Cartlidge House.

Arms : Or, an eagle displayed, wings inverted, azure grasping in the talons two abbots' crosiers sable; on a chief gules three acorns slipped and leaved gold.
Crest: Out of a coronet composed of four laurel leaves set upon a rim Or, a demi wolf argent collared and lined gold and holding in the forepaws a tower sable, the battlements enflamed proper.
Motto: Haec sunt nostra robora.

The arms were officially granted on September 15, 1960.

When Oakengates Urban District Council became obsolete,  Oakengates Town Council "adopted" their arms and now use them on their website - spot the difference; is it an error or is it deliberate?

I never thought I'd mention Football on this weblog!

I never thought I'd mention football on this weblog but I suppose it had to happen. Scanning through the photographs of Inn signs, given to me by the late Alan Fennely, I came across one for The Lion of Vienna, a Samuel Smith pub, in Bolton, still open as I write this entry.

The football connection is obvious as the pub sign is entirely devoted to commemorating one particular football match, the 1952 friendly between England and Austria, and one player especially. It is described as "An impressive detached pub in a part of town historically short on licensed premises. The pub is named in honour of Bolton Wanderers legendary striker Nat Lofthouse who earned the nickname Lion of Vienna for his die-hard performance for England in a game in Austria in 1952". I am rather fond of the "crest" of the English Lion kicking a football, a pun if ever there was one, for the man who became known as "The Lion of Vienna".

The Lion of Vienna,158 Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 4PE

The sign displays the shield of England's National Football Team along with the 1950s emblem used by Österreichischer Fußball-Bund, the Austrian Football Association, and the motto scroll proclaims "England v. Austria 1952.  If you are an ardent football fan and have a thirst for match information, there is a web page dedicated to the statistics and facts of the match here: England V Austria 1952.

There is a  British Pathé newsreel report of the match available on YouTube (British Pathé newsreels were shown to British cinema audiences).

Thursday 16 July 2020

A reliance on Local Government

Local Government has played an important roll in the present pandemic so I thought it would be nice to pay homage to their efforts by featuring some of the heraldry that can be found in my own Local Authority area. Sadly, we don't get off to a very good start because my own Local Authority isn't armigerous. 

I live in the Borough of Telford & Wrekin; Telford and Wrekin Council is the local authority of Telford and Wrekin in Shropshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. The district of Telford and Wrekin was granted borough status in 2002, though the council does not ordinarily include "Borough" in its name.

Telford & Wrekin used to be a District Council and in those days (prior to it becoming a unitary authority in 1998), it was, for want of a better word, subordinate to Shropshire County Council which was armigerous. 

Arms : Erminois, three pile azure, two issuant from the chief and one in base, each charged with a leopard's face Or.
Motto: 'Floreat Salopia'

The arms were officially granted on June 18, 1896 but Shropshire County Council became obsolete on 1st April 2009 when it was replaced by Shropshire Council, a unitary authority which replaced the former two-tier local government structure in the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire.The replaced former tiers were Shropshire County Council, and five non-metropolitan district councils – Bridgnorth District Council, North Shropshire District Council, Oswestry Borough Council, Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council and South Shropshire District Council. These districts and their councils were abolished in the reorganisation.

Shropshire Council continues to use the arms of the abolished County Council however, I haven't found any formal authority for them to do so (nevertheless, I am pleased that the arms are still in use and in fact, they have been adopted, by popular demand, as the banner of the ceremonial county of Shropshire).

The leopards' faces (sometimes called the Loggerheads) in these arms were adopted by the County Council in 1895 from the Borough of Shrewsbury (Azure, 3 leopards' faces Or). The heads appear on the fifteenth century seal of the Corporation but their origin is unknown. They may have been derived from the Royal Arms, or from the Arms of De La Pole, Earls of Suffolk in the fourteenth century (Azure, a chevron, and three leopards' faces Or), or arms of some local family.

The heads are often referred to as "the loggerheads". This originates presumably in the practice of carving some such motif on the head of the log used as a battering ram.

Floreat Salopia, the county's motto, means "May Shropshire flourish!" - Salop. is the standard abbreviation for Shropshire.

Details of the County Flag of Shropshire, also containing useful background information to the arms, can be found on the website of British County Flags.

Boxed 1887 Alfred Edward Kitching Gt Ayton GRANT OF ARMS Document & 2 Seals

Recently listed on eBay with a buy it now price of £2'590. Boxed 1887 Alfred Edward Kitching Gt Ayton GRANT OF ARMS Document & 2 Seals.

