Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Brass Memorial to a Peer

The second brass memorial to share from St. Margaret's Chapel in Westminster was this one:

Sacred to the memory of
the Right Honourable
Charles Shaw-Lefevre P.C. G.C.B. D.C.L. L.L.D.
of Heckfield Place in the County of Southampton,
for nearly 18 years Speaker of the House of Commons.
Upon his retirement from the Chair in 1857,
he was elevated to the Peerage by the title
Viscount Eversley.
His Lordship was High Steward of Winchester,
Captain General and Governor of the Isle of Wight,
and A.D.C. to the Queen.
He died Decr 28, 1888, in the ninety fifth year of his age,
when the title became extinct.

These arms are found in Burke's General Armory and are given as follows:

Shaw-Lefevre (Viscount Eversley). Sable a chevron between two trefoils slipped in chief argent and a bezant in base issuant therefrom a cross paty or. (This last charge is more generally, and succinctly, blazoned a mound. Franklyn and Tanner, in their An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Heraldry, give the following: mound: [M.E.] lit. the earth; hence, the regal orb; hence, a representation of this: always equatorially banded with a rising demi-meridian ensigned with a cross paty.) Crest: Six arrows interlaced saltirewise three and three proper with an annulet or. Supporters: On eigher side a talbot, that on the dexter gules on the sinister sable each charged on the shoulder with a mace erect gold. Motto: Sans changer (Without changing).

Charles Shaw-Lefevre, Viscount Eversley, 1794-1888, has an entry amounting to a full page in the Dictionary of National Biography (,_Charles_(DNB00)), which discusses his career in some detail, as well as informing us that he married in 1817 Emma Laura Whitbread, the daughter of Samuel Whitbread M.P. for Bedford. She died in 1857. They had six children: three sons, all of whom died young; and three daughters. It was the death of the male heirs which caused the extinction of the title upon the death of Charles in 1888.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Some Heraldry in St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster, London

On the other side of the street behind the Houses of Parliament in London, and standing next to Westminster Abbey, is the (comparatively) little chapel of St. Margaret's.

You can often see St. Margaret's in flyover pictures of the Houses of Parliament with the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the bell known as Big Ben, and of Westminster Abbey. In the photograph here, St. Margaret's is the white building with the attached tower right next to the two red double-decker buses. So you can see how it can often be overlooked, as people generally are much more interested in the two major landmarks between which it is sandwiched and by which it is dwarfed.

We were there (putting off our visit to the Abbey for earlier another day, when the line to get in was shorter) because it happens that I have a familial relation to St. Margaret's. A couple of my 11th great-grandparents (John Bray and Margaret Haslonde) were married and buried at St. Margaret's, and their daughter (Mary Bray) was baptized, married, and she and her husband Thomas Whitney (my 10th great-grandparents) were buried there. So you can see that I had a Very Good Reason™ for visiting.

St. Margaret's Chapel was founded not too long after the establishment of the Abbey next door because, as the website of the Chapel notes, "as the monks of the newly-founded monastery of St. Peter in Westminster were disturbed by the people of Westminster who came to hear Mass. So the monks set about building a smaller church next to the Abbey where the local people could receive all the sacraments and ministrations of the Church, thus leaving the monks in the Abbey undisturbed. The church was dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch about whom little is known, though her cult was extremely popular in the middle ages."

While we were there, soaking up the atmosphere of this church where some of my ancestors were baptized, married, and were buried, I (naturally enough) noticed a lot of heraldic memorials in the chapel, and over the next few posts, I will share some of these with you. (Not all of them, by any means. I had photographed less than half of the building when I was asked to stop photographing memorials, and it was only then that I saw the small sign that requested people not take pictures. I don't think it is strictly enforced; there were a lot of cell phones and cameras taking pictures. I think I probably just exceeded their limit. So when I was asked to stop, I stopped. But since I wasn't asked to delete the ones I had already taken, I feel that I can share them with you here in this non-commercial setting.)

So, to begin, let's start with a couple of brass memorials. Here's the first one:

In Memory of
Thomas John Estall,
son of Thomas and Sophia Estall,
died April 7th 1816, aged 15 months,
Sophia Estall, mother of the above,
died January 9th 1831, aged 38 years,
Alfred Charles Estall,
died March the 30th 1835 aged 9 years,
and Thomas Estall, husband of the above,
who died December 10th 1835, aged 47 years.

The arms are hatched, so a blazon would be: Azure three estoiles or on a chief gules a lion passant argent. The crest is: A lion passant argent maintaining in his dexter forepaw an estoile [or]. The motto beneath the shield is: Vi et arte (By strength and art).

