Duke of Fife, Earl Fitzwilliam (each holding in the exterior hand a
tree eradicated), Lord Kinnaird, the Earl of Morton ; and amongst
the baronets who possess supporters, Menzies, Douglas of Carr, and
Williams-Drummond have on either side of their escutcheons a
" savage." Earl Poulett alone has both man and woman, his sup-
porters being : " Dexter, a savage man ; sinister, a savage woman,
both wreathed with oak, all proper." As some one remarked on seeing
a realistic representation of this coat of arms by Catton, R.A., the
blazon might more appropriately have concluded " all improper."
Next after savages, the most favourite variety of the human being
adopted as a supporter is the Man in Armour.
Even as heraldic and heritable supporters angels are not uncommon,
and are to be met with amongst other cases in the arms of the Marquess
of Waterford, the Earl of Dudley, and Viscount Dillon.
It is rare to find supporters definitely stated to represent any specific
person, but in the case of the arms of Arbroath (Fig. 669) the sup-
porters are " Dexter : ' St. Thomas a Becker,' and sinister, a Baron of
Scotland." Another instance, again from Scotland, appears in a most
extraordinary grant by the Lyon in 1816 to Sir Jonathan Wathen
Waller, Bart., of Braywick Lodge, co. Berks, and of Twickenham,
co. Middlesex. In this case the supporters were two elaborately
" harnessed " ancient warriors, "'to commemorate the surrender of
Charles, Duke of Orleans, at the memorable battle of Agincourt (that
word being the motto over the crest) in the year 1415, to Richard
Waller of Groombridge in Kent, Esq., from which Richard the said
434 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
Sir Jonathan Wathen Waller is, according to the tradition of his family,
descended." This pedigree is set out in Burke's Peerage, which assigns
as arms to this family the old coat of Waller of Groombridge, with the
augmented crest, viz. : tl On a mount vert, a walnut-tree proper, and
pendent therefrom an escutcheon of the arms of France with a label
of three points argent." Considerable doubt, however, is thrown upon
the descent by the fact that in 1814, when Sir Jonathan (then Mr.
Phipps) obtained a Royal Licence to assume the name and arms of
Waller, a very different and much bedevilled edition of the arms and
not the real coat of Waller of Groombridge was exemplified to him.
These supporters (the grant was quite ultra vires, Sir Jonathan being a
domiciled Englishman) do not appear in any of the Peerage books,
and it is not clear to what extent they were ever made use of, but in a
painting which came under my notice the Duke of Orleans, in his
surcoat of France, could be observed handing his sword across the
front of the escutcheon to Mr. (or Sir) Richard Waller. The sup-
porters of the Needlemakers' Company are commonly known as Adam
and Eve, and the motto of the Company ["They sewed fig-leaves
together and made themselves aprons "] bears this supposition out.
The blazon, however, is : " Dexter, a man ; sinister, a woman, both
proper, each wreathed round the waist with leaves of the last, in the
woman's dexter hand a needle or." The supporters of the Earl of
Aberdeen are, dexter an Earl and sinister a Doctor of Laws, both
in their robes all proper."
Highlanders in modern costume figure as supporters to the arms
of Maconochie-Wellwood, and in more ancient garb in the case of
Cluny Macpherson, and soldiers in the uniforms of every regiment,
and savages from every clime, have at some time or other been pressed
into heraldic service as supporters ; but a work on Armory is not a
handbook on costume, military and civil, nor is it an ethnographical
directory, which it would certainly become if any attempt were to be
made to enumerate the different varieties of men and women, clothed
and unclothed, which have been used for the purposes of supporters.
ANIMALS AS SUPPORTERS
When we turn to animals as supporters, we at once get to a much
wider range, and but little can be said concerning them beyond stating
that though usually rampant, they are sometimes sejant, and may be
guardant or regardant. One may, however, append examples of the
work of different artists, which will doubtless serve as models, or pos-
sibly may develop ideas in other artists. The Lion naturally first claims
one's attention. Fig. 670 shows an interesting and curious instance
of the use of a single lion as a supporter. This is taken from a draw-
ing in the possession of the town library at Breslau (Herold, 1888,
No. i), and represents the arms of Dr. Heinrich Rubische, Physician
to the King of Hungary and Bohemia. The arms are, " per fesse,"
the chief argent, a " point " throughout sable, charged with a lion's
face, holding in the jaws an annulet, and the base also argent charged
FIG. 670. Arms of Dr. Heinrich Rubische
with two bars sable. The mantling is sable and argent. Upon the
helmet as crest are two buffalo's horns of the colours of the shield,
and between them appears (apparently as a part of the heritable crest)
a lion's face holding an annulet as in the arms. This, however, is the
face of the lion, which, standing behind the escutcheon, is employed
as the supporter, though possibly it is intended that it should do double
duty. This employment of one animal to serve a double armorial
purpose is practically unknown in British armory, except possibly in
a few early examples of seals, but in German heraldry it is very far
from being uncommon.