Described by the seller as: "From the late Lord Boston of Faversham's (1930-2011)  collection of Queen Victoria related items, he had a most interesting life.  After serving in the RAF National Service and getting a Degree in Law, he joined the BBC where he produced current affairs programmes.  He was then called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1960.  He was very much into politics and had been a member of the Labour party since he was 16.  He won the Faversham bi-election in 1964 and was created a life peer on Harold Wilson's resignation in 1976.  He spent 10 years being a chairman of a broadcasting company and then went back to Westminster where he served as Deputy Speaker until 2011.  Lord Boston was an avid collector and I used to bump into him at the live auctions.  Be assured all the items are from his vast personal collection.  We are all very fortunate to have the opportunity to buy them once again. These will be gone in no time so please do not hang about...

This is another UNIQUE item....in wonderful condition. The black leather box which holds the document and seals is in its own Pine box as well... there is no lid for this pine box.
So the black leather rectangular box is in superb condition with very minor scuffs and rubs, it has been well looked after, it has embossed tooling on the leather as well as gilt embossed Royal CROWNS with the VR cypher..cipher ... 3 on the lid and 3 at the front ...it has 2 inset brass locks ...these work fine. It has a fresh scuff in the centre of the front just above the VR .... this was done on the auction viewing day which has PEEVED me no end...since it was not like this when I first viewed the lot.. Folks should be more careful with valuable items, especially when they have no intention of bidding on an item.

So open the lid... the interior is clean with blue and gold design paper... the scroll is rolled up in the back and has two attached brass SEAL tins.. these both have a CROWN upon the lid. 
The seals are within the tins and adjoined to the document via blue ribbons... these seals are WAX....both in SUPERB condition and both are different.. left hand side one is for THE SEAL OF THE OFFICE OF GARTER PRINCIPAL KING OF ARMS.... the right hand side one says .. THE SEAL OF GEORGE EDWARD COKAYNE ESQ, NORROY KING OF ARMS.
The document is an official illuminated GRANT OF ARMS ...and it is all hand written and has a lot of important peoples names upon it  whom were in office during this time in relation to Granting the Arms to this man.

On the left hand side it has 2 embossed seals and these have a small slivver of silver in them as well... just as normal with such documents.

So now to unroll the Grant of Arms... you will need to put weights in the corners as it wants to spring back into a roll.. you will see the SIGNATURES near the ribbon of the two men that have their seals at the bottom of the document.

So looking at it now.. you will see how elaborate it is... it has his coat of arms on the left with the Latin motto..  NUNQUAM NON FIDELIS ... and 3 smaller Coats of Arms above the main wording... it goes on to mention Sir Albert William Woods, Knight Garter Principal King of Arms and George Edward Cokayne, Esquire, Norroy King of Arms of the North parts of England from the river Trent northwards Send Greetings to ALFRED EDWARD KITCHING of Ayton Firs in the Parishes of Great & Little Ayton in the North Riding of the County York ...then it goes on to mention The Most Noble HENRY DUKE of NORFOLK , Earl Marshal & Hereditary Marshal of England , Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter... it then goes on to ask permission to Grant the Arms of the family and mentions his late father  Alfred Kitching of Elm Field in the borough of Darlington in County Durham ...then it goes on to Grant him the Arms and describes the Arms as they do in Latin terms.. ...then it goes on to give the date and Queen Victoria 1887. 
So .... who was Alfred Edward Kitching.

Alfred Edward Kitching was born 1858 and died in 1939 ..He inherited Ayton Firs from his father .. he married Annie Backhouse Richardson and one of their sons was in the team that won a Gold medal in the Olympics...... these surnames being familiar to me allready from the famous Darlington Quaker familes related to the Pease familes.. the Backhouse being Bankers and the Richardsons .. Shipbuilders..later from the Potto area ... Alfred was Mayor of Darlington and he started the Whesso Foundry amongst other things..there are many pages on GOOGLE about this family ...read below about them both on this website below 1929 and 1939. 

The actual Grant of Arms rolled up bit of paper is approx 53cm x 67cm .. the seal tins are 7cm dia x 2cm deep.. the black leather official QUEEN VICTORIA cipher box is 56cm long x 14cm wide x 6cm deep.. the pine outer box is just a bit larger than that. ...59cm x 18cm x 7.5cm....with NO lid remember on the pine outer box.. . 

