Monday, August 29, 2016

This Was Too Good Not to Share

As some of you may know, we recently attended the International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences held in Glasgow, Scotland, August 10-12. We also remained afterwards for the guided tours: around Glasgow; Ayrshire; West Lothian; and the Isle of Bute (one day each).

I'll be posting pictures of the heraldry that we saw there, but it may take a little while. It's not all that fast to review some 5,000 photographs, weed out the duplicates, remove the slightly out of focus ones, crop and straighten, and then write something that describes the remainder: what, where, whose, etc. (I mean, sure, I could just upload a bunch of photographs of heraldry, but without some selection and description, it just turns into "come see our vacation slides." And who really wants to do that?

So I'll get to them (as of this writing, I've been going through and making the initial sorts for several days now) and get them posted, but in the meantime:

Jo got the following photograph of me waiting in one of the rooms at Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute.  I'd made it my profile picture on Facebook, and then Mark Anthony Henderson commented on it:

And now it's time for Masterpiece Heraldry Theatre with your distinguished host, David Appleton.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Don't Get Her Started!

Don't get her started, because you just know that her motto is: "Nothing succeeds like excess."

Or, more correctly, when you tell your Mom one time that you like eagles.

Image on page 184 verso from the Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (Codex Manesse) (ca1300-ca1340) (Cod Pal germ 848), a fully digitized copy of which can be found (for review or download) on-line at:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Someone Is Really Missing an Opportunity Here!

We have very recently returned from Glasgow, Scotland, where we attended in this year's Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences. (Posts and pictures will follow, but it may take a little while. I took over 2,000 pictures there - admittedly, many of them duplicates because sometimes the first shot with a digital camera is a little fuzzy - and I have no idea how many Jo Ann took, but she normally exceeds my total.)

But I had hoped to find - and spent a lot of time looking for - souvenirs with the Glasgow city coat of arms. You know, the usual sort of things: keychains, lapel pins, tee shirts, baseball caps.

Results: Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Closest to something armorial along those lines was this little item:

It's nice and all that, and I expect to wear it periodically for quite some time, but to modify a quote from the movie Star Wars, "This isn't the heraldry you're looking for." Sure, the flag on the left has the royal arms of Scotland, but placed on a flag/banner.

(Well, to be completely honest, I did see a football (for my American readers, "soccer") jersey with the royal arms of Scotland on a shield on the left chest and the word "Scotland" vertically in the lower right side, but the line in the store was very long, and it was becoming close to time to board our plane, so I chose not to buy it.)

On the other hand, changing planes in Philadelphia on our way home to Texas, I did, as I try to do every time I fly anywhere, check in the gift and souvenir shops at the airport to see if there was anything armorial in them. And sure enough ...

I found a cap (not too unlike the one I picked up in Washington, DC when we were there in November 2014; you can find my post about that at with the arms of the United States on it, along with the totally incorrect "Commander In Chief" in the surround, and "The Oval Office" (also not really correct; "The White House," maybe, but not the Office) on the brim. It also had, as you can see, the American flag on the side.

None of this has anything to do with Philadelphia, I might add. Washington, DC, yes; Philadelphia, not so much.

And I also found this:

Another baseball cap with the arms of the U.S. Air Force on it, not once, but twice! (It's hard to tell in the picture here, but the base of the shield is nebuly, representing a cloud.)

(The shop also had caps with the logos/insignia of the other major service branches, but not their arms.)

And, again, there was not a real connection to the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

So I think the City of Glasgow is missing an opportunity, in that nowhere in Glasgow (or the other parts of Scotland we got to visit on this trip) could I find anything with their arms on them. And yet, in Philadelphia, I was able to find two souvenir items with heraldry, even though the arms had nothing really to do with the city.

So I've added three new caps to my heraldic cap collection, but none of them has the arms of the City of Glasgow, which I had hoped to find on this trip.

Come on, Glasgow! You're missing an opportunity to make some money off the tourist trade here.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Your Coat of Arms Should Say Something About You

But maybe it shouldn't be quite this direct.

For mottos, too, some discretion might be "the better part of valor:"

Monday, August 15, 2016

Would This Explain It?

Could this be a reason for all of the maiden's heads, breasts distilling milk drops (yes, I'm talking about you, Dodge!*), and bare-breasted mermaids and melusines (and even harpies) that can be found in heraldry?

Distract 'em and hit 'em. That's the way to win a battle.

* The arms of Dodge of county Kent, Slopworth county Chester, county Suffolk, and Mannington county Norfolk, are Barry of six or and sable on a pale gules a breast distilling drops of milk proper. (Burke's General Armory seems to have bowdlerized the charges on the pale to "an eye argent weeping and dropping or," but you can see from this depiction from 1880 that the charge on the pale is most definitely not and "eye.")

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What Is A "Coat of Arms"?

The term "coat of arms" has a number of definitions:

"A surcoat or tabard embroidered with heraldic devices, worn by medieval knights over their armor."

"A unique heraldic design on an escutcheon (i.e. shield), surcoat, or tabard."

"A shield with symbols and figures that represent a family, person, a group or other organization."

And then there are these "definitions":

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why Don't I Find Something Like This When _I_ Go Shopping?

I recently ran across an article I hadn't seen before about an old heraldic roll of arms that had been found in a London antique shop on Portobello Road.

The roll, four inches wide by fifteen feet long, has been dated to around 1584 and contains 42 coats of arms: eleven owners of Ludlow Castle between 1085 and 1570, nine Presidents of the Council of Wales and the Marches from 1478 to 1570, and twenty-two members of the Council in 1570. The arms include those of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth I.

It is believed to have been commissioned by Sir Henry Sidney, Lord President of the Council of Wales and the Marches.

The town is hoping to purchase the scroll, preserve and restore it, and put it on display where you, and I, can go see it the next time you, or I, are in the area.

You can read more about this find in an April 1, 2016 article entitled "Important Ludlow historical find" on the website of the Hereford Times at

But still I ask, why is it that I don't seem to find really cool heraldic stuff like this when I go shopping?

Monday, August 1, 2016

It's NOT a "Crest"!

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

It's just that while trying to read this really great story from last week, they (or, at least, writer Christy Parker) kept referring to this ship's badge as a "crest," which it isn't, and it just kept raising my blood pressure every time they referred to it as that. (And they did so a lot in this story.)

Anyway, the good news is that one (of two known examples) of the ship's badge of the Maltese heritage site Fort St. Angelo, one of two such forts designated as "stone frigates" by the Royal Navy, has been found in Ireland and is being returned to Malta to the naval museum there.

Fort St. Angelo was classified as HMS Edgmont in 1912, and became HMS St. Angelo in 1933. The fort became the property of Malta in 1979 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The metal casting of the badge (mounted, as you can see above, on a wooden plaque) was created shortly before or during WWII. It was discovered in an antique chest of drawers brought from England to south Tipperary by a returning emigrant, and remained there for some twenty years. Then Michael Faul, an inspector of fisheries, acquired it and it sat in his garage for another 25 years. From him it passed to David Cooley (on the right in the photo above), who three years later asked local businessman Hugh Carson to research its history.

On learning of its origins, it was determined to return the ship's badge to Malta, which is being done now through the offices of the Irish Navy on the ship LÉ James Joyce.

It's a great story, the repatriation of an historical piece of heraldry to the place where it belongs. I just wish they'd not called it a "crest" so many times.

You can read the whole July 26, 2016 story on-line at the website of the Irish Examiner at

Just take your blood pressure medication first!