436 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
Winged lions are not very usual, but they occur as the supporters
of Lord Braye : " On either side a lion guardant or, winged vair." A
winged lion is also one of the supporters (the dexter) of Lord Lecon-
field, but this, owing to the position of the wings, is quite unique. The
blazon is : "A lion with wings inverted azure, collared or." Two lions
rampant double-queued, the dexter or, the sinister sable, are the sup-
porters of the Duke of Portland, and the supporters of both the Earl
of Feversham and the Earl of Dartmouth afford instances of lions
crowned with a coronet, and issuing therefrom a plume of ostrich
Sea-lions will be found as supporters to the arms of Viscount
Falmouth [" Two sea-lions erect on their tails argent, gutt^-de-l'armes "],
and the Earl of Howth bears : " Dexter, a sea-lion as in the crest ;
sinister, a mermaid proper, holding in her exterior hand a mirror."
The heraldic tiger is occasionally found as a supporter, and an
instance occurs in the arms of the Marquess of Durferin and Ava. It
also occurs as the sinister supporter of the Duke of Leeds, and of the
Baroness Darcy de Knayth, and was the dexter supporter of the Earls
of Holderness. Two heraldic tigers are the supporters both of Sir
Andrew Noel Agnew, Bart., and of the Marquess of Anglesey. Of
recent years the natural tiger has taken its place in the heraldic
menagerie, and instances of its appearance will be found in the arms
of Sir Mortimer Durand, and as one of the supporters of the arms of
the city of Bombay. When occurring in heraldic surroundings it is
always termed for distinction a " Bengal tiger," and two Royal Bengal
tigers are the supporters of Sir Francis Outram, Bart. : " On either
side a Royal Bengal tiger guardant proper, gorged with a wreath of
laurel vert, and on the head an Eastern crown or."
The griffin is perhaps the next most favourite supporter. Male
griffins are the supporters of Sir George John Egerton Dashwood :
" On either side a male gryphon argent, gorged with a collar flory
A very curious supporter is borne by Mr. Styleman Le Strange.
Of course, as a domiciled English commoner, having no Royal Licence
to bear supporters, his claim to these additions would not be recog-
nised, but their use no doubt originated in the fact that he represents
the lines of several coheirships to different baronies by writ, to some
one of which, no doubt, the supporters may have at some time belonged.
The dexter supporter in question is " a stag argent with a lion's fore-
paws and tail, collared."
The supporters recently granted to Lord Milner are two " springbok,"
and the same animal (an " oryx " or " springbok ") is the sinister sup-
porter of the arms of Cape Colony.
Goats are the supporters of the Earl of Portsmouth (who styles his
" chamois or wild goats "), of Lord Bagot and Lord Cranworth, and
they occur in the achievements of the Barony of Ruthven and the
Marquess of Normanby. The supporters of Viscount Southwell are
two " Indian " goats.
Rams are the supporters of Lord de Ramsey and Lord Sherard.
A ram is also one of the supporters attached to the Barony of Ruthven,
and one of the supporters used by the town of New Galloway. These
arms, however, have never been matriculated, which on account of
the curious charge upon the shield is very much to be regretted.
The supporters of Lord Mowbray and Stourton afford an example
of a most curious and interesting animal. Originally the Lords Stourton
used two antelopes azure, but before the seventeenth century these had
been changed to two " sea-dogs." When the abeyance of the Barony
of Mowbray was determined in favour of Lord Stourton the dexter
supporter was changed to the lion of Mowbray, but the sinister sup-
porter still remained a " sea-dog."
