Arthur Charles Fox-Davies.

Armorial families : a directory of gentlemen of coat-armour (Volume 1) online

. (page 4 of 256)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

if it so please you. And you are at liberty to place your motto where you like, — above your
crest, below the arms, or in any other position in which you can find room for it, though custom
appears to rule that it shall find its place under the shield. In Scotland the law is diam.etrically
opposite. The mottoes are always mentioned in the Patents of grant or matriculation, and are
unchangeable ; and moreover their position is stated, and must be adhered to. It is usually
over the crest. Book-plate designers might take a note of this fact. In Ireland the position
is about half way between these two extremes, inasmuch as if a motto he recorded with your coat
you are expected to make use of that particular one.

As to supporters, though there is a good deal of abuse concerning their usage, there is no
definite rule that can be laid down. Ulster and Lyon Kings have absolute power to grant
supporters to whomsoever they will. But little advantage has been taken of this power in Ireland,
and practically the same rules hold good as obtain in England. Moreover, the present Lyon
King of Arms, I believe, considers it well to keep within these same bounds in the case of new
grants. But former Lyons thought nothing of the kind, and granted them to all and sundry who
would pay the fees, and some number of English Baronets went to the trouble and expense of
obtaining grants of supporters in Lyon Office. These grants, of course, were idtra vires. All
chiefs of clans and heads of famihes claimed the right, and it was usually conceded to them if
they cared to pay ; so that north of the Tweed the only rule that can be quoted is that no one is
entitled to them unless they are matriculated in Lyon Office, and the larger half of them are not.
I hope before long to publish a list of those who are.

In England the law is very straightforward. Only those people to whom they have been
granted — and their successors or not, according to the hmitations of the Patent — are entitled to
make use of them. And such grants are only issued to Peers, Knights of the Garter, Thistle, and
St. Patrick,^- and Knights Grand Cross of the other Orders, unless the grant be made as an
augmentation or otherwise, pursuant to a warrant from the Sovereign. Supporters granted to a
Peer usually are limited to those upon whom the title shall descend, likewise those granted by
Royal Warrant to Baronets, e.g.. Guise, Otway, Guinness. Supporters granted to a Knight
Grand Cross are personal to himself. And I would point out that supporters granted to a
Knight Grand Cross who is subsequently created a Peer, do not descend with the Peerage, unless
a new grant with extended limitation be issued ; and to my knowledge more than twenty Peers
and Baronets have not the ghost of a right to the supporters they display. And there are a good
many Knights Grand Cross who use supporters without having obtained the right — in other
words, have simply invented them for themselves.

Another point is that it is utterly illegal for heirs-apparent to Peerages, even though bearing
courtesy titles, to assume either a coronet or supporters.

* For a long time these Orders have been confined to Peers, and the Garter to those of the rank of Earl and upwards ;
but formerly, when they were open to commoners, they carried the privilege of the right to obtain supporters, as did
the Order of the Bath before it was di^^ded into classes.



xxiv ^f^z at)U0e of Htms

I would commend to the notice of all offenders on this point the clauses in the Patents
confining the right to use the supporters to " those upon whom the Peerage shall descend."

No Peeress, after a second marriage, is entitled to continue to use the coronet and supporters
of her first husband, and in fact any woman, after a second marriage, has entirely forfeited her
privilege of using anything Armorial pertaining to her first marriage.

And there is another class of offenders, those who undoubtedly have the right to bear Arms
but yet prefer to use some other coat, usually one much more illustrious.

The Yankee" on' the subject of Coat-Armour is proverbial. Cussans tells a tale in his
" Handbook of Heraldry " which is decidedly amusing. During the residence of our Ambassador,
Mr. Crampton, in Washington, a carriage which he brought from England was sent to a carriage-
builder's to be repaired. Some time afterwards, on Mr. Crampton going to the factory, he was
surprised to see several buggies, sulkies, and wagons each bearing his Arms. In astonishment
he turned to the attendant and, directing his notice to the carriages in question, inquired if
they were built for him. " I reckon not, sir," was the reply ; " you see when your carriage was
here some of our citizens admired the pattern of your Arms, and concluded to have them painted
on their carriages too ! " But if a tale which was once told to me be correct, I think I can go
even one better than that.