The item(s) are shown next to an English 1 penny which is 20mm dia for scale."

As usual, I have created an album and added the other images to it here: https://bit.ly/3fxCwhp

Wednesday 15 July 2020

The American Heraldry Society

Fr. Guy Selvester has just announced elsewhere that the American Heraldry Society, which has been experiencing some "technical" difficulties lately, is alive and well:

"To any of you with an interest in American Heraldry and, specifically the American Heraldry Society...

If you've been wondering "What the heck happened?" to the AHS and all the activity we used to have then fear not. In the last month the existing Board of the AHS has met twice and we are building up a good head of steam to continue moving forward. Very soon there will be more news and information. In the mean time, the Society is not defunct. We are very much alive and looking forward, as well as making plans to begin a new chapter in the not too distant future. So, please hang on and you'll see that the AHS is still going!"

Membership of the Society has for quite some time been suspended but I look forward to it being resurrected, it is a society well worth joining. 

Their website can be found here: American Heraldry Society  

Scottish Grant of Arms 1901 with other documents - Mackay Family

Recently listed on eBay with a buy it now price of US $825.00 Approximately £658.47; a Scottish Grant of Arms 1901 with other documents - Mackay Family.

Described by the seller as "Scottish Grant of Arms 1901 with other documents - Mackay Family.

An interesting collection of documents.  Primary document is the Grant of Arms for George Duncan Mackay, Esquire. A fantastic image with the motto "Manu Forti" or Strong Hand. Comes complete with the original box and the encased wax seal.  In the box were two other documents.  A rather worn birth certificate dating to 1904 and a very interesting large vellum document which looks like an 1849 marriage document of Humphres Manders Goulding and Hannah Houghton. At the bottom is a long list of witnesses which is an interesting way to commemorate the wedding and the guests who attended.  Great group of hand done antique and historically interesting documents."

I have created an album of the other images here: https://bit.ly/3h0bcbH

“Noble titles granted by royal pretenders: genuine or false, legitimate or worthless vanities?”

I thought my reader might be interested in this short talk given by Guy Stair Sainty. “Noble titles granted by royal pretenders: genuine or false, legitimate or worthless vanities?”.

The talk was originally presented to the Real Asociación de Hidalgos de España and I was amused by Mr Sainty's introductory remarks that he is pleased to have been invited to speak on a controversial topic "I like to speak on controversial topics" ... So do I.

About 8.10 minutes into his talk, Mr. Sainty makes mention of the two titles of Count used by the so called Chief Herald of Malta.

It's not exactly heraldry but it is an allied topic.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

C 1788 Spanish illuminated manuscript heraldic pedigree and arms, bound.

This is a real Spanish beauty.
With a buy it now price of US $3,000.00 (approximately £2,377.65) listed on eBay as a C 1788 Spanish illuminated manuscript heraldic pedigree and arms, bound.

"A very fine original eighteenth century illuminated manuscript  Pedigree and Arms of the Truxillo Family. 

Size: 8.25 x 6.5 inches – 215x135mm). Original red morocco binding with gilt stamping.
60 bound parchment leaves include an ornate full page illuminated armorial coat of arms and equally beautiful full page half title with the seal of King Charles III of Spain  (1701-1788). The pedigree is attested and signed by Don Julian Joseph Brochero, principal “King of Arms” of Spain, at Madrid, 1788.

This fine manuscript book is elegantly scribed in Spanish and elaborately illuminated. Ornate gilt borders with floral motif surround each of the text pages.

In addition to the full page and half page illuminations, there are four armorial shields, ten illuminated initials painted in gold with scenic backgrounds surrounded by red and gold borders and a large foldout   family tree painted in red, green and blue.  

A very attractive and beautifully executed illuminated manuscript in an exceptional state of preservation, as seen in the photos. The illuminations, fine script,  and the meticulous detail of the initial are are visually appealing.  It was illuminated and scribed in Spain in 1788. This is an original, about 230 years old, not a reproduction. It comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. "

I have added the remaining images to an album here: 1788 Spanish Manuscript

Malta's so called Chief Herald .. again!

Readers of this weblog will be well aware that I have grave concerns over the lack of any lawful authority behind the acts of the so called Chief Herald of Arms of Malta and up to now I have confined my criticism to the office rather than the individual; I have resisted, up until now, any direct criticism of the office holder. 

