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.


  1. Hi David,

    My name is Corey Meyer and I am a descendant of Bernard Hutchinson through Richard Hutchinson who came to New England in 1634. My understanding is that heraldry is associated with Bernard Hutchinson of Cowlam England around 1280 to the 1330s. Any help you can give me on this coat of arms would be greatly appreciated.



    1. Hi, Corey!

      A number of different branches of the Hutchinson family have used this coat of arms, though I have not found any evidence of its use in either the four-volume Dictionary of British Arms (sometimes called the "New Papworth", an ordinary of British medieval arms), nor in the four-volume companion set, Heraldic Badges in England and Wales.

      These arms do appear in Burke's General Armory: Hutchinson (co. Lincoln; borne by Bingham Hutchinson, Esq., descendent of William Hutchinson, who emigrated, in 1633, from the neighbourhood of Boston, co. Lincoln and became one of the founder of Boston in America, where the family continued, holding offices of trust and importance until the American revolution in 1776, when the great-grandfather of the present Bingham Hutchinson, being Governor of Massachusetts, lost through his fidelity to the crown, all his estates in America, and the family returned to England). Per pale gules and azure semy of crosses crosslet or, a lion rampant argent armed and langued or. Crest—A cockatrice azure crested, jelloped, and armed gules issuing out of a ducal crown or.

      And they also appear in two of the heralds' visitation of the 17th century:

      There is the pedigree of the Hutchinson of Owthorpe (mostly undated, but the most recent generation was born 1614) in the heralds’ Visitation of Nottingham, 1569 and 1614, pp. 115-116. This volume can be downloaded from Google Books.

      There is also the pedigree of Hutchenson of Wickham in the heralds’ Visitation of York, 1665-1666, p. 83.

      And, of course, the arms appear three times in the Gore roll of arms, created in Boston, Massachusetts, in the early and middle 1700s, in the persons of Elisha Hutchison (son of William Hutchinson, and grandson of William Hutchinson); Eliakim Hutchinson (b. 1639 in London, the son of Richard "Ironmonger" Hutchinsom, and d. 1717 in Boston, Massachusetts); and William Hutchinson, son of Eliakim.

      I hope that this information is helpful to you.


    2. David,

      Thanks for the reply. Interesting information. My understanding is that Richard Hutchinson came to New England in 1634 and came from the Nottingham region of England. And the place name of Owthorpe sounds familiar. What does "the herald's visitation to Nottingham mean?

      Thanks for your help...


    3. For more information about the heralds' visitations, which took place in England from 1530 to 1688, see

  2. Here are two links to images of the book Hutchinson's Of Salem.

    Is there anywhere or way to find out more about Bernard Hutchinson who was given arms by Edward I?

    1. There is far more information about Barnard Hutchinson in Vol. 22 of the New England Historic and Genealogical Register and in the Life of Col. John Hutchinson (publ. 1806) than I would ever be able to find for you. Those would be the places to look.

      There is no evidence that I can find that King Edward I gave or granted arms to Bernard Hutchinson. Most coats of arms at that time were self-assumed. It wasn't until the time of Henry V that the crown began to restrict the granting and use of heraldry. That Barnard Hutchinson is said to have been "denominated Esquire (or 'Armiger')" is only indicative that he used a coat of arms, not that it was granted to him by the monarch.

    2. David,

      Thanks for the clarification and help. Much appreciated.