The horse and the pegasus are constantly met with supporting the
arms of peers and others in this country. A bay horse regardant
figures as the dexter supporter of the Earl of Yarborough, and the
horses which support the shield of Earl Cowper are very specifi-
cally detailed in the official blazon : " Two dun horses close cropped
(except a tuft upon the withers) and docked, a large blaze down
the face, a black list down the back, and three white feet, viz. the
hind-feet and near fore-foot." Lord Joicey has two Shetland ponies
and Lord Winterstoke has "two horses sable, maned, tailed, and
The arms of the City of London are always used with dragons for
supporters, but these supporters are not officially recorded. The arms
of the City of London are referred to at greater length elsewhere in
these pages. The town of Appleby uses dragons with wings expanded
(most fearsome creatures), but these are not official, nor are the
" dragons sejant addorsed gules, each holding an ostrich feather argent
affixed to a scroll " which some enterprising artist designed for Cheshire.
Dragons will be found as supporters to the arms of the Earl of Ennis-
killen, Lord St. Oswald, the Earl of Castlestuart, and Viscount
Arbuthnot. The heraldic dragon is not the only form of the
creature now known to armory. The Chinese dragon was granted to
Lord Gough as one of his supporters, and it has since also been
granted as a supporter to Sir Robert Hart, Bart.
Wyverns are the supporters of the Earl of Meath and Lord Burgh-
clere, and the sinister supporter of both Lord Raglan and Lord
438 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
The arms of the Royal Burgh of Dundee are quite unique. The
official blazon runs : " Azure, a pott of growing lillies argent, the
escutcheon being supported by two dragons, their tails nowed together
underneath vert, with this word in an escroll above a lilie growing out
of the top of the shield as the former, ' Dei Donum.' " Though
blazoned as dragons, the creatures are undoubtedly wyverns.
Wyverns when figuring as supporters are usually represented
standing on the one claw and supporting the shield with the other,
but in the case of the Duke of Marlborough, whose supporters are
two wyverns, these are generally represented sejant erect, supporting
the shield with both claws. This position is also adopted for the
wyvern supporters of Sir Robert Arbuthnot, Bart., and the Earl of
Two cockatrices are the supporters of Lord Donoughmore, the
Earl of VVestmeath, and Sir Edmund Nugent, Bart., and the dexter
supporter of Lord Lanesborough is also a cockatrice.
The basilisk is the same creature as the cockatrice, and in the arms
of the town of Basle (German Basel), is an example of a supporter
blazoned as a basilisk. The arms are : " Argent, a crosier sable." The
supporter is a basilisk vert, armed and jelloped gules.
The supporters of the Plasterers' Company, which were granted
with the arms (January 15, 1556), are: "Two opinaci (figures very
similar to griffins) vert pursted (? purfled) or, beaked sable, the wings
gules." The dexter supporter of the arms of Cape Colony is a " gnu."
The zebra, the giraffe, and the okapi are as yet unclaimed as sup-
porters, though the giraffe, under the name of the camelopard, figures
in some number of cases as a crest, and there is at least one instance
(Kemsley) of a zebra as a crest. The ass, though there are some
number of cases in which it appears as a crest or a charge, does not
yet figure anywhere as a supporter, nor does the mule. The hyena,
the sacred cow of India, the bison, the giant-sloth, and the armadillo
are all distinctive animals which still remain to be withdrawn from the
heraldic " lucky bag " of Garter. The mythical human-faced winged
bull of Egyptian mythology, the harpy, and the female centaur would
lend themselves well to the character of supporters.
Robertson of Struan has no supporters matriculated with his arms,
and it is difficult to say for what length of time the supporters now in
use have been adopted. But he is chief of his name, and the repre-
sentative of one of the minor barons, so that there is no doubt that
supporters would be matriculated to him if he cared to apply. Those
supporters in use, viz. " Dexter, a serpent ; sinister, a dove, the heads
of each encircled with rays," must surely be no less unique than is the
strange compartment, "a wild man lying in chains," which is borne
below the arms of Struan Robertson, and which was granted to his
ancestor in 1451 for arresting the murderers of King James I.
The supporters belonging to the city of Glasgow * are also unique,
being two salmon, each holding a signet-ring in the mouth.
The supporters of the city of Waterford, though not recorded in
Ulster's Office, have been long enough in use to ensure their official
tf confirmation " if a request to this effect were to be properly put
forward. They are, on the dexter side a lion, and on the sinister side
a dolphin. Two dolphins azure, finned or, are the supporters of the
Watermen and Lightermen's Livery Company, and were granted 1655.