Today however, I have received, from a proud armiger (whose permission I have to reproduce it here), a copy of the first page of a Certification of Arms issued and signed by Charles A, Gauci, "Chief Herald of Arms of Malta" and countersigned by Raymond M. Cassar, "Registrar, Office of the Chief Herald of Arms of Malta". 

There can be no doubt that Dr. Gauci is fond of titles* but I find it extremely strange (from a Maltese marketing point of view) that the first mentioned "title" on the Certificate is that of "Hereditary Noble in the Noblesse of Scotland" which is a "title" that doesn't really exist. Dr. Gauci has, with an undoubted overinflated sense of pride, used a now obsolete and discredited term from the Letters Patent of his Scottish grant of armorial bearings viz: "by demonstration of which ensigns armorial he and his successors in the same are, amongst all nobles and in all places of honour, to be taken numbered, accounted and received as Nobles in the Noblesse of Scotland".  

The clause was undoubtedly popular with many and especially so with those living abroad and of foreign nationality who had purchased a piece of Scottish foreshore and petitioned the Lyon Court for a grant of arms so that they could proclaim themselves to be “Scottish armigers” taken numbered, accounted and received as Nobles in the Noblesse of Scotland. 

Prior to the demise of this nobility clause, there had been much debate amongst Scots armorists and some of it had become quite heated with one commentator stating that “This ahistorical nonsense was started by a Lord Lyon with a bee in his bonnet about nobility”; the same commentator wondering “Why is there such a preoccupation with this subject? By now it is pretty sterile, and there cannot be much to say about it that is original. Besides which, until the terms noble, noblesse and nobility are authoritatively and legally defined in a Scottish context, the nobiliary clause in patents of arms is meaningless.” 

As I reported way back in 2008 this clause has now been quietly dropped from all new grants of arms issued by the Lord Lyon. 

I also note that, immediately after the boast of being a "Hereditary Noble in the Noblesse of Scotland", Dr Gauci recites his somewhat dubious comtal title (also used in the announcement of his appointment as an employee of Heritage Malta in the Malta Gazette). Again, he uses a somewhat doubtful non-Maltese title in what should be (had it had any lawful standing at all - which it does not) a prestigious legal Maltese document. A title which, according to Mr Guy Stair Sainty, well known commentator on nobility and royal genealogy, is "explicitly prohibited by law from being used [in Malta] in any official documents". Mr Sainty recently commented that "The announcement in the (Malta) Gazette included the use of the title "Count" for Mr [sic] Gauci, despite the fact the use of titles of nobility are explicitly prohibited by law from being used in any official documents. Furthermore this "title" was created by two rival "self-styled" princes who improbably claim to be heirs to the Byzantine imperial throne." 

It is a pity that Dr. Gauci could not be content with the fact that he is a Doctor of Medicine; that at least is something he could justifiably be very proud of. After listing all of his titles, the fact that he claims to be Chief Herald of Arms of Malta is listed almost as though it is an afterthought. 

* The list of his titles and post-nominals on the certificate ends with &c. (etcetera). Here is a list of his titles and post-nominals taken from elsewhere:
Lt.Colonel the Chev. Dr. The Count Charles A. Gauci KHS KLJ (j) OLM MD FRCA FIPP FFPMRCA FSA.Scot RAMC (Retd.).

Sunday 12 July 2020

Letters Patent for Sale - Daniell

Spotted for sale on Ebay with a buy it now price of £750 (but also with a "Make me an offer" button") is the Letters Patent of the grant of arms to the descendants of Joseph Staines Daniell (petition by Edward Staines Daniell).

The buyer describes the item as:

"An interesting armorial sealed document on vellum dating from 1905 granting a coat of arms to the descendents of Joseph Staines Daniell. 

This is the original grant of arms from the College Of Arms in London to a family for which only ONE document will exist (one fears that the Great War would have interrupted the lineage of the family). The College Of Arms will not have a copy, but will have records of its issue.

It is written on vellum and has two Revenue stamps* of £5 stamped onto paper which has been attached to the vellum. At the bottom of the document are two impressed wax seals in protective cases which are attached by blue ribbon. Both wax impressions are good.

The condition of the document is generally ‘good’ condition with some evidence of use/age. The condition of the formed case is also ‘good’ with working latches with minor abrasion. The hinge to the case is good.

I’m not sure what one would do with this, but I guess you could impress friends by hanging it in your  bathroom. 