I was entirely unable to find these arms in Burke's General Armory, or in Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials, nor have I found the crest in Fairbairn's Crests, and the motto cited in Fairbairn's is attributed only to Chisholm, Ferguson, and Stevens. No Estall.

However, after bit more research, I found the following in the Armorial général des registres de la noblesse de France by d'Hozier (1867): "D'Estelle, en Provence. Jean-Baptiste-André d'Estelle, écuyer, justifie sa filiation depuis. Nobel Jean-André d'Estelle, commissaire d'artillerie (1531). Seigneurie de la Plage d'Aren." The blazon given there for the arms would be translated as: Azure three estoiles or on a chief azure a lion passant argent.

So I think it's safe to say that the family was originally French, though I cannot do more than speculate as to how they came to England, or when, or why they are memorialized in St. Margaret's Chapel in the heart of London, England.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Wow! I Hadn't Realized I Had Missed Sharing These.

You know how it is, you are just going along and living your life and getting stuff done and making progress on some of your to-do projects, and then something happens that throws you completely off track, and by the time you're back on your feet you've completely forgotten about where you were and what you were going to do, and so you've skipped entirely something? And a few years later, you run across the fact that you have completely spaced on something and now you have to go back and begin again?

Yeah, that's never happened to me, either.

Well, maybe once.

Way back in March 2015, I had posted that I was going to be taking a short leave of absence from posting owing to breaking my ankle in the yard here ("I fought the yard, and the yard won") because, among other things, it had become very difficult to get upstairs and sit at my computer. (See my post of March 27, 2015 at for more details on this "incident" which has had such an effect as to blot from my mind some of the posts I was going to create back then.)

In any case, that hiatus interrupted a somewhat slapdash series I had been doing on the heraldry I had photographed in and around London, England in the fall of 2014. And in the process of doing another big project (I've decided to try to organize many of my photos of heraldry taken over the years into a single folder on my computer that amounts in essence to an armorial of coats of arms that I have seen and photographed), I discovered that I had, in fact, failed to continue that series of posts of heraldry found in and around London.

So here I am, three years later, finally taking up pen (keyboard?) in hand and writing about some of the coats of arms that I can identify (and then adding them to my folder of "heraldry I have seen").

So to begin anew:

We started out early one morning to visit a specific church in the City of Westminster.

The arms of the City of Westminster in London are not to be confused with the arms of Westminster Abbey, which is located in the City of Westminster, which latter can be found on a sign outside the Abbey:

No, the arms of the City of Westminster, though they also contain "on a chief [an x] between two roses" are, as you can see, quite different:

Here (above) they are as depicted on the wall of the City Archives ...

And here, drawn in a very modern rendering on a temporary wall around a construction site. (I have cropped out the words "Welcome to Westminster" that were also on the sign.)

And, frankly, it is examples like these two depictions, classic and modern, that I like to use when I see people arguing to replace an "outdated" coat of arms with a modern logo, as a way to demonstrate how heraldry is not a static art, and that a coat of arms can be updated to appeal to new tastes without tossing the arms into the dustbin of history to be replaced by something completely different, which itself may have a short shelf-life and itself need to be replaced in just a very few years.

Anyway, "Welcome to Westminster!" I hope that you will enjoy the next several posts of some of the heraldry to be found there.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Why Is the Coat of Arms on the High Court in Canberra, Australia, Incorrect?

That's the question asked by ABC Net Australia News about this image:

Admittedly, most folks wouldn't notice the issue. Do you?

Go ahead, I'll give you a little space to see what you notice.

All done? Did you notice the the supporters of the arms - a kangaroo and an emu - are actually not supporting the arms?

Indeed, they are not even touching the shield.

Not that non-supporting supporters are necessarily a new thing; witness the following examples of supporters not supporting the shield, all from England drawn in the late 1700s:

So, as I say, it's not necessarily a new thing, although in none of these earlier examples do we have both supporters not even touching the shield at all.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting article, containing some interesting history and some just as interesting opinions, and thought I should share!

You can find the full article, with more pictures of other examples of the Australian arms and its supporters, on-line at


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Heraldic Controversy in Scotland: A Follow-Up

In a post on May 24 (, I'd discussed an issue between the Craigie Primary School in Perth, Scotland, and the office of the Lord Lyon King of Arms. This controversy centered around the armorial badge/logo used by the school:

Well, there have been some new developments, and apparently there has been a lot of exaggeration and hypersensitivity about this school badge vis-a-vis the Lord Lyon (I am shocked, Shocked!, I say, to find that the press has blown this issue all out of proportion), and that now, perhaps, cooler heads will prevail.