BIRDS AS SUPPORTERS
Whilst eagles are plentiful as supporters, nevertheless if eagles are
eliminated the proportion of supporters which are birds is not great.
A certain variety and differentiation is obtained by altering the
position of the wings, noticeably in regard to eagles, but these differ-
ences do not appear to be by any means closely adhered to by artists
in pictorial representations of armorial bearings.
Fig. 671 ought perhaps more properly to have been placed amongst
those eagles which, appearing as single figures, carry shields charged
upon the breast, but in the present case, in addition to the shield
charged upon it in the usual manner, it so palpably supports the two
other escutcheons, that we are tempted to include it amongst definite
supporters. The figure represents the arms of the free city of Niirn-
berg, and the design is reproduced from the title-page of the German
edition of Andreas Vesili's Anatomia, printed at Nurnberg in 1537.
The eagle is that of the German Empire, carrying on its breast the
impaled arms of Castile and Austria. The shields it supports may
now be said both to belong to Nurnberg. The dexter shield, which is
the coloured seal device of the old Imperial city, is : " Azure, a harpy
(in German frauenadler or maiden eagle) displayed and crowned or."
The sinister shield (which may more properly be considered the real
arms of Nurnberg) is: "Per pale or, a double-headed Imperial eagle
displayed, dimidiated with bendy of six gules and argent."
1 Arms of Glasgow : Argent, on a mount in base vert an oak-tree proper, the stem at the base
thereof surmounted by a salmon on its back also proper, with a signet-ring in its mouth or, on the
top of the tree a redbreast, and in the sinister fess point an ancient hand-bell, both also proper.
Above this shield is placed a suitable helmet, with a mantling gules, doubled argent ; and issuing
from a wreath of the proper liveries is set for crest, the half-length figure of St. Kentigern affronte,
vested and mitred, his right hand raised in the act of benediction, and having in his left hand a
crosier, all proper. On a compartment below the shield are placed for supporters, two salmon
proper, each holding in its mouth a signet-ring or, and in an escroll entwined with the compart-
ment this motto, "Let Glasgow flourish."
440 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
The supporters of Lord Amherst of Hackney are two Herons : " On
either side a heron proper, collared or."
The city of Calcutta, to which arms and supporters were granted
FIG. 671. The Arms of Niirnberg.
in 1896, has for its supporters Adjutant Birds, which closely approximate
to storks. Two woodpeckers have recently been granted as the
supporters of Lord Peckover.
A COMPARTMENT is anything depicted below the shield as a
foothold or resting-place for the supporters, or indeed for the
shield itself. Sometimes it is a fixed part of the blazon and
a constituent part of the heritable heraldic bearings. At other times
it is a matter of mere artistic fancy, and no fixed rules exist to regulate
or control nor even to check the imagination of the heraldic artist.
The fact remains that supporters must have something to stand upon,
and if the blazon supplies nothing, the discretion of the artist is allowed
On the subject of compartments a great deal of diversity of opinion
exists. There is no doubt that in early days and early examples
supporters were placed to stand upon some secure footing, but with
the decadence of heraldic art in the seventeenth century came the
introduction of the gilded " freehand copy " scroll with which we are
so painfully familiar, which one writer has aptly termed the heraldic
gas-bracket. Arising doubtless from and following upon the earlier
habit of balancing the supporters upon the unstable footing afforded
by the edge of the motto scroll, the " gas-bracket " was probably
accepted as less open to objection. It certainly was not out of keeping
with the heraldic art of the period to which it owed its evolution, or
with the style of armorial design of which it formed a part. It still
remains the -accepted and " official " style and type in England, but
Scotland and Ireland have discarded it, and " compartments " in those
countries are now depicted of a nature requiring less gymnastic ability
on the part of the animals to which they afford a foothold. The style
of compartment is practically always a matter of artistic taste and
design. With a few exceptions it is always entirely disregarded in the
blazon of the patent, and the necessity of something for the supporters
to stand upon is as much an understood thing as is the existence of a
shield whereon the arms are to be displayed. But as the shape of the
shield is left to the fancy of the artist, so is the character of the
compartment, and the Lyon Register nowadays affords examples of
achievements where the supporters stand on rocks and flowery mounds
442 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
or issue from a watery abiding-place. The example set by the Lyon
Register has been eagerly followed by most heraldic artists.
