Thursday, December 31, 2015

Something Heraldic to "Ring" in the New Year

It's always interesting to see the different ways in which people use (and sometimes misuse) heraldry.

Recently on Facebook I ran across this:

"What is it?" you ask. Why, it's a Barris Custom guitar by Hallmark, of course. The design is based on custom hotrod builder George Barris' personal "crest."  How real is that coat of arms? Not very, I suspect, but isn't that a cool guitar?  And wouldn't it be great to use to help bring in the new year?

There's a bit more information about and photographs of another one of these guitars, as well as photos of a couple of Mr. Barris' car creations, at Only fifty of these guitars were made, and as of my writing this, one of them is for sale on eBay. Or you can pick one up from the source for only US$999 at (The site runs Flash and plays music when you open it. You have been warned!)


Monday, December 28, 2015

More Movie Heraldry: Star Wars

Well, as long as I'm still on a roll with heraldry from the movies, and since we're still undergoing the phenomenon that is Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I found a couple of articles on-line about where someone had designed flags for many of the planets, and even the Death Star, from the movies, animated series, comic books, and video games.  ('Cause some folks just can't get enough of their Star Wars, don'tcha know?)

Anyway, while not heraldry strictly speaking (though vexillology, the study of flags, is certainly a related field to heraldry), I thought that these might be of interest.

Art director and New Zealander Scott Kelly has designed over 100 flags to represent the planets (and the Death Star!) from the Star Wars world.

This, for example, is the flag he designed for Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's home planet, with its two suns.  It's also highly reminiscent of one of the stills from the original Star Wars movie, now Episode IV: A New Hope), with our erstwhile hero looking out over the desert as the two suns set in the distance. (This design is actually my favorite, I think. It's clear, simple, readily identifiable; everything that a flag, or a coat of arms, should be.)

Anyway, if you're a fan of heraldic symbols, or of flags, or even just of Star Wars, you might check out Mr. Kelly's designs.  You can see some of his designs at or at

Thursday, December 24, 2015

More Heraldry from the Harry Potter Movies

"Crests, flags and coats of arms possess a kind of power."

Thus opens a website which brings to us some of the heraldry which can be found in the Harry Potter books and movies.

For example, the "coat of arms" of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, consisting of the emblems of its four founders whose names are given to the four houses within the school: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw (in quarters one, two, three, and four, respectively).

There's a fair bit more, of course.  Not as much as heraldry enthusiasts might prefer, but still ....

You can find the new MACUSA arms which we discussed in my last post, the arms of Hogwarts, and a number of others on the website Pottermore on a page entitled "The MACUSA seal and other other emblems from the wizarding world" at

Monday, December 21, 2015

Heraldry In The Movies

Well, in a movie, anyway.

To be truthful, in a movie that's going to be released almost a year from now, on November 18, 2016.

The movie, a Harry Potter prequel, set in New York, entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, that has just released its first "teaser trailer" to the public.

Surprisingly enough, there was a shot of some heraldry in one of the scenes: a version of the arms of the United States of America.

Not as surprisingly, the depiction was not the coat of arms of the U.S. (Well, technically speaking, I suppose, what we are seeing here is the emblem of the "Magical Congress of the United States of America." So, not really the arms of the US, just something that tries to be.)

The US arms are probably best blazoned as Paly of thirteen argent and gules a chief azure.  The above image shows those arms but with the red and white stripes switched, and the chief is just crammed full of white stars (heraldic mullets argent).

So close, and yet so far.

It will be interesting to see if there is any other heraldry used in the movie.  I'll be sure to let you know if I run across any.

And if you want to see the trailer for this new movie yourself, you can find it on-line at:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Apropos of the Season

Appropriate to the season, and another fine example of attributed arms (which are on my mind right now owing to running across the arms of Goliath as I discussed in my post of December 10), here is a portrait and the attributed arms of St. Nicholas.

Ermine a chief quarterly or and gules.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Proposal for a Replacement Coat of Arms in Australia

We've covered the topic of the coat of arms, and some of the folks who think that they ought to be changed, of the Australian Capital Territory and the City of Canberra (which the ACT has simply used to represent itself, despite the arms having been granted to the Federal Capital Commissioners for the City of Canberra), several times previously in this blog.  (See our posts of September 6, 2012; April 4, 2013; and August 8 and 26, 2013.)

Well, they're at it again.

The complaint is that there's really nothing Australian about the coat of arms. With which argument, frankly, I have to agree. See what I mean?

I recently ran across an article in The Canberra Times which highlighted a proposed new coat of arms for the ACT and Canberra (though why they think the two should bear the same arms I do not know) which is just chock-full of Australian imagery.

I do wish they hadn't made the background black; it makes the black swan supporters very hard to identify.

This proposed coat of arms also reminds me a bit of the "arms" of the State of New York here in the U.S.

But that, I suppose, should be neither here nor there.  (No, really!  It shouldn't be here, and it shouldn't be there. But then, I don't care for much of the "landscape heraldry" that passes for state symbols here in the U.S. Maybe that's just me, though. Others may like their heraldry that way.)

But I digress.

In addition to the gang-gang cockatoo on the arms, the designer, Steven Squires, has filled the shield and crest and other external additaments with lots of local meaning. And it's certainly not as bad as some of the heraldry that I've seen some people come up with. Still and all, though, I'm not sure that it's all that fortuitous a design. Yes, it is more "Australian," but no, it's not that great a piece of heraldry.

Still you can find out all about it (and its meanings) in the article by Ian Warden entitled "Gang-gang: Republican design imagines new ACT coat of arms" on the website of The Canberra Times at

Thursday, December 10, 2015

An Unusual Heraldic Find

One of the my "guilty pleasures" in looking at/for coats of arms is the occasional find of another coat of attributed arms; a coat of arms designed and representing an individual, real or mythological, who lived some time before the introduction of heraldry in the 12th Century.

There are the ones you find in any number of old books, of course: King Arthur and the rest of the Nine Worthies; the three magi (below, from the Wernigeroder Wappenbuch); Jesus; and even Satan.

I even have a subfolder on my computer labeled "Attributed Arms" in which I place images of such arms that I run across, just so I can go back to them periodically without having to hunt them down in all the armorials, etc. from which I originally found them.

I was going back through another old source on-line which wasn't even primarily about heraldry; the Speculum humanae salvationis, Hs-2505, an old manuscript of illustrated stories from the Bible that I ran across on the website of the Darmstadt University Library.

While not specifically heraldic, a number of the illustrations included coats of arms to identify some of the figures they contained. The one that most attracted my attention was this one:

From the story of David and Goliath, we have the arms of the giant Goliath of Gath.

It came as a complete surprise to me; I'd not seen attributed arms for Goliath before.  And what a great, and simple, coat of arms it is, too! Very much Germanic in style, with the crest on the helmet matching the charges on the shield. Goliath of Gath! Who knew?

If you are interested in seeing this old manuscript, you can find it on the website of the Darmstadt University Library at

Take a look and see what other rare attributed arms you can find!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Heraldic Controversy in Cambridge, Massachusetts

In a recent article at the Boston Globe entitled “Harvard Law will scrutinize use of slaveholders' seal,” journalist Steve Annear covers the controversy which has arisen over the inclusion of a colonial coat of arms in the logo/coat of arms used by the Harvard University School of Law.

The arms of the Law School could be blazoned Azure three garbs or, a chief of Harvard (Gules on three open books argent garnished or the word VE-RI-TAS [Latin: Truth] sable).

This controversy arises in the wake of the decisions in some of our southern states to remove the Confederate battle flag from certain public venues because of its adoption and use by those opposing equal rights for blacks in this country in the 1960s and since.