A Yankee^or perhaps I should say an American, for that is all that can be guaranteed —
called one day at a notfed coachbuilder's. At the time of his visit a state carriage of the Duke of
St. Albans happened to be there for some trifling repairs, and the " stranger " admired it greatly,
and particularly its heraldic adornments. He asked whose it was, and was told. " And is that
his coat-of-arms ? " " Yes." He " reckoned it was mighty fine," and left. And the end of
the story is that, until quite recently, a carriage was to be seen occasionally in New York
with the coat, crest, coronet, supporters, and Garter of the Duke, and with the "baton sinister "
and all.

A coat-of-arms reached me not long ago which, from certain peculiarities, I at once recognised
as a modern grant. Over all appeared the undoubted mark of illegitimacy. The coat was only
granted in 1843 to someone to whom a Royal License had been issued to take the same name as
that of my correspondent, who had been thus guilelessly labelling himself a bastard. Not the
least relationship existed. I have yet to learn where he picked up the Arms.

This is a good example towards my argument all along, which is to make sure you are really
entitled to the Arms you carry.

Perhaps some people sin through ignorance ; but I know many people are perfectly well
aware of what they are doing, and one can but suppose they simply trust to the general ignorance
of the subject to escape detection. But having regard to those who are sinning through lack
of knowledge, it is a pertinent inquiry as to how they have drifted into the ranks of the offenders.
The first people to get blamed by the outer world are, of course, the official heralds. People
like " Guy le Vieux " {vide letters in the Globe), probably simply because their own Arms have
failed to pass muster, go about seeking whose credulity they may devour, and loudly proclaiming
that the King, who is above the Heralds' College, granted Arms which are not recorded there ;
or that the heralds at their visitations omitted to record this coat or the other coat. And you
may, as I have done, hear tales about families who have continuously since the twelfth century
borne Arms which have never been recorded in the College of Arms. It is, of course, impossible
to say that any hypothetical case cannot exist, but I have never known one proved ; nor can I
come across any one having the least real knowledge of Heraldry who believed in these tales ;
for they all, when examined, prove to be a tissue of impossibilities, improbabilities, and untruths.
It is just possible one or two isolated cases of the kind might exist in the Channel Islands, and
undoubtedly unregistered Arms have for a long time been borne in some cases in Scotland and
Ireland, but the law of the land — not any law of the Offices of Arms — has distinctly declared
these to be illegal, and that puts an end to any argument. But as to England proper, one can
be very safe in saying that no such cases exist. One often hears the remark, " Oh, but anybody
can have a coat-of-arms by paying for it." A more mistaken idea could not exist, as a good
many people might find on petitioning the Earl Marshal for a grant. But, though I have heard
this remark often, I have never once heard it come from the lips of any one who was undoubtedly
Armigerous, either of new or old gentility. Consequently, if other people may judge from my
experience, whenever that remark is made you can be pretty certain of- — well, the deduction is
fairly obvious.

A gentleman with whom I have come in contact has shown me a seal which was engraved
for him for some very small sum. When he was quite a boy he was persuaded by some itinerant
vendor who carried a small book of illustrations in his pocket and went the round of commercial



Cfte ^bim of ^xm0 xxv

offices, that that was the crest he was entitled to use. That is certainly one way of supplying
Armorial hankerings. And jewellers and seal-engravers carefully foster the very erroneous idea
that all people of the same name are entitled to the same Arms. Because your name be Smith
you are not necessarily a relative of Lord Carrington, nor is every Mr. Jones a relative of the late
Lord Ranelagh. Because your mother's name was Howard, you need not as a matter of course
be a relative of the Duke of Norfolk, and entitled to quarter his coat with his augmentation ;
neither is every person rejoicing in the name of Robinson at liberty to take and use Lord Rokeby's
coat-of-arms. Arms belong to the grantee and his descendants, and such others as may be
mentioned in the Patent, and not to everybody else of his name in the world.

It has been the fashion to abuse the late Sir Bernard Burke's publications. They might
have been a little more accurate certainly, but I don't think they have done quite the harm that
some people would debit them with, and they have certainly done a great deal of good by keeping
alive the interest in long descent, and it is still accounted " something " to have one's family
included in the " Landed Gentr}'."

