Arthur Charles Fox-Davies.

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I'lKC'H A.SKIl FRO.\r T H f. IXCOMK OK I 1 1 K









" Nohtles sunt qui Arma gentilitia antecessorum
suorum proferre possunt "





, Ft.


Printed by The Anchor Press, Ltd.
At Tiptree, Essex, England

Reprinted by permission from The Times, May 21, 1928.



Mr. Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, genealogist, barrister, and author, died on Saturday
at the age of 57 at his home in Warwick-gardens, W., where he had been lying ill for
some weeks. He will be chiefly remembered for his work in the genealogical field. In
this he took his keenest pleasure. It was for him not merely a labour of love, but an
exciting form of sport, to hunt down and kill some picturesque dragon of genealogical
imposture, to overthrow some cherished idol of family pride based on nothing more
substantial than the vain imaginings of a recent ancestor or the artful tale of some
flatterer possessed of a smattering of heraldry.

Other scholars had laboured in the same field before Fox-Davies came, but it was he
who took the campaign against armorial pretence out of the austere pages of learned
publications and brought it to the notice of the pubhc at large. Many will remember, for
example, the fluttering of the dovecotes which followed his refusal to accept as armigerous
a host of worthy folk who had uncritically accepted as genuine the blazons arbitrarily
adopted by their sires or grandsires and wished to be recorded in his " Armorial Families."
His cheerful iconoclasm of Wardour-street " family traditions," his polite offer of an
entry in italics or careful explanation of the defects in an unproved pedigree induced
numbers of families which had erred in sheer ignorance or noncurance to put their heraldic
houses in order. His labours thus helped to provide a field in which the talents of herald-
painters, armorial craftsmen, and designers of bookplates could be exercised, and greatly
helped to forward that heraldic revival, started by others, which has borne rich fruit in
the restored splendour of public ceremonies and the resuscitation of the almost forgotten
celebrations of the festivals of the Orders of the Garter, the Thistle, and the Bath and
the institution of others.

Besides practising his heraldry, Fox-Davies also presented it in several interesting
works, among them " The Complete Guide to Heraldry " and " Heraldic Badges." In
the " Book of PubHc Arms " he recorded many of the results of his campaign for getting
genuine grants for pubhc as well as private arms substituted to the constituted armorial
authorities of the three kingdoms for the unauthorized assumptions at one time so
prevalent. In the " Art of Heraldry," for which he secured the collaboration of many

vi a^t» a. C. jTor=Dat)ie0

experts, he showed how admirably heraldic forms and devices were adapted for almost every
conceivable variety of decoration, and as editor of the 1914 edition of Burke's " Landed
Gentry " he was able to provide decent interment for a multitude of cherished family
fictions, and to confine armorial and genealogical imaginings within the sober bounds of
what could reasonably be proved.

As a barrister Fox-Davies appeared in several important peerage cases, but
occasionally took a holiday from his hobby by accepting an ordinary brief, or contesting,
in the Conservative interest, a quite hopeless seat at an election. He sought further
relaxation by serving on the Holborn Borough Council and by writing " thrillers," in
which he obtained admirable results by juggling with ingenious points of law, and so
carefully described the criminal activities of a likeable baronet who sought a justifiable
revenge that a burglar stole the proofs of the book before publication in hopes of
improving the technique of his own iniquities. During the War, Fox-Davies served
at first in the Anti-Aircraft Corps and afterwards in the Naval Law Branch at the
Admiralty, where he had to deal with the remarkable collection of juristic improbabilities
and international tangles which came from the Aegean and other parts of the

Mr. Fox-Davies was the second son of Mr. T. E. Fox-Davies, of Coalbrookdale,
Shropshire, and was bom at Bristol on February 28, 1871. He married, in 1901, Mary,
daughter of Captain S. W. Crookes, of The Wyke, Shifnal, and had a son and a daughter.





BEFORE referring to the most important of the changes in the last and present
editions, it may be as well to refer to several minor points as to which
I often receive inquiries.