The main portion of the shield - Azure three garbs or - are the arms of Isaac Royall, as found on a baptismal basin donated by him to St. Michael’s Church in Bristol, Rhode Island; on his bookplate; on a two-handled cup in the possession of the First [Congregational] Church of Medford, Massachusett; and on the tomb of Isaac Royall and his father, William Royall, in Dorchester, Massachusetts (Bolton’s American Armory, Charles Knowles Bolton, The F.W. Faxon Company, Boston, 1927, pp. 142-143). (Bolton’s work, which heraldic scholars have noted has many errors in it, is the only work in which I have found these arms.)

Isaac Royall left in his will land for Harvard College to sell and establish the first law professorship in his name. However, he was a slaveowner, and further, “Royall's father ‘treated his slaves with extreme cruelty, including burning 77 people to death,’ according to a statement from the law school.” Hence the controversy, and following a call from students, Martha Minow, dean of the law school, formed a special committee to study, discuss, and make recommendations about the use of the arms to represent the school.

You can learn more about this controversy (on the one hand, it would disassociate the school from the history of slavery in this country; on the other hand, would it be sanitizing the past rather than confronting it?) on the website of the Boston Globe at

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Say What?

I see a lot of stuff that demonstrates that while people may like heraldry, for any number of reasons, many of them don't really understand it. A recent example of this was sent to my email in-box recently, with a link to some heraldry-like art by an artist over on the Shutterstock website.

And because I'm always interested in such things, I clicked on the link went to take a look.

Not bad, really. Even the general description of the design didn't bother me much ("Heraldic royal coronet illustration, imperial striped decorative coat of arms"). But the part that really stuck out to me was part of the description of the blank motto scroll under the shield, which was described as, I kid you not, an "undulate festive ribbon."

I should probably get a nice soft pad to put on my desk, to help reduce the bruising when I do a faceplant and hit my head on the desk. Because while the bruising on my forehead may be "undulate," it really isn't very "festive."


Monday, November 30, 2015

One Man's Opinion About Heraldry (Not Mine, Obviously!)

David Tang runs an op-ed advice column on The Financial Times, and a recent (November 27, 2015) column had the following, which lets us know pretty much what Mr. Tang thinks about heraldry and coats of arms:

I have recently been awarded an honour for political services. I am told I can now apply to the College of Arms for a coat of arms. The King of Arms says this must include allusions and references to my life and achievements. My entire career has been in mergers and acquisitions, some of which worked and others which didn't. What do you suggest?

In modern life, when will you use your coat of arms? On your signet ring? A bit Sloaney, don't you think? For a seal in wax? "Shurely shome mishtake"! When you are a banker turned politician, I should keep piano about your honour, as there is a presumption of greed among bankers and disingenuousness among politicians. You will more likely become a symbol of contempt than admiration. Besides, it costs £8,000 to register a new coat of arms. That in itself should be sufficient reason for someone who is proud of their honour not to spend such an exorbitant sum to flaunt it.

His views are clearly different from my own on the topic. but I thought it worth sharing with you just to get another point of view on this subject.

To read Mr. Tang's opinion on this, and other topics (for example, eating sandwiches in public), please feel free to drop by the website of The Financial Times at

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Scottish Football and Heraldry, a Bit of Humor

Apropos of the recent articles about the controversy over Ayr United F.C. having to change its logo because of Scotland's heraldic laws, here's a cartoon from last April ( when the Airdrieonians F.C. were facing the same thing:

You know, under Scottish heraldic law, this could - in theory - happen! The Procurator Fiscal to Lyon Court has the authority to erase unwarranted arms, to "dash them furth of" stained glass windows, and to break unwarranted seals, or to seize movable goods and gear where unwarranted arms are found.

And that's how you enforce the laws of heraldry, by golly! At least in Scotland.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Scottish Football and Heraldry, continued

There were a couple of stories over the weekend about the continuing conflict of the logos of a number of Scottish football ("soccer" in American English; Britain and the United States; "two countries divided by a common language" (attributed to both Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw)) and Scottish heraldic law as enforced by the Office of the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

Naturally, you get the folks who think that "the law is unnecessary,"  and others on the other side who state that "Scotland probably has the best heraldry in the world ... I think that it is something that is worth preserving."

