Wednesday 9 June 2021

A despicable fake

I came across this (undated) letter, purporting to be from Garter King of Arms while searching for something quite unrelated. It is such a despicable fake that it just has to be exposed. 

It would seem that this individual has a desire to claim the arms (and Lordship of the Manor) of Baguley despite the fact that the (heraldic) family of Baguley (those believed, but not proved, to have been descendants of Hammon de Massey) are extinct. Certainly the Hall came to the Leighs of Booths via an heiress. The arms are also quartered by Fritton. It is likely that most, if not all, of those with this name today have what is known as a location surname i.e. at the time surnames were adopted they lived in or were from the village, rather than being descendants of the extinct manorial lords.

I placed this fake letter on the Facebook forum of The Heraldry Society and participants in the discussion did a wonderful job of dissecting the elements which exposed it as a fraud. 

Quite apart from the different fonts used, we start with the word "apologize" with a "z". Englishmen tend to use apologise with an "s". But what is the apology for? It appears that Garter is apologising on behalf of York Herald for his lack of knowledge of Thomas Woodcock and his research in the Oxford Guide to Heraldry. I simply don't believe that  York would be ignorant of either the man or his works; this is too incredible to be believed. The comment about any case "in heraldic court" (not in the heraldic court or the Court of Chivalry) is also quite ridiculous as Garter would, if he wished to discuss a case to be brought before the Court of Chivalry, have mentioned his own view that any resurrection of the Court would be practically impossible and he would have cited comments made at the Manchester case.
Garter would know full well that in his judgement (Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties [1955] P 133) Lord Goddard suggested that: “if this court is to sit again it should be convened only where there is some really substantial reason for the exercise of its jurisdiction.” Someone wishing to prove a right to arms would do so by having his pedigree examined by The College, not by bringing a case before the Court of Chivalry. 

The reference to the Earl Marshal as "his grace" in lower case does not further convince us that this letter is genuine.

The next part is meaningless waffle but it is clumsy to write "bare" arms when the real Garter would know full well that a person bears arms. When a person is seeking to prove a right to bear arms, no garter would write, without substantial proof, and suggest that the petitioner simply accept his recognition as head of the family and the bit about nobility is meaningless to an English King of Arms. To suggest that there is a need to simply "accept my recognition and leave the matter alone" (implying that it would be too much trouble to do anything else)  is risible. 

Those of us with any smattering of knowledge about these things would know that anyone claiming the right to bear arms and writing to the College of Arms for guidance would be informed of a proper process, involving a proven genealogy, by which that right must be claimed and we know that the College of Arms would offer, for a fee, assistance in either proving or disproving the claim. The Court of Chivalry would not come into the discussion, nor would any herald suggest anything, without proof, which would indicate a sort of "its far too much trouble to go to these lengths so lets just say that you are the head of your American family and you can use the arms with some cadency marks, call yourself Esquire and be a nobleman"! 

Oh, and we don't end a letter with Yours Sincerely with an upper case S. It should be Yours sincerely.

What an utterly despicable, illiterate, effort to pretend to be something that you are not.   

1 comment:

  1. And the use of an ampersand on the first line? Why use as you are not needing to saving space? And is not used elsewhere in the letter! So is inconsistent. Also, the statement granting use of Esquire. How absurd!


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