* Revenue stamps in the United Kingdom are very important for legal documents as they validate a document’s authenticity having been submitted to a Government department for ’stamping’ and the payment of a government fee. ‘Stamped’ documents are essentially registered and become legal documents by the addition of the tax stamp and can be used in Court. Because vellum will not accept an impressed Revenue Stamp, such stamps were impressed on paper (with a silver strand) and then attached to the vellum."

It's always quite sad when these documents leave the original family and I tend to agree with the vendor, unless you are a collector (in which case you've got the funds to be one) I'm not sure what you'd do with it. Still, compared to others on the market it is relatively cheap!

Saturday 11 July 2020

Conferring a right!

Way back in May of this year I was discussing The South African Bureau of Heraldry and a weblog post, made by an individual who shall remain nameless to save embarrassment, was brought to my attention.

Hmm. In scrolling down I noticed the blogger's rather skewed view on Letters Patent and Certificates:

Here is the relevant quote from the weblog:
"I have a few coats of arms issued by the South African Government, I’ve generally referred to the actual physical document as Letters Patent and not a Grant of Arms. A grant is seen as having been issued with some form of Royal Warrant attached to it as opposed to being issued officially by a government. Recently I had some criticism from another South African armiger stating that the arms issued by South Africa were not Letters Patent but merely Certificates of Registration. This gave me pause to think and when I asked the person who stated the above, they decided to reply with a flippant remark if that I couldn’t see the difference then clearly, they couldn’t explain it. 

So, what are Letters Patent? A quick glance online gives several definitions but for the sake of brevity I will refer to the online dictionary.com which says ‘an open document issued by a monarch or government conferring a patent or other right.’ (sic).

So the coats of arms issued by the Bureau of Heraldry, are they an open public document? Yes. Are they issued officially by their Government? Yes. Do they confer the right of ownership for a coat of arms? Yes!"

The blogger almost gets there but then goes off piste. Certificates from the South African Bureau of Heraldry most certainly do not confer a right to arms, they simply confirm (and record) a right to arms. 

Since, in South Africa, anyone may assume arms and it is not at all necessary for the Government to intervene, the right to the arms is automatically gained with the assumption. Once the right, by assumption, has been established, it can not then be conferred by the South African Government and is therefore simply confirmed or, more accurately, registered in a Government Register in much the same way that the Scottish Government will, upon request, register anyone's tartan. Our friend appears to have somehow convinced himself that the South African Government has conferred upon him the right to arms. As my colleagues across the pond would say "Go figure"!

The Registration Certificate of the arms of the South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation - illustrated here simply as an example of the registration certificates issued by the South African Bureau of Heraldry and nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of this post. OK, I can't resist it - it does somewhat fly in the face of the mantra "only bucket shops put the name on the motto scroll"!

Heraldry Hall of Shame

There appears to be an article about heraldry in today's Times newspaper. I can't read the whole article because to do so requires a subscription and I've no intention of subscribing to the Times however, their headline banner shows an appalling coat of arms. If this is an example of the work of the design company mentioned in the article, I'm ashamed of the Times for featuring such rubbish. There are countless wonderful heraldic artists out there and they have to use this as an example!

Headline banner from the Times newspaper Saturday 11th July 2020.

If this is an example of Downey's work (the design company featured in the article), I won't be commissioning them! 

Friday 10 July 2020

Proposed reform of Kenya's Heraldry Act 1968.

It has come to my attention, perhaps rather late in the day (closing date for responses was 29th June 2020), that Kenya is striving to reform its own heraldry laws. 

Arthur Radburn, of the International Association of Amateur Heralds, has reviewed the proposals and provided the following feedback: 

"While Malta appears to be grappling with the lack of clear legislative authority for its new heraldry office, Kenya is busy updating its heraldry law. A draft Heraldry Bill was open for public comment until the end of June. If passed, it will replace the existing College of Arms Act 1968. Quite a few changes are proposed. The College of Arms (which is really a committee) will continue, but its members will now need to be experienced visual arts professionals , and the chairperson must have a qualification in the field. At present, no particular qualifications or experience are prescribed.

At present, the Registrar-General of Kenya is responsible for registering the grants of arms approved by the College, but the proposal is for the College to have its own registrar, who must be an experienced advocate [I can't see that particular requirement].

The grant and registration process seems to be much the same (although the terms "grant' and "register" are used interchangeably). Confusingly, though, the bill states that the College grants arms and the Attorney-General "officially" grants arms.

In addition to coats of arms, the College will be able to register names, special names and uniforms (something evidently copied from South Africa).