Ayr United, which has received a letter from the Procurator Fiscal, the enforcement arm of the Court of the Lord Lyon, is looking for local help in designing a new logo that will not infringe on the national symbols of Scotland (as the current logo, with the white saltire on the blue field, plainly does).

More information about this ongoing controversy can be found at BBC Sports at , The Daily Record at, and Who Ate All The Pies (and isn't that a great name for sports blog) at

Well, you know, just because a law is some 350 years old doesn't mean you can, or should, ignore it.

Though I have to admit, the fact that a fan of a rival football team turned Ayr United in to the Procurator Fiscal seems a bit petty. (It does make me wonder, of which team is that person a fan, and what does that team's logo look like?)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

And Now For Something Completely Different

Or, more strictly speaking, Australia's coat of arms' supporters on their day off. This is what they look like when they're at work:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Today, We Mourn With Paris

I do not have the words: Today we mourn for those who died, and we weep for the injured, in the City of Light, Paris.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Article About Oxford University Heraldry

I ran across an interesting article by John Tepper Marlin entitled "What's your blazon?" about the history of the coats of arms of Oxford University and a number of its constituent colleges.  Nicely illustrated, it's well worth a look by the heraldry enthusiast, particularly those with an interest in academic heraldry.

(This image is not from the article, but is an scan of an old postcard with the arms of the University and its colleges.)

You can find a .pdf of the article from Oxford Today at

Monday, November 9, 2015

A New Heraldry Meme

Saw this new meme* the other day on Facebook, and felt that I just had to share.  Enjoy!

* Meme: "A
n element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. A
humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users."


Thursday, November 5, 2015

I Just Can't Get Away From It

Heraldry, I mean.  It's everywhere I go, every place I look.

No, really!

I was back at work earlier this week after a week's "vacation."  At lunch time, I went into the break room to grab a bite before heading back to my desk.  And there, right on the counter, between the coffee maker and the sink, you'll never guess what I found.

That's right, some more heraldry.

This is a mug with the arms of Ursuline Academy on it, just sitting out there as bold as brass (well, okay, plastic, but still ...)  My guess at a blazon would be: Argent a cross and on a chief gules seven mullets in a representation of the constellation Ursa Major argent.

I had to go on-line (where the above image comes from) to look them up, since all of my children are beyond the ages for which I might be looking for schools for them.  "Ursuline Academy of Dallas is an independent Catholic college preparatory school for young women in grades 9-12."  And, I'm guessing, on of the attorneys at the law firm I work for has a daughter, or daughters, who attend there.  Hence my stumbling across heraldry while simply having lunch.

I know I've said it before, but it continues to be proven to me time and again: "You can find heraldry everywhere!"

Monday, November 2, 2015

Check Out This New Heraldic Website!

A short time ago I'd seen an article on-line about a "new website launched with heraldic database" that contains a lot of Hungarian civic heraldry: national, county, and local; historic and modern.

The article (which you can find on the website of Hungary Today at also noted that this new website and heraldic database is in contention for "Website of the Year 2015," so you know that it got my attention.

I finally got a few spare minutes to go over and check it out, and it was well worth the time!  I'll be going back there on a regular basis, just to look around and see what I can find there.  It will probably take me a while; there does seem to be an awful lot there!  This is going to be fun, and I'm really looking forward to it.

If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, and what they've put up on-line, please go visit the website Magyar Címerek at  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Another Cool Set of Redrawn Arms

The folks over at wappenwiki have finished and uploaded another set of redrawn coats of arms, this time from the Historia Anglorum by Mathew Paris.

As an example, here is Richard de Cornwall, Earl of Cornwall:

You can click on each coat of arms to see a larger image, and then there's a link from that image's page to the even larger original .svg file.

You might want to click on over there and take a look to see!  The link is:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Something I Just Have to Share!

It's always fun to have an heraldic artist do a depiction of one's coat of arms.  Plus, I always enjoy bragging on my friends.