First, as to the " catch-line " names which appear in the book. In
the first edition the first entry for each surname was so distinguished for
mere purposes of ready reference, or perhaps even — for it was not my own idea^by the
desire of the printers to make an " artistic " page. Their efforts and labour to that
end have been unceasing, beyond even my own desires. But even before the completion
of the first edition the fatal objection had become apparent that the insertion of an entry
for the same surname but with a christian name earlier in the alphabet involved the
displacement of the catch-line from the one paragraph to the other, and the resetting
of both. The catch-hnes were therefore abandoned ; but I did not consider their
importance, in or out, was worth the cost of resetting in order to provide for their
deletion. Consequently those which were then standing in the type were allowed to
remain until such times as other alterations necessitated a disturbance in the type of
the particular entries containing them. As such opportunities arise they are deleted,
and each new edition has seen their number largely reduced. They are thus
automatically disappearing, very few now remain, and doubtless ere long all will
have vanished.

For the last editions a new form of entry was adopted. One seldom at the very
beginning of a project hits off the precise plan which the experience of years in carrying
out that enterprise eventually indicates as the most advantageous. There were two
considerations always before me. The chief was the eternal hterary difficulty of " space."
M}^ book was growing, growing, and some drastic change was necessary. My original idea
(based upon the inclusion of impalements) had been a separate entry for each separate
person. That involved a repetition of parentage (a matter of four or five lines) in the cases
of brothers, and a repetition of the details of the arms — sometimes running to a column or
more. But this repetition became practically purposeless, because I found in practice that
only a very small proportion of the entries carried impalements. Many a man is keenly
anxious to estabhsh his own right to arms, who feels that it is not his business, but the
business of the male members of his wife's family to prove the right to arms on that
side. Consequently a new system was adopted in the sixth edition by which all bearing
the same coat of arms were grouped together under that coat, and all brothers grouped
together under the names of their parents. I have not thought it worth while to reset
the book at a cost of many hundreds of pounds, merely to obtain a fixed uniformity of
arrangement, where no change is made in the information afforded between one type of
entry comprising several people and a number of separate entries. On this, point as
in the matter of catch-Unes, I have taken, as I propose to take in the future, every
opportunity, as alterations or changes occur necessitating the disturbance of type in an


X preface to tfte ^etientb (JBDition

entry, to convert the book to the form now adopted. The other consideration was a
printing technicahty. Certain parts of an entry — the arms and the Hvery — are permanent,
needing no change generation after generation. Other parts are constantly altering,
and by putting the permanent portion first it becames less costly to make alterations.

Whilst the new form has been adopted in all new entries which now appear in the
work for the first time, the reverse is not the case. In all entries in which alterations of
any moment occurred the opportunity was taken to adopt the new form, and the
deduction to be drawn from the appearance of an entry in either form is no greater than
from the insertion or absence of the black-letter catch-lines.

But I find some people do not understand the new method of arrangement, though
it is the one which has been adopted in Debrett's " Peerage." No attempt is made
to give pedigrees, no attempt is made to include deceased members of a family. Those
members of a family entitled to bear arms and now alive, are arranged in strict order of
their seniority in the order in which they would succeed to a hereditary title, and their
names are followed by the usual details of their birth, marriage, issue, &c. Where
successive entries are for brothers, they are grouped under one heading of their common
parentage, but the words in the heading " Sons of " does not mean that those who follow
are a complete list of the sons of the person named (for some may have died), but that
those whose names follow are sons of the specified person.

The coloured illustrations speak for themselves, and I can only hope the insertion
of these illustrations will prove the attraction I anticipate.