It is a curious commentary upon the heraldic art of the close of the
eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth centuries that whilst
the gymnastic capabilities of animals were admitted to be equal to
" tight-rope '" exhibitions of balancing upon the ordinary scroll, these
feats were not considered practicable in the case of human beings, for
whom little square platforms were always provided. Fig. 672, which
represents the sinister supporter of
Lord Scarsdale (viz. the figure of
Liberality represented by a woman
habited argent, mantled purpure, hold-
ing a cornucopia proper) shows the
method by which platform accom-
modation was provided for human
figures when acting as supporters.
At the same time this greater free-
dom of design may occasionally lead
to mistakes in relation to English
supporters and their compartments.
Following upon the English practice
already referred to of differentiating
the supporters of different families,
it has apparently been found necessary
in some cases to place the supporters
to stand upon a definite object, which
object is recited in the blazon and
becomes an integral and unchange-
able portion of the supporter. Thus
Lord Torrington's supporters are each
placed upon dismounted ships' guns [" Dexter, an heraldic antelope
ermine, horned, tusked, maned and hoofed or, standing on a ship
gun proper ; sinister, a sea-horse proper, on a like gun "], Lord
Hawke's l dexter supporter rests . his sinister foot upon a dolphin,
and Lord Herschell's supporters each stand upon a fasces [" Sup-
porters : on either side a stag proper, collared azure, standing
on a fasces or "]. The supporters of Lord Iveagh each rest a
hind - foot upon an escutcheon [" Supporters : on either side a
stag gules, attired and collared gemel or, resting the inner hoof on
an escutcheon vert charged with a lion rampant of the second"],
whilst the inner hind-foot of each of Lord Burton's supporters
1 Supporters of Lord Hawke : Dexter, Neptune, his mantle of a sea-green colour, edged argent,
crowned with an Eastern coronet or, his dexter arm erect, darting downwards his trident sable,
headed silver, resting his sinister foot on a dolphin, also sable ; sinister a sea-horse or, sustaining in
his forefins a banner argent the staff broken proper.
THE COMPARTMENT 443
rests upon a stag's head caboshed proper. Probably absurdity could
FIG. 673. Arms of Cape Town : Or, an anchor erect sable, stock proper, from the ring a riband flowing
azure, and suspended therefrom an escocheon gules charged with three annulets 6f the field ; and for
the crest, on a wreath of the colours, upon the battlements of a tower proper, a trident in bend
dexter or, surmounted by an anchor and cable in bend sinister sable.
go no further. But in the case of the supporters granted to Cape
Town (Fig. 673), the official blazon runs as follows : " On the dexter
444 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
side, standing on a rock, a female figure proper, vested argent, mantle
and sandals azure, on her head an estoile radiated or, and supporting
with her exterior hand an anchor also proper; and on the sinister
side, standing on a like rock, a lion rampant guardant gules." In this
case it will be seen that the rocks form an integral part of the
supporters, and are not merely an artistic rendering of the com-
partment. The illustration, which was made from an official
drawing supplied from the Heralds' College, shows the curious way
in which the motto scroll is made to answer the purpose of the com-
Occasionally the compartment itself as a thing apart from the
supporters receives attention in the blazon, e.g. in the case of the
arms of Baron de Worms, which are of foreign origin, recorded in
this country by Royal Warrant. His supporters are : " On a bronze
compartment, on either side a lion gold, collared and chained or, and
pendent from the compartment a golden scroll, thereon in letters gules
the motto, ' Vinctus non victus.' "
In the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom the motto " Dieu et
mon Droit " is required to be on the compartment below the shield,
and thereon the Union Badge of the Rose, Thistle, and Shamrock en-
grafted on the same stem.
The city of Norwich is not officially recognised as having the
right to supporters, and doubtless those in use have originated in the
old artistic custom, previously referred to, of putting escutcheons of
arms under the guardianship of angels. They may be so deciphered
upon an old stone carving upon one of the municipal buildings in
that city. The result has been that two angels have been regularly
adopted as the heraldic supporters of the city arms. The point that
renders them worthy of notice is that they are invariably represented
each standing upon its own little pile of clouds.
The arms of the Royal Burgh of Montrose (Forfarshire) afford an
official instance of another variety in the way of a compartment, which
is a fixed matter of blazon and not depending upon artistic fancy.