Our (and I have to say "our"; I'm pretty sure he likes Jo Ann a bit more than me.  Not jealous, just a fact) friend Sunil Saigal, with whom we always enjoy getting together at the various International Congresses of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, is a very good heraldic artist, though his job doesn't always give him the time he'd like to devote to it, or any of his other hobbies for that matter.

Still, among other things, for his own pleasure he keeps a liber amicorum, literally a "book of friends," in which he draws their coat of arms and has them sign that page.  Then, as time allows and the inspiration strikes, he draws another copy of their arms for them.

I was thrilled a couple of weeks ago (the same day we were leaving for several days to visit my mother in Las Vegas, as it happened), I received a large envelope from him with a copy of my arms inside.

As I said, he's a very good heraldic artist.

The weekend after we got back from visiting my mother, I went off to one of the hobby and craft stores and purchased a picture frame and some mat board of an appropriate color.  (Yes, I have a mat cutter, and I'm not afraid to use it!)  So now his wonderful illustration of my coat of arms is up on the wall in my home office, and looking quite nice there, too!  (I may end up rearranging some of the heraldic items on the bookshelves below it for a better visual balance, but all in good time.)  The following are not the best photographs, having been taken with my cell phone, but should give you a good idea of this new splash of heraldic color on my office wall.

Thank you, Sunil!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

NFL Logos Reimagined As Heraldry

Am I the only one who thinks that all of this Game of Thrones stuff may have gotten out of hand? Yes?  Well, okay, I'll stop being annoyed by it.

Anyway, someone has reimagined all of the NFL team logos as Game of Thrones heraldry.  Here's a sampling of what he's done.

You can see all of the logos of the NFL teams reimagined as Game of Thrones sigils on-line at

Monday, October 19, 2015

Another Bit of Heraldic Serendipity

We were off in the wilds of southern Nevada last week, visiting my mother and other family members.  (We don't often go to the "fun" Las Vegas; we're always visiting the dusty, dirty, hot, desert town where my family lives.  Though they take up the same general geographic space, the two are not the same city.  For a good illustration of this dichotomy, please see Jo Ann's post about this trip at

Anyway, she needed to make a quick stop at her credit union to pull out a little spending money, and wouldn't you know it?  They had some heraldry displayed about the place for some kind of promotion they were having there.  (I didn't pay much attention to the promotion itself; she's a member, but I'm not, so I'm not their target market.)

I didn't have my camera with me, but if you've got a smart phone, you've always got a camera with you, so here's some slightly fuzzy shots of the heraldry on display there:

Proof once more that you can find heraldry of one sort or another everywhere!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The nice people (or person) behind the wappenwiki website have recently finished updating the site with drawings of all of the arms and banners on what is generally called the "Edward IV Roll."

This is a very long roll of the descent of Edward IV done on vellum and profusely illustrated, taking his ancestry all the way back to Adam and Eve and before them to God.

You can find high resolution images (in several sizes) of the various portions and some discussion about the Edward IV Roll on-line at the website of the Free Library of Philadelphia at

They even had a .jpg of the entire roll in a single image at 1/3 size linked from each page for the individual sections.

Anyway, as I was saying, wappenwiki has redrawings of all of the arms and banners from the Edward IV Roll, and they look to be well done.

Here, for example is the shield of Normandy, at reduced size (to fit into the limits of this blog space).

You can visit the page for yourself, and see larger sizes of the images by clicking on each one.  From the page that opens up with a larger image, you can get to an even larger vector image by clicking "Original" on that page.

Anyway, it's very well done, and I thought it too good not to share.  You can find the Edward IV Roll shields and banners on the wappenwiki page at

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Little Heraldic Levity

And some good advice, really.

There have been a lot of those "Keep Calm and ..." pictures floating about social media on the internet lately.  The other day I ran across this one, which I just couldn't resist sharing with you.