In a letter to Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, the Lord Lyon's office said: "Be it extremely clear to you or to any constituents who are parents, at no time was any enforcement of the law discussed, only information given about what the present situation was. [It is] an exaggerated story which has captured some people's imagination but not based on the reality of how these matters are dealt with within a modern Scotland."

In his letter, he added he will also visit the school himself to explain his role and the heraldic laws to the pupils.

The letter continued: "[Lord Lyon] would be grateful if [Mr Wishart] would pass this on to the parents concerned, that there is no question of me being in any dispute with the school or the pupils of the school, who I hope to visit personally before the summer break to explain my role to them directly. In my view the matter has been dealt with disproportionately in relation to the issue at stake but I am clear that this does not start in my office, but simply has been based on misinformation about what has gone on."

Parents had set up an online petition to the UK Government in response to the heraldic dispute. The petition aims to make primary and small schools exempt from the Lord Lyon King of Arms Act of 1672.

Anyway, at least for the foreseeable future, the school will be able to continue using its badge, and Dr. Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms, will visit the school and do a little educating about heraldry and heraldic enforcement in Scotland in the 21st Century.

You can see more about this new development on-line at and

Monday, June 4, 2018

It Seems That The Internet Will Just Not Shut Up About This

Okay, this is starting to get pretty ridiculous.

As I posted on May 25 (, the coat of arms for the new Duchess of Sussex had been announced, ending a lot of speculation about what they would look like and to whom they would be granted. I thought that that announcement would end the speculation and controversy.

Boy, was I wrong!

Coat of Arms

People are complaining about the coronet around the neck of her songbird supporter. (

Some are complaining that the arms should have been granted to her father instead. (

The Duchess's half-sister complains that the arms "looks like it was drawn by someone in a kindergarten classroom." (

And then there's this article, whose title says, well actually, overstates, it all: "Meghan Markle's coat of arms is the biggest design crime of 2018." (And to borrow a line from the movie City Slickers, "Year ain't over yet.")

And don't even get me started on some of the comments to be found with some of those articles, and in the on-line groups on some of the social media, like Facebook!

"But couldn't Thomas Markle use his daughter's arms by courtesy, differenced by a label enarched of one point, as described by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney while Lord Lyon?" (Short answer: No. As one commenter put it so well, "what happens in the northern kingdom has no relevance to what happens in Queen Victoria Street." In other words, the College of Arms - on Queen Victoria Street in London - is not bound by the statement of a herald in a different heraldic jurisdiction, in this case, Scotland.)

"Birds as supporters almost always look ridiculous and this, sadly, is no exception."

"The rationale seems a bit underwhelming. 'I value sun rays, Pacific water, and the power of communication' seems like a dating profile. Feels almost civic."

And many discussions about how good/bad/indifferent the official blazon of the arms is.

Do I have my own quibbles with the Duchess's coat of arms? Yes, I do, but they all pretty much relate to the specific depiction as released by Kensington Palace as created by the College of Arms, and I suspect that if the artists had had more time to create the image, all or most of my minor quibbles would have been addressed. And they still could be, in future renditions, as the coat of arms is not a trademarked logo, and so it doesn't have to slavishly match the original depiction every single time.

And finally, as another commenter on a completely different conversation on Facebook noted the other day, 

I suggest we move on to something more substantive, like over-interpreting the social and political significance of the Duchess of Sussex's arms. 

Good advice, I think.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Final Post from Our Trip Through Scotland

Following our visit to the Isle of Bute on the final day of our three-day heraldic tour around Glasgow and environs, we stopped for a final dinner in Greenock, Scotland.

As the bus pulled up to the small restaurant, I saw a house a few doors down with some heraldry on its facade. So naturally, while everyone else was getting off the bus and walking to the restaurant, I trotted down the street to grab a couple of quick photographs before joining them.

This photograph was taken from across the street, and gives you an overview of the view I had from the bus as we were pulling up.

The arms over the doorway are fairly complex: six quarters, with the second one being grand-quartered, with two crests and two mottoes. (You can click on the picture above to see a larger image that shows these arms in greater detail.)

My rough blazon of the arms, based on the visible hatching, is: Quarterly of six: 1, Or a fess checky azure and or overall a lion rampant [Stewart]; 2, Quarterly, i and iv, Gules a fess ermine [or perhaps, on a fess some indeterminate charges?], ii and iii, Azure a chevron between three crosses paty; 3, Gules three covered cups; 4, Or three bird’s heads erased a bordure azure; 5, Or a chevron checky between three martlets; 6, Or a bend sable between a stag’s head and a hunting horn.