T?ie dating of the arms has turned out a matter of great difficulty — much greater
than I had anticipated. In the first place, few seem to know or care about the date of
their arms. It is easy enough to check the truth of a given statement of claim ; except
in the grant of a modern coat it is almost impossible to ascertain the date save by research
and the expenditure of time wholly prohibitive to the attempt. Where a reasonable
claim has been made I have attempted to verify it, and with few exceptions all such coats-
of-arms are dated. But the claims made have been much fewer than I anticipated. The
dates which are inserted are [a) those of the dates which I have been asked to insert, which
I beheve to be correct, {b) dates which have been within my knowledge before they were
supphed to me by the owners of the arms. The date of a grant of arms is public property
to anybody who cares to pay the fees for a search, but where I have not known it, and to
assist me in my editorial work, my correspondents have been good enough to tell me what
the date of the grant is and have expressed a wish that the date should not be published,
I have respected that wish and treated the information as supphed to me in confidence.
The dates — where the arms are dated — are those of official authorisation. In a few cases
where the arms are found on the early rolls it is possible to take an old coat back approx-
imately to its date of origin, but in the bulk of ancient English cases one can do no more
than refer to the Visitations, which, though the earhest date of authorisation, may or
may not be the date of origin.

In Scottish cases, with rare exceptions, the earliest quotable date of authorisation is
1672, the date of the commencement of the present Lyon Register.

So that, except where a definite date of grant is quoted, the date of authorisation
is not necessarily the date of origin. In the case of arm.<= authorised but not specifically

Preface to tiie ^etientti dBDition xi

granted anterior to 1700 the dates are of but little value for comparative purposes. But
these coats form but a small proportion of the arms in use.

I am very anxious to get a larger proportion of the arms dated than I have been able
to up to the present, and I do appeal to those whose names appear in the book to supply me
with the real dates at which their arms were granted or officially confirmed. It may save
trouble if I say at once that William the Conqueror did not make any grants of arms.
Those who can only lay claim to modern grants of arms are, I find, often unwilling that
the date of grant should be pubhshed. Frankly, I am quite unable to understand why
there should be more reluctance in admitting the date of a grant of arms than the date of
a Baronetcy.

The omission of the italic entries which appeared in the first four editions of this
book may or may not be an improvement. Many correspondents have written to
me on the point, some advocating insertion, some omission, but the imperative necessity
of reducing the space was the factor which finally decided the point. At first, I could
not claim for " Armorial Families " any approach to completeness, but as each successive
edition has brought more and more families under review the approximation to complete-
ness has lessened the necessity for the retention of the italicised part, and lessened it to
an increasing extent. But even yet I do not claim to have reached the end, though I
think I am now justified in thinking my book is approximately a complete directory of those
who are proved to be officialh' entitled to bear arms. I have sent out right and left for the
last twenty-five years, hundreds of thousands of information forms asking that they
should be filled up and returned to me. Whenever a form has been returned to me from
which on the face of it it seemed possible that the arms claimed were borne by right,
I have taken steps to ascertain if the claim were good, and whenever this has been the case
such arms have been inserted without charge or stipulation. I have gradually worked
through such books as Burke's " Landed Gentry," and each edition has left a diminishing
remnant. Shortly before I closed up the last edition for the press I wrote to the head of
every remaining family in the " Landed Gentry " pointing out what I was doing, saying I
was aware of no modern proof of the right to the arms which were attributed to him in
that work, and asking that I might be advised if I were wrong. The result of my letters
astonished me. A very large number at once informed me of their right under a compara-
tively modem grant or record, not to the ancient arms attributed to them, but to some
entirely distinct coat 1

But to conclude my remarks on this point, I do say that there are few families
entitled to arms, whose right has been proved in sufficiently modern times to place it
beyond reasonable doubt, that are now omitted. That there must be some I am of
course aware, some even whose right is duly registered up to themselves in the College of
Arms. The College of Arms will not permit an}- one access to their records nor give the
shghtest clue as to the pedigrees which are recorded from time to time or the grants which
are made. One can, however, inquire whether a pedigree has been recorded to a given coat-
of-arms, or whether a specified person has recorded a right to arms by grant or proof of
pedigree, and by paying the ordinary search fees can receive the desired information.
This I do in all cases coming under my notice.