It's too bad I'm a herald and not an heraldic artist.  If I were, I think I'd have to buy one of these!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Found a "Two-Fer"

Well, that's what they call 'em down here in Texas.  A "two-fer" is when you find "two things for the price of one."  Even when, in this case, the "price" was "free."

Driving home from work the other day, I ended up behind a Cadillac (the upper of the two coats of arms in the picture below, a simplified version of the arms of Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, who helped found the city of Detroit, Michigan) which had a specialty license plate which bore the arms of the sorority Delta Sigma Theta.

And here's a clearer version of the sorority's arms (taking a photograph with a phone camera through the front windshield while stopped a traffic light is not the most ideal of conditions):

Anyway, I thought it was kind of cool.  I'd never seen the Delta Sigma Theta insignia before, and in conjunction with the Cadillac logo/arms, I just couldn't resist trying to get a shot and sharing it with you.

It was a two-fer.

Monday, October 5, 2015

And That Goes for the Coat of Arms, Too!

I ran across this the other day, and just couldn't resist sharing it with all of you.

(You're welcome.  I'll see myself out now.)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Another Academic Coat of Arms from Hong Kong

While I was searching on-line for a picture of the full coat of arms of Hong Kong University for the last post, I ran across this interesting shield:

It's the coat of arms/logo of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

I find that in some respects it reminds me of some of the arms granted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority to members of First Peoples tribes and people of Far Eastern ancestry living in Canada.

Anyway, I found it intriguing enough that I felt I just had to share it with you all.


Monday, September 28, 2015

A (Heraldically-Related) Tempest in Hong Kong

There is apparently a crisis of academic freedom at Hong Kong University.  In a recent (September 25, 2015) article about this crisis on the website of Hong Kong Free Press, writer Alvin Y.H. Cheung talks about what the University should stand for, and alludes to HKU's coat of arms to help make his point.

As he notes, "HKU's coat of arms - like all heraldry - is laden with symbolism."  He then discusses the shield, its colors and charges, and then its mottos (one on the shield in Chinese, the other on the ribbon below the shield in Latin), supporters, and crest, all as pointing to a fusion of East and West.

I find that his next to last paragraph is especially strong:

Perhaps the most important lesson to take from HKU's heraldry is that it represents a connection to university values and a wider tradition of learning. The very idea of a university - a self-governing body of teachers and students - shares its origins with heraldry, in Medieval Europe. The current debate over HKU's institutional autonomy - and the increasingly-overt signs of political interference with the process of appointments - represents a direct attack on all of the values embodied in the university coat of arms.

All in all, it's an interesting article, bringing to a 21st Century discussion of academic freedom an appreciation of a centuries old Western heraldic tradition and how the latter may apply to the former.

You can read the entire article on-line at

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some (More) Nice Armorial Silver

This time its a pair of George III ambassadorial silver plates, hallmarked 1813 by silversmith Paul Storr for Charles William Stewart, 1st Baron Stewart.

The plates are engraved with the Royal arms ...

and the arms of Lord Stewart ...

and were created on the occasion of his appointment as ambassador at Vienna on August 27, 1814.  The blazon for this Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Or a bend compony argent and azure between two lions rampant gules (Stewart); 2nd and 3rd, Azure [though the hatching appears to show gules] a saltire argent (Scotland), overall in fess point a crescent for difference. 

You can learn more about both this fine pair of plates and their owner Lord Stewart (later Lord Vane; he changed his name by Royal License following his marriage to his second wife, Frances Vane-Tempest, in order to secure her inheritance), along with a formal portrait of the man known by his admirers as "Fighting Charlie" and by his detractors as the "Golden Peacock," on the myfamilysilver blog at

And, of course, if you would like to own these plates yourself (they're listed at a mere £5,500), you can find more information, and add them to your cart, at

Monday, September 21, 2015

What Is It With Davids and Heraldry?

Is there something about the genetic makeup of people named David that brings them to an interest in heraldry?  Is there something about being named David that causes one to develop a liking for coats of arms?

Those are probably questions without any real answers, except maybe "no."  I don't know of anything about people whose given name is David which would lead them into this somewhat arcane field as an interest.