The crests on either side of the helmet are: (1) A lion’s head erased; and (2) A demi-wild man affronty wreathed about the loins bearing a club in his dexter hand over his shoulder.

The mottos beneath the supporters are: (1) Spero meliora; and (2) I mean well.

 The supporters are: (Dexter) A lion rampant gardant; and (Sinister) A wild man wreathed about the loins.

Below the shield can be seen hanging from a ribbon the badge of a baronet of Nova Scotia, encircled with the motto of that order: Honestæ gloria fax mentis.

Doing some research in the Lyon Ordinary and Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials, I found the following identifications in each of the quarters (in order):

1. We have seen these arms before, at Glasgow Cathedral, about which I posted on September 19, 2016, at  They are the arms of Stewart of Blackhall, Or a fess checky azure and or overall a lion rampant gules.

2. The first and second quarters may be Craufurd of Craufurdland: Gules a fess ermine. (Seen in our posts about Crafurdland Castle, and The second and third quarters are Barclay of Pearston, Azure a chevron between three crosses paty or.

3. Shaw of Greenock: Azure three covered cups or.

4. Stewart-Nicolson of Carnock, Or three falcon’s heads erased gules beaked sable within a bordure azure. (3d quarter)

5. There are two possibilities here: Houstoun of Calderhall, Or a chevron checky sable and argent between three martlets sable; and Houstoun of Johnstone, Or a chevron checky azure and argent between three martlets sable beaked gules.

6. Porterfield of that Ilk. Or a bend between a stag’s head erased and a hunting horn sable garnished gules.

Burke's Peerage gives the arms of Shaw-Stewart of Greenock and Blackhall as quarterly of four: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or a fess checky azure and argent overall a lion rampant gules (Stewart of Blackhall); 2 and 3, Azure three covered cups or (Shaw of Greenock). Crests: 1, A lion’s head erased gules armed and langued azure; 2, A demi-savage wreathed about the head and middle with laurel and holding a club over his shoulder proper. Supporters: Dexter, A lion rampant gules armed and langued azure gorged with a collar checky argent and azure; Sinister, A savage wreathed round the head and middle with laurel leaves and holding a club over his shoulder all proper. Mottos: Spero meliora (I hope for better things) and I mean well.

The other, less ornate, coat of arms seen on the house, was this one:

Three covered cups. Though not hatched, they are presumably are the pronomial arms of Shaw of Greenock: Azure three covered cups or.

Of the other inscriptions on the plaque, we see: MRSS. and 1886.

MRSS. is the initials of Sir Michael Robert Shaw-Stewart, 7th Baronet ((1826-1903). And I'm guessing that 1886 is the date of the erection of the house, as I didn't see any other significant dates (births, marriages, etc.) in the history of the family given in Burke that matched this year.

Still and all, what a great couple of pieces of heraldic serendipity on which to end three days of touring heraldic Scotland!

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Final Post About Mount Stuart

Mount Stuart is a beautiful home on the Isle of Bute, but I have discovered that even just posting about the heraldry in it, as I have been doing these several weeks, can put my brain into the same kind of "heraldry overload" that I was in while on our tour of the house.

Is there more heraldry there that I have photographed and could research to tell you about? Yes. And i have the photographs to prove it.

But like I said, I'm into heraldry overload once again, and frankly, there's not a whole lot that you will have missed out on by my ending my posts about Mount Stuart here.

So for my final post about this house, I'll simply share the armorial stained glass windows in one of the main stairwells, containing a number of coats of arms that you've seen before in some of my earlier posts about the heraldry in Mount Stuart, and next time we'll move on to something else.

But I must say before I do: Wouldn't you love to have some windows like these in your own homes to help light your way up and down the stairs?

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Waiting Is Over!

Well, all of the discussion and waiting and arguing and hypothesizing is finally over. (Yes, I've pretty much stayed out of the discussion to this point. I knew that it was all in vain until the College of Arms did its work. That's why you've not seen any discussion of the possible coat of arms for Meghan Markle, the newly-married Duchess of Sussex.)

Kensington Palace announced this morning the new coat of arms which has been assigned to HRH the Duchess of Sussex.

No automatic alt text available.

Adopted: 25 May 2018

Coronet: Coronet of a child of the Heir Apparent

Quarterly 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langed Azure (England), 2nd Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory counterflory of the second (Scotland), 3rd Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (Ireland), the whole differenced differenced by a Label of five points Argent, the first, third and fifth points charged with an Escallop Gules (Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex); Impaled with a shield Azure a Feather bendwise Argent quilled between two Bendlets Or all between two like Feathers Argent quilled Or (Duchess of Sussex).

