Monday, November 12, 2018

Next Stop: Arras, France!

Our most recent trip overseas took us to the city hosting the XXXIII International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, Arras, France.

We arrived a couple of days before the Congress was to begin, for two reasons: (1) it helps us deal with jet lag; and (2) it gives us some time to wander about the town, finding our way to the various venues, to learn more about and get a feel for the town itself, and it gives me a chance to find and photograph some of the heraldry which may be seen there.

First and foremost, of course, were the various depictions of the city's coat of arms to be found. In French, they are blazoned: De gueules au lion d'or, armé et lampassé d'azur, chargé en coeur d'un écusson d'azur semé de fleurs de lis d'or au lambel de gueules de trois pendants chargés chacun de trois petits châteaux d'or rangés en pal. The English blazon is: Gules a lion rampant or armed and langued azure overall an inescutcheon Azure semy-de-lis or a label of three pendents gules each pendent charged with three castles in pale or.

According to the website Heraldry of the World (, the origin of the lion is not known; the inescutcheon is the arms of the County of Artois, of which Arras was the capital.

These stained glass windows of the arms are found in Le Beffroi, the large multi-story building and bell tower situated at one of the Place des Héros (, which edifice is a symbol of Arras and a multi-purpose civic building:

This carved achievement of the arms is also found in Le Beffroi:

And the city's arms appear on street signs all around the city center:

There is also a carved version (of just the field and lion, without the inescutcheon) on the side of the city's train station.

There were some other places where the city's arms are found, but I think those deserve their own posts, so I will get to them in future posts.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"Primrose, Maybe?": A Follow-Up

In my post of October 2, 2017 ( I'd uploaded two photographs of a corbel in St. Cuthbert's Church in Dalmeny, Scotland which contained a carved coat of arms that could not be identified for certain, but which might have been related to the Primrose family, or a couple of others.

An article by Ian Shepherd in the latest Tak Tent, the quarterly newsletter of the Heraldry Society of Scotland, states:

On 27 May 2018 I was the duty person welcoming visitors to the church. It was a quiet afternoon and I whiled away my time by looking at an old scrap book which I found in the apse. In it I read an article which stated inter alia that these two corbels bore the Arms of New College, Oxford, described as being the Arms of the then Lord Dalmeny's College....

The arms of New College are blazoned Argent two chevronels sable between three roses gules barbed and seeded proper. These are also the arms of the founder of the College, William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester. (This information is taken from a recent acquisition to my heraldic library, Oxford College Arms by John Tepper Marlin. If you'd like a copy of your own, it is available on Amazon.)

The above image of the New College arms was taken from the Trinity Ball Guide 2013,

So there you have it! Mystery solved, and positive identification made!

If only all of the other heraldic mysteries I run across could be solved so easily.

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Final Post From Our London Trip

Walking across one of the many bridges across the Thames River to get back to the north bank from whence we could catch the Tube back to our hotel, we passed several cast iron panels with these arms painted upon them:

The are, of course, the Royal Arms as borne by Queen Victoria (Quarterly: 1 and 4, Gules three lions passant gardant in pale or (England); 2, Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory counter-flory gules (Scotland); and 3, Azure a harp or stringed argent (Ireland), and the arms of her consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

On his marriage to Queen Victoria in 1840, Prince Albert was granted his own personal coat of arms, which was the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom differenced with a three-point label bearing a red cross in the center, quartered with the arms of Saxony. The blazon is written as: Quarterly, 1 and 4, the Royal Arms with overall a label of three points argent charged on the center with a cross gules; 2 and 3, Barry of ten or and sable a crown of rue in bend vert.

The Prince's unusual coat of arms was a "singular example of quartering differenced arms, [which] is not in accordance with the rules of Heraldry, and is in itself an heraldic contradiction." (Boutell, Charles, Heraldry, Ancient and Modern: Including Boutell's Heraldry) Prior to his marriage to Victoria, Albert used the arms of his father undifferenced, following German practice.

Why the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom (suitably differenced) in the first and fourth quarters, rather than his paternal arms as would normally be expected there? Victoria and Albert were first cousins, plus the arms of a kingdom normally supersede those of a duchy. Besides, it is apparently what Victoria wanted, and as we all know from Mel Brooks' movie The History of the World, Part I, "It's good to be the king." (Because people give you what you want.)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Nicely-Carved Achievement of Arms

Continuing our walk from St. Mary-at-Lambeth back toward the Houses of Parliament in London, we came by the Marriott Hotel, which as a sign on its facade indicates, used to be the London County Hall.

Also indicative of its former use was this carved achievement of arms:

The arms are those of the London County Council, which used to meet in this building.

(Don't you just love those wide-eyed dolphins on either side of the shield?)

The London County Council was granted this coat of arms in 1914. The arms can still be seen on buildings constructed by the council (like this County Hall become Marriott Hotel) before its dissolution in 1965. The final design for the arms, "simple in character and in every way suggestive of the corporate life of London," was agreed by the Council on May 26, 1914.

The arms were blazoned as: Barry wavy of six azure and argent on a chief argent the cross of St George [gules] charged with a lion of England [or], the shield ensigned with a mural crown or.

The blue and silver waves represented the River Thames and the Port of London. The English lion on St. George's cross was to show that London was the "Royal centre of England," encompassing the nation's capital city. The gold mural crown indicated that the arms were those of a municipal body.

As the arms included part of the royal arms (the "lion of England," a lion passant gardant or) a royal warrant was issued granting the arms on July 29, 1914. The arms were registered at the College of Arms by letters patent dated October 20, 1914.

Simple and suggestive arms indeed!