Obviously I cannot work through the London or any other Directory at the price
of the Heralds' College search fees for each inquiry : but, given a coat-of-arms which looks

xii Preface to tiie ^cDcntt) OBDition

genuine, I can find and do find out to whom it belongs. I have many friends and corres-
pondents for whose help in this way I am under deep obligations, and sooner or later
most genuine coats-of-arms eventually come into my hands — my difficulty being that I
am held up to criticism for the omission of arms recently proved or lately granted bsfore
they have filtered through into mj" knowledge.

Subject to this qualification, and with the exception of the arms of some Peers
and Baronets, I believe the present edition of " Armorial Families " may be fairly
described as approximately complete.

Peers and Baronets were included in the first and second editions of " Armorial
Families." They were then omitted solely for the reasons of space. A few Peers and
Baronets, however, appear in the body of the book. Some remain under the undertaking
I gave in my first prospectus to retain in perpetuity the arms of every subscriber. The
rest have been inserted from time to time for various reasons, chiefly technical, which
it is not necessary to explain. Suffice it to sa}^ that nearl}^ every Peer and nearly
every Baronet has genuine arms.

I am very anxious to add the details of the quarterings to which different families
are entitled where these are recorded, but I do not undertake, or intend to investigate
gratuitously for the purpose of this book, claims which have not been registered. There
are, however, many families who possess officially certified paintings of their arms and
quarterings, or official pedigrees, and I should be indebted for the opportunity of
examining such documents. I am always glad to learn of any grant of arms which has
been made, or any pedigree which has been formally recorded.

With regard to Cockades, it seems to me that such official authority, or quasi-authority,
as they formerly had lapsed at the death of Queen Victoria, and until they are revived
by some overt act on the part of His Majesty, they appear to me to have now become
meaningless, and for that reason I am omitting them from the book as opportunity in
the alteration of entries occurs.

In both Lyon Court and Ulster's Office I have been greatly helped in the compilation
of my book, and my sincerest thanks are due to Sir James Balfour Paul, K.C.V.O., the
former, and Mr. F. J. Grant, the present Lyon King of Arms, and to Major Sir Nevile
Wilkinson, K.C.V.O., Ulster King of Arms, and Mr. T. U. Sadleir, Registrar of Ulster's
Office, for all the encouragement and assistance I have constantly received at their hands.
In the College of Arms, I have also to offer my grateful thanks to Sir Henry Farnham
Burke, K.C.V.O., C.B., Garter King of Arms, and the other Officers of Arms, for much
help in the revision of my book.

I should also hke to thank Mr. Charles A. H. Franklin, M.D., B.S., F.S.A.Scot., for
much kind assistance.


23, Old Buildings, Lincoln's Inn,
London, W.C.


Sl^RELY even those who affect the greatest contempt for Heraldry will admit that if
Arms are to be borne at all, it should be according to the laws of Arms ; and that, if
the display of them be an empty vanity, it is a less creditable vanity to parade as
our own those which belong of right to others.
Heraldry has been contemptuously termed "the science of fools with long memories."
There is more wit than wisdom in the remark, and with the many a smart saying has
unfortunately a great advantage over a just one.

It is impossible to say that there is any direct testimony to the existence of Armorial
bearings in the now accepted sense of the word earlier than the twelfth century, when they
seem to have been adopted with one accord throughout Europe. Previous to that period
we read of " white shields " and " red shields " and " gilded shields." In Salmund's Edda
mention is made of a red shield with a golden border. The Encomiast of Emma speaks merely
of the glittering effulgence of the shields suspended on the sides of the vessels of Canute. In the
Anglo-Saxon illuminations we perceive the shields of warriors generally painted white, with red
and blue borders and circles : on those of our Norman invaders as represented in the Bayeux
Tapestry, a work at the earliest of the close of the eleventh century, we find crosses, rings, grot-
esque monsters, and fanciful devices of various descriptions, but nothing approaching a regular
heraldic figure or disposition of figures. Some of the standards are striped and spotted in a fashion
which may have originated the pales, bars, and roundels of the succeeding century, but as these
devices are not repeated on an}'^ of the bearers' shields they cannot be considered as personal