But the real harm lies with these advertising heraldic shopkeepers. The general public think
that a search with them is precisely the same as a search through the official records. All these
shopkeepers do is to take down Burke's " General Armory," and, if your name be a common
one, pick out the one amongst the different coats which is located nearest to the address you
gave of your earliest known ancestor. One of this shopkeeping fraternity, on being applied to
for a " correct coat," with a good deal of ingenuousness replied to his correspondent that there
were several different coats for his name, and he could take his choice. One that was indicated
seemed to be the oldest, and he advised that. A certain well-known character had a presentation
made to him, and an almost equally well-known purveyor was asked to supply a coat-of-arms
to occupy a prominent position upon the gift. I may as well say at once that the coat and crest
he supplied did not belong to each other, and neither belonged to the gentleman in question, or
ever had belonged to anybody of his name. But that appears to have been merely a detail. Some
rather strong remarks I had made upon the use of the coat came to the ears of its purveyor,
and one day a tall, middle-aged mihtary- looking personage walked into my room, and placed a
card upon the table. It was very dirty, which may have been the reason the individual took it
aw'ay with him again when he left. It bore the name of the noted heraldic purveyor in question ;
and during our interview my visitor spoke vigorously with regard to what had been said. The
Arms over which the dispute had arisen, according to the first account I heard, were erected upon
a brass in a certain church in a small village in Derbyshire, which bore a date in the seventeenth
century. A solicitor's letter, threatening a libel action, was the next act in the farce ; but I had
meanwhile taken the trouble of writing to the clergyman of the church mentioned. He assured
me there was no such brass in existence, the church mentioned having been only built about
twenty years ago. I pointed this out to the purveyor, and he promptly gave another origin
for the coat, which was quite as ridiculous, namely, that it had been recorded in his books for
some considerable length of time.

In my preface to the revised edition of " Fairbairn," I said : " There is no such thing as the
' prescriptive right to Arms,' as to which one heraldic shopkeeper with whom I have come in
contact talks glibly ; it exists solely in his conversation. Others of his persuasion have other
little plausibilities equally corrupt which they bring into prominence. And it is a fairly safe
plan to pursue to reject as bogus all Arms and crests which boast no other origin than the heraldic
stationer, who, for a trifling fee, professes, on receipt of ' name and county,' to find Armorial
Bearings for any applicant. During the revision of this volume, I have had a very great number
of ' certificates ' from such places sent up to me for insertion. To my own mind that alone was
sufficient evidence against their authenticity ; but for fear they might be right, I have had each
one formally examined as it reached me, by the proper authorities, and in no solitary instance
have the Arms of right pertained to those one was led to believe from the certificate were the
possessors, and in most cases the Arms themselves, apart from the question of ownership, were
WTong in detail or some technicality."

And I would remind those with the sneer ready to their lips that Arms are a mere matter of
payment of fees, that it is not so. A grant of Arms, which is a concession of grace by the
Sovereign, is a Patent of Gentility from the CrowTi, from which is all honour, and the fees
which have to be paid are not the price of it to you, but are the cost to the CroAvn of the
concession which is made to you, and which cost you are required to defray.

The Continental test of the perfection of blood — the proof of " Seize quar tiers " — has never
been required in England, and though many glibly boast of it, but few indeed can prove it. It
has nothing to do with the quarterings you bear, and the fact of the proof thereof by the father



XXVI



Cbe ^him of 0.rm0



does not constitute the right of the son. In England men mate with whom they will, and a woman
even socially is accepted as of her husband's rank, unless the discrepancy be too egregious and
apparent ; and this is the English stumbling-block to proofs of " Seize quartiers."

To establish a proof of this you must show that all your sixteen great -great -grandparents were
legally entitled to bear Arms. In other words, you must show this right to have existed for





Self.


Parents.


I.


Your


Father's


2.


Your


Father's


3-


Your


Father's


4-


Your


Father's


5-


Your


Father's


6.


Your


Father's


/'•


Your


Father's


8.


Your


Father's


9-


Your


Mother's


10.


Your


Mother's


II.


Your


Mother's


12.