To the dexter the Lion as borne and used as a Supporter by the Duke of Sussex and to the sinister a Songbird Argent unguled and gorged with a Coronet of a grandson of the Sovereign. The songbird is white (argent) and and has about its neck (is gorged with) the Duke of Sussex's coronet. Both the claws and coronet are gold (Or).

Of grass proper growing therefrom golden poppies and wintersweet both flowering proper.

The blue backgrounds of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess's home state. The three quills represent communication and the power of words. Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace. The songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication.

Mr. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms said: "The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms."

You can see more at such sites as: and, among others.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Heraldic Controversy in Scotland

A couple of conversation threads on Facebook and a recent news article on the web have brought to my attention the fact that the Craigie Primary School in Perth, Scotland, has run afoul of the office of the Lord Lyon King of Arms for using an unregistered armorial device as their badge. Their badge came to the attention of Lyon after the school tried to design a wall mural.

Scotland, in case you didn't already know this, is pretty much the only country in the world with the legal "teeth" to enforce heraldic law. Which means he can require individuals and corporate entities displaying or using heraldic devices in Scotland to regularize them by registering them with his office, or demand that they cease such use and display. (I don't know that Lyon ever has, but he has the right to send people out to take down, mar, and/or deface any such displays which are not in conformance with the Lord Lyon King of Arms Act of 1672.)

In this specific instance, a spokeswoman for the Court of the Lord Lyon (presumably Snawdoun Herald Elizabeth Roads) said: “Every school badge has to be registered if it is heraldic. If they are not registered, the school or organisation must cease using them.”

Much of the discussion back and forth in comments on the news article and on the Facebook posts seems to center around: (1) whether the school's badge is "heraldic;" and (2) whether Lord Lyon should waive the registration fee for a primary school.

Let me address the second argument first.

The Lyon Court is a branch of the government; there may, in fact, be no provision for Lord Lyon to waive the fees (which go into the government treasury and are not earmarked for the use of the Lyon Court). So even if he wanted to waive the fee, he may not be able to, in this or any other instance.

For the first argument, that the school's badge isn't really heraldry, let's take a look at what they have been using.

Well, it's certainly not classic heraldry, is it? And it's not on any of the standard shield shapes.

The standard shield shape seems to be the underlying argument by those who think that Lord Lyon should let this badge slide. And yet ... A.C. Fox-Davies, in his A Complete Guide to Heraldry, notes that "Arms [may] be depicted upon a banner, a parallelogram, a square, a circle, or an oval; and even then one would be correct, for the purposes of armory, in describing such figures as shields on all occasions on which they are made the vehicles for the emblazonment of a design which properly and originally should be borne upon a shield. Let no one think that a design ceases to be a coat of arms if it is not displayed upon a shield."

He then notes that on the Royal Warrants of Queen Elizabeth I commanding the heralds' Visitations during her reign, that the King of Arms to whom the warrant was addressed was to “correct, cumptrolle and refourme all mann’ of armes, crests, cognizances and devices unlawfull or unlawfully usurped, borne or taken by any p’son or p’sons within the p’vince contary to the due order of the laws of armes, and the same to rev’se, put downe or otherwise deface at his discrecon as well in coote armors, helmes, standerd, pennons and hatchmets of tents and pavilions, as also in plate jewells, pap’, parchement, windowes, gravestones and monuments, or elsewhere wheresoev’ they be sett or placed, whether they be in shelde, schoocheon, lozenge, square, rundell or otherwise howsoev’ contarie to the autentiq’ and auncient lawes, customes, rules, privilege and orders of armes.” (emphasis added)

In short, the shape of the shield doesn't matter; if it looks like heraldry, and it's used like heraldry, well, then, it's heraldry.

In any event, you can see more about this controversy, some of the commentary, and how the school is dealing with it, on the web page of the Express at:; and at The Courier at;

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Successful Hunt for a Blazon

I always think that the late J.P. Brooke-Little said it best, in the introduction to his An Heraldic Alphabet:

You can study heraldry until you are azure ... in the face but inevitably discover, from time to time, that you really are quite vert.... I have found this over and over again but, never forget, herein lies the fun and if heraldry ever ceases to be fun- chuck it.

It is a truism which I find myself reminded of from time to time, and just the other day was another one of those times.

I'm in the middle of completing a big project which I am doing in order to better do another big project. (More about that second project another time, perhaps.) This project involves compiling the blazons of coats of arms from Florence into a single, and thus for me more easily usable, document.