What brought on this particular musing was a recent (September 16, 2015) article on about Peterborough, Ontario, Canada resident David Rumball.  I know David from his membership and participation in the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, of which I am also a member.  However, I don't happen to live in Canada, so he gets to be a lot more active in the Society than I do.  Indeed, he just stepped down this year after a two-year tenure as the RHSC President.

I especially remember one of the annual RHSC meetings which I attended where Mr. Rumball, David Cvet (another past RHSC President) and I billed ourselves as "The Three Davids."  Ah, good times!

Anyway, it's a really nice article about a really great guy who just happens to share a given name and an interest in heraldry with little ol' me.  (That's a picture of him with the grant of his coat of arms from the Canadian Heraldic Authority above.)  If you'd like to know more about David Rumball, you can read the entire biographical article at

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Newly-Added Section of Links

In an effort to keep this blog as a hopefully relevant resource for heraldry enthusiasts, and seeing the tremendous response to a recent post about an old movie clip of the College of Arms, I have added a new section to the Links down the left-hand side of the blog page, entitled "Movie Clips About Heraldry."

At this point, they're all YouTube clips of varying length (the longest one is over half an hour, but most of them are between three and six minutes long) having to do with one or another aspect (or sometimes, several aspects) of heraldry.  Some feature acknowledged experts in the field (one is bits of a longer interview with Peter O'Donoghue when he was Bluemantle Pursuivant at the College of Arms; he has since become York Herald there), while others are done by enthusiastic amateurs. In any case, the ones I have added to this section are among the best that I have found to date.  (There were some that I thought not good enough to include.)  As I run across more, I will add them to this set of links. And, of course, if you know of a particularly good one that's available on-line, let me know and I will include it as well.

I hope that you find this set of links to movie clips about heraldry to be useful!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nice Trip, If You Can Afford It

The headline reads:

Custom-made Christian Louboutin shoes, a coat of arms and a giant doll's house modelled after your own home: The outrageous gifts on a £163,000 'bespoke-your-life tour' of Europe and Hurlington Travel are offering a first of its kind "bespoke your life" eighteen night tour of eight major European cities, with some seriously top of the line offerings, for one lucky couple who can afford the trip.

The one stop in all of their offerings that caught my eye, of course, was "In London, the couple will stay at The Savoy and visit the Earl Marshal’s Court to apply for the design and creation of their own coat of arms."

Mind you, if you don't want to do the whole trip, the College of Arms will grant an individual coat of arms for only £5,550 (or, I suspect, £11,100 for a couple), which is a lot less than the £163,000 (US$250,000) for the whole trip.  But then, of course, you'd be missing out on such things as the luxury accommodations, the one-of-a-kind gown by Givenchy, and the doll house based on your own home.

If you think that you'd like to learn more about this "bespoke your life" trip before just rushing out willy-nilly to sign up for it, you can read the article about it on the Travel News page of at

But don't say I didn't warn you about the price!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Heraldic Shields Created by Boy Scouts

A nicely-illustrated article from last Sunday, September 6, on the website of East Grinstead Online discusses the carved and painted shields on the pew ends at St. Swithun's Church there.

According to the article, a 1946 Guide to St. Swithun's says: "Shields of old-time Sussex families, carved by East Grinstead Boy Scouts, are fixed to the pew ends."  The 1975 Guide adds that the shields were the work of the Boy Scouts in the 1930s under Dr. Spencer Lewis Walker.

Dr. Walker was a local GP who began his practice in East Grinstead in 1910 and became the Scoutmaster of the newly-formed Boy Scouts until 1947.  He died in 1967 at the age of 89.

The article goes on to discuss some of the rules of heraldry, and a little more about the history of the shields in St. Swithun's.

You can see the whole article, with additional photographs, on the website of East Grinstead Online at

What a great way to commemorate the local armigerous families there!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Next Time You Visit France

Something to keep in mind the next time you go to visit France -- I ran across an article about a Museum of Heraldry in the little town of St-Jean-de-Valériscle, NNW of Nimes (from whence comes our "denim," or "serge de Nimes") and NW of Avignon.