Your


Mother's


13-


Your


Mother's


14-


Your


Mother's


15-


Your


Mother's


i6.


Your


Mother's



Grand-


Gt. -grand-


Gt.-gt.-grand


parents.


parents.


parents.


Father's


Father's


Father.


Father's


Father's


Mother.


Father's


Mother's


Father.


Father's


Mother's


Mother.


Mother's


Father's


Father.


Mother's


Father's


Mother.


Mother's


Mother's


Father.


Mother's


Mother's


Mother.


Father's


Father's


Father.


Father's


Father's


Mother.


Father's


Mother's


Father.


Father's


Mother's


Mother.


Mother's


Father's


Father.


Mother's


Father's


Mother.


Mother's


Mother's


Father.


Mother's


Mother's


Mother.



The word " Esquire " has been described by one writer as a description of a state {e.g., widow
and widowhood), and not a title. But whichever it is matters little, for the right to the affix of
Esquire is clearly defined. Neither usage and custom nor use and abuse can now alter the legal
right to this description. There have, in times past, been other qualifications (for instance,
anciently Esquires were created by Patent) which have become obsolete, but by the qualifications
still existing Esquires are these —

The sons of Peers.

The sons of Baronets.

The sons of Knights.

The eldest sons of the younger sons of Peers, and their eldest sons in perpetuity.

The eldest son of the eldest son of a Knight, and his eldest son in perpetuity.

The Kings of Arms.

The Heralds of Arms.

Officers of the Army and Navy of the rank of Captain and upwards.

Sheriffs of Counties, for Life.

J.P.'s of Counties whilst in Commission.

Serjeants-at-Law.

King's Counsel.

Serjeants-at-Arms.

Companions of the Orders of Knighthood.

Certain principal Officers in the King's Household.

Deputy-Lieutenants.

Commissioners of the Court of Bankruptcy.

Masters of the Supreme Court.

Those whom the King, in any Commission or Warrant, styles Esquire [and

amongst these are Royal Academicians], and any person who, in virtue

of his Office, takes precedence of Esquires.

Graduates of universities, as such, are not Esquires, and barristers-at-law, as such, are not
Esquires.

LIVERIES

Touching the subject of liveries, I say frankly, at once, that there is no law, heraldic or other-
wise, to govern their choice or design. But, in the absence of any law, a very definite usage
has sprung up, so universal and long-established in its character, and so generally recognised,
that I may doubtless be pardoned if I draw attention to it.



i



Ci)e ai)u0c of atm0 xxvii

This custom is that the colours of the Hvery shall be determined by the tinctures of the wreath
— in other words, by the principal colour and the principal metal occurring in the coat-of-arms,
which are knovm as the livery colours. In all Scottish Patents the phrase will be found, " and
upon a wreath of his liveries is set for a crest," S,:c. The exceptions are so few that the rule
may be briefly understood by saying that these must be the first metal and the first colour which
occur in the official blazon.

Whatever is the field of the coat-of-arms, whether it be colour or metal, determines the
predominant colour of the livery, thus —

Sable would give black. Gules would give red.

Vert „ green. Or „ yellow.

Azure „ blue. Argent „ white.

Purpura ,, purple or mulberry colour.

A yellow or a white livery few people in this uncertain climate, and in these days of aesthetic
colours and half-tones, have the courage to make use of save for State or full-dress occasions, and
for ordinary usage dark drab for the former or light drab for the latter are generally used in
their stead.

Scarlet is the Royal livery, and is barred to all others (with the exception of the few who
are privileged to make use of the royal stables, and, I believe, of the Duke of Norfolk as hereditary
Earl Marshal), consequently, if the field of your Arms be gules {i.e., scarlet), your red for livery
purposes must be claret colour or chocolate colour. If your livery be black, you have but little
opportunity for personal taste in the selection of tint, but with blue and green you may choose
a shade as brilliant or as retiring as seems good to your own particular taste.

TJie second colour governs that of the facings, and in the matter of facings yellow and white
for gold and silver and scarlet keep their original colours. And it is in the matter of facings that
the opportunity occurs for " taste " and ingenuity. The great majority of people for undress
purposes make the collars and cuffs of the second tincture, or " pipe " the garments with that
colour. The waistcoat for undress purposes is usually of a material of narrow stripes of the two
colours. A craze lately seems to be gaining ground to make use of scarlet waistcoats which is
decidedly an infringement of the Royal livery. If the hatband be other than of black it should
be of the metal in the wreath. The buttons, if they are of metal, should also be governed by
the same rule.