The sources I am using consist of a book of blazons of Florentine heraldry in English done about 1900, a photo-reproduction of an old Florentine armorial with no blazons, and a compilation of several Florentine armorials with the blazons done in French. So as you can see, a diverse set of books!

Copying the English blazons into my document was pretty easy; converting it to Word from .pdf and then cleaning up the formatting and the places where it didn't recognize, or misrecognized, a word was comparatively simple. I expect that between my familiarity with blazon terms in English and general familiarity with many French blazons, I shouldn't have too much difficulty in translating those blazons from French to English, with occasional resort to a French heraldic dictionary and my pocket French-English dictionary.

It's the other book, of pictures of the pages of an old Florentine armorial but without any blazons, that taught me once again that I still have so much to learn about heraldry. In the course of going through that armorial page by page, I ran across several coats of arms with a charge I do not recall ever having seen before. This charge:

"Well," I said to myself, "it's not a cog wheel, exactly. The center of the wheel is too small, and the 'cogs' are way too long and they flare out a bit at the ends. But what is it?"

I didn't really want to flip through the entire Italian dictionary of heraldry that I have in the hopes of eventually finding a drawing of this charge, or at least something very similar. But then I thought, "maybe these same arms appear somewhere in the French book of Florentine heraldry. I wonder how they are blazoned there."

So I starting searching the index for the names and then looking up the blazons of the arms, and found this charge blazoned as a roue déjantée, which the on-line Bing translator (the word déjantée doesn't appear in my French-English dictionary) translated into English as a “crazy wheel.” Looking up "wheel" in my English-Italian dictionary gave me the word ruota, and looking under ruota in my Italian heraldic dictionary finally allowed me to identify this charge. It is a ruota di mulino: “É la ruota a pale, che veniva un tempo utilizzata dai mulini ad acqua.” (Dizionario di Araldica, di Valfrei, p. 173) It is a mill wheel (not to be confused with a mill stone!): “It is the paddle wheel, which was used once by the water mills."

So there you have it! A not-terribly-long, but involved, search through a number of books in three different languages, and success! I now feel slightly more azure in the face, and a little less vert. But it is just this sort of thing that keeps heraldry fun for me!

How about you?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Two Pieces of Jacobite Heraldry

Tucked away in Mount Stuart we ran across a couple of items decorated with some Jacobite heraldry: the arms of Henry Benedict Thomas Edward Maria Clement Francis Xavier Stuart, the younger son of the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart, and brother of the Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie".

The grandson of deposed King James II and VII, Henry Benedict Stuart was the fourth and final Jacobite heir to publicly claim the thrones of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland. Unlike his father and his brother, he made no effort to seize the throne. Following the death of his brother, the Papacy did not recognize him as the lawful ruler of England, Scotland, and Ireland, but referred to him as the Cardinal Duke of York. He had been named Duke of York while in his youth by his father, and held a number of offices in the Catholic church, including Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica. For more specifics on these, and on his life in general, see the Wikipedia article at

But more to the heraldic point here, during the pretense of his father and brother, he bore a coat of arms consisting of the Royal Arms of France and England quarterly, Scotland, and Ireland, differenced by a white crescent (the cadency mark of a second son).

Those arms were found in two places in Mount Stuart:

Prominently displayed on an old print:

And also on a (presumably, pewter; it doesn't look like silver to me) plate or charger, surmounted by an ecclesiastical galero. Nowadays, the heraldic convention is to use a galero with six tassels on each side (as on the plate below) for a bishop; one with ten tassels on each side for an archbishop; and one with fifteen tassels on each side for a cardinal.

You can click on the pictures to see the full-size images, which more clearly show the crescent in the center.

I found these items to be a fascinating display of heraldry in the context of history, encompassing the history of both Great Britain and of Mount Stuart.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Non-Personal Heraldry Displayed at Mount Stuart

Among the many heraldic stained glass windows to be seen at Mount Stuart was this pair of windows displaying some non-personal heraldry.

The window on the left displays a variant of the coat of arms of the Royal Burgh of Dumfries:

I say "a variant" since the depiction here leaves out the shield (Argent a cross gules) born by the Archangel, and shows him brandishing a staff to attack the dragon while his sword remains in its scabbard by his side. It has also changed (e.g., the placement of the sun and moon) or is missing (e.g., the cloud) a few other minor elements.

The blazon of the arms of Dumfries is as follows: Azure semy of estoiles or, standing on a cloud the figure of the Archangel Michael wings expanded brandishing in his dexter hand a sword over a dragon lying on its back in base with its tail nowed fessways all proper on his sinister arm an escutcheon argent charged with a cross gules, in dexter flank an increscent in the sinister flank the sun in his splendour of the second [or].