Thus we see that Heraldry as we know it, Heraldry even as it was understood in its earliest
stages, had no existence at the time of the Norman Conquest, nor can any authenticated example
be discovered of a proper Armorial shield prior to the first Crusade. Ere the second had reached
its termination its usage was extensive and assured. That is all that is known of its origin, but
undoubtedly — for it is a matter no one has as yet dreamed of disputing — the Crusades have exer-
cised an influence difficult to truly estimate. Not only are a vast proportion of heraldic " charges "
easily traceable to the Holy Land, but the assemblage of the flower of European chivalry in all
its nationalities, all claiming nobility of birth, must have given a great impetus to the progress of
a science devoted and confined to themselves, apart from the encouragement afforded to it by the
requirement of some method of distinction amongst themselves.

A writer of a bygone age has said that " Coates of Armes were inuented by our wise ancestors
to these 3 ends : The first was to honour and adorn the family of him that had well deserued
towardes his countrye. The seconde to him more worthy and famous above the rest which had
not done merit, and thereby they might be prouoked to doe the like. The third was to differ out
the severall lignes and issues from the noble ancestor descending ; so that the eldest borne might
be known from the second, and he from the thirde."

Heraldry was not originated in England, but England was not long in following the lead
placed before her, and though at no period perhaps within the British Isles has the love and rever-
ence of Armory reached such a high degree of enthusiasm as has been sometimes accorded to
Armorial Insignia elsewhere : still since the old Crusading days have our ancestors of each suc-
ceeding generation handed down a respect and admiration for these marks of lineage, rank, and
high degree that Socialism and Anarchy, with all their changeabiUty of visage, have failed to
suppress in spite of the manifold and multifarious methods and manners in which these ideas
have passed through the land, in the Wars of the Roses, in the Reformation, the Commonwealth,
the Revolution, and " the Hyde Park tub-thumper."

" There is no subject more difficult to be dwelt on than that of honourable descent ; none on
which the world are greater sceptics, none more offensive to them ; and yet there is no quality to
which every one in his heart pays so great a respect. " — (Sir Egerton Brydges' Autobiography , p. 153) .

And by reason of this very reverence and respect, Armorial Bearings are one of the earliest
outward and visible signs which make their appearance when a family commences its rise in the
scale of social eminence.

xiv Cbe atuise of arms

At first, ere their full lustre and significance had been realised, those who bore Arms selected
them as pleased their fancy, but as a name became glorious so did the pictorial sign upon the shield
associated with that name become renowned, and a son inherited his father's Arms with his
father's sword : and Armorial Bearings almost from the very birth of the science have been

Let a privilege or a usage be created, and its abuse rapidly follows. Merchants placed
their " merchant-marks " upon escutcheons, and called them coats-of-arms when as yet their
rank did not warrant the assumption. New men called themselves by old names and claimed
the ancient Arms.

The monks of Battle Abbey are known to have tampered with their roll, and centuries ago
the heralds deplored and tried to keep in check the vagaries and usurpations of these " painter-
fellows," as they then described them, referring thus contemptuously to those handicraftsmen
who undertook the actual labour of cutting seals and emblazoning Arms. Had these handicrafts-
men stopped their hands at these legitimate limits, httle abuse, comparatively speaking, could
have crept in, but they did not ; they hankered after the fees — in their eyes veritable flesh-pots of
Egypt — of the official heralds. Then, as now, the true position and authority of the Officers of
Arms was not properly known or understood. Then, as now, these " painter-fellows " encroached,
and then, as now, they profited by the lack of heraldic knowledge current among the general

Online LibraryArthur Charles Fox-DaviesArmorial families : a directory of gentlemen of coat-armour (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 256)