Regis Germain has created a collection of 1,200 depictions of coats of arms for the Museum, which is open to the public Sunday through Thursday of each week, with guided tours several times each of those days.

So if you are ever in the area, you might decide to stop by and take a look at the massive displays of heraldry there.

You can find an article (in French) about the Museum of Heraldry and a bit of its history on the website of Midi Libre at,1198480.php

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Some Results of Research on Arms on Heraldic Shirt

Well, I've had the time to do some research on the latest of my heraldic shirt acquisitions.

The results were surprisingly better than I had expected.  But, to report things in order:

All of the coronets on these arms were that of an English earl.  No dukes, no marquesses, no viscounts, no barons.  My immediate thought was that they were probably spurious.

The coats of arms themselves are not really, as I had initially suspected, entirely bogus.  They do appear to be examples of actual arms, though in many cases the tinctures are changed (for example, one of the coats, labeled Landaff, would be blazoned Gules a lion rampant sable; a search on the internet for the Welsh motto with it came up with a coat of arms for Williams, Sable a lion rampant sable), and the text underneath them appears to refer to a place rather than the surname of the armiger.  And, of course, the coronet and supporters in many cases are inappropriate to the rank of the armiger.  Still, there was success in tracking some of them down.  To keep from boring you too much, I will give only a couple more examples.

One of the coats, labeled with what looks like the name Dabon or Badon, would be blazoned Argent on a bend azure three escallops argent.  (Well, except for a few places on the shirt, where the field was Gules, leading initially to some confusion on my part.  You can see both versions on the picture of the shirt above, one just below the collar buttonhole, and the other on the collar above and to the right.)  I could not find that name in Burke's General Armory.  The motto with the arms on the shirt, Virtus probata florebit (Proved virtue will flourish), was identified by Fairbairn's Crests as that of Bernard and Bernard-Beamish.  Looking up Bernard in Burke's, I found "Bernard (Earl of Bandon). Ar[gent] on a bend az[ure] three escallops of the field.  Crest - A demi lion ar[gent] holding a snake p[ro]p[e]r.  Supporters - Dexter, a stag; sinister, an unicorn, both ar[gent] each ducally gorged and chained or. Motto - Virtus probata florebit."  On the shirt the unicorn is lacking its horn (though it has its horn in the color on color depiction), and the stag is proper, or brown, but everything else matches up.

In another case, the arms on the shirt labeled Donoughnare or Donoughnore (as near as I can make out the small script), which I would blazon as Per pale gules and azure, a lion rampant argent within an orle of eight crosses (crosslet/bottony) or, I recognized from my earlier work on The Gore Roll ( as the arms of Hutchinson, Per pale gules and azure a lion argent within an orle of ten crosses crosslet or.

And sure enough, the arms appear in Burke under Hutchinson as Per pale gules and azure a lion rampant argent between eight crosses crosslet or.  (The number of crosses around the lion varies a bit; the seal used by the Hutchinsons in 18th Century Boston has only seven crosses crosslet around the lion.)  The crest on the arms on the shirt and on the Hutchinson arms is a cockatrice.  The supporters on the shirt (which do not appear on the Hutchinson arms in any other source) are a pair of cockatrices.

The motto with the arms on the shirt, Fortiter gerit crucem (He bears the cross bravely) is that of Allan of Blackwell Grange per Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, while Fairbairn ascribes it to: Allan, Hely-Hutchinson, Hutchinson, Lawrence, M'Hutcheon, and Trittou.

So, despite the attribution on the shirt, and the addition of the coronet and supporters, the coat of arms itself, with the crest and motto, would pretty clearly belong to Hutchinson.

Not huge results for an hour or so of poring through the reference books (and pulling out the magnifying glass to try to read the names and mottos on the shirt; apparently my eyes aren't any younger than the rest of me!), but still an interesting search on this new heraldic acquisition.