They take unauthorised use of granted/registered arms seriously in Kenya. The present Act, which has been in operation since 1968, makes it an offence to use granted/registered arms without permission and prescribes a fine as penalty. The draft bill increases the fine from 5,000 Kenya shillings (about 47 USD) to 500 000 KES (about 4,700 USD), and adds the option of up to two years in prison." 

The draft proposals can be found here: https://bit.ly/3gNpyMq

Illustrated above are the armorial bearings of the Republic of Kenya as adopted 1963.
Blazon: Per fess Sable and Vert, on a fess Gules fimbriated Argent a cock grasping in the dexter claw an axe also Argent.
Supporters: On either side a lion Or, grasping in the interior forepaw a spear of estate [Gules], the hafts of the spears crossed in saltire behind the shield.
Compartment: The whole upon a compartment representing Mount Kenya Proper.
Motto: Harambee (Let's pull together in Swahili).

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Judges Reject Bid For Seat in House of Lords - unsurprisingly!

One or two of my readers may remember the "old" days, prior to the more recent popularity of Facebook and other heraldry forums, when we all gathered in that bear pit known as rec.heraldry, a Google Groups Forum. A familiar voice was that of Graham Nassau Gordon Senior-Milne, who owned the dignity of the Scottish feudal barony of Mordington, and had long maintained that, as a feudal baron, he had a right to a seat in the House of Lords. 

The Times Newspaper Headline 

On the 6th April 2011 Mr. Senior-Milne wrote (on rec.heraldry):
"Scottish feudal barons never ceased to be peers of the Scottish parliament. They were always under a duty to attend but were relieved of that duty only on condition that and only for so long as they appointed commissioners to represent them. The underlying duty to attend was still there and was never removed. Since they remained peers of parliament with a duty to attend they became, as peers of Scotland, peers of Great Britain under the Act of Union (sections 22 and 23). It is really very simple. And since Scottish feudal barons became 'peers of Great Britain' in 1707 they have continued to be so ever since and all of them became entitled to sit in the House of Lords under the Peerage Act of 1963 (The Act states that 'The holder of a peerage in the peerage of Scotland shall have the same right to receive writs of summons to attend the House of Lords and to sit and vote in that House as the holder of a peerage in the peerage of the United Kingdom; and the enactments relating to the election of Scottish representative peers shall cease to have effect.') Since their peerages are not 'hereditary' under the terms of the House of Lords Act 1999 but are 'in commercio' (they can be bought and sold), they were not deprived of their right to sit in the House of Lords by that Act. Ergo, I am a peer of Great Britain and entitled to sit in the House of Lords. Thank you. Now, where is my ermine cloak?
Of course, as peers of Great Britain they are entitled to supporters.
I suggest that you take the Lord Lyon to court on this basis.

PS This legal argument is watertight. "

One respondent quipped "If this is so, why haven't you taken your seat?" and another commented that "He may be right (I doubt it) but only a fool goes to court to fight a battle he cannot win."

Well, whether you regard Mr Senior-Milne as a fool or not, he clearly decided that he had a case and took his battle to court. It's probably not surprising that he did given that, in the opinion of the court, he is a serial litigator. Sadly, for him, he lost and his dreams of being wrapped in ermine are no more; he has lost his ermine comfort blanket! 

The full judgement of the Court can be found here: https://bit.ly/3f9fmxv

The report of the case in the Scottish Legal news can be found here: https://bit.ly/3iCV4yD

"Based on this analysis, he concluded: “We would accordingly have concluded, if it were relevant, that the Barony of Mordington did not confer any status either as a peer or as a member of the House of Lords. It was a minor barony unconnected with any peerage. On that basis, even if there had been an error in the Lord Ordinary’s reasoning, we would have refused permission to proceed.” Lord Drummond Young.

The armorial bearings of the (feudal) baron of Mordington, 
a dignity which does not allow the holder a seat in the House of Lords.

Blazon: Arms: Quarterly, 1st & 4th, Azure a cross moline between four fleur-de-lys Or (MILNE); 2nd & 3rd, per fess, Gules and Azure, a fess ermine between, in chief, two lions heads erased Or and, in base, a dolphin naiant embowed Argent (SENIOR).
Crest: The head, neck and wings of a swan bearing in its beak a Tudor rose Proper seeded Or.
Motto: 'Honore et amore' ('Honour and love').

College of Arms Newsletter April 2024

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

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