The arms in the window on the right are those of the Royal Burgh of Ayr:

This coat of arms is blazoned: Gules a castle triple-towered argent betwixt a Holy Lamb cross staff and banner of Saint Andrew on the dexter and on the sinister the head of John the Baptist in a charger proper, in the base the sea azure.

As happens fairly frequently in heraldry, the water here ("the sea azure") is portrayed barry wavy argent and azure instead of plain blue. (We see this in other depictions of the arms of Ayr, too.)

As with the other stained glass windows at Mount Stuart, heraldic and otherwise, the workmanship is first-rate. And it's nice to see some non-family heraldry displayed there.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Another Pair of Shields Over the Doorway

In my last post, I shared some pictures of a pair of shields over a doorway on the ground floor of Mount Stuart.

Today, we're looking at a similar pair of shields, with different arms on them, from a similar doorway (again, between rooms with that wonderful carved heraldic ceiling).

The arms here are proving a little tougher to track down, though they share the nude supporters and both are surmounted by the coronet of a marquess.

The shield on the left would be blazoned Argent a lion rampant sable armed and langued gules.

Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials notes over twenty families (and even more branches of families) bearing this coat of arms. Without finding someone with a distinct connection to the Crichton-Stuart family, it is difficult to narrow down the likely owner of this coat of arms.

The shield on the right would be blazoned Gules a lion rampant within a bordure or charged with eight roses gules barbed and seeded proper.

Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials gives this coat of arms as that of Dunbar, but as a quartering with Randoph. Burke's Peerage cites several Dunbar baronets, all of whom bear Dunbar quartered with Randolph (Or three cushions within a double tressure flory counter-flory gules), with various differences between them.

I am not finding any Dunbar family connections to the Crichton-Stuarts sitting here with Burke's Peerage cutting off the circulation in my lap. (Well, it is a large book, after all!)

I am unable at this time to give you a positive identification of the origins for either of the coats of arms depicted here. Clearly there is some relation to the Marquess of Bute; why else would they have been carved or molded onto the walls of his house? But without the who, I cannot even speculate as to the why.

Still, they remain fine examples of heraldic art at Mount Stuart.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Meanwhile, Back on the Ground Floor at Mount Stuart

I know, right? There is just so very much heraldry to be seen at Mount Stuart that we're probably all getting a bit weary. At least, I know I am. You can only spend so much time looking at other people's stuff without it becoming a bit of a sensory overload.

But never fear! There's only a very few blog posts remaining for this wonderful, heraldry-filled, house, and we'll have to move along to something else.

In the meantime, though ...

Back on the ground floor in the rooms with those beautifully carved heraldic ceilings (, the doorways had some more carved or cast coats of arms.

 (You can see parts of those ceilings in the above picture.)

Supported by two nude figures with strategically place ribbons, and surmounted by the coronet of a marquess, we have on the left

the arms of Windsor, and on the right,

the arms of Stuart, both of which we have seen a number of times before in the house (e.g.,

The level of detail in these depictions is truly wonderful!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Slightly Understated Heraldry at Mount Stuart

If you are going to try to impress people by displaying your arms all over your house, on the walls and ceilings, there may be places where you just don't want everything to be quite so much in everyone's face.

In one of the upper rooms at Mount Stuart (a game room, really, for just relaxing) there was a set of wooden chairs along one wall that did not display the Crichton-Stuart coat of arms on them.

No, they just display a painted shield shape with the three crests used by the family underneath the coronet of a marquess.

The three crests (from left to right) are:

Stewart: A demi-lion rampant gules beneath the motto Nobilis ira (Noble ardour)

Crichton: A wyvern wings elevated and addorsed fire issuant from the mouth all proper

and Herbert: A wyvern wings addorsed vert in the mouth a sinister hand couped gules

Just the sort of heraldic display, really, that you could do in your own home, even if you weren't entitled to a coronet and/or had only one crest. Properly scaled and painted, it could make a nice, even slightly understated, exhibit.

It also wouldn't require obtaining a second mortgage on the house to pay for it.

Just a thought. Do with it what you will.

But I thought these chairs at Mount Stuart created a very pleasing heraldic atmosphere.

Monday, April 30, 2018

An Armorial Achievement to Sleep By

Or, at least, under.

Another one of the bedrooms at Mount Stuart had a large bed surmounted by this amazing display of marital heraldry.

The most notable part of this display is, of course, the marital achievement of arms hanging at the head of the bed.

They are the marshalled arms of John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute (bearing Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or a fess checky azure and argent within a double tressure flory counter-flory gules (Stuart); 2 and 3, Argent a lion rampant azure (Crichton), impaled by the arms of his wife, Gwendolen Mary Anne FitzAlan-Howard, eldest daughter of Edward George Fitzalan-Howard, 1st Lord Howard of Glossop (the second son of the 13th Duke of Norfolk), Quarterly: 1 and 4, Gules a bend between six crosses crosslet fitchy argent, as an augmentation on the bend an escutcheon or charged with a demi-lion rampant pierced through the mouth by an arrow all within a double tressure flory counter-flory gules (Howard); 2 and 3, Gules a lion rampant or (Fitzalan).

The external ornaments of the shield (crests, supporters, coronet, collar of the Order of the Thistle) are all those from the husband's family. Three of the crests we have noted a number of times elsewhere in Mount Stuart as those of Stuart (the red demi-lion), Crichton (the wyvern breathing flames), and Herbert (the green wyvern holding a red hand in its mouth).

An additional heraldic decoration around the canopy over the bed was this:

The arms are, from left to right, those of: Crichton; Stuart; the marshaled arms of Stuart and Howard; Howard; and FitzAlan.

The narrow band above the shields is a repeating heraldic motif, Or a bar gemel flory counter-flory gules (modified from the double tressure of the shield), and A fess checky azure and argent (the checky fess of Stuart).

That's a lot of heraldic display for a bed! I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be sleeping in a bed like that. Although, I supposed that it's something that I could get used to. I'll have to talk to my wife to see how willing she would be to embroider an achievement of my arms to go up over the head of our bed. I'm sure she'd be fine with it, right?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Another Court Case Involving Heraldry

A verdict has finally been reached in a court case in Belgium where master woodcarver Patrick Damiaens had sued store chain Zara Home for breach of copyright, when the chain began selling candles with a design which he said had been stolen from him.

Zara Home claimed that the similarity was a coincidence (though they did pull the candles from sale).

Take a look and see if you think that the similarity was "a coincidence" or not. The Zara Home candle is on the left; Mr. Damiaens' carving is on the right.

Yeah, the court didn't buy that argument, either, and ordered Zara Home to pay damages and legal costs, and to publish the decision in Heraldisch Tijdshrift, a Dutch magazine focused on heraldic art.

More details about the court case, as well as a link to an earlier story about this design theft, can be found on the website of FlandersToday at

Monday, April 23, 2018

Heraldry In The Court

And no, I don't mean anything like, for example, the Royal Arms which appear in the courtrooms of Great Britain or Canada.

No, this was a court case in Poland, where the frontman for the rock band Behemoth, Adam "Nergal" Darski, and Maciej G., the band's webmaster, along with Rafal Wechterowicz, the graphic artist, had been charged by the District Prosecutor's Office in Gdansk for "insulting" the national coat of arms of Poland on the band's "Republic of the Unfaithful" tour artwork and merchandise.

Here is an image of Poland's national coat of arms:

And here's an image of the "Republic of the Unfaithful" artwork on a tee shirt:

As you can see, it's pretty clearly evocative of the national arms, enough so that an heraldic expert consulted by the prosecutor's office said that the tour's artwork featured "a distorted image of Poland's national emblem," and that it "included elements and symbols considered Satanist and anti-Christian, with the aim of conveying content far removed from the historical and state ideology."

Polish law protects Polish symbols against public profanation and insult, and any public use may be considered a criminal offense, the conviction of which could result in up to a year in jail. Someone clearly thought that this artwork was both profane and insulting.

But an April 16, 2018 story notes that the charges against all three defendants have now been dismissed before the case went to trial, and Nergal has said on Instagram that the design "will soon be back in stock" in the band's webstore.

You can find the original story about the filing of these charges on-line at, and the more recent news story about the charges being dismissed at

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Two Pieces of Understated Heraldry at Mount Stuart

Just to prove to you that not every display of heraldry at Mount Stuart has to be over the top and "in your face," on the exterior of the house on one of the upper floors, we ran across a couple of lightly heraldic, utilitarian articles.

Both were based on the checky fess of the Stuart coat of arms.

The first was a support bracket for a rain downspout, about as utilitarian a thing as I can think of. And yet, what a nice way to incorporate a major element from the family's coat of arms.

The other workaday item bearing the checky fess was a couple of sill plates outside of a window.

Ordinary, everyday items all, but demonstrating other ways that heraldry can be used to "spruce up" even the most mundane of objects.