Dress and State liveries, from their less frequent assumption, are not so subject to the
vagaries of mind of the country or second-class tailor, consequently custom and usage with
regard to them are fairly regular. The coat is usually in accordance with the field, the facings and
ornamentation governed by the secondary colour or metal, as are the breeches and occasionally
the stockings. The garters and shoe-buckles follow the rules I mention above for metal buttons.
The waistcoat is sometimes one and sometimes the other, most frequently being the same as the
coat. If a third colour appear in the Arms, this is sometimes introduced in the facings, and the
undress waistcoat is then striped of the three ; but I think it undesirable, though it is not incorrect.

The following examples of the liveries which should pertain to the Arms I mention will
show how the colours are applied : —

Suppose the Arms to be vert (the field), a saltire argent, the livery would be —

Undress — Green coat and overcoat, with white collar and cuffs, facings, piping, or white or
silver braid or lace, silver buttons and hatband, green and white striped waistcoat.

Dress — Green coat, with silver lace or braid, or white facings — waistcoat the same — white
breeches and stockings, silver buttons, garters and buckles.

Suppose the Arms to be or, an eagle displayed sable —

Undress — Dark drab coat and overcoat, with black collar and cuffs, facings, piping, braid or
lace, gold buttons and hatband, black and yellow striped waistcoat.

Dress — -Yellow coat and waistcoat, with black lace braid or facings, black breeches and
stockings, gold buttons, garters and buckles.

Suppose the Arms to be gules, a lion rampant or —

Undress — Claret-colour coat and overcoat, with yellow collar and cuffs, or gold or yellow
facings, piping, braid or lace, gold buttons and hatband, black and yellow striped waistcoat.

Dress. — Claret-colour coat and waistcoat, with gold or yellow lace, braid or facings, yeUow
breeches and stockings, gold buttons, garters and buckles.

If you have no coat-of-arms, it cannot be said to be wrong to assume any colour you may
choose ; but it might be pointed out that the colour brown, which seems to be rather a favourite,
is not approximated to any heraldic tincture.



xxviii Cbe atu0e of 3rm0

With a double name or a quarterly coat you take the colours from the first quarter of your
Arms, disregarding all others.

If a fur occurs in one or other of the principal colour and metal of your Arms, you take the
colour of its ground, thus — •

Ermine is treated as white. Erminites is treated as white.

Erminois is treated as gold. Pean and ermines is treated as black.

If the field of your Arms is vair, your hvery colours are blue and white, and you are at
liberty to treat whichever you prefer as the dominant colour. If your field be vaire, you take
in the same manner the colours of which the fur is composed.

If the field be of a metal or colour, and the principal charge be vair or vairee, the dominant
colour of your livery is in accordance with the field, and you take either colour or metal, whichever
you may want, from the fur.

If through a change of name you become an accredited representative of a different family,
and the first quarter in your coat-of-arms is altered, your livery ought certainly to change as well.

If you have been using a livery and have no desire to alter it, and subsequently obtain a
grant of Arms, I think it would be found, if the wish were expressed, that in designing the new
coat the Officers of Arms would, if possible, so arrange it that the old livery continued to be correct.

The colours of cars and carriages and of the upholstering are simply a matter of taste, and
it is nothing more than artistic preference and a desire for uniformity — but a very general
preference, by the way — which makes them in accordance with the liveries. In actual practice
the metal of the harness and harness ornaments will usually follow the rules which decide the
metal of the buttons. There is a very pretty custom in vogue at the moment of placing knots
of ribbon or coloured leathers at the heads of horses. These should, of course, follow the two
livery colours.

COCKADES

With the coming of the motor car the cockade has rather fallen into disuse, but the following
notes from the last edition of this book seem worth reprinting.

From liveries to cockades is no great step, and the abuse of this ornament — for such it
assuredly is — is greater than the abuse of Arms. As to this, again, there are no laws in existence,