An uncle of mine by marriage, who was a very distinguished historian, once asked me, when I was a young man, whether I was interested in Heraldry. I said that I was not. ‘I'm glad of that,” he said, “heraldry strikes me as being for a historian about on the same level of interest as stamp collecting.” – Maurice Keen, in the Preface to Origins of the English Gentleman
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
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 o...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Monday, January 7, 2019
A Totally Unexpected Coat of Arms in France
Going back to our hotel in Arras, France at the end of day circumambulating (I hardly ever get to use that word in everyday conversation!) a couple of the nearby squares, I noticed an unexpected addition to the large diamond that marked the Hotel Diamant, our "headquarters" during our time there:
See the white rectangle with the black shield shape on it there?
I have to assume that someone, probably someone fairly tall, had jumped up pretty high to place that sticker there, or they had borrowed a chair from a nearby café to stand on to do it.
In any event, looking closer to see what arms had been placed there, I was very much surprised to discover that it was from England!
It is the arms (well, okay, arms-like logo) of the Maidstone United Football Club of Maidstone, Kent, UK.
If I had to blazon the logo (which is also found at the top of the team's website at http://www.maidstoneunited.co.uk/), I'd make it: Sable a fess wavy between three footballs* or on a chief sable a lion passant also or, the whole surmounted by the letters M U F C in gold on a black background.
Whatever the arguments that may be made as to how well - or not - the design follows good heraldic practice, it was most certainly not something that I would have expected to see in northeastern France.
* Over here in a America we would call these "soccer balls," since American "footballs" aren't round, but more like a pointed oval. Indeed, some have suggested that we in the U.S. should change the name of the sport to better align some of these differences with reality: